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Everything to Know About the 2023 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Kick off the holiday season at 8:30 a.m. ET on Thanksgiving Day with a celebration featuring floats, live performances from Cher and more, and so many balloons.

By Elizabeth Logan & Jessica White

One of the best parts about Thanksgiving is tuning into the classic Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

As depicted across pop culture, and most memorably in Miracle on 34th Street, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade marks the official start of the holiday season. Whether you're tuning in for the floats (or the celebrities on them), the marching bands, or performances from Broadway's finest, the parade has something for everyone. 

In 2023, the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade is growing a little bigger to make room for more fun: For the first time ever, NBC's official telecast will start a half-hour earlier at 8:30am ET/PT!

The parade will also feature several new cameras along the parade route this year, in order to give viewers even more angles of the festive action. What's more, hilarious Broadway stars Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells will be on hand as special correspondents along the route. 

And on the eve of the big event, don't miss NBC's Countdown to Macy's Thanksgiving Parade special, where Host Amber Ruffin will give viewers an inside look at crafting this year's incredible new floats and balloons. 

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Here's everything you need to know about when and where to watch the 2023 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

What time does the 2023 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade start?

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast starts at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 23rd, airing on NBC and simulcast on Peacock.

Feast your eyes on your favorite floats, watch energizing holiday performances from beloved stars, and soak up the wonderful winter celebrations with loved ones. Macy's has been kicking off the holiday season for 97 years, and you won't want to miss the timeless classic.

Macys Thanksgiving Parade

Who is performing at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade? 

Cher at Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love birthday special.

Fresh off the release of her holiday album, Christmas, the one and only Cher will perform to truly get the season started off right!

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon Host Jimmy Fallon and the show's house band, The Roots, will perform, while Bel-Air star Jabari Banks will be aboard Peacock’s float. Singer Jax is also scheduled to perform aboard “Geoffrey’s Dazzling Dance Party” Toys “R” Us float.

Additional newly-announced celebrities making an appearance at the parade include Kenan Thompson & Kel Mitchell, Bravo's Andy Cohen, Leslie Odom Jr., Lacey Chabert, and Abigail Spencer.

Macy’s signature floating stages will also feature performances from Jon Batiste, Bell Biv DeVoe; Brandy; Chicago; En Vogue; ENHYPEN; David Foster and Katharine McPhee; Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors; Jessie James Decker; Ashley Park with the cast and Muppets of Sesame Street; Pentatonix; Paul Russell; Amanda Shaw and Alex Smith; and Manuel Turizo

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U.S. Olympic Silver Medalist Jordan Chiles, U.S. track and field Paralympian Ezra Frech, U.S. Paralympic Gold Medalist swimmer Jessica Long, and Miss America 2023 Grace Stanke will also appear. So will Paris 2024 Olympic hopefuls in volleyball Kelly Cheng and Sarah Hughes, plus Paralympic track & field hopeful Ezra Frech.

A split of Brandy on the red carpet and Jon Batiste at the grammys

TODAY's Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker will join as Hosts.

Who are the Broadway performers at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year? 

Andrew Rannells Josh Gad on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

As always, the national broadcast audience will feature performances from the best of Broadway in 2023, including & Juliet, Back to the Future: The MusicalHow to Dance in Ohio, Shucked, Spamalot, as well as the iconic Radio City Rockettes.

Stars of Broadway’s Gutenberg! The Musical!, Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells, will act as special live correspondents along the parade route. 

Where to watch the 2023 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and where to stream

Excited to spot Santa and choose your favorite float? Watch the 2023 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade live on NBC and Peacock on Thanksgiving Day from 8:30 a.m. to noon in all time zones. There will be an encore of the parade at 2 p.m. 

RELATED: These SNL Christmas Sketches Will Get You Laughing—And in the Holiday Spirit

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade balloons 2023

The Bluey Balloon at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

This year, seven new featured balloons will make their debut, including:

Beagle Scout Snoopy
Blue Cat & Chugs
Kung Fu Panda’s Po
Netflix's Leo
Monkey D. Luffy
The Pillsbury Doughboy
Uncle Dan

Australian kids' favorite Bluey is back this year—joined by her favorite “Keepy Uppy” red balloon! Also back: Diary Of A Wimpy Kid; DINO and Baby DINO; Goku; a Funko Pop!-inspired Grogu; Chase from Paw Patrol; Pokémon Pikachu & Eevee; Red Titan from “Ryan’s World”; Ronald McDonald, SpongeBob SquarePants & Gary; and Stuart The Minion.

History of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

After enjoying unprecedented success as a department store, Macy's opened up its flagship location in New York City in 1924 and decided to mark the occasion with a parade. The event fell on Thanksgiving Day but was geared more toward generating excitement for the upcoming Christmas shopping season. It wasn't the first store-sponsored Thanksgiving parade, according to History.com, but it was successful enough that the company decided to do it again the next year, and the year after that.

the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, 24th November 1932.

Originally, zoo animals were paraded along the six-mile route, but they were unruly, and in 1927, Tony Sarg created the first balloon for the parade: a helium-filled Felix The Cat. For the first couple of years, there was no method for deflating the balloons, and at the end of the parade, they were simply released into the sky. If you found a balloon in your backyard a week later, you could turn it in for $100, according to a contemporaneous NY Times article.

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Macy's 97th Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade 2023 route

For those living in the Big Apple, the 2023 Thanksgiving Day Parade boasts 2.5 miles of public viewing along the route this year. The parade kicks off at West 77th Street & Central Park West, but no public viewing is available there. Early birds get the worm when scouting prime real estate for watching the parade, but great viewing opportunities can be found on the west side of Central Park and from West 59th to West 38th Street. Check out Macy's 2023 parade route, here.

Watch Countdown to Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on November 22

Amber Ruffin on the red carpet at Glamour Women of the Year 2023

If you adore the creativity and hard work that goes into making those parade floats and balloons, be sure to watch Countdown to Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Wednesday, November 22 at 8/7c on NBC. NBC kicks off the holiday season live from the famous starting line on the eve of the iconic Thanksgiving Day parade.

Hosted by Amber Ruffin, the special shares the incredible stories behind the floats, balloons, and bands on their journey to the streets of NYC. The show will follow one high school marching band's journey from their hometown to the city as they prepare to perform Thanksgiving morning, and you'll also meet a parade-loving family as they travel across the country to see all of the action in person.

TODAY anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, and Al Roker will also join in the celebration as they share their favorite parade-hosting memories throughout the years. 

Originally published Oct 26, 2023.