How to watch Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2020: Start time, balloons and route

How to watch Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2020
(Image credit: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade start time, channel

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade starts at 9 a.m. ET, and it airs on NBC. The show is scheduled to run three hours, ending at 12 p.m. ET.

Thanksgiving is quite different this year, but we can still watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade marches on, despite social distancing rules due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Yes, stow your worries that the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2020 would be canceled, the retailer announced the 94th edition of the event has been "reinvented to safely keep spectators in New York City at home and families nationwide glued to their television."

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has taken place every year since 1924, except for 1942, 1943, and 1944 when helium and rubber were needed for World War II efforts.

In a press release, Macy's explained the changes to the 2020 parade. Instead of following the usual 2.5-mile route, the parade will take place at Herald Square in Manhattan. Performances by the likes of Patti LaBelle, Dolly Parton and the Radio City Rockettes have been pre-recorded. And spectators are being told to stay home and watch on television instead.

The telecast will be hosted by the Today Show's Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Al Roker on NBC.

Here is everything to know about how to watch Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2020.

How to watch Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2020 from anywhere on Earth

Just because NBC isn't available everywhere doesn't mean you need to miss watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2020 if you're away from home. Watching along with the rest of the internet can be pretty easy. With the right VPN (virtual private network), you can stream the show from wherever you go.

Not sure which VPN is right for you? We've tested many different services and our pick for the best VPN overall is ExpressVPN. It offers superb speeds and excellent customer service.


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How to watch Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2020 in the US

In the U.S., fans can watch the three-hour Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2020 on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26) starting at 9 a.m. ET on NBC.

The broadcast network can be accessed with one of the best TV antennas or through a cable TV package. 

If you've already cut the cord and don't have cable, you can watch NBC on a live TV service, like Sling TV, FuboTV, Hulu With Live TV, YouTube TV and AT&T TV Now.

Of these options, we recommend Sling and FuboTV, two of the best streaming services on the market.

Sling TV

Sling TV offers a three-day free trial to check out all of its live TV features. The Sling Blue package includes more than 50 channels including NBC and Fox (in select cities), AMC, Bravo, Food Network, HGTV, Lifetime and USA. 


Fubo.TV is a great alternative to a cable package. With the Family Plan ($65 per month), you get over 120 channels, including all the local broadcast networks and top cable brands like AMC, E!, HGTV, FX, ESPN, Syfy and Paramount Network. 

How to watch Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2020 in the UK and Canada

Thanksgiving may be a thoroughly American holiday but international viewers interested in watching the parade can catch the livestream on Verizon's YouTube channel.

For Americans abroad who want to use the services they already pay for, check out ExpressVPN.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2020: Route

Macy's announced that the parade will forego the usual 2.5-mile route and take place around Herald Square in Manhattan, where the flagship department store is located. 

Usually, around 3.5 million people line the streets to watch the parade, but this year, spectators are being discouraged from gathering.

The high school and college marching bands who were going to march in 2020 will march in 2021 instead. The NYPD Police Band, the West Point Band, the FDNY bagpipe band and other local professional marching bands are taking their place.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2020 balloons lineup

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons will still fly, but without the dozens of handlers they normally require. Instead, they will be flown by "an innovative, specially rigged anchor vehicle framework of five specialty vehicles tested and approved by the NYPD." Additionally, the traditional balloon inflation event on Thanksgiving Eve has been canceled.

This year will see the debut of two new balloons: the Bossy Baby and Red Titan from the popular YouTube series Ryan's World.

Returning balloons include Pikachu (for the 20th year in a row), Astronaut Snoopy, SpongeBob SquarePants, Ronald McDonald, Smokey Bear and the Trolls.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2020 performers and guest stars

This year's parade performers and stars pre-recorded their appearances as part of Macy's new guidelines. There will also be extra special appearance by Santa Claus.

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 2020 performers include:

  • Lauren Alaina
  • Ally Brooke
  • Sofia Carson
  • CNCO
  • Jimmy Fallon and The Roots (opening the show)
  • Karol G, Tori Kelly
  • Patti LaBelle
  • Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier
  • Matthew Morrison
  • The Muppets and cast of Sesame Street
  • Leslie Odom Jr.
  • Keke Palmer
  • Dolly Parton
  • Pentatonix
  • Bebe Rexha
  • Jordin Sparks
  • Sebastián Yatra
  • Brett Young

Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.