November is an ideal time to be in the Big Apple: You can see fall foliage at its peak at Central Park, run in all five of the city's boroughs for the annual New York City Marathon, and catch some of the biggest names in comedy at the New York Comedy Festival. As if that weren't enough, New York also kicks off the holiday season with one of the country's largest and longest-running parades.
An annual tradition that dates back to 1924, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will make its way through the streets of New York City at 9 a.m. on Nov. 25 and end at approximately noon. More than 3 million spectators will be on hand to watch everything from helium balloons, marching bands and huge floats to performances by a star-studded lineup of celebrities that includes rapper Kanye West, pop stars Jessica Simpson and Juanes, and R&B singer Gladys Knight. A whopping 10,000 participants are expected to take part in the event.
In 2009, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade bypassed Broadway for the very first time in its rich history. This year the parade route will begin at 77th Street and Central Park West, head south on Central Park West, then turn east and march along Central Park South to 7th Avenue. The parade will turn and makes it way down 7th Avenue to 42nd Street, then travel east along 42nd Street to 6th Avenue. At 6th Avenue, the procession will move south again and march to 34th Street/Herald Square.
If you want to secure a good view, be sure to arrive at least three hours in advance; crowds begin to congregate as early as 5 a.m. In addition, don't forget to dress warmly! Temperatures can easily dip into the low 40s this time of year in New York City.
Here are five notable New York hotels located along the Thanksgiving Day Parade route:
Hilton New York: Set in the heart of Manhattan, this elegant property underwent a $250 million renovation and attracts business and leisure travelers alike with its fitness center, spa, meeting facilities and spacious guestrooms offering outstanding city views.
New York's Hotel Pennsylvania: Built in 1919, the historic Hotel Pennsylvania is located near Madison Square Garden, the Empire State Building, Broadway Theater District, Times Square and other New York City hot spots. Since 1919, no other hotel in the world has seen as many visitors - more than 27 million - than this midtown Manhattan gem.
Warwick Hotel New York: Built in 1926 by William Randolph Hearst for his partner, Marion Davies, the Warwick Hotel New York has drawn a host of celebrities from Elvis Presley and The Beatles to long-time resident Cary Grant, who made the property his home for 12 years. Murals on 54 serves Mediterranean cuisine rivaling that of any restaurant in New York City, and Randolph's Bar & Lounge invokes feelings of being in a cozy living room.
Wellington Hotel: Located just steps from Carnegie Hall, Broadway, Times Square and Central Park, Wellington Hotel features more than 500 tastefully appointed guestrooms, 85 one-bedroom suites, a 24 hour business center, gift shop and restaurant.
Excelsior Hotel: Only a short taxi ride away from Times Square is this four-star landmark in Manhattan's Upper West Side, which overlooks the American Museum of Natural History and Rose Center for Earth and Space. The on-site entertainment center, complete with a fitness center, library, conference room, surround sound and state-of-the-art television screen, is not to be missed.
Whether you plan to participate in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade or be one of millions of onlookers lining the streets of Manhattan to see it in person, there's no question that this grand spectacle is the cream of the crop when it comes to holiday events.
Jeff Martinez is a writer/blogger for getaroom.com, a state-of-the-art lodging website that offers travelers the key to the lowest hotel rates on the internet. Call our call center at 800-HOTELS-8 (800-468-3578) to receive the benefits of opaque pricing with rates that are 10 to 50 percent less than other sites.