Are you looking to visit New York in the spring or Easter half-term? For groups visiting in early April, we have a unique opportunity to take part in one of the city’s central festivals: the Tartan Day Parade!

An ideal experience for schools looking to infuse their trip with a burst of Scottish spirit, the annual Tartan Day Parade is a lively celebration of Scottish culture set in the heart of New York City. From bagpipes and Highland dancers, to tartan-clad associations and their canine pals, Tartan Day Parade offers an unforgettable experience for all who participate.

In this blog, we’ll run through all the key information about the Tartan Day Parade, and walk you through the process of getting your school group involved during a school trip to New York.

What is Tartan Day?

The 6th of April is the designated Tartan Day, in commemoration of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, an important document in Scottish history which was later used as a basis for the American Declaration of Independence.

Tartan Day was introduced ‘to recognise the outstanding achievements and contributions of Scottish Americans to the United States’, and today attracts the best Scottish and Scottish-American artists, entrepreneurs, and organisations, to encourage deeper connections with Scottish heritage in America. 

What is the Tartan Day Parade?

The Tartan Day Parade is the main event of Tartan Week in New York City, a week-long extravaganza dedicated to celebrating Scottish culture and the country’s contributions to the United States. The parade itself is a vibrant display of Scottish pride, featuring more than 3,000 bagpipers, Highland dancers, clans, associations, Scottish dog breeds, and more, all marching proudly up Sixth Avenue behind the year’s designated Grand Marshal.

The significance of the parade’s Grand Marshals

Over the years, the Tartan Day Parade has been led by esteemed Grand Marshals that symbolise Scottish heritage. Starting in 1999 with Academy Award-winning actor Cliff Robertson, and continuing with the likes of Billy Connolly, Gail Porter, KT Tunstall, and Sean Connery, each Grand Marshal brings their own unique flair to the parade.

Joining the celebration

In 2025, the 26th Annual New York Tartan Day Parade will attract thousands of participants and spectators from near and far (there are more than six million people in the US that are descended from Scotland, after all!).

If you’re interested in being part of this unforgettable experience, consider joining us in New York City. We can coordinate a trip for groups of up to 50 to travel to the USA with their instruments, providing central accommodation, NYC transfers, and even arrangements for instruments if needed. While participants will need to register themselves for the parade, we’ll take care of the rest – ensuring your group has the best Tartan Week experience possible.

Key details

When is the Tartan Day Parade in New York City? 

April 5th 2025, 2pm. Line-up for those registered for the parade march is at 1pm.

Where is the Tartan Day Parade in New York City?

The NYC Tartan Day Parade starts on 44th Street and Sixth Avenue, moving up Sixth Avenue to 55th Street.

How much does it cost to enter the New York Tartan Day Parade?

There is no charge to march or to attend the parade. 

How do I organise for my student group to march in the parade?

School groups would need to register themselves to march in the Tartan Day Parade (registration information here), but Equity’s expert team can arrange everything else for you. We’re able to coordinate a trip for groups up to 50 to travel to New York with instruments, provide central accommodation, NYC transfers, and organise other relevant excursions.

Ready for a Scotland-infused school trip to New York?

Whether you’d prefer to march in the parade, or cheer from the sidelines, school groups visiting New York City during Tartan Week are sure to enjoy this unique experience, which promotes the connection between Scottish and American heritage.

To find out more about visiting New York for Tartan Week, please call us on 01273 648248. You can also fill out our webform, and our school trip experts will get back to you as soon as we can.