'Tis the season for Manhattan's streets to be filled with massive, inflatable characters! The 96th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is just around the corner, and prior to the big day the department store will hold what's become another beloved tradition: the balloon inflation.
The inflation event takes place Wednesday, November 23rd, in the streets around the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side, and the public is welcome to watch between noon and 6 p.m. The public entrance is at 72nd Street and Columbus Avenue (where there will be a security screening), and a new feature is, after viewing the balloon inflation, spectators can see floats being assembled along Central Park West between 81st and 86th Streets.
Note: The balloon inflation has become so beloved that in recent years it has become a crowded event, so you'll want to get there early to carve out a spot where you can see the action.
72nd Street and Columbus Avenue is a block or two within multiple subway and bus lines.
The three-hour-long parade itself will kick off at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, and joining the fun this year will be marching bands from all over the country, plenty of performers, Santa Claus, and of course, the floating stars of the show, this year's giant balloons.
Macy's has provided the details for what's in store:
This year five new floats will debut in the Turkey Day celebration. The floating wonders along with their scheduled performers include Baby Shark by Pinkfong and Nickelodeon (Ziggy Marley); Geoffrey’s Dazzling Dance Party by Toys“R”Us (Jordin Sparks); People of First Light by Macy’s; Supersized Slumber by Netflix (Ballet Hispánico); and The Wondership by Wonder (Cam).
The returning float roster and its scheduled performers include 1-2-3 Sesame Street by Sesame Workshop (The cast and Muppets of Sesame Street); Big City Cheer by Spirit of America Productions (Miss America 2022 Emma Broyles); Big Turkey Spectacular by Jennie-O (Paula Abdul); Birds of a Feather Stream Together by Peacock (Adam Devine, Sarah Hyland and Flula Borg); Blue’s Clues & You! by Nickelodeon (Josh Dela Cruz); The Brick-changer by The LEGO® Group (Fitz and the Tantrums); Celebration Gator by the Louisiana Office of Tourism (Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue); Christmas in Town Square by Lifetime (Kirk Franklin); Colossal Wave of Wonder by Kalahari Resorts and Conventions (Sean Paul); Deck the Halls by Balsam Hill (Gloria, Sasha and Emily Estefan); Elf Pets® by The Lumistella Company; Everyone’s Favorite Bake Shop by Entenmann’s; Fantasy Chocolate Factory by Kinder™ (Big Time Rush); Harvest in the Valley by Green Giant® (Jordan Davis); Heartwarming Holiday Countdown by Hallmark Channel (Joss Stone); Her Future is STEM-Sational by Olay (Betty Who); Macy’s Singing Christmas Tree (Macy’s Choir); Magic Meets the Sea by Disney Cruise Line (Captain Minnie Mouse and Friends); Santa’s Sleigh (Santa Claus); Snoopy’s Doghouse by PEANUTS Worldwide; Tom Turkey (Mario Lopez and family); Toy House of Marvelous Milestones by New York Life (Dionne Warwick); and Winter Wonderland in Central Park (Jimmy Fallon & The Roots).
Below, find this year's parade route.
Find Macy's interactive map here, which includes restroom and coffee locations.
Parade can be viewed within walking distance of many subway stations
History notes: The very first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade took place on November 27th, 1924, the year that the store's Herald Square location became the largest store in the world, following the completion of its 7th Avenue addition. The parade was to celebrate and showcase the "world's largest store," while getting people in the Christmas spirit (it was looking forward to the December holiday that first year, and did not have a Thanksgiving focus). 10,000 people showed up to that first parade; these days, that number is in the millions.