The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is no doubt the highlight of Thanksgiving in NYC, kicking off the holiday season. It’s up there with the best New York attractions and one of the best things to do in New York in the fall. Before chowing down on turkey and sides, who doesn’t love tuning in to watch the fabulous floats, singing celebs, skilled dancers, top notch marching bands and of course the iconic Macy’s parade balloons. Lucky New Yorkers can see the parade in person, but the rest of us can stay cozy and warm on the couch and check out the parade on TV in our pjs.
The balloons in the Macy’s parade have evolved over the years, but they always feature beloved cartoon characters both old and new. Kids will get excited about the latest popular characters like SpongeBob and Boss Baby, while the adults in the group might be more drawn to the likes of Mickey Mouse, the Pillsbury Dough Boy or Smokey Bear. Among the balloons are several “balloonicles” — a hybrid balloon-vehicle that rolls along the route. This year’s parade will feature several new balloons including Ada Twist, Ronald McDonald, the Heinz Gravy Boat and maybe the most exciting addition: Grogu.
Whether you’re seeing the parade in person or watching from the comfort of your home, here are the Macy’s parade balloons to look out for, plus some photos from past parades to conjure up those Thanksgiving feels.
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Which Macy’s parade balloons will I see this year?
In this year's parade, you'll see giant floating versions of your favorite characters from Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Paw Patrol, SpongeBob, Sonic the Hedgehog, Boss Baby and The Smurfs, just to name a few. Other balloons include the Sinclair Dino, Smokey Bear, Wiggle Worm, a giant ice cream cone and fan fave Happy Hippo. New for 2021 are Ada Twist, Scientist, Pikachu and Eevee, Ronald McDonald, Tiptoe the Reindeer, Toni the Bandleader Bear, and Grogu. Check out the Macy's parade website for the full lineup.
Can I watch the inflation of the Macy’s parade balloons?
Watching Macy’s Parade balloons come to life in person is quite a spectacle. This year, thankfully, the public is invited to watch the balloon inflation on Thanksgiving Eve as long as you show proof of vaccination.
Where can I watch the inflation of the Macy’s parade balloons?
The ginormous balloons are inflated around the American Museum of Natural History (77th and 81st Streets, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue) starting Wednesday, November 24 from noon to 6pm. Enter at West 72nd and Columbus Avenue.