1940s, Uncle Sam
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. This year’s parade will feature three new balloons alongside the classics.
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.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade
Which Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons will I see this year?
In this year’s parade, you’ll see giant floating versions of your favorite characters.
New this year are Beagle Scout Snoopy, Blue Cat & Chugs, and Monkey D. Luffy. The Snoopy balloon—measuring in at five stories tall—celebrates the 50th anniversary the Beagle Scouts and includes Woodstock perched on Snoopy's hat. Meanwhile, comic book characters Blue Cat & Chugs are making their parade debut in a very 2023 fashion; Cool Cats is the first ever NFT character turned into a parade balloon. Also look out for Monkey D. Luffy, the fearless leader of the Straw Hat Crew, from the acclaimed One Piece animated series.
They'll join character balloons from Paw Patrol, SpongeBob, Pokemon and The Mandalorian, including Pikachu and Evee, Astronaut Snoopy, Grogu, Goku, Paw Patrol and others.
There are also six "balloonicles," hybrid balloon-vehicles that roll along the route, featuring Baby Dinos, Bulldog, Go Bowling, Mouse King, Tough Guy and the Nutcracker. Other visual treats include 25 floats, marching bands, and performers.
Can I watch the inflation of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons?
Yes. Watching Macy’s Parade balloons come to life in person is quite a spectacle. This year, the public is invited to watch the balloon inflation on Thanksgiving Eve (Wednesday, November 22) on the Upper West Side from 12-6pm. Just be prepared that the line can be quite long.
Where can I watch the inflation of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day 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 22. While the exact entry point for 2023 hasn't been announced, guests typically enter at West 72nd and Columbus Avenue.
What floats will the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade have this year?
Some of this year's 25 floats include 1-2-3 Sesame Street, McDonald's Big Red Shoe Car, Celebration Gator, Elf Pets, Magic Meets the Sea, Baby Shark, the WonderShip, Geoffrey's Dazzling Dance Party and the iconic Tom Turkey.