Every year, millions of spectators gather along the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route in New York City to view the airborne giant helium-filled balloons and balloonicles, spectacular floats, clowns, marching bands, performance groups and celebrity performers. The 93rd Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place on Thursday, November 28, 2019, from 9 AM to Noon ET.
The day before the Parade, from 1-8 pm, the public was able to extend their Parade experience by attending the yearly Balloon Inflation event that occurs the day before the Parade and get a ‘sneak preview’ of the giant balloons as they were being filled with helium. Many families mark the start of the holiday season by watching their favorite characters come to life at the Balloon Inflation event.
Where You Can See the Balloons Being Inflated
See the balloons up close as they are being filled with helium outside Manhattan’s Museum of Natural History (the day before the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.) The balloon inflation path winds around the museum beginning at the public entrance on 74th Street and Columbus Avenue. Spectators will go through a security checkpoint and then enter the inflation area at 74th Street and Central Park West; and exit at 81st Street and Central Park West.
This event draws about 1 million people over the course of the seven-hour window, all captivated by the opportunity to see the giant balloons take shape and come to life. Sandbags and netting are used to anchor the balloons in place. This year, the balloons promise to be more spectacular than ever!
Tips for Making the Most of the Giant Balloon Inflation
- Try to arrive at the viewing area early as this is a less crowded time. The balloons begin taking shape around 1pm-3pm, so this is a good time to visit. If you show up later in the evening, the crowds will be much larger though there will be more fully inflated balloons to see.
- Admission to the viewing area ceases at 8:00 PM, so get your spot before then.
- It’s best to take public transportation to the balloon inflation area—the crowds make parking nearby and access to the area by car difficult. The subway trains serving the balloon inflation area are the B or C trains to 72nd Street.
- Given the size of the crowd, keep a close eye on children attending with you.
- All spectators are subject to search by the NYPD.
The 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons
The Parade’s novelty and giant balloons included:
- Astronaut Snoopy
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid
- The Elf on the Shelf
- Illumination Presents Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch
- Green Eggs and Ham
- Jett by Super Wings
- Paw Patrol
- Pillsbury Doughboy
- Power Rangers Mighty Morphin Red Ranger
- Ronald McDonald
- SpongeBob SquarePants & Gary
- Dreamworks Trolls
- Love Flies Up to the Sky by Yayoi Kusama
- The Nutcracker
- Smokey Bear
Super Fun Facts About the 2019 Balloons
In 2019, Snoopy had his 40th flight, the most of any balloon! His very first balloon was the 1968 aviator, and a year later he was reworked as an Apollo astronaut.
Sam and Guy’s ham mobile in Green Eggs and Ham is big enough to fit 4 million eggs or fourteen thousand 15.5 pound hams!
- The Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger is the longest balloon in the Parade; one of his arms is the length of a standard school bus at 45 feet.
- The original DINO balloon was inducted as an honorary member of the Museum of Natural History in 1975, and the balloon returned to the Macy’s Parade in 2015, after nearly 40 years.
- The Grinch’s sack is large enough to hold 2.8 million Christmas ornaments.
- Jett is the widest balloon in the Parade and his wingspan is equal to the size of an actual Learjet.
- It would take more than four million Pillsbury Crescent Rolls to create a dough-sized version of the Pillsbury Doughboy balloon.
To learn much more about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons, check out the Balloons section of the official Parade site.