The Night Before The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: Watch the Balloon Inflation

Get a sneak peek of the Macy's Day Parade & watching the balloons get inflated the afternoon before! Many PSP Members suggest this as a great alternative to the Parade watching experience.  Here are tips, information & more...

kermit the frog

Get up close to the Macy's Day Parade floats! Kids can see balloons like Kermit getting inflated (image via here)


When: Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving from 3-10pm (last admission is at 9:15)

Where: The Natural Museum of History in the Upper West Side, 79th Street and Columbus Avenue. Viewing winds around Columbus Avenue, 77th Street, Central Park South and 81st Streets.


2018 information:

2018-Parade-Balloon-Inflation-map 2


More info >


What PSP Members say:

 "I've found that it's a great experience to go up to the Upper West Side the night before, on Wednesday, at around 6pm, to see them blowing up the balloons. Hopefully you get a half day on Wednesday and can take the kids up there. You can walk right up to the balloons, they're half inflated, and they're all on the street, on the south side of the Museum of Natural History. Your kids will love getting up close to the balloons, and you'll be able to avoid the insane crowds during the parade.

"You can watch the balloons being blown up in the school yard of PS 334 (the Anderson School), which is accessible from West 77th or West 76th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenue on Thanksgiving eve."

"It used to be that the hot tip was to zip up to the Museum of Natural History to see the balloons being blown up the night before but this isn’t as easy as it once was."

“If you want to go, go as early as possible, before the after work crowd descends. It's really unbearable to try to go at the seemingly appropriate hour of six or seven.”

 "Go the night before and watching them blow up the balloons is also fun (and also crowded)..."

 "I strongly recommend skipping the parade craziness and going the night before to see the balloons being blown up."


Aaaand what about the stroller?

"the stroller made it impossible. I swear it was more crowded than the parade itself will be (probably not really, it just seemed that way). It was simply chaotic, and unless they have changed things up a bit I'd leave the stroller home if at all possible."

but another parents shares: "I have to report that I went, and I brought my stroller, and it was fine. I think the key was getting off at 72 street instead of 81. Had I gotten off at 81 it would have been impossible."


(last updated 11-2017)