Before you get ready for your Thanksgiving feast (and tangling with loved ones), enjoy the delightful warm-up to the big Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade: The parade's Thanksgiving Eve balloon inflation on the Upper West Side.

The balloons slowly emerge outside of the American Museum of Natural History starting at 3 p.m.: You enter at West 79th and Columbus Avenue and enter the viewing area which takes you south to West 77th, then east to Central Park West, and then up CPW to West 81st Street. This handy map shows exactly where each balloon is, from beloved favorites (click through the gallery above) to newbies making their debut this year.


Last year, Amy Kule, executive producer of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, told us how she's amazed at how the balloon inflation has become an "event unto itself. It used to be a sleepy little event where those who lived in the neighborhood it's become a significant event—we could get a million people here!"

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Balloon Inflation, Wednesday, November 23. Inflation begins at 3 p.m. and ends at 10 p.m.