Spending Thanksgiving in New York City is one of the best decisions you will ever make. You can enjoy the famous Macy’s Day Parade, and, if you wanted, could explore more of the surrounding area in New England for a more quaint, quintessential Thanksgiving feel. Either way, you’ll want to have the freedom of your own rental car to help you get around and into the city.
With so many things to do in New York on Thanksgiving, it can feel daunting to figure out where to begin. With our handy guide, you will know the best options both in NYC and beyond.
See the Thanksgiving Parade Up Close
This annual pageant occurs on Thanksgiving Day, which this year falls on November 28th. You will be able to see giant balloons, floats, cheerleaders and clowns, marching bands and theater troupes, performances, celebrities, and more. It is the event of the season, and the best place to be to see it is in New York City.
Starting at 77th St and Central Park West, the parade will continue along its 2.5-mile route around Central Park on 34th St and then end in Macy’s Herald Square. It starts at 9 am and ends at noon, and is watched by 3.5+ million people in New York. With such fanfare and excitement, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is a must.
Eat an NYC Style Thanksgiving Dinner
If you are in NYC for the parade, then you are going to want to be in NYC for thanksgiving dinner. Book in advance if you can (far, far in advance) to enjoy these top dining options:
Food Good for the Soul
For a hearty meal more reminiscent to your turkey dinner and table spread, head to these restaurants. Good for the soul and perfect for making new traditions, these restaurants have it all to fill your belly and keep you licking your lips:
- Red Rooster Harlem
- Root & Bone
- Quality Eats
For High Class Dining
New York City is home to some of the best restaurants in the entire world, so if you want to try out new traditions and really treat your senses, consider these high dining destinations. You won’t get big meals of rich food, but instead, dishes that delight your taste buds, often coupled with incredible scenery:
- The Eddy
- The NoMad
Trot Off That Turkey Weight
Another NYC tradition you can take part in if you are in town for the parade is the annual Trot Off That Turkey Weight event, where you and many others will run a 5k race through the beautiful Prospect Park. If you are at the front of the line, you will win a “great winter hat” and some pie. Even if you don’t win, there will be bagels, fruit, and hot chocolate for everyone at the end of the finish line.
Exploring the Greater New England Area
New England is a big area, and thankfully just a few hours from NYC are some top destinations like Boston and Philadelphia. Though there are other great destinations in New York, being in NYC limits your options unless you want to commit to a drive more than three hours each way. Instead, consider day trips to any of these top destinations:
Only a two-hour drive away from NYC is Philadelphia, one of the founding cities and a great place to explore. You can get a genuine Philly sandwich, see the liberty bell, take a tour around the Independence Hall (the location where the Declaration of Independence was signed) and explore all the museums along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Explore New Haven
New Haven is the home of Yale and is perfectly charming any time of the year. During the fall and around thanksgiving, however, it is alight with color and with good cheer. Go after your Thanksgiving in NYC, and you’ll be able to enjoy the Christmas celebrations here.
Wander Through Long Island
If you don’t want to go too far from NYC, then check out Long Island. Home of the Hamptons, Long Island is the perfect place to find a great resort and relax.
Black Friday Shopping
There is no better place to find great deals at some of the top stores around the world than in NYC. Knowing which stores to go to in advance and having a list of what you want can really help you nail your Christmas shopping in this great city without the fuss.
If the crowds for Black Friday aren’t your thing, then why not try out NYC’s infamous Christmas markets? You’ll be able to enjoy the festive season after Thanksgiving in some of the most beautiful locations on the Eastern coast. Whether you enjoy Christmas in NYC, or elsewhere throughout New England, your November this year will be one you will never forget.