Thanksgiving season is nearly here, and the November holiday is one of our favorite happenings here in NYC! From the iconic parade to chowing down some fresh turkey, there’s so many ways to celebrate and give thanks. If you’re looking for something to do before or after your big meal, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s the best things to do on Thanksgiving weekend this year.
The 97th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is set to march down New York City streets again this year, and it’s one of the most iconic traditions there is! The 2.5-mile route, which stretches from the Upper West Side to Midtown will feature all sorts of floats, performances, celebrities, and of course Santa Clause! Learn everything you need to know about this year’s parade here!
Nothing says Thanksgiving quite like some roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and all the fix-ins! Luckily, so many NYC restaurants are hosting dinners and specials that you can take advantage of! From prix-fixe menus open on Thanksgiving Day to pick-up orders on last-minute essentials, there’s something for everyone! Check out our picks of the best places to have your Thanksgiving meal here.
Thanksgiving is all about giving back, and here in NYC there’s so many great opportunities to volunteer. Spend the holiday helping out others by preparing meals, passing out turkeys, or delivering food to homes around NYC! Check out all of the best chartitable organizations to volunteer at here and sign up today!
After you’ve stuffed yourself silly or scooped up all the deals throughout Thanksgiving weekend, why not enjoy some of the most spectacular views of NYC? If you happen to be near Herald Square for the Thanksgiving Day parade, it’s only a 15 minute walk to SUMMIT One Vanderbilt. Create a perfect family outing with tons of photo-ops at this stunning observation deck. If you’re out shopping in the city there is also a deal on priority access for SUMMIT Insiders before it opens to the public, running from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, more details here.
Grab your ice skates because these awesome rinks are returning to the city…just in time for the holidays! Some of our favorites like The Rink at Rockefeller Center and Wollman Rink in Central Park are already under way, but there’s even more scheduled to come soon! It’s the perfect way to spend a few hours on Thanksgiving Day…or make it into a day! Check out all of NYC’s ice skating options here.
Get a head start on your holiday shopping this Thanksgiving with one of NYC’s holidays markets! From the Bryant Park Winter Village to the Union Square Holiday Market, there’s so many places to shop local! Check out all of the best holiday markets NYC has to offer here and get to checking off that shopping list!
7. Participate in a Turkey Trot
The tradition of running in a “turkey trot” on Thanksgiving morning spans far and wide, and there’s plenty of races to sign up for! For example, Tri State Runs is doing a half marathon and 5K turkey trot and Prospect Park Track Club are doing a Race for Reconciliation 5-Miler just to name a few! It’s a great way to be active before stuffing your belly with deliciousness!
8. Visit Central Park
As the gorgeous fall foliage continues to awe us, take a stroll through Central Park on Thanksgiving Day and admire the changing colors, hustle-bustle of the city, and people-watching that will surely ensue. Consider even stopping by the Central Park Zoo too!
9. See the Holiday Train Show at NYBG
New York City’s most beloved holiday tradition will be happening on Thanksgiving, which is the Holiday Train Show at New York Botanical Garden! This year’s train show features even more stunning trains and and an all-new, outdoor train display. Start on the lawn to capture your perfect holiday photos at the outdoor mountainscapes and then watch trains zip past nearly 200 iconic New York landmarks in the warmth of the Conservatory. It’s a beautiful holiday display that will put you in the mood for December! Learn more here.
10. Go on a Thanksgiving dinner cruise
Set sail this Thanksgiving Day over NYC waters and enjoy a great cruise that City Experiences has to offer. Choose between their New York Bateaux Thanksgiving Day Premier Lunch Cruise (two-hour lunch cruise with three-course meal) or one of their two Thanksgiving Day Dinner Cruises which departs from Chelsea Piers. You’ll get great views, great food, and of course great memories. Check out all the options here.
11. Catch a matinee Broadway show
Before dinner time comes around, partake in a classic NYC activity…a Broadway show! Many productions offer matinee shows on Thanksgiving Day which make can for the perfect morning/afternoon before your big feast! Check out all of the Broadway showings running here and even some off-Broadway shows too!
12. Stop by an NYC shop for a slice of pie
Pumpkin, apple, and pecan pie, oh my! This Thanksgiving dessert is one of the best parts of fall and the festive meal, and there’s tons of pie shops around NYC to find some! Sure you can order one and pick it up for the day-of…or you can stop in yourself and order a little slice of heaven. Check out our favorite pies this holiday season here.
13. Support local businesses at this immersive augmented reality experience
If you’re looking to get an early start on your holiday shopping, stop by “Door to Shop Small,” an immersive augmented reality (AR) experience presented by American Express. Located at Gansevoort Plaza in Meatpacking, consumers will be able to “step into” a virtual mall where they can shop from 10 local businesses! It will serve as a way to provide visibility and foot traffic to small businesses that may not normally receive it! It’s happening on November 25 from 9 am – 4:30 pm.
Where: Gansevoort Plaza
14. See the holiday window displays around NYC
With holiday season around the corner, NYC storefronts have begun to go all out with their festive windows! Stop by stores like Macy’s, Bergdorf Goodman, and Bloomingdale’s, who have already unveiled their gorgeous thematic window displays for the season! And stay tuned for more to be revealed (like Saks & Nordstrom) in the coming weeks! See them all here.
15. Eat a slice of Thanksgiving pizza
If you’re looking for a non-traditional Thanksgiving meal, stop by KRAVE IT in Queens…serving up an entire festive meal on a slice of pizza! With a few locations around the borough, they’ve officially unveiled their Thanksgiving Pizza which includes homemade turkey, sweet potatoes, roasted marshmallows, cornbread stuffing, gravy, and honey cranberry sauce! Take a look at it above and get it before the end of November!