Celebrate Thanksgiving in New York City, Even If You Have No Plans Yet October 13 2017


Thanksgiving is a favorite American tradition.  This year it takes place on November 23.  It is a great blend of good food, family and friends and lots of fun for the whole family.  However, what happens if you will be in New York City over Thanksgiving, but don’t know anyone who can take you in or you are just not sure what you should do?  Well, there are plenty of options of activity and meal options that can make you part of this great holiday.  Also, since many people do not have to go to work on the following Friday, you can first enjoy an activity and/or relish a delicious meal and if you feel like getting your party on, you still can take part in one of the great offerings from New York NightLife.  Just be sure to make your plans as soon as possible as reservations fill up quickly.  Now is not too early to make your plans.  But first, we need to talk about the parade…

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 

Should you go or not?  Well, 3.5 million people fill the streets of New York to see this happening that has taken place since 1924 and features giant character balloon, thousands of dancers, cheerleaders, band members and is considered a worthwhile once-in-a-lifetime experience.  If you know you like parades, or you have kids who would love the spectacle of it, then be sure to go.  But, if you aren’t a big fan of these kinds of events, then you may opt out.  However, if you are lucky enough to have a friend who lives along the parade route and invites you over to watch from a balcony or you decide to splurge and get a Parade view room at a hotel along the route, then definitely go those routes.  If you decide to go, get up early, and plan to get your spot before 6AM, even though the Parade doesn’t start until 9AM.  Check the weather report, but wear lots of layers.  Bring water and snacks. 

Something worthwhile is watching the balloons getting inflated the night before from 3PM-10PM.  More than a dozen giant character balloons are filled up the neighborhood surrounding the Museum of Natural History between 77th and 81st Streets between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West.  Now this is something everyone should experience at least once. 

A Homestyle Thanksgiving

What happens if you want to enjoy a traditional American Thanksgiving in New York, but you don’t have family or friends in the area?  Well, there are so many people who have the more-the-merrier philosophy in regards to this holiday, so colleagues and acquaintances are often happy to invite more people, so keep your ears open for those kinds of invitations.

Orphan Thanksgiving

However, if you don’t want to wait for an invitation, but you know you want something that feels very homey, there are options. Meetup.com is a social connection site—no this isn’t a dating app (even though they do have some single events) you can look around for events on or around Thanksgiving to join. Many groups host Orphan Thanksgiving parties for people who for some reason don’t have somewhere they want to go to celebrate.  Check out the site, enter your zipcode and see if there is an event that suits your interests and needs.  Just know for these events, you often need to tell the group about yourself and why you want to take part in this activity. 

Thanksgiving Dinner Out

Some people like to avoid the hassle of cooking, so they choose to go out to eat.  Most fast food and some smaller restaurants do close for Thanksgiving so their employees can spend the time with their families, but that usually isn’t the case with diners and higher end restaurants.  So, depending on your budget and your interests, you can have a great Thanksgiving meal while at a NYC restaurant.  Diners typically do not take reservations, but most offer a so-so option of a traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and veggie side meal that will do in a pinch.  But, with some planning, you can make reservations at a high end spot and enjoy a multi-course meal that will still get you in a thankful mood. 

While many places offer a special Thanksgiving meal, not every meal involves turkey and such.  Restaurants featuring regional cuisine usually have options that go with their culinary point of view.

Here are a few suggestions of restaurants that offer exciting Thanksgiving dinner options,  Balthazar, Café Luxembourg, Gotham Bar and Grill, Maialino, Boulud Sud, Craft, Locande Verde, Morton’s, Eleven Madison Park, Union Square Café, The Breslin, Le Coq Rico, Bubby's and more. 

And, if you have a favorite restaurant, call them up and see if they are doing something special.

Planning for Black Friday deals

Black Friday Deals

One typical American tradition is to plan a shopping trip for Black Friday, the day after, and sometimes, landing on Thanksgiving itself.  Even though more people are opting to skip the crowds associated with going shopping to get some great deals on gift options by getting things online, getting up early (or heading out right after dinner) is something many people like to do.  If shopping is your thing, take a look at the circulars and ads online for your favorite stores and create a game plan. 

One more thing…Movies

As many people are off work and there are usually some popular films planned for release around Thanksgiving, be sure to plan ahead and get your tickets in advance. The entire weekend is usually packed and it is often worth the extra fees attached with getting tickets in advance to ensure that you will be able to see what you want to see when you want to see it. 

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