The Best Things to Do on Thanksgiving in New York City

This year’s Thanksgiving, which falls on Thursday, November 23, 2023, may require you to stay in New York City, and there are several benefits to that! Experience the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade live, go to one of New York’s popular ice skating spots, The Rink at Rockefeller Center, marvel at its breathtaking Christmas light displays, and visit several important landmarks. Take advantage of the delectable Thanksgiving dinners served at NYC’s top restaurants if you’re not preparing at home.

Additionally, begin embracing the holiday mood when shopping on Black Friday or seeing New York City’s wonderlands, such as the Bryant Park Winter Village. The finest things to do before and after your feast full of turkey may be found in our agenda below, which will help you make the most of your time off.

Things to do on Thanksgiving in NYC

1. Watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade from Macy’s

One of the best November events in NYC is the yearly pageant including gigantic balloons, floats, cheerleaders, clowns, marching bands, and theatrical acts.

A total of over 700 clowns, 12 marching bands, 9 performing groups, 26 floats, 32 heritage and novelty balloons, and 16 character balloons are to be expected.

This year, the parade will feature several new balloons, such as Blue Cat & Chugs, Monkey D. Luffy, and Beagle Scout Snoopy. See performances by Ashley Park, David Foster, Katharine McPhee, Cher, and Brandy, among others.

2. Shop the best holiday markets

Every autumn, NYC is teeming with Christmas markets featuring distinctive items and a festive vibe. Though ornate Christmas window displays can tempt you, holiday markets in NYC provide an opportunity to support small businesses. Everyone on your holiday buying list can find something they like, whether it’s apparel, ornaments, or artwork.

These Christmas markets offer a pleasant way to make gift-giving less stressful. Browse their selection of gifts.

3. Go ice skating

There are many indoor and outdoor rinks in NYC where you may practice your toe leaps and glide. We’ve compiled a list of the best destinations to help you narrow down your choices, such as the well-known rink in Rockefeller Center or the cherished rink in Central Park.

Shopping at one of the best holiday markets in the city, followed by hot chocolate and skating on The Rink at the Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park, can even turn it into a whole day. There are plenty of indoor rinks that are open year-round, some of which even provide roller skating, if you would prefer to stay warm while skating.

4. Visit the dazzling Christmas window displays

If there’s one thing that makes New York renowned around Christmas, it’s our elaborate window displays. Retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Tiffany & Co., Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Barneys, and Bergdorf Goodman participate as usual to showcase their Christmas enthusiasm and newest products.

These striking exhibits are works of art with sculptural components, mosaics, and stunning, shimmering hues.

5. Eat Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant

Over the course of the holiday weekend (and the entire year), there are several of NYC’s greatest restaurants to pick from for dinner. This is a wonderful place to start if you’re specifically looking for a special location to eat on the big day.

6. Try Pumpkin pizza

This time of year, pumpkin pie is unmatched by any other food (try having a slice in June; it’s not possible). Additionally, a NYC pizza company that originated in Detroit is challenging preconceived ideas about the popularity of gourds by combining multiple seasons in one place.

The pumpkin “pie” from Emmy Squared will be available till Sunday, November 26.

Pennington Pribbenow, president of Emmy Squared, writes in an email, “We wanted to add playful items to celebrate fall and Thanksgiving in order to remain fun and creative.” “This time of year, people love the flavor of pumpkin, and it goes well with our flavors.”

7. Stroll Central Park

Wander around Manhattan’s famous green park and take in the vibrancy of fall. Look for vibrant leaves above the Mall and a plethora of mums at the Conservatory Garden in the fall.

Due to its many lawns, fountains, walking trails, trees, and picnic areas, one of the city’s nicest parks is a favorite with both inhabitants and visitors. Wrap up warm and take a stroll through this lovely location on Thanksgiving Day.

8. Celebrate Thanksgiving at The Children’s Museum of Manhattan

This Thanksgiving weekend, the Children’s Museum of Manhattan is offering a wide range of programs to get people in the giving mood.

Families can enjoy arts and crafts activities, fall wreath making, pumpkin decorating, live performances by Justin the Magician, and more at the uptown museum (212 W 83rd St) from Friday, November 24 through Sunday, November 26. You can even participate in the CMOM’s annual turkey sculpture installation.

Spreading love is also a necessary part of a true Thanksgiving celebration. The CMOM is kicking off the holiday season with its annual Holiday Gift Drive; you can donate or bring a toy when you visit.

“We have the chance to instill thankfulness in our children during Thanksgiving. In actuality, every parenting day and every activity we do at CMOM has educational moments, according to Children’s Museum of Manhattan CEO Dava Schub.

9. Take a look around the Empire State Building

This well-known monument is still a Manhattan symbol despite not being the highest structure in the city anymore, and it’s open on Thanksgiving Day!

Stunning 360-degree views of the Hudson and East Rivers, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, and more are available from the main deck located on the 86th level. If you can’t get high enough, take in a panoramic view of Central Park from the interior observation deck located on the 102nd level. There are vistas for up to 80 miles on a clear day.

See pictures of famous individuals visiting as well as details on the 3,400 workers that completed the skyscraper at an incredible pace. The cost of adult tickets is $44–$79.

10. Admire the view at One World Observatory

One World Observatory is a strong candidate for the greatest views in the city and is home to the city’s trippiest elevator. Experience a virtual reality-like video as you ascend to the 102nd level and take in the 360-degree views from the summit of the skyscraper.

One World Trade Center is the highest building in both New York City and the United States, rising to a height of 1,776 feet (see what they did there?). Adult tickets cost $47.

Even though it’s a tourist destination, the views are still breathtaking, and you could spend a lot of time playing “I spy” with Times Square and Central Park. Thanksgiving Day is the venue’s opening day.

One World Observatory is a strong candidate for the greatest views in the city and is home to the city’s trippiest elevator. Experience a virtual reality-like video as you ascend to the 102nd level and take in the 360-degree views from the summit of the skyscraper.

One World Trade Center is the highest building in both New York City and the United States, rising to a height of 1,776 feet (see what they did there?). Adult tickets cost $47.

Even though it’s a tourist destination, the views are still breathtaking, and you could spend a lot of time playing “I spy” with Times Square and Central Park. Thanksgiving Day is the venue’s opening day.

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