thanksgiving in new york city!

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around this time of year, many of you have questions about traveling to new york and spending the holidays here. i have rounded up our favorite things to do over the holidays in new york city (seriously the most magical time of year here!) and wanted to start off with a post for thanksgiving!

thanksgiving is a great time to visit the city, and i’m crossing my fingers the weather is nice this year for all the parade festivities.

MACY’S THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE BALLOON BLOW UP-
in years past, we have enjoyed walking around the grounds of the american museum of natural history the evening before thanksgiving where they hold all the big balloons that accompany the floats the following morning for the parade. it has gotten incredibly crowded over the last few years though, so if you go, i recommend going on the earlier side of the afternoon to avoid the nighttime crowd that’s rather massive. you have to enter at 73rd and columbus now to help with traffic flow.  if you can leave behind your stroller and just baby carry, it’s probably the most ideal set up since it’s so crowded. and just throwing it out there if it’s your first time visiting, walk over to amsterdam avenue afterwards for a warm drink, sandwich and pastry at either orwashers bakery (corner of 81st), daily provisions (corner of 78th) or levain bakery (between 76th and 77th.)

THE THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE-
the thanksgiving day parade is really fun to experience in person if you are in the city. i know a lot of the performances happen towards the end of the parade near herald square, but if you want a front row spot on the street to watch, we recommend heading to central park west in the 60’s-70’s. it’s best to get out there before 5AM (two years ago, i went at 4:30 and there were already a few people reserving entire blocks with rope and tape.)  if you are having someone in your group go early to hold spots for little ones arriving later on, i recommend saving a spot on the west side of the street along central park west because they close off crossings and it’s harder to get to the east side of the street after 7am.  i know it sounds terribly early, but if you grab a big thermos of hot chocolate and a good book, or go with some friends — it’s actually fun! everyone is out in good spirits because it’s thanksgiving! just wear all your thermal layers and wool socks.  i have more details in this post, as well as lots of photos from the parade from last year and here is a detailed map of the parade route for those unfamiliar.

THANKSGIVING DINNER-
we do our own turkey each year in our apartment, but many often ask if i have any restaurant recommendations for thanksgiving day. while we have not been on actual thanksgiving, i know one of my favorite restaurants, bubby’s, offers family style thanksgiving dinner. a few other family style restaurants we have enjoyed in the past that are doing thanksgiving include the dutchcarmines and sarabeth’s.

ACCOMODATIONS DURING THANKSGIVING-
i wish i had more insight to share as to where to recommend to stay during your travels. it really depends on your price point and itinerary of where you want to be. i do recommend booking a stay close to a subway line (traffic on big holiday weekends isn’t the best time to travel by uber or taxi) and the subway system here (though sometimes a little slower on weekends and holidays) is really the fastest way to get around.  family and friends of ours have stayed at both the beacon hotel and the lucerne hotel (both on the upper west side) and the parker hotel (in midtown) in the past and had great experiences.

i wanted to put my most FAQ around thanksgiving in one place, but more info coming soon on what to do in new york around the holidays in general! as always, you can check out my NYC GUIDES from previous years as well. HAPPY NOVEMBER!

  1. Allison

    It’s been a dream of mine to make it to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, ever since I first saw Miracle on 34th Street. I live vicariously through you during Thanksgiving! :)

    Allison
    https://clementschronicles.com

  2. Tina Schrader

    One day I’ll make it up there for that awesome parade!

  3. Ola

    I hope one day, I will make a trip to the New York City

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