Whether you’re American as Apple Pie (or should that be Pumpkin Pie) or hail from another corner of the world entirely, a travel experience you won’t want to miss is celebrating Thanksgiving in New York. The good news is you can find the ultimate guide to ‘Turkey Day’ in the Big Apple below.
What And When Is Thanksgiving?
A secular and public holiday, the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 and included both settler pilgrims and native Americans sharing food and resources. Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season in the US and is closely followed by Christmas and New Year. This year (2023) Thanksgiving will fall on November 23rd. This is because it always occurs on the fourth Thursday in November.
One of the best ways of celebrating Thanksgiving is to indulge in some delicious seasonal food. Traditionally, Thanksgiving feasts include roast turkey, sweet potatoes (yams), gravy, and ham, as well as mashed potatoes and dinner rolls. For dessert, you can expect pumpkin pie which is made with a sweet pastry case and then filled with mashed pumpkin seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, and other delicious spices.
While Thanksgiving is a secular holiday, it is traditional to say grace before the meal as well as go around the table stating what you are thankful for. Guests are often asked to start this tradition, but don’t worry if you’ve never done it before as you can get some prayers to say grace for Thanksgiving ideas by clicking the link. After all, it’s always better to be prepared for these things when it comes to cultural traditions in another place.
There are plenty of great restaurants where you can get a Thanksgiving meal in New York too, including Benoit, Carbone, Cote, and Dirty French. However, it’s a good idea to remember that tables get booked up well in advance of the day, and you will pay a premium because of the holiday.
Everyone gets the day off for Thanksgiving so it follows that there are plenty of fun things arranged for that day too.
Thanksgiving Dinner and Football
Whether you go out to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner, or join a local family, watching the big football game always held on Thanksgiving afternoon is a must! Although if you’re really not a football person you can hold out for the National Dog Show which is on TV right after.
A Walk in Central Park
With the leaves on the trees turning brown and falling to the ground, and the slight chill of approaching winter in the air, a walk around that world-famous New York location Central Park is the perfect after-dinner activity on Thanksgiving Day. Just don’t forget your gloves and scarf as it can get quite chilly in November!
Hit the Black Friday Sales
Black Friday technically falls the day after thanksgiving. Head to bigger department stores and que outside for the limited bargains, or browse some of the more avant garde locals for something more vintage.
Macy’s Day Parade
Alternatively, if you are looking for something more lively then head down to the center of town to catch the world-famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Expect huge floats, upbeat music, epic inflatables, and massive crowds! You can also see the balloons up close if you head to the Upper West Side next to Central Park on the evening before Thanksgiving as this is when they are prepared for the parade.