In New York City, the holiday is celebrated with family dinners, a Thanksgiving Parade featuring parade floats, a shopping spree on Black Friday and even an entire Thanksgiving weekend! If you want to experience the phenomenon that is Thanksgiving, New York City is definitely the place to be come November.
In this article we’ll give a short explanation of the history of Thanksgiving, highlight the holiday activities in New York City and give you some accommodation ideas for this family holiday!
History of Thanksgiving
During the Civil War President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national day of thanksgiving and religious praise. It wasn’t until 1941, however, that the holiday was set to be celebrated annually every fourth Thursday in November.
On Thanksgiving, families in the USA celebrate the day with a big feast featuring foods of the season, most notably turkey. The Friday following Thanksgiving Day has become known as Black Friday, and traditionally marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. It is one of the busiest shopping days of the year in the States.
Celebrate Thanksgiving Activities in New York City
- Thanksgiving Eve
In New York City, Thanksgiving is not only celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, but also on the evening preceding Thanksgiving, on Friday and through the entire following weekend.
Thanksgiving kicks off on Wednesday November 21st with the inflation of the Thanksgiving Parade’s balloons. It’s quite a sight to see the gigantic cartoon characters being inflated, and it’s usually a big hit with the kids. The balloon inflation starts at 3 pm on the grounds of the American Museum of Natural History, and ends around 10 pm. The later you get there, the more there’ll be to see, but it also gets more crowded towards the evening.
On Thanksgiving Eve, New York City’s bars and clubs are filled to the brim. Many clubs hold special Thanksgiving parties, so if you’re in a dancing mood be sure to check them out. Don’t stay out to late though, or you’ll miss the biggest event of Thanksgiving Weekend, which takes place on Thursday morning: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
- Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
The parade starts in Manhattan on Thursday, November 22nd, at 9 am at 77th Street & Central Park West, and ends in front of Macy’s Herald Square on 34th Street & Broadway around noon. If you want to get a good viewing spot be sure to get to the parade route in time: people start arriving as early as 6 am. Also, the closer you get to Herald Square along the route, the longer the parade will last. Check out the official 2012 Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade website for the complete route. If you decide to line up early, be sure to dress for the cold and bring a thermos with tea or hot chocolate to help fight the cold!
- Thanksgiving Dinner in Your Own New York City Vacation Rental
Of course there are also many restaurants in New York that offer Thanksgiving dinner, but nothing beats preparing your own feast for friends and family at home.
If you’re coming to New York City to celebrate Thanksgiving weekend, we have many NYC vacation rental apartments and Bed & Breakfast accommodations throughout the city available to give you that home-away-from-home feeling and also fit the entire family.
Not only do these apartments offer cozy living rooms to celebrate the holiday together and enough bedrooms to accommodate big families, but they also have fully equipped kitchens where you can prepare a real Thanksgiving dinner just as you would at home! Thanksgiving dinner is all about seasonal and native food. Think of a large meal traditionally featuring food native to North America. The main dish of the meal is usually turkey, which is stuffed with herbs, bread and vegetables. Popular side dishes to complement the main course are mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, yams, green beans, peas, bread rolls and more.
To give you an idea of spending a Thanksgiving weekend in a vacation rental, we’ve selected one apartment to showcase.
If you prefer an apartment with more classic and traditional furnishings that still has an amazing kitchen, check out this 1-bedroom vacation rental in Bedford Stuyvesant.
- Black Friday in New York City
We hope you enjoyed this little taste of Thanksgiving in New York City! Where will you be celebrating the holidays this year?
Central Park Photograph provided by francois-roux-photography.com