Thanksgiving in New York City: Unforgettable Fun!

Spending Thanksgiving in New York City will provide you with an unforgettable, wonderful holiday. The spirit of the big apple really 

comes alive during the holiday season, and Thanksgiving in no exception.

After living in New York City for my whole life, I have the advantage of recommending the best events to attend, great tips to enhance your day, and secret discounts to reduce your expenses! Here are my picks for the best ways to enjoy the big apple at Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving in New York City would not be complete without watching the parade!! The Thanksgiving Day parade is, without a doubt, my favorite holiday tradition. Each Thanksgiving morning when I wake up to go, I experience the same feeling of excitement…it never changes! It’s great to watch the parade on television, but there is nothing quite like seeing it live. It’s something that you won’t soon forget. Make a commitment to see it at least once in your lifetime.

You’ll enjoy gigantic helium character balloons, fantasy-filled floats, marching bands, clowns, special guest stars, and more. It begins at 77th Street and Central Park West, travels down Central Park West, turns east to 6th Avenue where it arrives at 42 Street, and ends at Macy’s at Herald Square.

This year’s giant balloons include Angry Birds' Red, Dino, Ice Ages' Scrat and his Acorn, Hello Kitty, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Pikachu, Sponge Bob Square Pants, The Elf on the Shelf, Eruptor, Trolls, Charley Brown, Thomas the Tank Engine, Red Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, Felix the Cat, Paddington Bear and more! As always, Santa Claus ends the parade.

When: The parade takes place on Thursday, November 23, 2017 beginning at 9:00 AM until 12:00 pm. For more information call 212-494-4495 or log on to


Macy’s and MyCityWay have teamed up to bring spectators of the Annual Macy’s Day Parade an Official Mobile App as magical as the Parade itself! This App will give spectators important Parade information plus a comprehensive guide to New York City all at their fingertips for free. Spectators will have access to the parade participants and line-up information. Click here for Android devices; click here for Apple devices.


To see this parade properly takes great strategy. I’m not kidding.Thousands upon thousands of people show up for this event, so getting a good view is key. Lucky for you, I’ve been watching this parade for years and have developed my own modus operandi.

Tip 1: Assuming it’s cold, DRESS VERY WARMLY and in many layers. Be sure to bring a hat and gloves and wear very, very, very comfortable shoes.

Tip 2: Bring a small step stool or ladder. A ladder is best. Yup, you read it correctly. Given that there are throngs and dense layers of people; height is optimal for a good view. If you are 2 year’s old you can simply sit on your dad’s shoulders. The BEST way to get a good view is to bring a small ladder. Don’t worry—no one will laugh at you—they’ll be jealous.

Tip 3: Assuming that it’s very cold, bring a thermos with hot chocolate or tea. You’ll be really glad you did.

Tip 4: Watch the parade in the upper 30s or 40s (I’m referring to the street locations). Why? Given that there are so many residential buildings and kids in the 60s and 70s, there tends to be more families. I’ve always had more luck with actually seeing the parade in the 40s.

Tip 5: Another great place to view the parade is from inside the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. Head to the second and third balconies of "The Shops at Columbus Circle" and you'll enjoy a great view. The shops don't open until 9 am but don't worry, the parade will not have arrived at your spot yet. If it's cold out, you'll also enjoy the warmth of being inside.

Tip 6 Enjoying this parade will make your Thanksgiving in New York City, perfect! Top it off with a special hot chocolate after the parade! In my opinion, the absolute best hot chocolate, thick and sludgy can be found at Sprinkle's cupcake shop at 60th and Lexington.


Another ‘must do’ is to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’s famous giant helium parade balloons get inflated. It is a New York City tradition! It takes place the night before the parade on Wednesday, November 22, 2017.

Watch the giant character come to life before your eyes. Go behind-the scenes and have fun! If you can't make it to the parade, this is a great option! The earlier you arrive, the less crowded it will be--but the balloons won't be as inflated as when you arrive later. Balloons begin taking shape at about 4:30 PM - 5:00 PM. Observers are not allowed in past 9:15 PM.

Where: 79th Street and Columbus Avenue
When: 3:00 PM – 10:00 PM


No bones about it: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade is one of my all time favorites! NOTHING beats it during Thanksgiving in New York City. And, if you are going to do, why not treat yourself and your family to watching the parade in style and in comfort…and warmth! You'll benefit from the deals that NYCVP negotiates with hotels.

The New York City Vacation Packages Experts will arrange a Thanksgiving vacation to fulfill anyone’s dreams. (The older I get, the more I realize the importance of making the most of your time with your family and/or significant others.) The New York City Vacation Package Experts have access to the best hotel rooms with the best view--the kind that no one else has access to! So, why not make your Thanksgiving in New York City as memorable and special as possible?

When you book the New York Hilton Thanksgiving Parade View Rooms Package Deal, you’ll have your own Full Parade View Room or Side Parade Room at the Hilton New York in which to view the parade in the comfort of your own room...enjoying great times, and creating new and lasting memories with your family.

The Full Parade View rooms are located between the 6th-18th floors of the New York Hilton Midtown. The New York Hilton Midtown Thanksgiving Side Parade View Rooms are located on the 9th and 18th floors and have a side view of the front of the parade.

The New York Hilton Thanksgiving Parade View Rooms Package Deal includes:

  • Choice of accommodations for 4 nights in either an Full View or Side View Room at the New York Hilton Midtown where you can watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from the comfort of your own room
  • All state and local taxes
  • Add options (for an additional amount) like a Broadway show, Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Holiday Lights Tour, sightseeing, harbor cruises, museum admissions, dining - for a complete New York City vacation!
  • And much more


Here are some great suggestions for family shows during your Thanksgiving in New York City. I suggest purchasing your tickets as early as possible! I've provided you with links to purchase discount tickets. Find more information on discounted Broadway show tickets here.

"Anastasia": The New Broadway Musical!
Click here for discounted tickets.
"School of Rock," Andrew Lloyd Webber's Hit Musical Has Broadway Rocking!
Click here for discounted tickets!
"A Bronx Tale": Robert De Niro & Jerry Zaks Direct Musical of Chazz Palminteri's Classic!
Click here for discounted tickets.
"Sistas the Musical": Top 40 Hits Tell a Black Family history
Click here for discounted tickets!
"NEWSical the Musical": Current Events Musical Comedy
Click here for discounted tickets!
"Gazillion Bubble Show": A Dazzling Display of Bubbles, With Artistry & Lasers
Click here for discounted tickets.


Looking for a delicious, high quality but affordable Thanksgiving dinner in New York City? Look no further. Check out this fantastic list.


Manhattan’s famous department stores feature holiday windows fit for a king. Christmas in New York City wouldn't be complete without a stroll past the infamous holiday windows! From depictions of famous Christmas movies to animated characters and scenes, these windows are sure to please all members of your family, young and old. Here are the ones worth seeking out.

Treat yourself to a fantastic NYC Holiday Lights Walking Tour With Iconic Holiday Displays, at discounted rates, of course! You've seen it in movies and television, and if you haven't experienced it in real life, just wait until Midtown Manhattan lights up like no other place in the world. Mechanical window displays, synchronized light and sound shows, not to mention Santa Claus and toy soldiers await you in this winter wonderland. You'll beat traffic on the subway and catch some underground holiday music. You can celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year with the NYC Holiday Lights Walking Tour, which even teaches you about the artists and history of these wonderful displays. You'll start from Central Park Sightseeing in New York City, seeing displays at Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's Herald Square and many more....


The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden has delighted families for untold years. Every time my sister visits from Washington, DC, she insists that we see the train show, AGAIN. It has become a beloved family outing…and for good reason. Yes, Thanksgiving in New York City is not complete without a visit to this superb botanical wonder! Traveling through this botanical menagerie are more than a dozen large-scale model trains including steam engines, circus cars, freight cars, high speed trains and more. You’ll watch them traverse this magical landscape, chugging into tunnels, traveling bridges, and sweeping under waterfalls. This will make your Thanksgiving in New York City truly magical! Enchanting model trains zip through a display of 150 landmarks, each re-created with bark, leaves, and other natural materials—all under the twinkling glow of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Marvel at G-scale locomotives humming along among familiar sights such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and Rockefeller Center on nearly a half-mile of track. This year’s exhibition showcases Midtown Manhattan, with iconic skyscrapers and other architectural wonders sharing the spotlight among old and new collection favorites that define this celebrated district.

TIP 1:This is the most important and only tip. Get there first thing in the morning! Given that this is such a popular event, arriving first thing ensures you a spot in the parking lot and an enjoyable visit to the train show.
Where: The New York Botanical Garden, 200th Street and Kazimiroff Boulevard, Bronx
When: November 22, 2017 through January 15, 2018. Open Tuesday through Friday, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Saturdays 10:00 AM - 7:00 PM, Sunday, 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Closed on Mondays. For additional information log on to

  • Click here for half-priced tickets!
  • Attend the special Bar Car Nights: Adults-Only Viewing of Holiday Train Show and save 50% on tickets when you click here.
  • Members of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, Wave Hill, or any member of the 2010 American Horticultural Society Reciprocal Admissions Program, ( enjoy free admission all the time. BEFORE you visit, log on to the program to see if your hometown botanical garden is a member! There are lots of members all over the United States. You’ll save big!
  • Free all day Wednesday and before noon on Saturday.
  • Purchase a Metro North Train/Botanical Garden package deal and save! Log on to for more information.
  • Become a member! A $135 family membership includes unlimited admission for 2 adults and up to 5 children under the age of 16, 8 free parking passes, 4 free guest passes, more, and it’s all tax deductable. There are many other member packages available.
  • If you purchased the New York Pass or the Explorer Pass, admission is free!
  • If you have a Cool Culture Card, admission is FREE!

Compare hotel prices and find the best deal -


Looking for something to do instead of or in addition to the parade? There are plenty of attractions that are open on Thanksgiving day:

Central Park Zoo

Empire State Building

Ground Zero Memorial

Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum

Statue of Liberty

Top of the Rock

Enjoy Greyline's deluxe double decker, hop-on, hop-off bus tours that include Uptown, Downtown, Brooklyn and Night loops and MORE!! Take $5 Off here!


A holiday, fantasy classic that music be seen by everyone at least once. I’ve seen it at least 15 times—no joke—and will see it again this year. Who can get enough of the marching toy soldiers, the adorable mice, the sugar plum fairy, the dreamy snowstorm, the awesome sets, the giant Christmas tree, and, of course Tchaikovsky’s transporting music? It’s an unforgettable experience that is sure to mesmerize everyone! Enjoying The Nutcracker during your Thanksgiving in New York City, or any other time, will make it a perfect day.
There are many versions of this ballet throughout the city. Here are your picks along with great discounts:

Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker
Kings Theater, Brooklyn
Date: December 9, 2017 Full-Priced Tickets: $55.90 - $143.55
Discount Tickets Here: $29.00 - $59.00
Click here for tickets and details.


You can't spend Thanksgiving in New York City without enjoying the Radio City Spectacular! Experience the world-famous Radio City Rockette's signature eye high kicks and precision choreography in multiple show stopping numbers!

Where: Radio City Music Hall, 1260 Avenue of the Americas, 212-307-1000.
When: November 10, 2017 through January 1, 2018


1) Click Click here for the deepest discount around. Really.

2) AAA (Automobile Association of America) members save 20% on select performances when using code AAA.
3) Click here for my huge list of theater discount resources! 
4) Watch my blog for discount updates! 


By Subway:
Need help in determing how to best route out your trip? Use this subway map or automatic trip planner!

For information on subway fares, metrocards and more Click here for information.

By Bus:
If you'd like to use the bus while celebrating Thanksgiving in New York City, Use this bus map to help!

By Car:
Need parking deals during Thanksgiving in New York City? You'll be amazed at the deals I've found. Click here for the best ones around.

By Foot:
Use your handy street map and follow the easiest route to your outing. Thanksgiving in New York City is a wonderful time to walk. There is so much to see and take in. Enjoy!


Your tip or suggestion can help enhance the quality of a fellow traveler's visit for Thanksgiving in New York City. Share and share alike! Click here to share your thoughts!

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