New York City
Now in its 91st year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a quintessential American holiday staple. This year’s lineup of balloons includes Pikachu, SpongeBob SquarePants and several trolls (from the movie of the same name). If you’re in New York, the parade begins at 9 a.m. E.S.T. on the Upper West Side and finishes near Herald Square, home to the world’s largest Macy’s store.
If you’re looking for something a bit less traditional, consider riding off Thursday’s meal with the Pilgrim Pedal Ride on Friday, Nov. 24, a family-friendly biking excursion that weaves through Brooklyn and Queens. The event, which begin at East 23rd Street and the East River, includes a “sit-down social” breakfast at a Brooklyn diner midway through the ride.
Other New York area events and attractions for the holiday weekend include the Bryant Park Winter Village, a gift-centric market in Midtown Manhattan, and the annual Day after Thanksgiving Hike on Staten Island.
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Thanksgiving history buffs can head to the place where some believe it all began: Plymouth. Every year, the town plays host to big festivities on the weekend before Thanksgiving: a historical parade, a food festival with clam chowder and pumpkin desserts galore, and permanent historical attractions that befit the spot where the Pilgrims settled in 1620. At the living-history attraction Plimoth Plantation they’re offering a Courtyard Buffet on Thanksgiving Day and other events throughout the week.
The McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade brings creative flair to Chicago’s downtown Loop. The one-mile-long parade on Thanksgiving Day will be held on State Street, starting at 8 a.m. C.S.T. at the intersection with West Congress Parkway (near the Harold Washington Library Center) and then heading north to Randolph Street. Look for Teddy the Turkey, Broadway in Chicago performances of “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” and “Ken Ludwig’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and a deep bench of marching bands.
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Some contend that Berkeley Plantation in Charles City, Va., not Plymouth, was the site of the real first Thanksgiving. That is where, in 1619, a year before the Mayflower and the Pilgrims landed, a ship called the Margaret reached the James River and put 38 men ashore. While the Virginia Thanksgiving Festival has come and gone, Berkeley Plantation is still worth visiting for a house tour (although it is closed on Thanksgiving Day). In nearby Williamsburg, consider the Food and Feasts of Colonial Virginia, a three-day festival (Nov. 23 to 25) at the Jamestown Settlement museum featuring a traditional Thanksgiving dinner and special exhibits.
The Turkey Trot Los Angeles is a fun-run though the city (done as a 5K or 10K) on Thanksgiving Day, offering runners a nice view of the Continental Building, the city’s first high-rise building, Walt Disney Concert Hall and more. The event benefits the Midnight Mission, which works on creating a path to self sufficiency for the homeless.
Other Los Angeles area events and attractions for the holiday weekend include Thanksgiving lunch at the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Holiday Marketplace at CAFAM and the Hollywood Christmas Parade on Sunday, Nov. 26.
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