Waking up to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thanksgiving morning is a tradition in my family. I’ve always enjoyed watching the balloons, performances, and celebration from the comfort of my living room — but I recently decided it would be even better to witness this event in person! This past November, I had the opportunity to visit NYC during Thanksgiving! Check out my helpful guide so that you too can celebrate Thanksgiving in NYC.
Where to Stay
You should know that many prime hotels book up well in advance of Thanksgiving — we’re talking a whole year before! You want to make sure that you consider accommodation early on so that you’re able to stay in a comfortable spot in a location that is easily accessible to the parade. I decided to stay at the beautiful Casablanca Hotel, which is located right in the heart of Times Square. I highly recommend this as a place to stay during Thanksgiving week.
Once you exit the entrance of the hotel, you walk less than a block — and from there, you can see the parade go by. It was a perfect place to stay because we had a great view, and could easily go in and out of our hotel to use the bathroom. While you won’t get a view directly out of the hotel or your hotel room, the few steps it takes to see the parade is well worth it — and the area isn’t packed.
While I’m talking about this hotel, I want to discuss a few other things that set it apart from the rest and made our experience even better.
- Every morning, there’s a complementary breakfast available to guests. This is located in Rick’s Diner. Here you’ll be able to enjoy fresh fruit juices, coffee, danishes, oatmeal, bagels, spreads, and more. It offered a nice start to the day. I loved the living-room-like seating, which encouraged us to mingle with other guests.
- Every evening, the hotel also offers a complimentary wine and cheese reception from 5 to 8 PM. You can enjoy wine, fruit, cheese, and other snacks. I thought it was so nice that the hotel even offered to hold our luggage and let us hang out during the wine & cheese reception after check-out — since we weren’t making our way home until later in the evening.
Enjoy the Parade
Okay, now for the main reason I even wrote this post — The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! This is a must-see if you’re planning to be in the city during the holiday. You can find a lot of great information on the official website — such as the route map and extra details. So be sure to check that out, if you’re already starting to think about 2017!
There are over 2.5 miles of public viewing available — so you can be sure to find a great spot! If you’re planning to hang out in one of the more popular spots, you will want to show up well before the 9 am start time. If you’re planning to stay at the hotel I mentioned above — I’m happy to say that we didn’t even leave the hotel till about 8:45 am! We did have to do some waiting until the parade got to us — but it really was a perfect situation.
As long as you bundle up in order to keep warm — you’ll have a great time. It was such an awesome experience to see the parade in person — I can’t even begin to explain how big the balloons really are! It’s also fun to interact with other individuals and families around you.
How to Get Around
Depending on where you’re staying, you may want to utilize different transportation methods during your trip. Since we were near the parade area, we chose to do a lot of walking, used Uber to travel a bit further away, and utilized Blacklane to get a private ride from the airport to our hotel.
- NYC has an extensive subway system. You can view MTA maps and timelines online. Here’s a look at subway fares. I didn’t use the subway on this trip, but it’s a great option if you plan to do a lot of exploring during the holiday.
- If you plan to use Uber, feel free to use code natashaeue to get your first ride free.
- If you choose to use Blacklane, a private driver will be waiting for you at your chosen pickup location. If this is the airport, an hour free wait is included. The standard vehicle for 2 people to be driven from JFK to Times Square is about $75.
Other Activities to Enjoy
- Walk around Central Park. Take in the beauty and get some exercise, too!
- Watch the balloons being blown up on Thanksgiving Eve! If you want to get up close to the balloons and see something unique, you can enjoy the balloon blow-up sessions! This happens from 77st to 81st streets between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue. This is a great activity for the whole family.
- Go ice skating at Bryant Park! It’s free for adults and children to skate — but it’s important to note that skate rentals are $20.
- While at Bryant Park, you can also check out the Christmas Village shops. Here you can find the perfect stocking stuffers — jewelry, handmade goods, and art pieces. You can also buy delicious drinks and snacks.
The city is busy and full of things to do the week of Thanksgiving as well as Thanksgiving day!
Where to Eat
If you’re like me — maybe you think about food a lot! 🙂 Since I was going to be in NYC for Thanksgiving Day, I wanted to make sure that my hubby and I were able to enjoy a traditional dinner (we had just spent two years in rural Korea — so turkey is hard to come by!!) I did some research and decided to book us seats at Croton Reservoir Tavern. They were offering a delicious 3-course meal which included a soup or salad, main entree with side dishes, and pumpkin pie for dessert You could choose from a few entrees, but we both decided to enjoy the traditional turkey meal.
For 2016, they offered the 3-course meal for $50 per person. We each also decided to have one of their specialty cocktails. With tax and tip, we ended up spending about $150 — but it was well worth it to enjoy a delicious traditional meal in the city.
Some other options you might include:
- Freemans ($85 per person for 4-course Thanksgiving meal)
- Indian Accent (Indian take on Thanksgiving — $95 per person)
- Glasserie (Non-traditional, but fall features – $68 per person)
- NoMad Restaurant (Traditional meal with family-style sides – $145 per person)
- La Pecora Bianca (Italian-inspired Thanksgiving 4-course meal, $70 per person)
At the time of writing, it’s early 2017 — so make sure that you look into these before Thanksgiving to ensure that they’re still serving a special meal. You will also need to make reservations! 🙂
If you’re ever given the chance — give NYC a visit during Thanksgiving week! You’ll love the parade, find a lot of delicious food to enjoy, and will be able to take part in many fun activities! I highly recommend Thanksgiving in NYC!