Every November, the US celebrates Thanksgiving Day, a national holiday when families come together to spend time, share food and enjoy parades. Celebrating Thanksgiving in New York City is a favorite occasion for many locals but it’s also a wonderful opportunity for tourists to learn more about American culture. It is actually one of the big six holidays of the year! What will you do that day? Here are some tips and activities suggestions for you to make the best of it! First, let’s start with some History.
When is Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving falls on the last Thursday of November, this year: Thursday, November 23rd.
What you need to know about the celebration, in short
Most government offices, businesses and schools close on Thanksgiving Day with many closing on the Friday after, too, giving their employees a four days weekend.
The traditional Thanksgiving meal revolves around turkey, stuffing and vegetables. You’ll also hear Americans talking about eating yams. Yams are a starchy root vegetable widely grown in the Caribbean.
Traditionally, the meal is rounded off with pumpkin pie, delicious. You should try even if you are not planning to do the whole Thanksgiving dinner.
What’s the history behind Thanksgiving?
It originated as a harvest festival. Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, after Congress requested a proclamation by George Washington.
It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1864, when, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of « Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens, » to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Together with Christmas and New Years; Thanksgiving is a part of the broader holiday season.
What goes on Thanksgiving day in New York?
Since 1924, the Macy’s Parade… lasts for three long hours. With more than 3.5 million spectators and 10,000 participants, it is one of the largest parades in New York.
At the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, you can expect dazzling musical performances, cool floats, costumes and awe-inspiring helium balloons in the shape of cartoon characters including Mickey Mouse, Pokemon, Felix the Cat and many more. Bring your camera because kids go crazy and it’s free.
Another long held Thanksgiving tradition is watching American football. NFL, college, high school and amateur teams have played over the Thanksgiving weekend practically since the game’s invention, and it’s one of the biggest days in the football calendar.
Looking for something less crowded?
Thanksgiving falls in the middle of Autumn, it is to me the best time to enjoy the outdoors in New York City, trees are turning red and yellow, there’s a little wind in the air, a perfect time to wrap you up in a long scarf to explore the city. Our team of experts is here to help you to make the best of your trip:
– Williamsburg & Bushwick Private Walking Tour-
The tour (one to 6 people) starts at your hotel where your guide will pick you up for 4 hours of fun and amazement. You will take the subway and head to Brooklyn.
Start with a visit through Williamsburg. Its once gritty industrial landscape has since transformed into a flourishing and vibrant artistic community. View cutting-edge graffiti murals from some of NYC’s most emerging artists.
Take the opportunity to shop at some of Brooklyn’s trendiest stores. Then delve into the dynamic neighborhood of Bushwick through an exploration of its street art, part of the contemporary American culture.
If you want to book it, CLICK HERE!
-Soul Food and Jazz Tour-
See the site of the original Cotton Club, where Duke Ellington and Lena Horne spent hours wowing crowds from around the world. Drive past the site of the Savoy Ballroom where Benny Goodman and Chick Webb fought it out during their « Battle of the Bands, » and where the Charleston, « Lindy Hop » and the « Big Apple » dances were firmly cemented into American culture.
Visit the world-famous Apollo Theater, where Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald won the popular « Amateur Night. » Pass by Minton’s Playhouse, where bebop was born and where Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Thelonious Monk started the tradition of musical jam sessions.
Discover one of Harlem’s hottest clubs, where jam sessions and musical collaborations go on into the wee hours of the morning. Dinner is at Sylvia’s legendary restaurant – « The Queen of Soul Food » (Family style dining).
On Mondays, swing dance the night away to the beat of a terrific, twelve-piece band. Free dance lesson included! We pick up the tab for your first two drinks at the Jazz club.
On Thursdays, experience the essence of Harlem and enjoy the convivial atmosphere as you mingle freely with the locals, while enjoying the sounds of a jazz or rythm & blues band. We also pick up the tab for your first two drinks at the Jazz club.
What is « Soul Food? »
Soul Food is the traditional African American cuisine that originated in the South of the United States. It consists of spicy ribs, collard greens, freshly cooked corn bread, black eye peas, and not to mention the best crispy fried chicken!
To book this activity, CLICK HERE!
If you have any question, feel free to send me a message!