Here’s why you need to be in New York for Thanksgiving!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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!

Salvatore

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What kind of weather can I expect during my trip to New York?

Rain or shine, New York is always a good trip idea ! Indeed, even when my Sicilian roots resurface and get me excited with the first ray of sunshine, I also appreciate the fresh and breezy nights of the City during the month of November. In this article, I will give you advice for your next trip to New York City according to the changing seasons.

credits: pexels
credits: pexels

Let’s get right into it: 
Winter in New York is a tough season, even for John Snow!

What you heard about NYC in the winter is probably true. It’s freezing cold and the streets get covered in snow. The maximal average temperature between December and February reaches approximately 41°F while the average minimal temperature reaches 27°F.

snow in times square harlem spiritualsCredits: Anthony Quintano

However, do no trust the average estimates too much. Indeed, 3 winters out of 10 temperatures can reach as low as the -1°F and even go beyond -4°F. Also, it is not rare for a snowstorm to last several days . Rain can be a big part of the month of February. In short, harsh winters in New York are an usual occurrence.

How to survive?

By wearing the right clothes!
To avoid freezing to death and spending your money on extra sets of clothes when you are here, my advice to you is to bring the survival kit of the mountain dweller! Warm coats, scarves, gloves, beanies and even your moon boots or furred boots (not necessarily with real fur) which will prove to be more than useful (you will thank me later!)

Lastly, skip the glamour and multiply layers: leggings skilfully slipped under trousers, vests, tee-shirts and sweaters under your polo neck, the whole supplemented by a warm coat. Don’t forget to bring an umbrella as well, rain can also be unpredictable (some hotels provide them.)

What activities should I do during the winter?

Obviously, I would advise you to stay indoors as much as possible, why not go to the numerous museums or galleries the city has to offer ? You can always stop to a few coffee shops on your way to warm yourself. New York is the place to be for everything cultural. All the greatest museums are here, whether you are into modern art or a dinosaur enthusiast, the MoMa and the Museum of Natural History await you. If you wish to book any of these activities securely CLICK HERE.

Another idea is to visit Harlem. You’ll be comfortably seated in our heated bus while our best tour guide show you the neighborhood and tell everything about the storied past of Harlem. Cherry on top, you will have the chance to attend a Live Gospel concert at the end of the tour. It will create a wonderful memory and warm up your heart. To join us for this experience, CLICK HERE.

Credits: Harlem Spirituals

Spring: New York City starts brightening up and emerges from its harsh winter conditions.

Spring remains a rather short season (from mid-March to the end of May) but well marked. Indeed, the temperatures increase rapidly; the average minimal temperature during March is about 33°F while it can go up to 53°F in May. The early morning frosts of March end progressively and the days get nicer. However, it continues to rain frequently.

Harlem Spirituals / Roosevelt Island in the spring

What should I pack for my trip ?

An umbrella, sweaters, jackets and cardigans (mid-season everything.) For those of you who are sensitive to cold, a light scarf is not superfluous. Regarding shoes, always think “comfortable” because you will be walking a lot!

What are the best activities during this season?

The weather starts to get warm again, you can wear lighter clothes but still bring a jacket with you. Time is favorable for long walks, discovering neighborhoods and other boroughs (if you are the adventurous kind!) and animated outdoor spaces. Stay outside as much as possible ! You will still be able to go to museums during the evenings when the air is cooler.

Credits: Harlem Spirituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

If you want to rent a bike in Central park or book an helicopter tour with us, those are also considerable options, CLICK HERE.

Summer in New York is hot and humid.

Credits: Pexel
Credits: Pexel

New York in the summer is hot… very hot, and seems to last forever. The average maximum temperature in July and August is 86°F and can sometimes go beyond. It is easily possible to reach the 104°F. Watch out for temperatures variations between outside and buses, restaurants, museums and stores where air conditioning is often put on full blast.

What are the essential clothing items to bring in your luggage?

Bring everything lightweight, short and cropped ! T-Shirt, tank tops, dresses, skirts, dockers, flip-flops (except to take walks, New York isn’t the cleanest of cities… ) Do not forget to carry sunglasses (a must)! Sales are happening in New York during the month of July so if you wish to travel light, know that you can buy clothes here for much cheaper.

How can I have fun during this hot weather?

Credits: Harlem Spirituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

Go on a cruise and be close to the water! This is what I prefer doing during this hot weather ! There are all type of cruises and for any budget. You will have fun creating wonderful memories with your family. It is also the perfect occasion to take pictures with the Statue of Liberty in the background or with the New York skyline. To book one of our cruises or boat tours, CLICK HERE!

What about Autumn in New York ?

Temperatures fall between October and December, you can expect a good 50°F.

Things to do in NYC in the Fall, Harlem Spirituals

Contrary to what one may think, Fall in New York City is not wetter than the other seasons since the rate of precipitations is appreciably the same throughtout the year. However you will notice the change of season and ambiance with the decorations of the city (remember Halloween and Thanksgiving celebrations are coming up!) The trees display gleaming colors and you can’t stop looking at nature which offers amazing red landscapes.

What to carry with you?

Once again, make it simple : clothing of mid-season will be enough. For those who are very sensitive to cold, a good coat and a scarf will be necessary. The temperatures still remain positive even if the weather in New York is unforeseeable. For me, it is the most pleasant temperature because the weather is neither too cold nor too hot.

What can I do during Fall in New York?

Fall is a season that is very appreciated by New Yorkers because, finally, it’s time to get away from the summer inferno and humidity. Also Halloween is approaching!! Need I say more? The entire city is decorated with spiders and monsters. It feels great to be outside with a little scarf around your neck and a warm cup in your hand. During this season, take advantage of the weather: visit neighborhoods like Harlem, Brooklyn, the Bronx or Queens. To book a private visit of any district with us, CLICK HERE. And then when the temperature gets to you, go on a coffee break !

Credits: Harlem Spitituals
Credits: Harlem Spirituals

If being out in the cold isn ‘t your thing, and you absolutely want to remain indoors while discovering the city, why don’t you book a tour with a private driver throughout the city? It is the perfect occasion to have an overall sense of the city while being seated comfortably on board of a splendid limo! If you want to know more, CLICK HERE.

As always, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to send me a message on Facebook !

Salvatore

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