Thanksgiving in New York City 2018

Thanksgiving Day 2018 is just around the corner, on Thursday November 22nd. Thanksgiving is of course a time when so many Americans travel to spend time with family and loved ones, and it can tend to highlight that we Aussies are a long way from home.

Thankfully, spending Thanksgiving in New York City means there is a myriad of options for the orphans and tourists remaining in town for the holiday. If you are wondering how to spend the day, we’ve put together this guide on how to make the most of Thanksgiving in New York City.

people serving pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving Day
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Start your day in true New York style…

Unleash your inner child as you soak in the pageantry of the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade features everything from the iconic giant balloons of America’s favorite characters, to all-American floats, and performers across almost every genre you could imagine. This year’s acts include Barenaked Ladies, John Legend, Rita Ora and the legendary Diana Ross. Sprinkled in between are marching bands, clowns and dancing groups.

Where to watch in person:
The parade starts at 9am on the Upper West Side at West 77th St, dances its way down Sixth Ave, and finishes outside Macy’s at Herald Square. If you’re prepared to camp out early (as in 6am early), you could head towards the start of the parade at Central Park West around 75th St. If waking up before 6am on a public holiday isn’t your thing, it might be best to find a spot somewhere along Central Park South between Columbus Circle and Sixth Ave, or down Sixth Ave between Central Park and 38th St. Keep in mind that there is limited or no public viewing toward the parade finish. Visit the official parade website for a helpful visual guide on where to watch.

If crowds aren’t your thing:
You can also watch the tv broadcast on NBC, along with 50 million viewers.

If you’ve already got plans on Thanksgiving morning but want to take in some of the spectacle: 
The public can watch the inflation of the parade balloons on Wednesday, November 21st. To participate, head to the entrance of the inflation area at West 79th St near at Columbus Ave (by the American Museum of Natural History) between 3 – 10pm. View a map of the area here by selecting “balloon inflation”.

If you’re hankering for Thanksgiving dinner but have a typical New York kitchen…

Make like a quintessential New Yorker and book yourself a spot in a restaurant. Here are some options that caught our eye, including catering/take-out:

Budget Friendly

Parker & Quinn
This bar/restaurant in the vintage Refinery Hotel in midtown is offering a 3-course Thanksgiving menu for $49 pp.

Quality Meats
Midtown steakhouse is offering a Thanksgiving prix fixe meal for $42 pp. It’s a stone’s throw away from Central Park so you can walk off dinner afterwards.

Australian-owned Restaurants

The Australian NYC
Known for making all feel welcome on Thanksgiving, Midtown’s Australian Bar and Restaurant is taking bookings for a 3-course plus glass of wine prix-fixe menu for $40 pp.

Burke & Wills
Upper West Side bistro, is offering a traditional 3-course Thanksgiving Day menu, $65 pp or $95 pp with wine pairings.

Root & Bone
East Village southern food restaurant is offering Thanksgiving menu, both as a sit-down meal for $75 pp and as take-out portions for orders placed by November 16th.


Candle 79
Popular Upper East Side restaurant is offering an extensive menu for Thanksgiving with 4-course prix-fixe at $84 pp, and take-out options for orders placed by November 19th.

Cinnamon Snail
Revered NYC food truck and bricks and mortar restaurant, is offering Thanksgiving day catering at pick up locations including Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Jersey (Hoboken and Red Bank). Order deadline is November 18th and pickup is on Thanksgiving Day November 22nd.

Williamsburg kitchen-bar is taking reservations for Thanksgiving and will prepare vegan and vegetarian entrees upon request.

Thanksgiving Day
Photo by Pro Church Media on Unsplash

If you’re in the spirit to give back to the community…

Plenty of New Yorkers embrace the spirit Thanksgiving by helping those in the city who are less fortunate. There is a comprehensive list of options leading up to and on Thanksgiving Day, courtesy of this list from MommyPoppins. As evidence of New York’s spirit of generosity, many of the major Thanksgiving Day charity volunteering positions are quickly filled.

For a cause connected with Australia, check out Ads Up (Aussie Diaspora Steps Up), a network of Aussies in the USA helping 1,250 Manus and Nauru refugees who have been re-settled in the USA with limited government assistance. You can help by providing financial assistance, such as through Happy Coatsgiving – a program to provide winter coats to recently resettled refugees, or contributing to a network of social support.

If you’re feeling particularly active on Thanksgiving morning…

Give yourself license to eat that extra helping at Thanksgiving dinner by taking part in a New York turkey trot.

If you’ve always wanted to cook a Thanksgiving turkey, or candied yam

Check out this mouth-watering 1-stop collection of recipes from Delish that evokes all of America’s states and territories.

Wondering what is going to be open on Thanksgiving?

Here is a list of liquor stores, pharmacies and grocery stores open on Thanksgiving around the city.

For once the turkey coma sets in and all you want to do is sit on the couch…

TimeOut has put together this guide to essential Thanksgiving movie watching.

How are you spending Thanksgiving?

Let us know in the comments below if you’ve got any other suggestions! We’d love to hear from you.

This post has been updated from a post originally written by Alex Eggerking and first published in 2016.

Author: Australian Women in New York

Australian Women in New York (AWNY) sources stories and guides that will help make you win the Big Apple. We also love to profile fabulous Aussie and Kiwi women.

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