Thanksgiving Day 2019 is just around the corner, on Thursday November 28. 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.
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 Black Eyed Peas, Lea Michele, and Idina Menzel. 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 27. 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 scrolling halfway down the page.
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:
It’s just a hop, skip and jump over to vibrant Queens nabe, Astoria. Cosy Italian family restaurant, Gastroteca Astoria, is offering a hearty prix fixe Thanksgiving menu for $55 pp, for dinner from 11 am to 10 pm.
Midtown steakhouse is offering a Thanksgiving prix fixe meal from noon through to 9pm. It’s a stone’s throw away from Central Park so you can walk off dinner afterwards. * Last year’s price was $42 pp – details for 2019 to be confirmed.
The Australian NYC
Known for making all feel welcome on Thanksgiving, Midtown’s Australian Bar and Restaurant will be taking bookings for lunch and dinner. More details to come.
Burke & Wills
Upper West Side bistro, is offering a traditional 3-course Thanksgiving Day menu, $65 pp or $95 pp with wine pairing. For kids under 12 it’s $40 for 2 courses. Vegetarian dishes available. Book via the RESY link on their homepage.
Your home away from home will be hosting a very fun and fruitful time this Thanksgiving from 12pm. There’s a 3-course meal plus glass of wine for $49 pp with live music. Book via RESY or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Root & Bone
East Village southern food restaurant is offering Thanksgiving menu as both sit-down and take-out. Reservations for a sit-down meal will be taken from Monday October 28, at $79 per person. Online orders for take-out portions will be taken from Tuesday.
Gluten-free & Allergy Friendly
Bistango at the Kimberly Hotel
Multi-regional Italian midtown restaurant is offering a prix fixe meal for $74 pp. The menu can be prepared entirely gluten-free upon as well as a modified children’s menu and vegetarian menu upon request. For inquiries call 212-888-4121 or email email@example.com.
Refined vegan restaurant with 2 locations, Blossom on Ninth at Chelsea, and Blossom on Columbus on the Upper West Side, is offering a four course vegan prix fixe meal for $74 pp, including gluten-free, nut-free and soy-free dishes.
Union Square farm-to-table American restaurant, Bowery Road, is open for Thanksgiving lunch and dinner with vegetarian options (alongside meat and fish) on it’s prix fixe menu. There’s an extensive 3-course Thanksgiving menu for $65 pp, and a pared down 3-course Friendsgiving menu for $45 pp (for groups of 6 or more) including a welcome cocktail.
Popular Upper East Side restaurant is offering an extensive menu for Thanksgiving with 4-course prix-fixe at $86 pp, and take-out options for orders placed by Monday November 25th. Scroll halfway down the page here for dine-in and take-out offerings.
Michelin-star, Williamsburg kitchen-bar is taking reservations for Thanksgiving, seating from 1.30 – 8.30pm, and will prepare vegan and vegetarian entrees upon request.
Elegant Upper East Side French favorite is offering a 3-course lunch and dinner for $105 pp with vegetarian options, such as a whole roasted dorade and velouté de châtaignes Au Champagne (chestnut soup).
If you’ve always wanted to cook a Thanksgiving turkey, or candied yams:
Check out this mouth-watering 1-stop collection of recipes from Delish that evokes all of America’s states and territories.
If you want to cook vegan/vegetarian dishes for Thanksgiving:
For a vegan/vegetarian Thanksgiving, Jessica in the Kitchen offers 50 recipes covering breakfast through to dinner.
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 Town and Country Mag. 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 buying a winter coat for a refugee as part of the Coatsgiving 2019 fundraiser, providing financial assistance, 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 short run (typically 5 km) including:
- New York City Turkey Trot in Flushing Meadows, Queens
- Prospect Park Track Club Turkey Trot (sold out for this year)
- Manhattan Turkey Trot at Pier 84
- New York Road Runners Virtual Turkey Trot
- Coney Island Turkey Trot
If you feel like skating into Thanksgiving Day:
All three major rinks (Central Park, Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park) open on Thanksgiving Day, as are the restaurants surrounding them.
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.
When you wake up the next day from your food coma and need to get active:
Skip the crowds and consumerism of Black Friday and instead immerse yourself in nature. Join this FREE hike on Friday November 29, 10 – 11.30am, traversing Central Park from south to north, hosted by NYC Parks.
When your idea of exercise is shopping till you drop:
The day after Thanksgiving, Friday November 29, known as Black Friday is the day for you. Take part in the shopping frenzy that is New York’s biggest shopping holiday. Some stores actually open late on Thanksgiving evening, while others open on Black Friday at the crack of dawn for early-bird bargain-hunters. If crowds aren’t for you (then you probably shouldn’t be in New York in the first place) you can shop online on Cyber Monday.
If you want to protest against rampant consumerism:
“Buy Nothing Day” was founded in Vancouver, Canada by artist Ted Dave in September of 1992. It is observed on the Friday after American Thanksgiving, as an alternate to “Black Friday”. Celebrate by partaking in a shopping detox, cutting up your credit cards in public or do the Zombie Walk – a walk around malls with a big blank look to promote the message of the day.
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.