Thanksgiving is one of the USA’s biggest holidays – in fact, it’s almost as big as Christmas! If you are planning to visit the USA over Thanksgiving, you are almost guaranteed a myriad of exciting shows, parades and cool events to enjoy.
Thanksgiving is held on the fourth Thursday in November every year and initially it started off as a day to give thanks for the harvest and as a celebration for the Pilgrims who arrived from England.
Not made up your mind yet as to where to spend Thanksgiving? Here’s our take on the best places to spend Thanksgiving in, and what you can expect in each city.
New York City
New York is one of the best places to spend Thanksgiving and it’s easy to see why.
It is the home of the biggest Thanksgiving events, the spectacular Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade which is not only the biggest event in the state, but also the biggest Thanksgiving event in the whole of the USA.
Of course, millions of us watch it from home, but what better way to experience it than in New York City itself.
In 2024, the parade will be celebrating its 100th anniversary and you can expect it to be a fully-charged party that you will never forget.
The annual pageant of big balloons, festive floats, marching bands, impeccable musical theatre performances and of course some rather famous faces have all cemented this parade as one of the best places to spend Thanksgiving.
Are you planning to spend Thanksgiving in San Francisco?
If so, you will be super excited to learn that there are a lot of amazing things and the city of Fog is one of the best places to spend Thanksgiving in the USA.
As well as the holiday lights and Black Friday Shopping, you can enjoy all the fantastic attractions that San Francisco is famous for.
Of course, San Fran’s stellar foodie scene is fantastic all year round, but there’s some wonderful Thanksgiving-focused menus to try like Bouche and 3’rd Cousin.
While any time of the year is a great time to go to Hawaii, November is particularly good as it tends to be less overrun with tourists, but you can still enjoy a fabulous Thanksgiving but with a more chilled vibe.
It’s still going to be warm in late November, but it can also still be a smidge rainy in Hawaii too, so be sure to stay on the more dry parts of the island which includes the southern or western coast.
If you happen to visit Waikiki, why not carve out some time to attend a parade the day after Thanksgiving which commemorates the anniversary of Pearl Harbour, with local Hawaiian bands and traditions.
Not only is Hawaii one of the most relaxing places to spend Thanksgiving, it’s also one of the most beautiful too. So be prepared for the inevitable sumptuous photos that you will be able to capture too, especially if you go whale watching.
Life moves pretty fast. ‘If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it’.
Never has a truer word been said by the legendary Ferris Bueller who infamously took a day off to explore the beautiful city of Chicago. And, if you are planning to spend just one day in the Windy City, why not make it Thanksgiving?
Chicago is one of the best places to spend Thanksgiving in the USA.
There’s an abundance of fantastic free holiday activities to take advantage of and top-notch attractions that make it a great place to be on Thanksgiving weekend.
You can’t fail to be charmed by the three-hour-long annual Thanksgiving Day parade which is one of the largest in the country.
From marching bands and dance troupes, the parade is one of the best ones on the East coast and visitors can also enjoy ice skating and carolling.
There’s also an authentic German-style outdoor market, the holiday lights and the lighting of the Chicago Christmas Tree at Millennium Park.
From events at the Peabody where you can experience the joys of duck racing to chowing down on the best holiday comfort food at places like Brother Junipers.
Other superb Thanksgiving favourites include the Zoo Lights at the Memphis Zoo and the Enchanted Festival of Trees.
The vibrant city of Las Vegas is action-packed at the best of times and it is one of the best places to spend Thanksgiving.
Visitors come from far and wide for their festive Thanksgiving break.
Don’t forget to check out the Bellagio’s incredible Thanksgiving display as well as taking advantage of the spectacular mix of concerts, casinos and shows that Vegas is famous for.
Of course, Vegas is renowned for its shopping and you can take advantage of the amazing Black Friday shopping discounts the day after Thanksgiving too.
Ship up to Boston and get ready to explore one of America’s most exciting and oldest cities at Thanksgiving.
From enjoying a blast of the past at Plimoth Plantation to the Parade of the Big Balloons, there’s plenty of great things to do in Boston for Thanksgiving. One standout is Zoolights at Stone Zoo which is transformed into a winter wonderland.
You can’t beat strolling along the pretty tree-lined paths that are adorned by thousands of twinkling lights.
If you have indulged in delicious festive fare from some of Boston’s best restaurants, then why not take part in a fun run like the Franklin Park Turkey Trot.
Florida is one of the best places for Thanksgiving and you can make the most of the theme parks while enjoying the Thanksgiving traditions.
Many of the theme parks like Universal also put on celebrations throughout the holiday weekend as well as offering some pretty impressive Thanksgiving buffets with live entertainment and a tree-lighting luau.
For couples, friends and families, it’s clear that Orlando is one of the best places to spend Thanksgiving in the USA.
Whilst when you think of New Orleans, Mardi Gras springs to mind, but this fascinating city is fast garnering a reputation for its Thanksgiving prowess too.
New Orleans’ restaurants offer bountiful meals where you can celebrate the festive season with family and friends. ‘Orleans has cemented its reputation as one of the best places to spend Thanksgiving.
Of course, New Orleans is synonymous with music and one of our favourite things to do during the holiday season is the Bayou Battle of the Bands where you can enjoy some of the region’s best musical talent.
Stuff your Thanksgiving weekend with an abundance of things to do in LA.
From more high-octane activities like the Turkey Trot Los Angeles and the Great Los Angeles Walk to the Festival of Lights and the Hollywood Christmas Parade, there’s Thanksgiving fun around every corner making LA one of the best places to spend Thanksgiving.