Thanksgiving is one of our favorite times of year in New York City. It kicks off the beautiful holiday season and is a wonderful holiday in its own right. It’s also the time of year when one of New York’s greatest public events takes place – the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
If you’re searching for some great seasonal activities and things to do in November, check out a few of these suggestions. Here are our top attractions and events to make the most of Thanksgiving in New York, including:
- Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
- Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar
- Holiday Train Show
- Bank of America Winter Village
- Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
From 77th Street to 34th Street
In 2021, the 95th installment of the annual parade is a return to form! Following 2020's digital version of the parade, this year it's back to being another epic start to the holiday season with giant balloons, fantastic floats & amazing performers. Look for all your favorite cartoon characters to make their debut as giant balloons. It remains an event not to be missed, especially with the city open and welcoming visitors after this crazy last 18 months!
Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar
501 Union Street
Image credit: Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar.
A great destination for all your holiday shopping needs is the Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar. Browse through hundreds of beautiful gifts from local makers and select national crafters. You’ll find everything from paintings to handmade paper to handcrafted jewelry. Enjoy festive music and grab a bite to eat from participating vendors to get in the festive spirit. After shopping, make the most of the neighborhood with a walking tour.
Getting In: Admission to the Brooklyn Holiday Bazaar is free, and Brooklyn walking tour tickets are available with the Go New York Explorer Pass.
Holiday Train Show
New York Botanical Garden
Image credit: New York Botanical Garden
This uniquely New York phenomenon is a sight to behold. Come to the New York Botanical Garden to find yourself immersed in a magical world of nature and technology. Watch trains wind through a wonderland of NYC landmarks and icons. All the pieces of the set are constructed out of natural elements like bark, leaves, berries, and more.
Plus, there's a half-mile of train tracks throughout, so you'll get to see plenty of the technological side, too. This annual event is beloved by locals and is a must-see for families and adults alike! Access to this special exhibit is included with regular admission.
Getting In: New York Botanical Garden tickets are available with the Go New York Explorer Pass.
The Nutcracker Ballet
This Thanksgiving weekend, don't miss out on the opportunity to celebrate the holiday season with an iconic performance of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. It's a tour de force of flawless ballet, gorgeous sets and costumes, and a timeless score. No wonder some people go every year! If you don't get to see The Nutcracker, it's still worth taking a tour of Lincoln Center to see the holiday decorations.
Getting In: Lincoln Center Tour tickets are available with the Go New York Explorer Pass. Tickets to The Nutcracker are separately priced and are not included with the pass.
Bank of America Winter Village
Image credit: Bryant Park Facebook page.
Searching for a unique, yet affordable place to pick up holiday gifts in New York City? The Winter Village in Chelsea’s Bryant Park should be on your list. There are more than 120 shops, kiosks, food stands, and more. You’ll be able to find something for everyone on your list.
This European-inspired market provides an excellent souvenir-shopping opportunity too! Don’t forget about the ice-skating. Skating is free (although you need to bring your own skates), and Bryant Park’s massive outdoor rink is a sight to behold. The ice-skating rink is open until March.
Getting In: Admission to Winter Village is free.
Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting
If you happen to be in town for a few days after Thanksgiving Weekend, it's worth a trip to Rockefeller Center to see them light their iconic tree. Typically a Norwegian Spruce, this tree will arrive in NYC in early November. A massive 30,000 LED lights and a Swarovski crystal star will decorate the tree. The lights are switched on during this ceremony, however! This year's ceremony will take place on Wednesday, December 4, from 7 - 10 PM. This special holiday tradition is sure to inspire the festive spirit in you. While you're in the area, why not take a tour of Rockefeller Center? You will learn all about its significance and rich history.
Getting In: It's free to watch the Rockefeller Center Tree Lighting. Admission to the Rockefeller Center tour is included in the Go New York pass.
Save on attraction admission
Regular admission to a number of these New York attractions is available on the Go New York Explorer Pass®. Choose as you go from dozens of top attractions and save on combined admission vs paying at the gate. See all available New York passes, attractions & prices. Please note, some of these special November events may be separately ticketed and not included in the Go New York Explorer Pass®.
Consider adding a few of these fun options to your November weekend itineraries. Happy Thanksgiving!