While most tourists don’t want to visit New York City during the depths of winter, there is one last weekend for travelers: Thanksgiving. Whether you're visiting family or on vacation, take advantage of the crisp air to explore the city and visit major attractions on foot. Join the excited throngs lining the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as iconic balloons soar through the concrete canyons. But the parade is just the start—discover our top five activities in New York City.
While not as popular as the summer, fall and winter offer unique opportunities in Central Park. You can rent a pair of skates at the Wollman Rink adjacent to the Central Park Zoo. Gliding across the white ice (or stumbling across the rink is you’re still learning how to skate) is a wonderful outing on a brisk day. Before lacing up your skates, take a reflective stroll among the somber trees and quiet parklands. Or you can rent a horse-drawn carriage and receive a tour of the Park and explore everything from the Mall to Cherry Hill Fountain.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
An annual tradition for almost a century, the 90th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade starts at 77th Street and Central Park West at 9:00 A.M. The parade will wind its way through the city before coming to an end on Sixth Avenue and 34th Street. If you want to secure a place at one of the best viewing spots, we recommend the second and third floors of the Shops at Columbus Circle, which opens at 9:00 A.M., if you want to be indoors. If you’re willing to bundle up and stand in the chill air, we recommend the start of the parade on Central Park West, but you should claim your place as early as 6:00 A.M. before the parade begins. You’ll have quite a view of the spectacular floats and balloons celebrating some of America’s greatest cultural icons (alongside more fleeting additions) in addition to celebrities, performers, musicians, and dancers
If you’re visiting on Black Friday and are prepared to brave the crowds, New York is home to some of the most legendary shopping opportunities in the world. Iconic department stores such as Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, and Bloomingdales are palaces of fashion. Not just a shopping opportunity, these historic buildings are beautiful architectural landmarks in their own right. The elaborate decorations and sumptuous design transport shoppers back to the Gilded Age. From window shopping on Madison Avenue to countless boutiques and unique vendors, visitors can find anything in New York.
Hamilton’s New York
Can’t find tickets to Hamilton? Neither can we, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from exploring the city in the footsteps of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. Led by licensed guide and historian Jimmy Napoli, Outside In Tours offers a walking tour of Hamilton’s Wall Street and Hamilton’s Harlem. While the tours might feature less singing and dancing, Napoli is a tireless and engaging guide who brings the illustrious politician’s fascinating career to life. The tour of Wall Street includes the Battery, Federal Hall, and Fraunces Tavern. In Harlem, the tour starts at the Morris-Jumel Mansion and travels to Hamilton Heights and Hamilton Grange.
Radio City Music Hall
Radio City Music Hall is an integral part of Rockefeller Center at the heart of Manhattan. If you are still in town and want to get a start on the holidays, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular is also one amazing show. First performed in 1933, the show is now ninety minutes of dance, song, and laughter featuring the Rockettes. The embodiment of style, flair, and glamor since 1925, the Rockettes are also an essential part of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but nothing beats seeing them perform on the main stage. The Christmas Spectacular runs from November 11th to January 2nd, and don’t forget to purchase tickets in advance.