The holiday season in New York City starts early; with hundreds of activities to do everyday like ice-skating at Rockefeller Center, browsing the Holiday markets, and visiting the iconic Holiday windows set up each year in the malls. Snow blankets the sidewalks, Christmas music glides through the air, and decorations adorn every building. Nothing is spared when it comes to decorating the Big Six; thousands of Christmas lights line the streets and the infamous Rockefeller Christmas tree glows beneath the New York skyline. Everyone is in the holiday spirit and it all begins with the Macy’s Parade.
Since November 27th 1924, The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (originally called the Macy’s Christmas Parade until 1927) has become one of the biggest traditions in New York City’s history. In the beginning years, the parade was intended to draw attention to Macy’s flagship store, spanning from 77th St. to Herald Square. The parade featured employees and live animals from Central Park Zoo, which where later replaced with animal shaped balloons created by Marionette Maker Tony Frederick Sarg in 1927. Over the past 90 years, the parade has become bigger and better in a lot of ways. Gaining even more attention from being featured in classic movies such as Miracle on 34th Street and even a film solely based on the parade, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (2008), to being one of the top rated televised events in history year after year- 25.2 million viewers in 2013, an eleven year high.
Thanksgiving in New York City is an experience that will last for a lifetime. Witnessing the magic of the Macy’s Parade can be followed by lunch at La Bella Farrara, an authentic, affordable, Italian restaurant in Little Italy. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between Christmas gifts and a Thanksgiving getaway. There are hundred of affordable restaurants, hotels, and plenty of activities to fill the day for the whole family. Central Park ice skating at Trump Rink starts at just $20 per person, take a bus tour through the city and gaze at all of the beautiful Christmas lights and decorations shielded from the wintery chill for only $49, even tour the settings of your favorite films on the New York Holiday Movie Sites Tour for just $38.
Stay where you play! Hotels for all accommodations are available all around the city. Want to be near the action? is the perfect location for your family located near Broadway. This high-rise, 4-star hotel offering panorama views is just $149 per night (it even includes free WiFi!). The Belvedere Hotel is a 3-star high-rise hotel located just two blocks from Restaurant Row and starts at just $110 per night. Do you want to be closer to live music? Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan is a modern 46-story hotel in the heart of the theatre district and Times Square, not far from Carnegie Hall. This 4-star hotel is the perfect place if you want to be within walking distance of almost everything and it starts at $195! Check out Military Travel Exchange for cheap flights for military, especially during holiday travel season. We recommend you flying into JFK John F. Kennedy International Airport as it is the closest to Time Square and most hotels offer shuttles to and from the airport.
What is New York City if you don’t experience the food? The restaurant industry in the Big Apple is one of the biggest perks of visiting for the Thanksgiving holiday. The entire family can find food that they love and the best part is no clean up for you! Start your day off with breakfast at the El Ray Coffee Bar and Luncheonette. Located near Stanton Street on the Lower East Side, this bakery and coffee shop offers chef Gerardo Gonzalez’s inspired, veggie-centric, nut-and-grain-dappled lunch menu. Grab dinner at St. Anselm, a steakhouse in Williamsburg. St. Anselm gained the reputation of the best and cheapest steakhouse around with the butcher’s steak for just $16. While nothing can beat a homemade Thanksgiving dinner at Grandma’s house, Bobwhite Lunch & Supper Counter can come close to making up for it. This southern-style restaurant located on 94th Avenue offers a comfortable mix of biscuits, greens, and fried chicken. What is New York City if you don’t try some pizza? Roberta’s located in East Williamsburg is a new Brooklyn pizzeria, bread bakery, and Internet radio station. Their famous original pizza is good enough to attract Michel Bras, Alice Waters, and even the Clintons!
An exciting New York Thanksgiving or holiday getaway is possible for anyone. Whether you watch the Macy’s Parade, shop along Fifth Avenue, or tour the six Burroughs, memories and traditions will be made for the entire family. After all, traveling is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.
Family Travel: Thanksgiving in New York & Macy’s
By Military Travel Exchange