Top 5 Things to do to Celebrate Thanksgiving
The Pilgrims arrived in what was then known as New Plymouth (now Massachusetts) in the 17th century, and during that time the Native Americans stepped in to help the struggling Pilgrims grow crops. As a sign of gratitude, the Pilgrims invited the Native Americans for a three-day feast.
Fast forward to the 21st century and you too can celebrate this great holiday, with trips to cities around the U.S. during the Thanksgiving period.
One of the most iconic sights in the Thanksgiving calendar is the Macy’s parade, which has been around since 1924. Watched by over 3 million New Yorkers and 50 million at home, the Macy’s parade features wacky floats, a symbolic release of balloons, the best theatre performers Broadway has to offer and a great selection of musical acts.
Although it isn’t the oldest Thanksgiving parade in the United States, it is the most well-known. The route travels through Manhattan’s 6th Avenue and ends on 34th Street in front of the Macy’s store in Herald Square, which featured in the 1947 movie, Miracle on 34th Street.
While most attention and focus is on the Pilgrims throughout Thanksgiving, Santa Fe has plenty to offer on the Native Americans. Visit the world-renowned museums and art galleries that relay the efforts of these indigenous people in helping avert mass starvation. Check out the three-day Winter Indian Market, which features over 200 artists and native dance groups that celebrate the native cultures that have contributed over the centuries in the States. For the adventure thrill-seekers, head up to Ski Santa Fe, which opens on Thanksgiving Day, for a day on the slopes.
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park is the perfect mountain getaway for families all year long, but during the Thanksgiving period there are extra activities and events held there to keep everyone entertained.
The Great Smoky Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts show is spread across Thanksgiving weekend and is a wonderful place to make and purchase unique holiday gifts. If sports and thrills are more your thing, you’ll want to ride up to Mount Harrison, where you’d find ice skating rinks, nine ski trails and a snow tubing lane. Don’t worry, there is gear available to rent as well.
The oldest Thanksgiving parade, dating back to 1920, is held in Philadelphia and hosted by Dunkin’ Donuts. You can find classic floats of cartoon characters like Garfield, Clifford and Mr. Potato Head doing the rounds in The City of Brotherly Love. Beginning at 8:30am, the parade sets off from JFK Boulevard and finishes in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is incidentally the best spot to stand and watch the parade.
For a truly authentic Thanksgiving experience, look to the place where it all began. Visit the Plimoth Plantation and explore the Mayflower II, before checking in for the classic Plymouth Thanksgiving dinner – where roast native turkey with giblet gravy and traditional stuffing is on the menu. Be in attendance of the experts that give a full recount of how the first Thanksgiving feast happened and how this became a tradition that is celebrated nationwide.