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7 Tips for Visiting New York City During Thanksgiving and the Holidays

a group of people sitting at a table posing for the camera

Looking for travel hacks for your next trip to New York City during the holiday season?

Thanksgiving and the holidays are fast approaching so you may be planning a trip to New York City to take in all the festive cheer! So, whether you are a local or visiting for the first time, here are our 7 tips for visiting New York City during Thanksgiving and the holidays. On this list, there are some attractions a bit off the beaten path and some advice to make the most of your trip.

Go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Balloon Inflating Event

Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade InflationP.C.: wikipedia, Mkrupnic

People from around the world get together in Midtown every Thanksgiving for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. One of the biggest draws are the massive balloons of some of the most popular characters in pop culture. It is truly a sight to behold. But did you know you can also attend the balloon inflating event on Thanksgiving Eve too? You can do this in Central Park and on the streets around the American Museum of Natural History, starting around noon.

Check Out Luna Park’s Inaugural Frost Fest

Cyclone Roller Coaster

Looking to make new holiday traditions? 2023 will be the first ever Frost Fest in Luna Park in Coney Island. On select days from November 18 to January 7, 2024, you can go to Frost Fest which features a skating rink, rides, holiday decorations and even an opportunity to meet the man himself, Santa Claus!

Shop for Gifts at the Holiday Markets

Columbus Circle Holiday Market

Shopping for a unique gift for someone special? We recommended shopping at the holiday markets at Bryant Park’s Winter Village, Union Square and Columbus Circle. We really like the fact that most of the shops are small local businesses, and we like the diversity of the shops in these markets. So, with everything from interesting toys to useful kitchenware, we really believe you can find something for everyone.

Skate at Bryant Park

Bryant Park Ice Skating

One of our favorite winter activities is ice skating, especially during the holidays. The excitement, energy and atmosphere add to the experience. You can skate at the Rockefeller Center rink by the world-famous Christmas tree, but our favorite ice-skating rink is in Bryant Park. Best of all, skating at Bryant Park is free if you bring your own skates and a lock for your locker.

Join an Ahoy New York Food Tour

Ahoy NY Food Tours Upside Pizza Tasting

November and December are a great time to visit New York City and a stress-free way to plan your visit is to join us on a food tour! We have two fun, family- friendly food tours, the Chinatown and Little Italy Food Fest and Tasty Global Bites – A Culinary Journey through Nolita, Little Italy & Chinatown. We also offer gift certificates for our tours, and they are great gift ideas!

See the Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights

Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights Costumed Stilt Walker

For many, the holiday season doesn’t start until you visit some of the iconic Christmas locations like Macy’s in Herald Square, Rockefeller Center, and Dyker Heights. They feature extravagant Christmas trees, lights, and decorations. But to really get into the holiday spirit, we like going to the Bronx Zoo Holiday Lights event too. It features over one million Christmas lights, lantern trails, illuminated performers, ice carving demonstrations and more. This event will be from November 17 to January 7, 2024.

Prepare for the Crowds and Weather

Rockefeller Christmas Tree

Our last tip is that New York City can get crowded during the holidays and it can get quite cold. So, we recommended visiting popular attractions during the off hours like early December and during the middle of the week. Also, it is important to dress for the weather and we recommend dressing in layers. Finally, you are probably going to be walking a lot, so it is important to bring comfortable shoes. Your feet will thank you!