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Thanksgiving and Black Friday in New York: Our Experiences

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Thanksgiving is one of the most important American holidays. Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, traditionally with the family. Thanksgiving in New York is a special spectacle.

And there are two reasons for that: For one of them is the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade every year on Thanksgiving. Dozens of oversized balloon figures are paraded through the streets of Manhattan, accompanied by floats and live music. The following day is all about shopping madness: Black Friday is the most important and well-known shopping day of the year in New York.

Perhaps you are thinking for Thanksgiving to New York? In this article we share ours personal tips for your NY trip: Where can I watch the parade? What can I expect on Black Friday? And: Where can I get a typical Thanksgiving menu?

1. Thanksgiving in New York: Information & Interesting Facts Travel to New York for Thanksgiving – our Experience Is it worth traveling to New York for Thanksgiving and/or Black Friday? We say: it depends. If you enjoy spending holidays in other countries, then Thanksgiving is quite an experience. First and foremost there is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is watched live by millions of visitors.

The one that follows is for those who are motivated to shop Black Friday a must. We definitely wouldn’t call ourselves shopping fans, but we still dared to hit the streets of New York. Conclusion: You need a lot of patience, but some of the offers are really unbeatable.

Black Friday also officially heralds the Christmas period. Even in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, you can look forward to kitschy streets and shop windows. A small fly in the ointment: The famous Christmas tree in front of Rockefeller Center is already there, but it won’t be lit for the first time until a week later, on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving.

However, around Thanksgiving you also have to Expect small restrictions : On Thanksgiving itself, all hell breaks loose in New York because of the parade. Some shops or other institutions (banks, museums, etc.) are closed on this day.

Thanksgiving Menu Traditionally, on Thanksgiving in the USA, a stuffed turkey is served to the whole family. The holiday meal is accompanied by side dishes made from potatoes or sweet potatoes (e.g. Sweet Potato Mash). In addition, cranberry sauce should not be missing.

Tourists usually do not have the opportunity to join a family celebration. But don’t worry: throughout New York, we make sure that nobody has to starve in the evening. While it’s true that some restaurants are closed, that’s not the norm. Many hotels and restaurants offer special Thanksgiving menus for Thanksgiving. If you have a specific restaurant in mind, you should make an effort to make a reservation well in advance. Many restaurants are fully booked in the evenings.

If you want to escape the Thanksgiving madness completely, Chinatown is a good starting point: In many authentic Chinese restaurants you will hardly notice Thanksgiving.

2. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon inflation the day before The madness starts the day before Thanksgiving. That is when the so-called Balloon Inflation takes place: The balloons are inflated and prepared for use in a fenced-off area west of Central Park on the Upper West Side.

This spectacle is particularly popular with families with children. Unlike the parade, you are usually closer to the balloons here.

The event is only accessible via a circular route (one-way). The path is fenced off and cordoned off by the police. First you go through a security check before you get to the actual area at the American Museum of Natural History.

Good to know: The balloon inflation starts at around 13 Watch. However, it takes a while for some of the balloons to be filled with helium, so we recommend that you come a little later. We ourselves were against 02 at the site and could already see some inflated balloons. In general, the later you come, the more balloons you see and the more people there are. The last entry is at 20 Watch.

Entrance: Corner 79th Street / Columbus Ave

The Thanksgiving Parade The real highlight is then the Thanksgiving Day Parade. It is organized every year by the department store chain Macy’s and is therefore officially called the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. To give you a better idea of ​​how this spectacle unfolds, we have summarized the most important questions and answers for you:

What can I expect at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Many, many people! To be more precise, there are more than three million viewers live on site – unbelievable, isn’t it? But the good news: The public viewing of the parade is possible along 4 kilometers, so the crowds are spread out quite well.

The parade consists of dozens oversized balloons, that are pulled through the streets of Manhattan and often reach several stories in height. There is also a lot of floats and live music. You can imagine the parade as a huge carnival parade. Admission is free, by the way.

When does the parade take place? The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade starts at 9 am and runs until 12 Watch. The parade always takes place on the fourth Thursday of November:

Meeting 2019: Thursday, 28. November 2019Meeting 2020: Thursday, 26. November 2020 Where is the parade taking place? The parade starts where the balloon inflation took place the day before: West of Central Park at the level of 77th Street. The route then runs south to Columbus Circle. There the parade turns left before turning right again onto 6th Avenue and continuing to 34th Street passes. The parade ends at Macy’s Herald Square.

When and where can I see the parade best? It’s a bit tricky to find the right spot to be found to watch. That’s because many Americans love the parade so much and line up as early as 6am to get the best view of the balloons. Of course we didn’t do that, because who wants to stay out in the cold for hours?

We can recommend the route south of the 59th Street. We watched the parade there and – although we were really late – we got quite close to the action without any problems. We secured access ourselves from 7th Avenue. (It’s worth mentioning because of course you have to think about it beforehand – you can cross the parade, but it’s a bit of a hassle.)

If you don’t want to be right in front, you just want to take a look at the balloons, so you don’t need to be there before you start.

You should avoid the following places:

Columbus Circle: You can’t really get close to them here Balloons, because there is no public viewing. While you can see the parade from afar from the upper floors of the mall, the front seats are highly coveted. In addition, you are simply not “right in the middle” here.In between 34th and 38th Street: This is where the TV broadcast takes place, so public viewing is only possible to a limited extent.At Macy’s Herald Square: There is no public viewing here. 3. Black Friday shopping in New York It should be common knowledge that shopping in New York is cheap. But nothing compares to what’s happening in New York on Black Friday. On this day shopping madness takes on a whole new meaning.

However, the extent of the madness varies from shop to shop: some shops open in the middle of the Night on Friday already their doors. Others, on the other hand, limit themselves to Black Friday itself. However, most shops have good offers throughout the weekend.

There are also quite a few differences as far as the offers are concerned: Some shops, such as Levi’s, grant sales 50% off everything (really everything). Others have special Black Friday offers, giving you discounts on certain products. Especially in the electronics sector, the good offers are usually sold out quickly.

This is what you need to be prepared for when you go shopping in New York on Black Friday: Crowds: Really all shops where we were, were overrun. It was worst on 5th Avenue. That was a little better Situation in SoHo.Line up: In very popular shops you often have to stand in line – as seen, for example, at Best Buy (well-known electronics store) or FAO Schwarz (toy shop with the longest line of all).Bargain: If you can handle the hustle and bustle , then you can really save a lot of money on Black Friday. For example, we bought Levi’s. Aside from the fact that shopping in the US is generally already very cheap, the prices on Black Friday were really crazy low. 4. Hotel tip for New York We can highly recommend our hotel for New York: the Hotel 50 Bowery. It was only 801 and has very stylish rooms. From our room we had a direct view of the beautiful driveway to the Manhattan Bridge.

The hotel 50 Bowery is located in the Chinatown neighborhood, which we deliberately chose. Unlike in Midtown Manhattan, for example, you can reach great cafes and restaurants on foot here. You are also only a short walk away from SoHo.

The roof terrace is also a highlight: from the hotel’s own rooftop bar you have a wonderful view of the New York City skyline. Conclusion: We would come back anytime!

Here you can book the hotel: Hotel 50 Bowery

5. More New York blog articles for your trip The most beautiful view over New York City 1752717527 This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!

Have you ever spent Thanksgiving or Black Friday in New York? What were your impressions? Leave us a comment with your tips – thank you!