Timeout New York Kids

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Thanksgiving Day activities for families in New York City

Find a spot in the parade crowds, duck in to a seasonal show or visit a city museum that stays open for the holiday, plus more Thanksgiving Day activities

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade may be the most well-known Turkey Day event in NYC, but it's hardly the only fun thing to do. Work up an appetite on one of the top hiking trails for families, see a seasonal show, visit a museum or check out one of the best ice-skating rinks in New York City for families. Our list of Thanksgiving Day activities for families is sure to keep you and your crew entertained before and after your feast. Whether you're cooking at home or eating at one of our favorite family restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day in NYC, have a happy holiday! 


RECOMMENDED: Thanksgiving in NYC for kids


Thursday, November 27

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

  • Critics choice
  • Free

For the 88th year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will usher in the holiday season with familiar sights like giant balloons, high-kicking Rockettes and Santa’s sleigh, plus celebrity appearances. Begins at W 77th St and Central Park West; for the complete parade route visit macys.com/parade. All ages.

  1. Manhattan
  2. Until Thu Nov 27
More info

Long Island City YMCA Kids Turkey Dash

Before sitting down to a gut-busting Thanksgiving meal, lace up your sneakers and head to the Long Island City YMCA for their annual Turkey Dash. Kids of all ages can run or walk in one of several races (100, 400 and 1000 meters) and compete for trophies. Everyone who participates gets a medal, t-shirt and refreshments, and there's a dance party and awards celebration after the race. All ages.

  1. Long Island City YMCA 32-23 Queens Blvd., at 32nd St.
  2. Until Thu Nov 27
More info

Prospect Park Track Club Turkey Trot

  • Price band: 3/4

Register early for this popular pre-feast race in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. Walkers are welcome on the five-mile course, which starts on Center Drive and winds up near the Lakeside Center. If the promise of a hearty Thanksgiving meal isn't motivation enough, the first three male and female finishers win holiday pies.

  1. Prospect Park Prospect Park West to Flatbush Ave, between Prospect Park Southwest and Ocean Ave
  2. Until Thu Nov 27
More info

Thanksgiving Late Lunch Cruise

  • Price band: 3/4

Skip the long hours in the kitchen—and the heaps of dirty dishes—and enjoy a fully-stocked buffet on board the luxurious Hornblower Yacht. The massive ship will be decked out in its holiday finest for OnCruises' Thanksgiving Late Lunch Cruise. After filling up on "all the Thanksgiving favorites plus more," unwind with some football on the flat screen TVs or take in the stunning views of lower Manhattan. All ages.

  1. Pier 40 W Houston St, at the Hudson River
  2. Until Thu Nov 27
More info

Soil to Oil

Take advantage of the Jewish Children's Museum's extended hours on Thanksgiving Day (open 10am–5pm) and learn about the ancient art of oil-pressing at this Hanukkah workshop. Little ones will choose the best olives, extract the oil and use it to light a menorah. Ages 3–12.

  1. Jewish Children's Museum 792 Eastern Pkwy, at Kingston Ave
  2. Wed Dec 24
More info

Marvel's Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N.

  • Price band: 2/4

Superheroes-in-training are granted special S.H.I.E.L.D. access to the offical Avenger's S.T.A.T.I.O.N. (Scientific Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network) headquarters. Visitors can examine top-secret intelligence files and classified studies and experiments that delve into the origins of the powerful Avengers. View Captain America's Birth Pod, Loki's Scepter and other sacred artifacts, then get behind the controls of Iron Man's suit and see how you measure up against Captain America's physical abilities at this immersive exhibition. All ages.

  1. Discovery Times Square 226 W 44th St, between Seventh and Eighth Aves
  2. Until Sun Feb 15
More info

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

You'll get a kick out of this holiday stalwart, which—after 86 years—still features Santa, wooden soldiers and the leggy, spunky Rockettes. In recent years, new music, more eye-catching costumes, and advanced technology were introduced to bring audience members closer to the performance, including last year's debut, a number called "Snow", in which the decor, costumes and technology transform the stage into a white wonderland. All ages.

  1. Radio City Music Hall 1260 Sixth Ave, at 50th St
  2. Until Wed Dec 31
Buy tickets

Big Apple Circus: Metamorphosis

  • Price band: 3/4

Gotham's favorite circus troupe kicks off an all-new sawdust spectacular for its 37th season, astounding families and young circusgoers with quick-chance transformation acts and enchanting illusions under the direction of Ringmaster John Kennedy Kane. You can duck under the Big Top to witness fearless trapeze flyers, gravity-defying acrobats, a mind-bending contortionist and a diabolo and foot-juggling team from no more than 50 feet from the action. Francesco the Clown and talented creatures including camels, horses and pups will also enter the ring, performing to tunes from the Big Apple Band. Kids get in free on Wednesdays (two-for-one offer, with purchase of adult ticket) for a 75-minute show with no intermission. Ages 3 and up.

  1. Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center W 62nd St, between Columbus and Amsterdam Aves
  2. Sun May 17 - Sun Jun 14
More info

Bank of America Winter Village at Bryant Park

  • Free

During the winter months, Bryant Park opens a no-charge 17,000-square-foot skating rink. Don’t get too excited: The admission may be free, but you gotta pay $14 to rent skates (or BYO). On the upside: The complex holds 500 people, holiday shops, an indoor pavilion and the Canadian-themed lounge Celsius, which conveniently offers a full children's menu and plenty of hot chocolate.

  1. Sixth Ave, (between 40th and 42nd Sts)
More info

Grand Central Holiday Train Show

  • Free

While you’re exploring the New York Transit Museum, be sure to visit its vintage Lionel Metro-North, New York Central and subway trains displayed on a 34-foot long, two-level “O” gauge model train layout through February. Kids will love checking out a miniature Grand Central Terminal and seeing vintage Lionel ads from the 1930s.

  1. Grand Central Terminal, Main Concourse 42nd St to 44th St, between Vanderbilt and Lexington Aves
  2. Sun Feb 22
More info

The Rink at Rockefeller Center

  • Price band: 2/4

Even if the sidewalks are overrun with tourists, your crew will have ample room to skate at the city’s most iconic rink; only 150 people are allowed on the ice at once. Unfortunately, that also means that your family should prepare for long lines—unless you plan on going early in the morning or between 9am and noon on Thanksgiving, expect a one- to two-hour wait. Reservations for the first skate of the day (daily 8:30am) can also be made online.

  1. 30 Rockefeller Plaza, (between 49th and 50th Sts)
More info

Trump Wollman Rink

  • Price band: 1/4

Skating newbies can sign up for the learn-to-skate program—it’s the largest in the country. But no matter what your child’s skill level, there’s nothing quite like skating in the middle of our city’s most beautiful park.

  1. Central Park, (enter at W 59th St at Sixth Ave), 10065
More info

Music Room for Kids

Kids can discover the music within at this hands-on exhibit at the Jewish Children's Museum. Little music-makers of all ages are encouraged to experiment with a range of instruments, including a finger chime and a giant xylophone. They'll particularly enjoy making all the noise they want (without fear of disturbing the neighbors) in the percussion center. Visit the Music Room on Sundays for an educational music workshop. All ages.

  1. Jewish Children's Museum 792 Eastern Pkwy, at Kingston Ave
  2. Until Thu Nov 27
More info

Trump Lasker Rink

  • Price band: 1/4

This rink is less crowded than Wollman, but go for the hockey: Competitive leagues for Gretzky wanna-bes practice here daily. If your tot has a winter birthday, this spot also offers party packages.

  1. Central Park,, (enter at W 110th St and Malcolm X Blvd (Lenox Ave)), 10026
More info

The Three Bears Holiday Bash

  • Price band: 1/4

This seasonal offering of song, dance and, of course, puppetry comes from the talented folks at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre. Tots will see a mix of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Christmas themes incorporated into the company's take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The plot snowballs after Baby Bear invites St. Nick to star in Mama and Papa Bear's festive spectacular. Be sure to check the website for an updated schedule; showtimes are subject to change. No performances on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Ages 3 to 9.

  1. Central Park Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre west side, at 79th St
  2. Until Tue Dec 30
More info


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