Once you gorge on stuffing and the best pies in NYC, watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and maybe even slog your way through a local turkey trot, there’s only one thing left on the Thanksgiving agenda: Black Friday. This year, why not skip the crowds and lines for something a little more fun? Round up your friends and family and try something on our list of the best things to do on Black Friday instead of shopping. Trust us—no discounts or deals can compare to the memories you’ll make.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Black Friday in NYC
The best things to do on Black Friday besides shopping
Most museums are open the day after Thanksgiving, and there’s no better choice for the whole family than the Met. There’s something for everyone: your dad the history buff, pretentious cousin who tells everyone she went to art school and little brother who just wants to see the mummies.
If you have littles in tow, opt for the family-friendly American Museum of Natural History. Jaws will drop when you enter the rotunda to discover the enormous Barosaurus skeleton replica, and that’s just the beginning. During the holiday season, the museum unveils a towering fir tree decorated with origami animals, and this year’s theme is dinosaurs. Volunteers started folding the paper decorations in March!
Walk off that extra slice of pie on a guided 2.5-mile hike through the lush Blood Root Valley park on Staten Island. Greenbelt Nature Center educators will point out seasonal foliage and wildlife, and even show you the historic David LaTourette House that was constructed in 1836.
It’s not just for the little ones: the holiday train show at the New York Botanical Garden will delight kids of all ages. Watch model trains zip around miniature versions of the Statue of Liberty and Rockefeller Center made entirely out of natural materials. And since this is the show’s 25th year, you’ll see two brand new replicas: the Queensboro Bridge and the Coney Island fairground.
Here’s one way to feel better about your own family drama: watch the Blake family descend into despair, disaster and chaos over Thanksgiving dinner. Sounds dark, we know, but this critically acclaimed play actually offers a poignant reflection of this complicated life we’re all living.
Take a more artsy crowd to the Whitney. The avant-garde museum showcases contemporary American Art, and you’ll see pieces by Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol and many more. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the outdoor galleries for some stunning views of Chelsea and the Hudson River.
Keep the holiday spirit going with the stage adaptation of the 1942 Bing Crosby–Fred Astaire movie musical. The show follows crooner Jim Hardy (Bryce Pinkham), who invites a troupe of Broadway singers and dancers to his Connecticut farmhouse in hopes of drawing in more business. Over-the-top routines devoted to Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving and the rest of the holidays follow. Early 2000s kids will also be pleased to see High School Musical alum Corbin Bleu take on Astaire's former role.
The horses pulling carriages through Central Park never look too happy. Then again, how would you feel if you had to wear that ridiculous feathered headdress all day? There’s a more humane way for equestrians to explore the park: on horseback! Meander down the Bridle Path, pausing now and then to admire the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.
Raaka Chocolate’s Red Hook location isn’t just a sweet shop: it’s also the factory. For just $10, one of the chocolatiers will give you a behind the scenes tour, stopping along the way to let you taste both the raw cacao beans and the finished chocolate bars.