Since the first Thanksgiving in the 1620s, hosted by the Pilgrims to celebrate their first harvest, Thanksgiving has blossomed into a holiday aimed at bringing family and friends together and has become one of the United States’ most beloved traditions. Whether you prefer eating an unending amount of Turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce or watching football games and parades, here are the best places in the U.S. to celebrate Thanksgiving.
The capital of the United States is bound to have some of the best Thanksgiving traditions. The White House’s annual Turkey Pardon has been a presidential tradition since the 1800s and is a truly… unique experience. Washington, D.C. is rich in history and with gas lamps and victorian homes lining the cobblestone roads, it feels like you’re traveling back in time. The gorgeous multi-colored leaves add a nice touch as well.
Where it all began! Head just one hour south of Boston and you hit what was once a village for colonists in New England. A weekend-long celebration boasting a parade, a food festival, arts and crafts, live performers, a farmer’s market, and even a traditional Thanksgiving dinner (with a local turkey with all the trimmings, mashed potatoes with gravy, and of course, our beloved stuffing). The Plimoth Plantation is a must-see, to experience Thanksgiving as if you just got off the Mayflower.
New York City, New York
When it comes to holiday celebrations, New York always wins. Whether you’re watching from your TV in your jammies, from the inside of a store you’re shopping in for Black Friday, or you’ve decided to brave the cold and stand outside to see it in person, the Macy’s Day Parade is synonymous with Thanksgiving. Incredible floats and gigantic balloons fill the streets of New York City as far as the eye can see, bringing a bit of a youthful magic to the holiday.
Blacksmiths, wig-makers, and the nearby Jamestown Settlement give this southern town its colonial charm. Williamsburg, the former capital of Virginia, is said to be the location of the first ever Thanksgiving dinner. That being said, restaurants in town offer traditional Thanksgiving dinners!
If New York is a bit too far for you to travel to but you’re really keen on the idea of going to a parade, give Chicago a try! The McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade goes all around the downtown area and is filled to the brim with more live performers, more gigantic balloons, and more huge floats. Not far away is Christkindlmarket, the country’s biggest German Christmas Market, which opens the week of Thanksgiving!
This one comes a bit before Thanksgiving, but is equally as fun… and filling. Grillsgiving is an annual barbecue competition and music festival. All proceeds benefit the community-wide Residential Energy Assistance Partnership, so you’re doing the society good while at the same time doing your belly some good.