Travel in NYC during Thanksgiving?
October 16, 2013 7:32 AM   Subscribe

We will be travelling to the US from Europe next year, and I'm interested in the Macy's parade. Is it worth timing our trip so we can see it - particularly as hotels seem to be cheaper in November - or is it a bad idea to visit the US during Thanksgiving (and maybe the chaos of Black Friday)? Possibly relevant: neither of us have driving licenses so would be reliant on public transport, and would plan on spending a few days in NYC before travelling on or flying home.
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (38 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
We went to the Macy's parade a few years ago and it was awesome! I declare it well worth attending (we might go again this year). Public transit is the way to travel in NYC; nobody who visits needs a car.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:34 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's definitely not a bad idea to travel in the US during Thanksgiving - I'm American and I do it every year. A lot of businesses will be closed on Thanksgiving Day itself but restaurants will still be open so you won't starve or anything. Black Friday is usually not even that crazy as long as you aren't up at 5:00 a.m. standing in line at Toys R Us. Most of the hardcore shoppers are finished by mid-morning.

As to the Macy's parade itself, I can't say it would be on my list of things I want to deal with, but plenty of people do it every year.
posted by something something at 7:38 AM on October 16, 2013

I'd stay in a hotel with a view of the parade! The Hilton has packages for this! It's televised, so you can have the TV on, bloody mary's in hand and be warm and toasty!

Christmas season in New York is such an iconic thing. Look at the windows, see the tree in Rockefellar Center.

Chinatown will be open on Thanksgiving for meals, or go all out and make reservations for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

Honestly, it's so neat! I'd do it in a heartbeat!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:39 AM on October 16, 2013 [8 favorites]

My family is from NJ, and I always head into NYC over thanksgiving weekend. Yes, the sidewalks of midtown and SoHo will be so crowded that you can't get by without walking into the street, but what were you expecting in a city of 8 million people?

It's really no problem, assuming you can get a hotel room at a price you're content with and don't have issues with large crowds. For millions of people it is "normal life." And if you're a visitor, a lot of the events around Thanksgiving are really iconic NYC experiences.
posted by deanc at 7:44 AM on October 16, 2013

Traveling on Wednesday right before Thanksgiving is really annoying (based on my experience of going from Philadelphia to New York on public transit) but anything else that week and weekend is probably fine. And even Wednesday will be really crowded and your train/bus could possibly be delayed, it won't kill you or anything.
posted by mlle valentine at 7:52 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you want a cheaper hotel close to Herald Square, The Comfort Inn at Times Square West on 34th Street is pretty good. Breakfast is included and it's walking distance to Macys.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:59 AM on October 16, 2013

You should go. It's wonderful. I go every few years. You'll have a great time. Not only are restaurants open, many have special Thanksgiving Day meals and menus on offer - they're often a little pricey, but having Thanksgiving dinner is a great cultural experience.

Please MeMail me for my seekrit tips perfected over years. I have a great viewing location for you.
posted by Miko at 8:00 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

A word of advice if you go to the parade - either spring for a hotel along the route, or try to get to a viewing spot on the sidewalk EARLY. Parades tend to be very crowded, and people could potentially show up way early - and, with a popular parade like this, the police can get VERY strict about crowd control (like, two hours before they block off a given block and don't let anyone on or off the block, so you're stuck there and if you have to pee you're SOL).

Another word of advice about something to see in advance - if you do come, try to get to the city during the day on the day before, so you can head up to Central Park Wednesday night to watch them inflating the balloons. That's considerably less crowded; it's more informal (it's you and a bunch of people in a park watching some balloons blow up and other people doing random things), but it's still cool.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:02 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

Definitely travel the Monday before if you can, and don't travel back on Sunday. As for the parade itself, I find it's much more fun to be in Central Park than along Central Park West. That way, you're not crowded into a specific spot or trying to see over someone's head.

The night before is fun, too, when they have blown up the balloons, but is an absolute madhouse that takes forever to get through, or it least it has been for the past few years.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:07 AM on October 16, 2013

The wife and I were in downtown Philadelphia for Thanksgiving last year (obviously different anecdata), but the Black Friday thing really wasn't that bad at the downtown stores. We went to Macy's around 12pm or so, and it was busy, but not overwhelmingly so. I think you'll find that the Black Friday thing is usually a)very early in the morning and b)somewhat confined to the suburbs.
posted by kuanes at 8:13 AM on October 16, 2013

Plenty of good advice above. I'd add that if you plan to watch the parade outdoors, plan to pack and wear particularly warm clothing, as you'll be standing still and exposed to any wind. Long underwear would probably work well for this, as it packs down small. The parade experience isn't nearly as much fun if you're shivering!
posted by asperity at 8:20 AM on October 16, 2013

Here is a handy guide from last year about how best to see the pre-parade balloon inflating. Deflating too, if you're interested (much less crowded).
posted by xo at 8:30 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Traveling in the New York City area during Thanksgiving (specifically the day before, but also on Thursday itself and potentially some things on Friday) is HELL. Seriously, it's so bad that I'm tempted to tell you to stay away from New York at Thanksgiving. I also imagine that the airports are pretty bad on Sunday and Monday.

That said, I think it could be OK if you arrived and departed well before and after the problem days. Coming for a week, from Tuesday to Tuesday, could be OK. Plan to not move around much once you've arrived, too. I would not make any plans for Wednesday evening that involve anything you can't walk to.

I would not listen to any advice in this thread that isn't coming from someone who has lived in the NYC metro area. Trying to get navigate NYC in the travel days around Thanksgiving is a special kind of hell that isn't experienced outside of a city of 8 million people who are all trying to get somewhere at the same time.

That said, if you can avoid the worst of the travel days (see above), visiting New York itself during Thanksgiving can be great. Some businesses will be closed on the day itself (shops and tourist attractions), but in New York restaurants will be open. You may want to make reservations for a Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant (and do it NOW), because a lot of people eat Thanksgiving dinner out. You might have trouble just walking into a restaurant on Thursday afternoon/evening and getting served promptly.

I wouldn't worry too much about Black Friday. In New York shops will be crowded (possibly to an extent you've never seen before), but it's not the madness you see at suburban Walmarts.

A lot of tourist attractions and some shops will likely be closed on Thanksgiving Day itself, but if you plan to do the parade and have a nice meal, that's your Thanksgiving spoken for right there.
posted by Sara C. at 8:57 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Christmas season in New York is such an iconic thing. Look at the windows, see the tree in Rockefellar Center.

None of this will be up and running yet on Thanksgiving.

IIRC the Rockefeller tree lighting ceremony is the first week of December. (Unless they've moved it up?) Some of the department store holiday windows might go on display Thanksgiving weekend, maybe? But probably not until Friday?

Manhattan doesn't start to feel genuinely Christmassy until a week or so after Thanksgiving. That said, Hanukkah is early this year, so maybe?
posted by Sara C. at 9:02 AM on October 16, 2013

The thing to realize is that practically everybody in the US gets off work on Wednesday afternoon, and has to be at their family home (parents or grandparents typically) by noon on Thursday. So do not plan to travel on Wednesday, or on Sunday if you can help it. Driving Thursday morning would also be terrible, but you won't have a car.

I spent a couple of Thanksgiving weekends in NYC when i was younger, and as long as your hotel is in Manhattan I don't think you'll find it a problem getting around the city. The subways will run less frequently & will be crowded, but not crazily so.
posted by mr vino at 9:04 AM on October 16, 2013

Mod note: This is a followup from the asker.
I should have said that we will be on a very tight budget as a) we prefer to spend money on doing stuff rather than hotels b) we are travelling around a bit and have to take that into account. Our budget for a hotel room is around $100-150 a night, based on what I've earmarked as good places during research, as we're happy with a cheap chain hotel/B+B as long as it's safe and clean! Is this unrealistic during a holiday? Would we want to look at booking way in advance for the parade date? Also, is everything shut - shops, restaurants etc? Here, during Easter Sunday and Christmas Day, everything is closed, and I'm not sure what happens on holidays in the US.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:05 AM on October 16, 2013

None of this will be up and running yet on Thanksgiving.

This is absolutely not true. The tree may not be lit up yet, but a lot if not most of the decorations will be up by Thanksgiving. Ice skating at Rock Center started this week.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:09 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

But yeah, OP, you are lowballing your hotel room by several hundred dollars.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:10 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

More than a few restaurants will be open, although you may want to make sure you have a reservation for Thanksgiving if you want to be certain you can get in.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:12 AM on October 16, 2013

we are travelling around a bit and have to take that into account.


Nope nope nope.

The only way this trip is going to be in any way fun is if you do not attempt to leave NYC and travel around the region during your visit.

What mr vino says is very true. Imagine a city of eight million, and a broad metropolitan region of millions more, all trying to get to their family home/grandma's house at exactly the same time. When I lived in New York I didn't even like the commute home from work on Wednesday night.

At the very least, you should plan on hunkering down in Manhattan on Wednesday and Thursday. And prepare for regional travel to be a hot mess all weekend.

As someone with no local connections and the ability to avoid the Wednesday/Thursday schlep, you can definitely have an enjoyable visit. But if you decide Wednesday is the perfect day to take Megabus to Boston? Not fun at all.
posted by Sara C. at 9:22 AM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

I (lifelong NYCer) think if you want to travel in the region Thursday/Friday it'll be fine, though as above I'd caution travel on Wednesday (and probably Sunday). I do think your hotel budget could be a problem if you want to get to the parade in time to see anything, since you won't be able to afford a room nearby. (For what it's worth, I went to the parade with friends who had fancy reserved seats and it was fun but not mindblowing or anything. I'd just as soon hit up other cultural institutions if I only had a brief time in NYC.)

A pretty large number of restaurants are open on Thanksgiving, and definitely on Wednesday and Friday (a lot of the city runs as normal those days; some of us have to work :P). If you have a specific place in mind or if you want a Real Thanksgiving Dinner you will want to reserve in advance but if you just want to eat something tasty, it's not hard to walk in at many places.
posted by mlle valentine at 9:29 AM on October 16, 2013

I'm going to second Sara C. I grew up and live in the tri-state and do whatever I can not to travel right around Thanksgiving, because it's kind of hellish. Friday is probably going to be bad. The weekend after will be bad. If you wait until the following week to travel out of New York, you'll be okay. Some New Yorkers have a much higher tolerance for this sort of thing, because they live in it, but if you don't, you might get very overwhelmed. Definitely avoid Time Square during this time period, if you get overwhelmed/claustrophobic.

And yeah, your hotel estimates are way too low.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:37 AM on October 16, 2013

Mod note: This is another followup from the asker.
Hi - the hotel we were looking at (which is well-reviewed on Trip Advisor and doesn't seem to be made from bedbugs and needles) is in Brooklyn and is a little more than the above for 'holidays', but still doable for us. We don't mind walking at all, but is Brooklyn to the parade not doable when public transport isn't running? I found out very early on that we just can't afford to stay in Manhattan, unless we booked a 'New York Shopping' package deal that some companies run here.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:37 AM on October 16, 2013

The subway will keep running. It's just that the experience will be incredibly frustrating and last a lot longer than you think it will. It may take you a long time to find a train that you can fit into.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:43 AM on October 16, 2013

The subways will be running on a Sunday (holiday) schedule that day. And yes, it will be crowded and crazy. That would be your way into Manhattan. I don't know where you're staying in Brooklyn, but the idea of walking into Manhattan to get to a parade that starts at 9 a.m. seems a little batty to me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:44 AM on October 16, 2013

In NYC public transport is always running. You may have to wait a little longer at 5 or 6 AM (check the MTA's site for subway schedules and get to the station 5-10 minutes before the subway is supposed to arrive if you are going extremely early) but it's always running.

Be aware that the "R" train won't be running between Brooklyn and Manhattan during that time, due to construction, if you are staying along that line.
posted by matcha action at 9:44 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Your hotel budget is pretty low for Manhattan in holiday season, and even for Brooklyn. (I think you would have a better time if you found a way to stay in Manhattan, particularly if this is your first visit to New York City.) With that said, here is a list of some options, though note that budget places get booked up fairly early.

I will echo those who say to avoid travel to/from the city on Wednesday or Sunday, and make a reservation ahead somewhere for your Thanksgiving dinner. Other than Thanksgiving day itself, things should be open for you.
posted by gudrun at 9:45 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I guess I'm a curmudgeon, but I think the Macy's parade is massively overrated and not that fun. You fight big crowds and the parade is sort of meh. However, going to Central Park the night before to see them blowing up the balloons is really cool.
posted by Lutoslawski at 9:56 AM on October 16, 2013

is Brooklyn to the parade not doable when public transport isn't running?

Public transit will be 100% running the whole time you are in New York, including Thanksgiving Day.

The issue isn't whether things are running. The issue is crowds and traffic.

That said, if you want to see the Thanksgiving Parade and are staying in Brooklyn, you should make special plans around that. Because on a good day it would take at least half an hour to commute from Brooklyn to where the parade is. It's absolutely not walkable.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the parade is in the morning, and I believe people line up extremely early to get a good spot. You are likely looking at getting to your observation point in the wee hours, probably somewhere around 4 or 5 AM if I had to guess (I've never done the Macy's Parade thing).

If I were you, I'd splurge on a taxi to the parade. That way you won't be subjected to the subway system at 4 in the morning.

You could also just stay out all night Wednesday and then go sleep it off for the rest of Thursday, thus eliminating any need to worry about what is open vs. closed on Thanksgiving.
posted by Sara C. at 9:59 AM on October 16, 2013

Domestic travel in the US, and especially in a large metro area like NYC, is a fucking logistical nightmare during thanksgiving week. If you do come to NYC, get here by the Monday or Tuesday before t-day and do not plan to leave until the following Monday. Otherwise, unless being crowded in to an angry, impatient horde of people for hours on end is the sort of thrilling getaway you're seeking, you will be sad and grumpy.

Your budget is sadly unrealistic, I fear.

Holidays in the US are very unlike holidays in Europe, where things shut down. Here, everything stays open (with the slight exception of xmas day and new year's day) so that people on holiday can come in and spend money.
posted by elizardbits at 10:00 AM on October 16, 2013

Keep in mind that Brooklyn is really big! What part of Brooklyn your hotel is in matters a lot, as does your hotel's proximity to the subway and what subway line, specifically, you're on. The fact that you're asking this anonymously suggests you're worried about privacy, but if you feel comfortable memailing one of the NYC people here with more specific info about your plans, you'll be able to get better advice.

If you want to stay in a cheap hotel for Thanksgiving, book your hotel and travel as soon as possible.

I've lived in NYC for 14 years and I used to travel to Boston for Thanksgiving every year. Traveling around the northeast US that weekend is doable, particularly if you're willing to go at weird hours, but planning ahead will help a lot.

Unless you're planning to catch a very early or very late bus, I would absolutely recommend using Amtrak for any destinations outside the reach of the subway/NJ Transit/Long Island Railroad/Metro North system. Traffic in the region can be a nightmare and isn't always predictable. Plan your trip and buy your train tickets in advance -- tickets purchased more than two weeks out are HALF PRICE, so it's worth sacrificing some spontaneity. (Note that many trains will sell out! Another reason to book tickets early.)

As others have said, the subway here runs 24/7, even on holidays, but it can be harder to navigate late at night (after midnight or so) and in the very early morning. Trains are less frequent, and some lines will have service changes. Keeping track of these service changes can be hard even for people who live here, so again, I'd recommend talking to a local about your plans if at all possible. My train, the D, would absolutely get you to the parade on time without a problem; other lines will not be nearly so reliable.

IN PARTICULAR: look at the subway map very carefully, and see if you'd have to make any transfers between trains. Keep in mind that even trains on the same line of the same color don't all stop at every station -- those transfers aren't as obvious and are easier to make, but they still take time. If you're using the subway system on a holiday, particularly in the very early morning, you need to budget in another 15-20 minutes for every transfer -- if you have bad train luck, you can easily end up standing on the platform for that long. If you don't mind walking, it's often faster to minimize your transfers by doing more walking at the beginning and end of your trip. (On the other hand, some subway lines make more stops and are worth taking transfers to avoid -- seriously, ask a local for advice, it'll save you a huge amount of stress and trouble!)

BONUS TIP: if you don't have a lot of luggage and want to try taking the train to your hotel instead of a cab, this may be possible! Flying into Newark is the easiest, train-wise -- take New Jersey transit into Manhattan, then connect with the appropriate subway line. JFK is pretty doable, too -- I recommend taking the AirTrain to the Long Island Railroad (Jamaica) and then catching a train to the Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn. Lots of subway lines intersect there and it's fast. (And again, a local could help you plan a very specific, detailed plan for this that'll make your life much easier.)

NYC around Thanksgiving is a blast, and there's a ton to do! You'll have a great time!
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:24 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh, somehow I missed that you're in Europe. Lemme give you some more detailed advice.

* The overwhelming majority of businesses in New York City will still be open, and the ones that do close will most likely only be closed on Thanksgiving Day Thursday. Some businesses may also close earlier than usual on Wednesday. But it's not like everything will shut down for three solid days or anything.

* There will be many restaurants open, because a lot of New Yorkers go out to a restaurant for Thanksgiving rather than eating at home. Several restaurants will also feature special Thanksgiving Day Menus just for that day. However, because so many people will be trying to get in, you may need to make reservations to be sure you can get in.

* Public transportation within New York City is quite good. There will still be service on Thanksgiving Day, and all through that week. There may be less service than usual (on Thanksgiving the subways and buses may be using a weekend schedule rather than a regular weekday schedule), but they will still exist.

* Public transportation from New York City to other places, however, will be very very busy. Traditionally most Americans will spend Wednesday traveling to their families' homes, and then that Sunday traveling back to their own homes. Some try to travel on Saturday to "avoid the rush," but a lot of people have caught wise to this "secret" and so that Saturday is becoming fairly busy too.

* Also, the availability of public transportation between cities in the US is not always guaranteed - there is fairly good train service from New York City to Boston, Philadelphia, or Washington DC, but these trains only run every few hours and take a while. (I regularly go from New York to Providence, Rhode Island - the next state over from Massachusetts - and that's about a 3-hour trip.) Parts of the country around New York City may not be served by public transportation at all.

* It is possible to find lodging at the price you're quoting, but you'll be about a half hour to an hour outside the city center (assuming "city center" is Times Square, the site of the Parade, Central Park - you know, all the stuff you see in the movies). The subways can get you around, but just plan the transit time accordingly.

* Speaking of public transit inside New York - a word about "boroughs" of New York. New York City as a whole is on four separate land masses; the one with the city center and all that stuff is Manhattan, the Boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn share one land mass, Bronx is on a third, and Staten Island is on a fourth. You can use the subways to get from one borough to the next - but bus lines do NOT go from one borough to the next, usually. So if you're trying to get from Brooklyn to Manhattan, you'll need to take the subway. There are exceptions, of course - there is one bus line that runs between Queens and Brooklyn, and there are no subway lines that will take you to Staten Island.

* Speaking of Staten Island - that is the one part of New York City proper where you'd be most likely to find the sort of "Black Friday" madness you've heard about. This is more of a small-town or suburban kind of thing, and mostly takes place at ungodly early hours in the morning on the Friday after Thanksgiving. All that happens is, a lot of the big major stores will open as early as midnight and have massive sales, and some people stay up late or get up early to be the first ones there and snap up the bargains. That usually all plays out by mid-morning. You also wouldn't see much of that in the rest of the city proper.

* As for whether there are things to do inside New York City that time - oh my yes. Brooklyn is indeed a very big place, and boasts its own restaurants and museums that may be less crowded (because everyone's going to be trying to do things in Manhattan), and there are loads of little neighborhoods to explore.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:30 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you are planning intercity train travel on Amtrak, I would buy your tickets as soon as possible. Amtrak prices almost invariably become more and more expensive as you get closer to the holidays, and trains in the Northeast Corridor (to Boston, Philly, DC) do sell out over the Thanksgiving holiday.

On the other hand, Metro North, Long Island Rail Road and NJ Transit are all commuter rail systems, have fixed fares (but not flat fares, they do increase with distance from NYC) that won't get jacked up for Thanksgiving, and don't "sell out" trains (but you may get stuck standing), so you don't have to buy those tickets unless you're sure you're going.

But really, I would avoid traveling on Wednesday and Sunday, and I've been in Grand Central on Thanksgiving morning and it was a zoo.
posted by andrewesque at 10:47 AM on October 16, 2013

It's very easy to avoid the "zoo" times and still see the parade. The key is not to hasten back right after the parade. Let the noontime hour pass. Most people are in a rush to get out so they can make it on time to their dinners in the 'burbs...if you aren't in that kind of hurry, you'll find it dies down rapidly and by early afternoon is no problem at all.

I've always come in from NJ on NJ Transit, too, and returned on NJT. Not insane, totally doable.
posted by Miko at 10:52 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

You are likely looking at getting to your observation point in the wee hours, probably somewhere around 4 or 5 AM if I had to guess (I've never done the Macy's Parade thing).

Yeah, the times I went we got there around 5 am, and while we got to stand right up on the street, we were by no means the first folks there. So yeah, go super early, or you'll be stuck behind a sidewalk crammed with people and you won't see anything.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:20 PM on October 16, 2013

It is hard to understate just how unbearable it is to travel in NYC around Thanksgiving. Yes, Wednesday and Sunday will be the absolute worst days to travel, but don't make the mistake of thinking that other times will be good in comparison. So many people leave early/late in order to avoid those days that travel throughout the week is a nightmare. If you definitely want to go somewhere not accessible via the MTA while you're here, then you need to start looking into booking tickets now because many trips sell out well before Thanksgiving. Even then I wouldn't really recommend leaving NYC because travel times are often double what they are normally.

If your whole reason for visiting over Thanksgiving is the parade, I don't know if it would be an awesome enough experience to balance out the logistical nightmare that you will be getting yourself into. Late November in Manhattan will be both cold and windy, making standing around starting in the wee hours of the morning in order to ensure that you have a spot from which you can actually see the parade is not going to be a super fun time. I've had the opportunity to watch from inside a building along the route and even that was not much more enjoyable than just watching it on TV. I'm not big on parades though, so YMMV.
posted by fox problems at 4:53 PM on October 16, 2013

1. Keep in mind that Thanksgiving weekend is widely reported to be THE WORST weekend of the entire year to travel in the US. I guarantee there will be news stories running throughout the country that will highlight the massive lines and awful delays at airports. Plan accordingly, and be aware that if your flight is cancelled for some reason, it is very possible you will be spending the night (or even multiple nights) at the airport.

2. Your hotel will not be walking distance from the parade. Public transportation will be crowded, and will run less frequently than on normal weekdays, but will be running. If you're the sort of people who feel up to pulling an all-nighter, you may consider coming into Manhattan the night before the parade to watch the balloons being inflated, and then find an all-night bar or coffee shop to hang out at until it's time to get to the parade route. And yes, you will need to get to the parade route very early if you want to get a good spot.

3. The tree at Rockefeller Center will not be lit. It's possible that some stores on 5th Ave will begin to set up holiday decorations in time for your trip; typically it's about a week or two too early for the full-on Christmas In New York thing to get going just yet. However, the first night of Channukah happens to fall on Thanksgiving this year, so all bets are off.

4. Some restaurants around the city have special Thanksgiving dinner events, or may prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal instead of their regular menu. Depending on your budget, you may want to take advantage of one of these events.

5. Don't bother with Black Friday.
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 8:33 PM on October 16, 2013

3. The tree at Rockefeller Center will not be lit. It's possible that some stores on 5th Ave will begin to set up holiday decorations in time for your trip; typically it's about a week or two too early for the full-on Christmas In New York thing to get going just yet. However, the first night of Channukah happens to fall on Thanksgiving this year, so all bets are off.

It's not even Halloween yet and more than a few of the stores have started and most of the Holiday Markets are also opening and will definitely be open by Thanksgiving. I had Australian friends here for Thanksgiving a few years ago and seeing it through their eyes (although we skipped the parade) was like a kid at Christmas. It's worth the splurge.
posted by TravellingCari at 6:42 PM on October 17, 2013

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