Discover plenty of things to do over Thanksgiving weekend, whether you're in the holiday spirit, or if you're more ho-ho-oh forget it. If you're staying here over Thanksgiving weekend, chances are you've got your folks in town. In which case, it's the perfect time to take them to the festive sightsÂ—like ice-skating rinks or holiday marketsÂ—while the city's delightfully deserted. On the other hand, if you're here and are trying your very best to avoid Christmas in New York, we've got your agenda for a cultured couple of days away from the turkeys.
MacyÂ’s Parade Balloon Inflation
This preÂ–Turkey Day ritual, held near the American Museum of Natural History, has become almost as crowded as the MacyÂ’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but we prefer it to the main event. Why? We prefer to weave through the crowds, walking past the inflation stations to see Kermit the Frog, Julius the Paul Frank monkey, Sonic the Hedgehog, Buzz Lightyear et al. at our own pace. Inflation takes place from 3 to 10pm. Arrive later in the evening, when the gigantic characters have taken shape; the crowds are at their peak, so you can also show off the famed New York sidewalk shuffle. Enter at W 79th St at Columbus Ave.
MacyÂ’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
For the 88th year, the MacyÂ’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will usher in the holiday season with familiar sights like giant balloons, high-kicking Rockettes and SantaÂ’s sleigh, plus celebrity appearances. Begins at W 77th St and Central Park West; for the complete parade route, visit macys.com/parade.
The Annual Post-Thanksgiving Multiethnic Eating Tour
Pining for a plantain? Dying for douhua? Embark on this culinary tour of the Lower East Side, Chinatown and Little Italy, which features nibbles from various ethnic shops and markets, including Italian specialty store Enoteca DiPalo. You'll also stop at tofu factory Kong Kee Food Corp. for some beany bites spiced with star anise. Registration required. Meet at the southwest corner of Delancey and Essex Sts. Subway: F to Delancey St; J, Z, M to DelanceyÂ–Essex Sts.
Arlo Guthrie's Annual Thanksgiving Concert
Every Thanksgiving, Woody's son Arlo hosts a big charity concert at Carnegie HallÂ—expect guests, folk standards and a blowout rendition of "Alice's Restaurant Massacree."
Radio City Christmas Spectacular
You'll get a kick out of this holiday stalwart, whichÂ—after more than eight decadesÂ—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.
Window-shopping went to a whole new level in November 2012 with the launch of WindowsWear, which catalogs the current displays of 500 retailers in cities like New York, Milan and Paris. The veneer-monitoring site offers an offline tour of Fifth AvenueÂ’s most impressive glass facades: Over two hours, youÂ’ll check out stores like Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue, while hearing about the inspiration behind the constantly changing spectacles. Meet at Macy's Herald Square, 151 W 34th St at Broadway. Subway: B, D, F, M, N, Q, R to 34th StÂ–Herald Sq.
Holiday Train Show
Watch choo-chooÂ’s go vroom-vroom in a circle. In NYBG's wildly popular diorama, more than a dozen model railway trains traverse an incredibly detailed New York City scene, including landmarks like the Empire State Building and Radio City Music Hall, made of natural materials such as leaves, twigs, bark and berries.
Annual Christmas Tree and Neapolitan Baroque CrÃ¨che
The institution's yearly stunner is a candlelit, angel- and cherub-adorned spruce that towers above the 18th-century Nativity scene. See site for specific exhibit viewing times.
George Balanchine's The Nutcracker
New York City Ballet presents the 60th-anniversary season of George Balanchine's The Nutcracker. Set to the famous Tchaikovsky score, this holiday staple includes the full company, 62 musicians, 32 stagehands, 100 School of American Ballet students and one 40-foot Christmas tree.