What's Open on Thanksgiving Day in NYC 2013: 12 Things to Do with Kids Besides the Parade
Yes, everyone knows about Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. But what happens once it's over? Your dinner doesn't start for another few hours, and if you're not the one cooking, you're going to find yourself with free time on your hands.
Luckily, this is the city that never sleeps. There actually are things to do on Thanksgiving Day in New York City that don't involve eating turkey, watching giant balloons or camping out for Black Friday sales. Here are a dozen fun ways to spend part of Thanksgiving Day with your kids. Happy Thanksgiving to your family from all of the moms at Mommy Poppins NYC! Here's to a happy holiday season.
1. See a flick Movie theaters are open on Thanksgiving Day and there are some great family films playing. My kid is dying to see the two big animated releases, Free Birds and Disney's Frozen, and for tweens and teens there's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. If you prefer something more high-brow, BAMcinématek's five-day Kid Stuff series kicks off on Thanksgiving with the Italian classic Bicycle Thieves.
2. Go ice-skating Thanksgiving is a great day to hit the ice before or after your big feast. The rinks at Winter Village in Bryant Park, Wollman and Lasker in Central Park, Riverbank State Park, Rockefeller Center and Van Cortlandt Park are all open for skating on Thanksgiving (weather permitting) along with the new rink in McCarren Park. Note: Since Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade marches down Sixth Avenue, wait to head to Bryant Park until after the parade passes by. You can even do some holiday shopping at its market, which will be open, too.
3. Take a stroll My family and I plan to walk off our dinners by checking out all of the awesome department store holiday windows in Midtown East before the crowds arrive for Black Friday. Thanksgiving is also a great day to take a quiet stroll through one of our city's iconic green spaces. Central Park, Prospect Park, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and Van Cortlandt Park are all open, as are many others.
4. Get a workout before you feast or just watch your brood break a sweat in the Long Island City YMCA's Kids Turkey Trot Fun Run/Walk, featuring short races for various age groups.
5. See a show Big Apple Circus: Luminocity and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular both have availability for their Thanksgiving performances. A handful of Broadway shows are playing on the holiday, too.
7. Go bowling Balls will be rolling at the Chelsea Piers and Times Square Bowlmor Lanes at noon and 4pm respectively. The Union Square alley is closed for the holiday.
8. Play tourist If you're entertaining out-of-towners, the Empire State Building and the Top of the Rock are open and possibly not as crowded as they usually are. And if you'd rather play games, arcade/restaurant Dave & Buster's is open, too.
9. Explore a museum Although most cultural institutions are closed for the holiday, the no-cost National Museum of the American Indian is open as is Brooklyn's Jewish Children's Museum, which is celebrating Hanukkah. You can also hit Midtown West tourist spots like Madame Tussauds, Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium and Discovery Times Square, currently home to the popular exhibits Shipwrecked and The Art of The Brick.
10. Pamper yourself If all that Thanksgiving planning, cooking and feasting wipes you out, take a dip in the rejuvenating waters of the family-friendly Spa Castle, which is open on the holiday.
11. Celebrate Hanukkah For the first time in more than a century, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving overlap, which has sparked a real Thanksgivukkah fever. Even if you're not Jewish, your kids should enjoy watching NYC's two giant menorahs—one at Grand Army Plaza at the southeast edge of Central Park, the other at Grand Army Plaza at the northern edge of Prospect Park—light up for the second night of Hanukkah. Bonus: We hear the organizers of the Brooklyn menorah hand out free latkes a.k.a. potato pancakes.
12. Help others less fortunate Although most Thanksgiving volunteer opportunities are already filled up, there are a few that still have room as of this writing. My son and I often deliver turkey dinners to home-bound New Yorkers through Gods Love We Deliver. Preregistration is required so email to see if the org needs last-minute help. Also, the Church of the Intercession's Gobble Gobble Give NYC puts volunteers to work on a first-come, first-served basis on Thanksgiving morning, so arrive early if you want to help!
Start planning the rest of your holiday season with our Holiday Fun Guide.
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