Best Places in the U.S. to Spend Thanksgiving Weekend

Thanksgiving is usually a time where many people pack up their cars and head towards family for the holiday weekend. Switch things up this year and meet your family for a Thanksgiving weekend getaway.

Many destinations have parades, festivals, and holiday themed events taking place where you are sure to find something for the whole family to enjoy.  The possibilities are endless!


Plimoth Plantation – Plymouth, Massachusetts

Plymouth, Massachusetts

Watch history come alive at Plimoth Plantation, just south of Boston.  Learn about 17th century colonists while you feast on a Thanksgiving buffet with the family.  Explore the Mayflower II and Wampanoag Homesite among other amazing historical sites.


Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – New York City, New York

New York City, New York

Experience the larger-than-life balloons up close and personal at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. With dazzling performances and extravagant floats, everyone in the family will be entertained. While you are in the city, take advantage of world famous shopping and dining. Do beware of the Black Friday crowds as shoppers flock to the city for great deals before Christmas.


Washington Monument – Washington, D.C.

Washington, DC

Visit the nation’s capital for a truly unique getaway and watch the official pardon of the turkey at Mount Vernon. Explore the city’s historical sites or enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner at Georgia Brown’s, voted one of the top places to eat Thanksgiving dinner in the US.


McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade – Chicago, Illinois

Photo credit: Marit & Toomas Hinnosaar via flickr cc

Chicago, Illinois

Between Thanksgiving parades and unlimited Black Friday shopping options, Chicago is a perfect city to visit this time of year. Catch the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade over weekend or the Christkindlmarket Chicago, an open-air German holiday market featuring hand-crafted items, gifts and authentic German cuisine. Millennium Park also hosts caroling and ice-skating.


Walt Disney World – Orlando, Florida

Photo credit: JTOcchialini via flickr cc 

Orlando, Florida

Take on Thanksgiving weekend Disney-style by celebrating at the Happiest Place on Earth.  Watch the magic unfold during holiday themed parades and activities at both the parks and resorts. Once Thanksgiving ends, you may be able to catch the park transform into a winter wonderland, decorations usually debut over the weekend.


Celebration in the Oaks

Photo via New Orleans City Park

New Orleans, Louisiana

Savor a local tradition: turducken – a chicken stuffed into a duck stuffed into a turkey – and watch the Thanksgiving parade featuring some of the country’s absolute best marching bands. On Friday, experience the magical winter spectacle, Celebration in the Oaks in City Park where hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights and breathtaking light displays are scattered throughout 25 acres of the Park, including the Botanical Garden, Storyland, and Carousel Gardens.


Keystone Resort – Keystone, Colorado

Photo via Keystone Resort

Keystone, Colorado

Hit the slopes at this family friendly destination! During this time of year, the Keystone Resort offers everything from skiing, ice skating, snow-tubing, wagon rides, Thanksgiving dinner and a Tree Lighting Celebration. Bonus – kids under 12 ski free all season long.


Gaylord Texan Resort Hotel – Grapevine, Texas

Grapevine, Texas

Grapevine is often referred to as the “Christmas Capitol of Texas” and residents know just how to celebrate the holidays. Thanksgiving is the kick-off weekend for the Carol of Lights where the city will be illuminated with more than one million lights along Main Street in Historic Downtown Grapevine.


The Resort at Paws Up – Missoula, Montana

Photo via Paws Up/Facebook

Missoula, Montana

Spend an unforgettable Thanksgiving weekend at The Resort at Paws Up. Stay cozy inside with family movie nights, football, and parade viewing parties, or satisfy your appetite for outdoor adventure with a petting zoo and pony rides, touch football, bird watching, or fireside s’mores among other activities. Enjoy sumptuous, locally sourced fare for an epic Thanksgiving dinner.


Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California

Cool weather and beautiful autumn leaves makes San Francisco a picturesque location this time of year. Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner sailing by the Golden Gate Bridge on a Hornblower Cruise, participate in the Turkey Trot 5K, or ice skate at Union Square. After shopping on Black Friday, grab a seat and watch the Macy’s Annual Tree Lighting event in Union Square.

Start a new family tradition this year by getting out and vacationing together!

Read on for the best time to book Thanksgiving travel.

Best Places in the U.S. to Spend Thanksgiving Weekend - Morrissey & Associates, LLC

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