A few years ago my parents came to New York and spent Thanksgiving here. Thanksgiving dinner at the Little Owl, seeing a broadway musical and doing a little holiday shopping were a few among many things we tried to squeeze into a long weekend. We also went to see the parade balloons being blown up and were able to watch some of the Thanksgiving Day parade from Central Park South. Even though we weren't at home and totally changed up our usual tradition, it was one Thanksgiving I will always remember.
If you are spending Thanksgiving in or around NYC, you can check out the balloons yourself and stake out a place to watch some of the parade as well! From 3-10pm on Wednesday, head up to Columbus Avenue and West 77th street and get an up close and personal look at some of the balloons that will be floating high above the streets Thursday morning. They are held down with nets and sandbags, but you can still get a good look at just how big these guys are and how much it takes to keep them inflated for the whole parade. This is a great idea if you have little ones with you. And once you are done, there are several great restaurants nearby to grab dinner. Little note: be prepared for the possibility of a line and there will be crowds, so bring your patience and a snack! (two things I did not happen to bring with me when we went) Although my dad and I still give my mom grief for 'dragging' us up there, it was really fun to see and I am glad we went. I can't wait for the Niece and Nephew to visit and see them as well! They will love it!
If you want to get an up close and front row view of the parade, I would suggest getting to a spot on the parade route earrrrllllyyy. The parade starts at 9am ET, so plan on being there at least three hours early to claim your spot and plan to stay until you are ready to go. Don't forget lots of layers and a few snacks and things to keep you occupied while you are waiting for the parade to start. The year my parents were here, we had breakfast at SaraBeth's, and walked out the door and were lucky enough to find a place to stand and see most of the parade as they came down central park south and turned onto 6th ave. Even if you don't stay long or have the best view, it's still something you should definitely mark off your 'bucket list.'
Below are a few pictures from our Thanksgiving in NYC a few years ago.