North America

Thanksgiving: NYC vs LA

The classic East vs West debate strikes again! Should you spend Thanksgiving in the sunshine of Los Angeles or go east and embrace New York’s autumn chill? Whether you’re looking to go head first into the nearest pumpkin pie or you’re looking to make a real difference and volunteer, here’s our top tips on celebrating in LA and NYC to help you decide where and how to spend the holidays.

Celebrating in LA

We all know California knows how to party, which means they really know how to celebrate Thanksgiving. There are plenty of ways to spend the long weekend when you’re in Los Angeles, here’s a few of our suggestions.

Thanksgiving lunch



If breaking a sweat in the kitchen doesn’t sound like your idea of fun, leave it to the professionals and head out to one of Los Angeles many restaurants. We highly recommend Artisan House on Main Street who offer up a pretty impressive buffet with a carving station of roasted turkey, honey-baked ham, truffle mac and cheese, candied yams and tons of cakes and pies to choose from. The biggest bonus? No dishes to wash.

Turkey Trot Los Angeles



Want to burn off those calories? Spend Thanksgiving at the Turkey Trot along Downtown’s Spring Street and participate in races, games and holiday themed activities. If you want to go all out, why not dress up like a turkey and join the costume contest or sign yourself up for the turkey-calling contest – rumor has it winners get a pumpkin spice cheesecake. Yum!

Volunteer at Westside Thanksgiving



What better way to give thanks than to volunteer? It will warm your soul like that turkey warmed your belly. Westside Thanksgiving is a fantastic event that gives back to the community. Volunteers serve up a turkey dinner for free to the homeless and also students, singles, seniors and families with low incomes. You can also can help by donating food, money or handing out clothes and blankets.

CAFAM holiday market place



Want to make an early start to your Christmas shopping? Head to CAFAM’s Holiday Marketplace along Miracle Mile. It’s the perfect place to get your hands on some unique gifts. You’ll also get the chance to meet the artists behind the crafts.

Hollywood Christmas Parade



The Hollywood Christmas Parade is an essential part of LA celebrations. Celebrities, marching bands and a massive float with Kermit the Frog -that’s what you get when Hollywood meets the holidays! Make sure you take a look at the route beforehand and get there early to get the best spot for your celeb stalking.

Celebrate on the beach



Turkey burnt to a crisp? Never mind, head to one of Los Angeles many beaches instead and watch your Thanksgiving worries all float away.

Celebrating in NYC

The museums may be closed for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean the city that never sleeps finally gets some shut eye. There’s still plenty to do and see. Take a look at our suggestions below.

See the big parade



Why watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV when you could be there in person? See the giant balloons and floats in all their glory on the parades route from Central Park West to 34th St. The event starts at 9am but we recommend you get there a couple of hours early to get a good spot. Columbus Circle offers up some great views and if you get cold you can always head into the Time Warner Center.




Show your appreciation in a more meaningful way by spending your Thanksgiving volunteering at Food Bank NYC. The spots get taken up really quickly so if you don’t get a place, you can still help by offering canned foods and by donating online. There are of course many other organizations you can get involved with such as City Harvest, God’s Love We Deliver and Yorkville Common Pantry.

Grab a turkey to go

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No time to cook? Don’t worry! Plenty of places in New York offer a turkey to go to save your Thanksgiving from being completely ruined. Order in like a true New Yorker from restaurants such as Marlow & Daughters, Epicerie Boulud or Hill Country Barbecue Market to name a few.

Dine out

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With over 24,000 places to eat in the city, you’re spoilt for choice! Some do close for the holidays but plenty of great restaurants stay open. Our personal favorite is Cookshop on 10th Avenue who create a menu specifically for Thanksgiving. For other options, check for a list of restaurants who are taking reservations.

Grab a bargain

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 27: A post-Christmas shopper holds Macy's bags as other shoppers cross Seventh Avenue December 27, 2006 in New York City. Retailers are hoping that after-Christmas shoppers will help them regroup after a somewhat disappointing holiday shopping season thus far. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Image: Mario Tamo/Getty Images taken from

For some, Thanksgiving means Black Friday is right around the corner. If you enjoy a mega-sale, there are many major discounts that can be found in the department stores, chain stores and even boutiques. The real fun can be found in the less touristy destinations like the Lower East Side or Williamsburg.

Burn off the calories



There’s no excuses not to at least attempt to burn off those Thanksgiving calories. Go for a run in Central Park and see some sights on the way. If biking is your thing then join the NYC Pilgrim Pedal, a Thanksgiving-morning bike ride from the east side of Manhattan into Brooklyn.

Start planning your New York adventure by checking out our cheap flights here or if Los Angeles is the plan then check out our cheap flights to LA here. The choice is yours!