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Staying Local This Thanksgiving? We’ve Got You Covered

Our guide to a fun-filled break: shopping (of course), shows, sports, more


If you’re traveling this Thanksgiving, give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. According to the Automobile Association of America, an estimated 54 million people are expected to travel 50 miles or more this holiday weekend, the highest number since 2005.

Those planning to stay in town for the holiday are in luck. Boston is full of fun events as the city kicks off the official holiday season. We’ve put together a list of some of the best to make your Thanksgiving festive. Take a look.

Where to eat

Thanksgiving Dinner at West Campus

For students who can’t make it home for Thanksgiving, BU is hosting a traditional holiday dinner with all the trimmings. The Fresh Food Co. at West Campus will be offering herb-roasted turkey breast, butternut squash bisque, cheddar mashed potatoes, pumpkin and apple pies, and other traditional foods. The annual Thanksgiving meal is open to the entire BU community and the Fenway Campus, and any family or friends who may be visiting.

The BU Thanksgiving Dinner is Thursday, November 22, at the Fresh Food Co. at West Campus, 275 Babcock St., from 1 to 3 pm. Students can use their meal plan, guest meals, convenience points, or dining points ($12.90), or pay with cash or credit card ($16.10).

What to watch

Macy’s 92nd Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade

For many Americans, the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the official kickoff of the holiday season. Each year, more than 3.5 million people in New York City watch the parade as it winds down Broadwayto Macy’s flagship department store. Another 50 million will watch on TV. This year’s lineup includes Diana Ross, John Legend, Leona Lewis, Pentatonix, Rita Ora, Fred Astaire Dance Studios, a dozen marching bands from across the nation, 31 floats, and popular parade balloons like Charlie Brown, Olaf from Frozen, Pikachu, and the Pillsbury Doughboy, topped off with an appearance by the man in the red suit.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade airs on NBC from 9 am to noon on Thursday, November 22.


Would Thanksgiving Day be complete without watching football from the couch in a food-induced stupor? The Turkey Day matchups begin with the Chicago Bears in Detroit facing the Lions, followed by the Washington Redskins in Dallas taking on the Cowboys. Last, the New Orleans Saints host the Atlanta Falcons.

The Bears vs. Lions football game airs on CBS at 12:30 pm, the Redskins vs. Cowboys on Fox at 4:30 pm, and the Falcons vs. the Saints on NBC at 8:20 pm.

The Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears face off against the Detroit Lions at 12:30 pm on Thanksgiving. Photo courtesy of Mark Susina

What to do

Franklin Park Turkey Trot 5K

Indulge in your Thanksgiving feast guilt-free by participating in the sixth annual Franklin Park Turkey Trot. Not only will you burn off calories: you will also be raising money to support Franklin Park’s numerous community-based programs, from the Kite & Bike Festival to the park’s summer concert series. The park is part of the Emerald Necklace, Boston’s interlocking series of green parks created by 19th-century landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted. Prizes are awarded to top finishers and best costumes. All ages and paces are eligible for this popular 5K run and walk—even strollers and race-ready dogs on leashes are welcome—so take the whole family.

The Franklin Park Turkey Trot 5K is Thursday, November 22, from 9 to 11 am, at the Franklin Park Golf Clubhouse, One Circuit Drive, Boston. Registration is $30 for adults 18+ and $12 for children 6 to 17 and can be completed online. For more information, call 617-442-4141.

MIT Museum’s Annual Friday After Thanksgiving Chain Reaction

Stop by the MIT Museum for a spectacular local engineering event that each year attracts teams comprising more than 1,500 inventors, engineers, and the general public, who put together contraptions, then link them together to create one sensational reaction. This year’s theme is “Twenty-WON!” (a nod both to the event’s 21st anniversary and to the number of games that require 21 points to win. Activities begin at 1 pm and the chain reaction kicks off at 3:30. It’s a feat you have to see to believe.

The MIT Museum’s Annual Friday After Thanksgiving Chain Reaction is from 1 to 4 pm on Friday, November 23, at MIT’s Rockwell Cage Gymnasium, 106 Vassar St., Cambridge. Buy tickets online before November 23 for a discount: tickets are $12.50 for adults ($15 at the door) and $5 for students, youth ages 5 to 18, seniors, and active-duty military, and include admission to the MIT Museum on Friday, November 23.

Macy’s Annual Family Fun Day and Tree Lighting

Macy’s Boston, in the heart of Downtown Crossing, kicks off the Christmas season with a day of family-friendly holiday festivities. It starts at 2 pm on Friday, with Family Fun Day in the store’s kids’ department, with activities like face-painting and balloon art. Visit different store departments to receive a free gift with your purchase. At 5 pm, the store unveils its annual holiday windows, accompanied by the lighting of the store’s Christmas tree. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh will be on hand for the festivities, which will include performances by the Boston Children’s Choir, R&B singers Keri Hilson and Jaye Valentine, and indie pop/rock duo Heffron Drive. Of course, Santa Claus will be available for pictures.

Macy’s Annual Family Fun Day is Friday, November 23, from 2 to 5 pm, in Macy’s kids’ department, 450 Washington St., Downtown Crossing. The tree lighting and musical performances are at 5 pm outside the store on Summer Street, free and open to the public.

ExtraOrdinary at the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.)

Theatergoers are in for a treat. To celebrate the A.R.T.’s past decade of musical theater, the theater is presenting a unique cabaret-style show featuring songs from many of the hit musicals it’s staged over 10 years, including The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Pippin, Waitress, and Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812; all had successful Broadway runs after being mounted at A.R.T. The show closes November 30, so buy your tickets right away.

ExtraOrdinary runs through November 30 at the American Repertory Theater Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge. Find directions here. Purchase tickets, starting at $95 for performances this weekend, here.

Boston Symphony Orchestra’s All-Beethoven Concert

On Friday and Saturday, the world-famous Boston Symphony Orchestra will present a concert of Beethoven music, led by BSO music director Andris Nelsons. The program will include performances of the Symphony No. 5, whose four opening notes are the most famous in classical music, along with Symphony No. 4. BU students should register with their BSO College Card for a chance to get free rush tickets.

Andris Nelsons conducts the Boston Symphony Orchestra in an All-Beethoven program at Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave., at 1:30 pm on Friday, November 23, and at 8 pm on Saturday, November 24. Find directions here and ticket prices, which vary by performance, here.

Andris Nelsons conducts the Boston symphony

Andris Nelsons conducts Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Symphony No. 4 at Symphony Hall on Friday afternoon and Saturday night. Photo courtesy of Boston Symphony Orchestra

Boston Made: Arts and Crafts Jewelry and Metalwork at the Museum of Fine Arts

This dazzling show is a tribute to the artists who were part of the Boston Arts and Crafts movement (1900–1929), when Boston was one of the most influential jewelry-making and metalworking cities in the nation. It explores how Boston artisans developed a signature aesthetic that set them apart from the broader Arts and Crafts Movement. More than 75 works are on display, including jewelry, tableware, and decorative accessories. The MFA has mounted a complementary installation, Arts and Crafts in America, in the Lorraine and Alan Bressler Gallery.

Boston Made: Arts and Crafts Jewelry and Metalwork is on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston, through March 29, 2020. Find hours and ticket information here. Find directions here. Admission is free to BU students with a valid college ID. Closed Thanksgiving.

William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects at the Institute of Contemporary Art

Whether you’re a fan of modern dance or just love to move, you won’t want to miss the ICA’s latest show, William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects, an interactive exhibition featuring gymnastic rings, pendulums, and more, created by internationally acclaimed choreographer Forsythe. Since the 1990s, in addition to his stage productions, he has been creating installations, sculptures, and films he calls “Choreographic Objects.” This unique show is meant to spark engagement from visitors, and invite them to engage directly in the fundamentals of choreography by getting them to move and create their own individual choreography.

William Forsythe: Choreographic Objects is at the Institute of Contemporary Art, 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston, through February 21, 2019. Find directions here. Hours and ticket prices, including information about discounts and free admission, are here. Admission is free for BU students with a valid college ID. Closed Thanksgiving.

someone swings from the ceiling on gymnastic-style rings

At the Institute of Contemporary Art’s Choreographic Objects exhibition, you can swing on gymnastic-style rings and engage with interactive sculpture and video projections. Photo by Liza Voll, courtesy of ICA

Space: An Out-of-Gravity Experience at the Museum of Science

Get as close to space as possible (without actually leaving Earth) by stopping by the Museum of Science’s interactive exhibition Space: An Out-of-Gravity Experience. Visitors can experience the sights, sounds, and yes, even smells of life aboard the International Space Station and learn about the challenges and rewards of working in space. Operate a robotic arm and take part in games, multimedia, and interactives that explore what it’s like to live and work in space. Marvel at feats of engineering that make space exploration possible and learn about what innovations await.

Space: An Out-of-Gravity Experience is at the Museum of Science, One Science Park, Boston, through January 1, 2019. Find directions here and hours and ticket information here. Closed Thanksgiving.

Ice-Skating at the Frog Pond

As temperatures dip and leaves fall, head over to the Boston Common Frog Pond for seasonal ice-skating. The pond is in the nation’s oldest park, festively strung with lights for the holiday season, and attracts skaters of all ages and abilities. Admission is $6 for those taller than 58 inches (free for anyone below that). Bring your own skates or rent them on site ($12 for adults or $6 for children). You can even get your skates sharpened ($12 a pair). Stop by the Frog Pond Café for hot chocolate, burgers, and sandwiches. Check the Frog Pond’s Facebook page for updates.

Ice-skating on the Boston Common Frog Pond is Monday, 10 am to 3:45 pm, Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, 10 am to 9 pm, Friday and Saturday, 10 am to 10 pm. Closed Thanksgiving.

Skating at Boston Common’s Frog Pond is an inexpensive and fun holiday excursion. Photo courtesy of Paulo Teixeira

Celtics and Bruins Games at TD Garden

Kick off your Thanksgiving break by heading over to TD Garden on Wednesday, November 21, when the Boston Celtics go toe-to-toe with the New York Knicks. For those who prefer hockey, the Boston Bruins take on the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday, November 23. College students should check out the Celtics Buzzer Beater Pass to receive alerts about cheaper last-minute tickets.

The Boston Celtics–New York Knicks game is at the TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, Wednesday, November 21, at 7:30 pm. The Boston Bruins–Pittsburgh Penguins game is Friday, November 23, at 7:30 pm. Find directions here. Purchase tickets online or at the box office.

Where to shop

Prudential Center

With nearly 50 stores, the Prudential Center is a one-stop-shopping mecca. With its mix of high-end retailers like Gucci and Kate Spade, more affordable options like Lord & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, Express, and Aldo, workout gear from Lululemon and Under Armour, jewelry shops, beauty specialists, and more, there’s something for everyone. Numerous dining options are available, like Sweetgreen, Wagamama, Eataly Boston, and the tourist mecca Top of the Hub, with panoramic views of the city skyline. Santa will be on hand to greet children and pose for pictures at the Belvidere Arcade through December 24. Check the website for sales and student discounts.

The Shops at the Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., Boston, are open Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 9 pm, and Sunday, 11 am to 7 pm. Restaurants and Santa’s hours vary. Closed Thanksgiving. Call 617-236-3100 for more information.

Copley Place

Connected to the Prudential Center by a skywalk, Copley Place has dozens of high-end retailers: luxury brands like Burberry, Dior, Louis Vuitton, and Versace, department stores Neiman Marcus and Barneys New York, and mid-price retailers like J.Crew and Banana Republic. Check out special deals here before heading out.

Copley Place, 100 Huntington Ave., Boston, is open Friday, November 23, from 8 am to 9 pm for Black Friday, Saturday, November 24, from 10 am to 9 pm, and Sunday, November 25, from noon to 6 pm. Find regular hours and special holiday hours here. Closed Thanksgiving.

Newbury Street

If malls aren’t your thing, on Newbury Street you’ll find some of the city’s best shopping. The historic eight-block shopping district has an eclectic variety of apparel and accessories retailers, eateries, specialty shops, and salons. Stores range from the affordable, like H&M, Nordstrom Rack, Zara, TJ Maxx, and Brandy Melville, to luxury, like Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Giorgio Armani, Tiffany, Chanel, and Valentino.

Store hours vary. Check here for hours and special Black Friday deals.

Newbury Street at night

Featuring dozens of unique shops, Newbury Street is a favorite shopping destination for tourists and locals. Photo courtesy of Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

SoWa Boston Small Business Saturday

Looking for one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry, art, and clothing? You’ll find it on Saturday when the galleries and boutiques that comprise Boston’s SoWa (South of Washington Street) district celebrate Small Business Saturday. Here’s your chance to support more than 200 independently owned businesses and local artists. Check out its website for special Small Business Saturday promotions.

SoWa Boston is at 450 Harrison Avenue, Boston. Small Business Saturday is November 24 from 11 am to 4 pm. Check businesses’ websites for hours.


Formerly known as the CambridgeSide Galleria, this popular mall has undergone a recent facelift and been rechristened the “new CambridgeSide,” with new railings, tiles, and paint. One thing that hasn’t changed: it’s still a prime draw for shoppers looking for Black Friday deals. With over 120 stores and restaurants, CambridgeSide is popular with shoppers on both sides of the Charles River. Expect big crowds and long lines. Check here for special deals and be sure to bring your student ID to take advantage of college discounts.

CambridgeSide is at 100 CambridgeSide Place, Cambridge. Store hours vary.

Etsy Makers at Bow Market

On Saturday, more than 50 local Etsy artists will be at Bow Market, selling artisan goods and locally made products, art, home decor, vintage, and other items as part of this year’s Small Business Saturday. You’ll also be able to shop at any of Bow Market’s regular 15 microshop boutiques. The trendy shopping plaza in the heart of Somerville’s Union Square also features 10 independent food shops, along with a brewery and wine bar.

Bow Market, One Bow Market Way, Somerville, is open from 9 am to 8 pm on Saturday, November 24. Etsy makers will pop up from 9 am to 3 pm.

Assembly Row

Serious bargain hunters will want to venture to Assembly Row in Somerville, which includes an outlet mall, an entertainment complex, a revitalized waterfront park, and restaurants. It’s home to three dozen fashion-forward, wallet-friendly, name-brand factory outlets, including J.Crew, Express, Nike, Reebok, Puma, and Columbia, as well as big retailers like Bed, Bath & Beyond and Kmart, as well as two dozen eateries and an AMC movie theater. Assembly Row also boasts New England’s only Legoland Discovery Center, great for families with young children.

Assembly Row, 340 Canal St., Somerville, is open Friday, November 23, 10 am to 9 pm, Saturday, November 24, 10 am to 9 pm, and Sunday, November 25, 11 am to 7 pm. Closed Thanksgiving. Phone: 617-440-5565. Find directions here.

Sara Frazier can be reached at smfrazie@bu.edu.

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