A Guide for Celebrating Thanksgiving Weekend in Boston
When you’re done feasting, get a start on your holiday shopping, see Eli Roth’s newest horror film, and cheer on the runners at a local turkey trot
This Thanksgiving holiday, travelers can expect over 55 million others crammed bumper-to-bumper on the roads and shoulder-to-shoulder in the air. You won’t want to get caught up in I-90 traffic or stuck in the TSA line at Logan Airport—or have travel plans disrupted by the impending storm. So, those intending to keep their Turkey Day celebrations local, don’t fret, because there are plenty of holiday festivities in the city during the long weekend.
Starting with the traditional Turkey Day kickoff—the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade—BU Today has prepared a comprehensive list of activities that will get you in that winter holiday spirit.
What to watch
The 97th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is jam-packed with floats, performers, clowns, marching bands, and hundreds of balloons. Traditionally, the televised parade starts at NYC’s 77th Street and Central Park West and ends at Macy’s Herald Square. Try to spot the new Peanuts Camp Snoopy, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutant Mayhem, and Warner Bros. Pictures Deliciously Delectable World of Wonka floats among fan favorites like Tom Turkey (the parade’s longest-running float), 1-2-3 Sesame Street, with the iconic Big Bird, and Deck the Halls, with Balsam Hill trees adorned with over 300 feet of garland. Brandy, Enhypen, and Jon Batiste will be performing for fans atop one of the 31 floats.
Thursday, November 23, 8:30 am to noon, airing on NBC and Telemundo. The parade can also be streamed on Peacock.
After the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade comes coverage of the beloved National Dog Show. Hosted by the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, the National Dog Show is one of the oldest global canine shows, where over 200 purebred dog breeds and varieties, split into seven different groups, compete to win the coveted Best in Show award. Viewers can also vote for their top dog on Thanksgiving morning in the Thanksgiving Top Dog Contest. John O’Hurley and David Frei will reprise their roles as cohosts.
Thursday, November 23, noon to 2 pm, airing on NBC. The National Dog Show can also be streamed on NBC, Peacock, NBCSports.com, and the NBC Sports app.
Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving
Newton-native Eli Roth (Hostel) just released his latest slasher film, Thanksgiving, and it’s the best-reviewed work of his career. Based on the mock trailer Roth directed for Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse and starring Patrick Dempsey, Thanksgiving follows the mysterious serial killer (John Carver, wearing a Pilgrim hat) hunting a group of friends in Plymouth, Mass.
Find local showtimes here.
Where to shop
Already thinking about Christmas? Get a head start on gift-giving and tree-buying at the third season of the Holiday Market at Snowport. Over 120 makers are featured at this European-style market, including the Nada Cart (featuring gourmet empanadas), TIPPY’S, and The Happy Cactus. Find the full list of vendors here. Stop by Tuscan Kitchen’s custom cocktail bar if you get parched and end your shopping trip taking in the mistletoe arch and winter wish wall.
Runs through Sunday, December 31, Seaport, South Boston Waterfront.
The nonprofit Boston Public Market, an indoor year-round marketplace, will host its “one-stop shop” for all things holiday appropriate. A rotation of local artisans will sell their wares, eats, and crafts at pop-up stations alongside the market’s year-round farmers, fishers, and foodies. Vendors include Shir Glassworks, Meesh Pottery, and Tiny Farmhouse. All CrEATor Market brands proudly sell local New England products. Stop by for the perfect gift or farm-fresh ingredients for your holiday meals. Be sure to check their Instagram for weekly updates about vendors.
Begins Friday, November 24, and runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday until December 24, 10 am to 6 pm, 100 Hanover St., Boston.
What to do
Boston University Men’s Hockey vs Quinnipiac University
Reserve some holiday cheer for the BU Terriers, currently 8-3-1, who face the Quinnipiac Bobcats, 9-3-1, for a Thanksgiving match. Save a seat (or multiple seats) to hype up the men’s hockey team to break the Bobcats’ five-game win streak. Tickets start around $20.
Wednesday, November 22, 5 pm, Agganis Arena. View the game on ESPN+.
More than 2,000 children, adults, and dogs will race in the 11th annual Franklin Park Turkey Trot. Participants will gather at the Franklin Park golf course loop for both casual and competitive fun. Registration is full, but people are encouraged to volunteer during the morning at the Turkey Trot to help with crowd control. Those wishing to view the race can cheer on runners near the Shattuck Picnic Grove, Schoolmaster Hill, or at the finish line behind the golf clubhouse. Runners and walkers will compete for overall top finisher trophies and medals in the male, female, and nonbinary brackets (by age). Awards also include best costume (individual and group), fastest dog, and fastest stroller. Runners should also look forward to a surprise from the food delivery service Postmates, one of the Trot’s sponsors.
Thursday, November 23, 9 am, starting at the Franklin Park golf course clubhouse, One Circuit Dr., Dorchester. Volunteers can sign up here.
Sharpen your skates and get ready to take to the ice during the fourth season of The Rink at 401 Park. Whether you are a figure skating prodigy in the making or just an observer with hot cocoa in hand, the rink has options for everyone: skating lessons, free ice flow yoga, shopping pop-ups, broomball, and more. The rink is directly next to Trillium Fenway and Time Out Market, meaning there’s more to do after you’re done channeling your inner Michelle Kwan.
Open daily until March 2024, 401 Park Drive, Boston. Tickets are $6 for children under 12, $8 for college students with an ID, and $12 for adults, and can be purchased in advance here. Skate rentals are $7. The rink is closed Thanksgiving Day.
Martin’s Park, named in memory of eight-year-old Boston Marathon bombings victim Martin Richard, is hosting its third annual ship lighting along the harbor, where an actual ship will be adorned with over 1,500 feet of blue and white tube lights. Aboard the ship will be Jolly Old Saint Nick and Betty the Yeti. Hot cocoa will be provided by Tuscan Kitchen, and a cappella group Ball in the House will perform classic holiday hits. Attendees can also take home a customized special souvenir with a donation, while supplies last.
Saturday, November 25, from 4 to 6 pm, 64 Sleeper St., Boston. The event is free.
For an aesthetically pleasing and educational experience, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum opens its doors up to and immediately after Thanksgiving Day. Three exhibitions—featuring works from fashion designer Carla Fernández and Gardner’s artist-in-residence Fabiola Jean-Louis—are currently on display alongside an aggregation of Isabella Stewart Gardner photos. BU students get free admission to the museum, and there are discounts for BU staff and faculty.
Open daily, 25 Evans Way, Boston. Find out more information and buy tickets here.