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Arts & Entertainment

A Thanksgiving Guide to Festivities around Town

Music, museums, races, ballet, sports, and much more


This week, an estimated 48.7 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more to celebrate Thanksgiving, according to the Automobile Club of America. That’s up nearly a million from last year. But for those of you staying local, there are all kinds of events to add a festive measure to your holiday. We’ve compiled a list of happenings on and off campus you won’t want to miss.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Where to Eat

Warren Towers Thanksgiving Dinner

If you live on and are staying on campus this Thanksgiving, Dining Services is serving up a Thanksgiving feast at Warren Towers: traditional favorites like herbed dry-roasted turkey with whipped potatoes, sage pan gravy, corn bread stuffing, sautéed green beans, and cranberry sauce. Maple-glazed tempeh with toasted squash and Brussels sprouts is available for vegetarians and vegans, and herbed polenta for those needing a gluten-free alternative to stuffing. Be sure to save room for dessert: pumpkin pie, apple pie, and cranberry white chocolate chip cookies.

The Warren Towers Thanksgiving Dinner is Thursday, November 24, at 700 Commonwealth Ave., from 1 to 3 p.m. Those who live on campus and are staying on campus for the holiday weekend can use meals, guest meals, dining, and convenience points ($12.20) or pay with cash or credit card ($15.25).

What to Watch

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Start your holiday with a time-honored tradition on Thanksgiving morning by watching the 90th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Photo courtesy of NBC

Macy’s 90th Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade

For nine decades, the Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day Parade has heralded the arrival of the holidays, with performances by Broadway and pop celebrities, floats, and towering balloons. This year’s lineup includes appearances by the Muppets, performances from the upcoming NBC Hairspray Live! TV event, current Broadway shows, and the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes. Singers Tony Bennett, Sarah McLachlan, Regina Spektor, the duo Timeflies, Brett Eldredge, and Daya will also perform, and there will be a dozen marching bands from around the country, thousands of cheerleaders and dancers, and 30 floats, capped off by Santa Claus himself.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade airs on NBC from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursday, November 24.


Nothing says Thanksgiving like turkey, mashed potatoes, and football. Gridiron fans will have plenty to choose from, with three NFL games. First up, the Minnesota Vikings will face divisional rival Detroit Lions, in Detroit. Next, the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas. Last, the Pittsburgh Steelers will battle the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis. So grab your pumpkin pie and settle in.

The Vikings-Lions game airs on CBS at 12:30 p.m.; the Redskins-Cowboys matchup starts on Fox at 4:30 p.m.; the Steelers-Colts game kicks off at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.

What to Do

Franklin Park 5K Turkey Trot

Worried about packing on the calories over the holiday weekend? Head over to Franklin Park for the fourth annual Franklin Park Turkey Trot. The 5K race wraps around the park’s scenic Scarborough Hill and the pond. Proceeds benefit the Franklin Park Coalition’s seasonal programs, like summer concerts, volunteer days, woodland restoration, line dancing, and fitness activities. Franklin Park is considered the jewel in the Emerald Necklace, the interlocking series of green spaces designed by landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted. Prizes will be awarded to top finishers and those with the best costumes.

The Franklin Park Turkey Trot 5K is Thursday, November 24, at 9 a.m. at the Franklin Park Golf Clubhouse, One Circuit Drive, Dorchester. Preregistration is $25 for adults 18 and over and $10 for children ages 6 to 17. The race is open to runners of all abilities and walkers, too. There is no bag check. Take the MBTA Orange Line trolley to Forest Hills and transfer to a #16 bus to Franklin Park. For more information, call 617-442-4141.

Boston Volvo Thanksgiving Day 5K Road Race

Here’s another chance to run in support of a good cause. The 19th annual Boston Volvo Thanksgiving Day 5K Road Race supports the Greater New England Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The 3.1-mile race begins at Boston Volvo Village and circles through Brighton. There’s no fundraising minimum required, but runners are encouraged to make a donation. The race can be run individually or with a team, and prizes will be awarded to the fastest runners.

The Boston Volvo Thanksgiving Day 5K is Thursday, November 24, at 9 a.m., at 75 North Beacon St., Brighton. Preregister here or on site the day of the race ($40) starting at 7:30 a.m. (Registration closes at 8:30 a.m.) The race is open to all ages and abilities. Bag check provided. Take an MBTA #57 bus to the Cambridge St.-Saunders stop. For more information, call 800-344-4867.

Spectators of all ages look on at the Friday after Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction

About 1,500 spectators and inventors (amateur and advanced) are expected on Friday at Rockwell Cage Gymnasium for MIT’s annual crowd pleaser, Friday after Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction. Photo by Samara Visa, courtesy of MIT Museum

MIT’s Annual Friday after Thanksgiving (F.A.T.) Chain Reaction Event

Want to see engineering in action? The MIT Museum hosts the 19th Annual F.A.T (Friday after Thanksgiving) Chain Reaction event, which draws more than 1,500 each year. Participants, members of the general public and inventors, link their chain reaction devices together to create one giant chain reaction. This year’s theme is symmetry, in honor of the Roman numeral XIX (19), so expect to see machines that are as beautiful as they are innovative. It’s too late to register to participate, but you can join in the fun as a spectator. Watch last year’s 18th century-themed F.A.T. here.

MIT Museum’s Annual Friday after Thanksgiving Chain Reaction is from 1 to 4 p.m. on Friday, November 25, at the MIT Rockwell Cage Gymnasium, 106 Vassar St., Cambridge. Tickets are $12.50 for adults ($15 at the door), $5 for children, students, seniors, and active duty military. Purchase tickets online here.

Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence at the Museum of Fine Arts

There are only two weeks left to catch the dazzling exhibition Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence, which shows some 50 glazed terracotta sculptures created by the Della Robbia family, inventors of a unique sculpture glazing technique that rival workshops could never replicate. Sculpture using this technique, which incorporated forest greens, cerulean blues, lemon yellows, and creamy whites, was created for only about a century before its secrets were lost. The pieces, from the Della Robbia family and their contemporaries, remain as vibrant today as when created nearly 600 years ago. A range of large and small reliefs and sculptures, both religious and secular, are on view.

Della Robbia: Sculpting with Color in Renaissance Florence is on display through Sunday, December 4, at the Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave. Find hours and admission here (free to BU students with ID). Find directions here. Closed Thanksgiving.

Artwork of Sara VanDerBeek’s 2016 chromogenic color print mobile Ziggurat

Sara VanDerBeek’s 2016 chromogenic color print mobile Ziggurat is part of the ICA’s current exhibition. Photo courtesy of Sara VanDerBeek and Metro Pictures, New York

The Artist’s Museum at the Institute of Contemporary Art

Have you ever wondered where artists seek their inspiration? It’s a question the ICA explores in a new exhibition, The Artist’s Museum. The innovative multimedia show includes a range of video, installation, and photography that explores the ways artists collect objects of personal significance and reimagine them in new ways. Work by a dozen American and European artists employing appropriated art and found images in their art are included, such as a film by German artist Rosa Barba, an installation with sound by French artist Pierre Leguillon, and an installation by American artist Anna Craycroft.

The Artist’s Museum is on view at the ICA, 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston, through March 26. Find hours and admission prices here. Find directions here. Closed Thanksgiving.

Da Vinci—The Genius at the Museum of Science

Explore the mind of a genius in the Museum of Science’s inventive special exhibition on Renaissance artist, scientist, engineer, inventor, sculptor, and architect Leonardo Da Vinci. Billed as “the most comprehensive exhibition of the Renaissance master to tour the world,” it features a number of interactive, life-sized Da Vinci inventions faithfully crafted by contemporary Italian artisans, like his rudimentary designs for bicycles, parachutes, and cars, and an ideal city. Visitors will also be able to see the exclusive Secrets of the Mona Lisa exhibition, which dissects and analyzes Da Vinci’s most famous painting.

Da Vinci—The Genius is at the Museum of Science, One Science Park, Cambridge, through February 26. Find hours here, admission prices here, and directions here. Closed Thanksgiving.

Half-Price Admission to Franklin Park Zoo the Friday after Thanksgiving

If you’re looking to entertain kids over the holiday, consider the Franklin Park Zoo this Friday, when special half-price admission is offered. The zoo, home to over 1,000 animals like camels, lions, tapirs, capybaras, hyenas, tigers, and a variety of butterflies, birds, and reptiles, is in Franklin Park. Visitors can tour a number of different habitats: a tropical forest, the Serengeti Crossing, and the Outback Trail. Check here for special events such as animal feedings, educational talks, and more.

Franklin Park Zoo, One Franklin Park Rd., Dorchester, is open in the winter (October 1 to March 31) daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed on Thanksgiving. Find admission prices here. All tickets are half price the day after Thanksgiving. Find directions here.

Handel & Hayden Society Performs Handel’s Messiah at Symphony Hall

One of Boston’s most beloved holiday traditions—the annual performance by the Handel & Hayden Society of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah—returns starting Friday, November 25, at Symphony Hall. Handel & Hayden, the nation’s oldest continuing arts organization (established in Boston in 1815), is known for its performances of Baroque and classical music. Led by conductor Harry Christophers, this Messiah will feature a chorus, full orchestra, and four soloists.

The Handel & Hayden Society performs Handel’s Messiah at Symphony Hall, 301 Massachusetts Ave., Friday, November 25, through Sunday, November 27. Purchase tickets, ranging from $25 (for student tickets) to $98, online. Find directions here.

Ballet Dancers performing in The Nutcracker

The Boston Ballet Company kicks off the holiday season with its annual production of The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House, with choreography by Mikko Nissinen. Photo by Rosalie O’Connor, courtesy of Boston Ballet

Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker

With Christmas just around the corner, the Boston Ballet fills the Boston Opera House with audiences of all ages with its annual production of The Nutcracker, featuring choreography by Boston Ballet artistic director Mikko Nissinen. Performances start November 25 and run through December 31 (no performance on Christmas Day). Lavish costumes and sets, superb dancing, and an unforgettable score by Tchaikovsky make this one of New England’s favorite holiday events. Performances sell out quickly.

Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker is at the Boston Opera House, 539 Washington St., Boston, from November 25 through December 31. Purchase tickets here or call the box office at 617-695-6955. Tickets range from $50 to $200; if a show is not sold out, senior and student rush tickets are available for $25, cash only, one ticket per ID, starting two hours before curtain (rush tickets are not available for weekend matinees). On select dates, $35 tickets for may be available by phone; call the box office for availability. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Boylston and walk down Boylston to Washington Street.

Ice-Skating on the Frog Pond

When temperatures dip, Bostonians often head to the Boston Common Frog Pond for ice-skating. Inside the nation’s oldest park, the Frog Pond is surrounded by trees strung with holiday lights. Stop by the Frog Pond Café, where you can warm up with a hot chocolate and comfort food like grilled cheese sandwiches and mac and cheese. Skating is scheduled to start in “mid-November,” but check the Frog Pond Facebook page for updates. Admission is $6 for anyone 58 inches or taller, free for anyone under that height. Skate rentals are available ($12 for adults, $6 for children). You can get your own skates sharpened for $10, and lockers are available for $3.

Ice-skating on the Boston Common Frog Pond is Monday, 10 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving. Take an MBTA Green Line trolley to Park Street.

ice skaters skating on Frog Pond

Break out your ice skates and head to the Boston Common for some outdoor skating on the Frog Pond. Photo courtesy of the Skating Club of Boston

Blink! At Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Looking to get into the Christmas or Hanukkah spirit? Head over to Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall for the annual holiday light and sound extravaganza Blink! The seven-minute show runs daily, from November 25 through January 1. Visitors will be entranced by the 350,000 LED lights illuminating the marketplace. Music by the Holiday Pops accompanies each show. Music lovers, note that the 30th annual Boston Tuba Christmas Concert, expected to feature more than 100 tuba and euphonium players from the greater Boston area, performs traditional Christmas music at Faneuil Hall on Saturday, November 26, from 2 to 3 p.m. Both the concert and light show are free and open to the public.

Performances of Blink! begin on Friday, November 25, and run through January 1. Shows run on the half hour from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Government Center.

BU women’s ice hockey playing in a hockey game

Watch BU women’s ice hockey face off against Princeton at the Walter Brown Arena on Friday and again on Saturday. Photo by Rich Gagnon

Celtics and Bruins Games at TD Garden

The Boston Bruins and the Boston Celtics both play at home, TD Garden, this weekend. On Friday, cheer for the Celtics as they take on the San Antonio Spurs in the afternoon, take a break, then root for the Bruins as they face off against the Calgary Flames. Or wait two days to see the Bruins take on the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday. Tickets begin at $65 for all games and can be purchased here. Find information here about the Celtic’s Buzzer Beater Pass, which alerts college students about last-minute discounted tickets.

The Boston Celtics-San Antonio Spurs game is at TD Garden, 100 Legends Way, on Friday, November 25, at 1 p.m. The Boston Bruins-Calgary Flames game is on Friday, at 7:30 p.m., and the Celtics-Tampa Bay Lightning game is Sunday, November 27, at 1 p.m. Take an MBTA Green Line C or D Trolley to North Station.

BU Terrier Athletic Events

Support your fellow Terriers by cheering on the women’s ice hockey team and the women’s basketball team this weekend. Ice hockey faces off against the Princeton Tigers at Walter Brown Arena, 285 Babcock St., on Friday, November 25, at 7 p.m. and again on Saturday, November 26, at 3 p.m. Basketball hosts the UMass Lowell River Hawks at Case Gym, 285 Babcock St., on Saturday, November 26, at 2 p.m. So don your red and white and cheer your loudest.

Visit Go Terriers for more information.

Where to Shop

Thanksgiving is synonymous with the kickoff of holiday gift buying. Whether you’re shopping for family and friends or for yourself, many Boston-area stores will be holding special sales to lure you through their doors. Below are a few of the best places to shop.

The Prudential Center

Boasting nearly 50 stores, the Prudential Center offers 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, you’ll find something for everyone. There are numerous dining options, including Sweetgreen, Wagamama, the just-opened Eatlay, and the Top of the Hub. Santa will be on hand to greet children and pose for pictures at the Belvidere Arcade through December.

The shops at the Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., are open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Restaurant 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, kitchen retailers Sur la Table and Williams-Sonoma, and midprice retailers J. Crew and Banana Republic. Check out special deals here before heading out.

Copley Place, 100 Huntington Ave., Boston, is open Friday, November 25, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, November 26, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, November 27, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving.

Shops on 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, Zara, TJ Maxx, and Brandy Melville, to luxury, like Dolce & Gabbana, Marc Jacobs, Chanel, and Valentino, and places in between. Check here for hours and Black Friday deals.

CambridgeSide Galleria

The CambridgeSide Galleria is a prime option for shoppers looking for a Black Friday experience. The mall opens at midnight as Thanksgiving ends; store hours vary. With over 120 stores and restaurants, the Galleria is a popular destination for shoppers looking for good deals. Expect big crowds and long lines. Check here for special deals and bring your student ID to take advantage of college discounts.

CambridgeSide Galleria, 100 CambridgeSide Place, Cambridge, is open Friday, November 26, midnight to 10 p.m., Saturday, November 26, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, November 27, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving. Phone: 617-621-8666. Take an MBTA Green Line C or D trolley to Lechmere and walk.

Assembly Row

Serious bargain hunters can take the Orange Line to Assembly Row, which includes an outlet mall, an entertainment complex, and more. It’s home to over 30 name-brand factory outlets, including J. Crew, Express, Nike, Brooks Brothers, and Banana Republic, big retailers like A.C. Moore Arts & Crafts, Kmart, and Bed, Bath & Beyond, more than a dozen eateries, a beer garden, and an AMC movie theater. It also has New England’s only Legoland Discovery Center, a must-visit destination for families with young children.

Assembly Row, 340 Canal St., Somerville, is open Friday, November 25, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, November 26, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, November 27, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving. Phone: 617-440-5565. Take an MBTA Orange Line train to Assembly.

Liz Vanderau can be reached at vanderau@bu.edu.

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