What better place to honour one of the most quintessential U.S. holidays, Thanksgiving, than in Philadelphia, the birthplace of America. This 24 November, ensure your family is thoroughly entertained by experiencing some of the city’s magical events and activities that make this holiday season so popular, including ice skating, the Philadelphia Thanksgiving day parade and celebratory meals.
Located just 90 minutes by train from New York City and served by seven daily direct flights from the UK (four from London Heathrow, one from Manchester and one from Dublin) into Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia is an easily-accessible destination on the east coast and the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau encourages all fans of American history and culture to make a trip there this Thanksgiving.
Delight In The Iconic Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday 24 November
It would be impossible to be in Philadelphia over Thanksgiving and not enjoy the extravaganza that is this annual parade. This year marks the 97th time the parade has graced the city, making it the oldest Thanksgiving show in America. Stretched across 1.4 miles, revellers make their way through the city on enormous floats flanked by choirs, dancers, marching bands and giant balloons. This showcase of festive fun is worth wrapping up warm for and top city spots to take in the sights include Logan Circle on Benjamin Franklin Parkway; the steps outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Eakins Oval, where mugs of hot soup comfort chilly hands. This spectacular celebration of colour and light is usually attended by several surprise guests (even Disney’s Elsa stopped by once!) and must not be missed.
Fantastic Feasts For All The Family, from Thursday 24 November
Thanksgiving is renowned for the culinary delights it brings to the table. To enjoy a real taste of hearty and traditional American cuisine, a whole host of much-loved restaurants in the city will be offering special menus for diners on 24 November. To match festivities with a portion of history, waiters dressed in historic costume will be serving diners a decadent array of dishes at the famous City Tavern, while a more traditional prix-fixe menu can be found at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar, which sits steps away from the iconic Rittenhouse Square. Those looking for a meal with a twist can also head to the Delaware River, where the Spirit Of Philadelphia will cruise past the city’s beautiful sights on water while guests enjoy the added treat of a buffet onboard.
Show Off Your Skating Skills, from 11 November
To get thoroughly into the festive spirit, Philadelphia boasts two outdoor ice-skating rinks to enjoy over the Thanksgiving weekend. Families and couples alike can head to the Rothman Rink from 11 November onwards, where skaters can glide around in the impressive Dilworth Park and enjoy the delicious snacks on offer in the toasty Rothman cabin, within view of Philadelphia’s City Hall, an architectural gem. For more spectacular scenery, the Blue Cross River Rink boasts views of the Delaware River and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. This winter wonderland will return for its 23rd year on 25 November, and is considered an absolute Thanksgiving weekend must-do for locals and visitors.
Shop ‘Til You Drop
With its year-round tax-free shopping, it comes as no surprise to learn that Philadelphia is one of the leading cities in which to spend bargain-hunters’ paradise, Black Friday. Whether visitors are looking to pick-up clothing at a snip of the price or bag a tech treat for less, there’s little chance shoppers will be empty-handed on Friday 25 November. Some of the most prevalent places to flash the plastic card and reap the tax-free rewards on this date include the King of Prussia Mall, where over 400 retailers, boutiques and restaurants sprawl across 3 million square feet to form the largest mall on the east coast, and Rittenhouse Row, where fashion fanatics can enjoy discounts in the more intimate environments of designer and unique boutique stores. For a more festive experience before the sales come round, the Christmas Village at City Hall will have over 70 wooden booths showcasing arts, crafts, ornaments and jewellery on 19 and 20 November. Here, visitors can enjoy delicious German bratwursts and mulled wine to get into the festive spirit, too!