Holiday Weekend in New York City (with video)

In the evening of Thanksgiving Thursday this year we headed to New York City (from our home in a suburb of Boston) for a 2-day family holiday weekend.  Thanksgiving weekend is a traditional museum and theater weekend in our family.  It is a great weekend to spend in NYC as there are plenty of museums and theater options to choose from while also enjoying the highlights of two seasons!  There were still glimpses of colors in Central Park while 5th Ave was festively decorated for the upcoming holidays.

Here is the link to our youtube channel video from a visit a couple of years ago and below are some additional Tips and details to help you plan your NYC outing this holiday season.


  • Some art museums may require timed entry reservations for certain exhibits. Try to get an early time slot as it gets crowded later in the day. On our most recent visit during Thanksgiving weekend 2023 we have visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art (we booked the Manet and Degas Exhibit timed entry once we were inside).
  • For Broadway and off-Broadway news (and entry rules), check out the Playbill website. We have seen the Roundabout’s I Need That! with Danny DeVito this year (it is running through December 30, 2023)
  • Discounted theater tickets are sold on a day of the show at the TDF’s Times Square location (they  offer “real time listings” to get you familiar with what might be available).
  • Outdoor dining is not as important this year as in the years past but many NYC eateries have kept their outdoor terraces year round.
  • We like New York City parks. On this trip we visited  Bryant Park, Little Island Park and the Central Park. Central Park offers reasonably priced guided tours for all interests and I highly recommend adding them to your itinerary. We did a self-guided tour of Monuments and structures on a prior visit and this is another option if you are willing to spend some time preparing your route and then guiding your family through the stops on the tour.  Our other favorite parks are Little Island and Brooklyn Bridge Park.
  • If you are visiting NYC in December and are looking for Big holiday Trees- the most famous one is at the Rockefeller Center (approach from 5th Ave after admiring nearby window display at the Saks 5th Ave)- the trees are  not there during the Thanksgiving weekend but get lit up by early December. Other beautifully decorated trees could be found at the New York Public Library, the nearby Bryant Park and at the Madison Square Park midtown, at the Lincoln Center on Upper West Side and at the Washington Square Park in lower Manhattan.  The one we have not yet seen is in the Seaport district. I challenge you to create a walking itinerary to see them all in one weekend!
  • Other ways to get into the holiday spirit is to check out festive decorations at the Hudson Yards stores, the giant ornaments along 6th Ave midtown, browse the outdoors Winter Village at Bryant Park and admire the skaters at Wollman Rink in Central Park.  90-minutes Christmas Spectacular shows at the Radio City Music Hall run through January 4
  • Family Weekend New York City
    5th Ave is decorated for the Holidays

    For lodging, we used our Hilton Honors free nights to stay in Hilton Midtown, an excellent location on 6th Ave near MoMa. Both Draper and Fairfield/Marriott Times sq. showed good pricing (these are my affiliate links)


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