9 BEST Thanksgiving Getaways from NYC

Thanksgiving weekend is an exciting time to be in the Big Apple. Still, many city-dwellers choose to spend the holiday somewhere else, away from the crowds. These Thanksgiving getaways from NYC are all doable weekend trips, but if you decided to stay longer or even move permanently, we would totally understand.

The traffic, the expense of a Broadway show and finding accommodations that work for your brood often requires a good bit of scouring the internet. Many travelers head straight to travel sites and blogs that focus on Manhattan, Times Square, 5th Avenue and all the excitement of that area. Most never look further than just that one borough when there is so much more to NYC.
best thanksgiving getaways from NYC

Here are our top Thanksgiving getaways from NYC:

1. Albany

This historic town of just under 100,000 residents doesn't lack the grandeur of a bigger city yet still preserves its small-town charm. On the Thursday before Thanksgiving, you can join Albany's annual Troy Turkey Trot 5k. This holiday tradition dates back to 1916, when only six runners entered. Today, there are thousands.

In addition to the main race, the city offers several side events, such as a 1k-race for children and live street performances.

2. Riverhead

After spending a quiet Thanksgiving Thursday in your Riverhead vacation rental, your family can head to a holiday open house at the Hallockville Museum Farm, an event that features arts and crafts made by locals. If you are traveling with kids, they can ride the town's Polar Express trolley and meet Santa at a local North Pole the Saturday after the holiday.

Later, the kids can meet the elf himself and ask for Christmas presents. On the ride back, they can listen to a recorded narration of The Polar Express read by Liam Neeson.

3. Syracuse

One cannot speak of Thanksgiving getaways from NYC without mentioning Syracuse. In Syracuse, you can attend numerous Thanksgiving events the city organizes from Thursday to Sunday. Start the morning in Schiller Park by joining a 1.3-mile turkey trot. This is a slow-paced fun run people of all ages can participate in.

The next day at noon, the World’s Smallest Christmas Parade held on Genesee Street marks the start of the Christmas season. A live performance of Dickens' A Christmas Carol will get your family into the Christmas spirit.

4. Ellicottville

Christmas festivities start early in the village of Ellicottville, too. Christmas carolers can be seen on the streets of Ellicottville the weekend after Thanksgiving. On Saturday morning, you and your kids can have breakfast with Santa Claus at the Village Center.

There is a similar event your kids can attend if you are considering making Staten Island your home and staying there for Thanksgiving, minus the small-town charm Ellicottville has. Moreover, Ellicottville offers horse and wagon rides and lots of fun games for the little ones. In the afternoon, they can go on a fire truck ride around town with Santa.

5. Windham

If you are craving the wide open spaces of the countryside, escape into the Catskill Mountains for a dream family holiday. This region is full of charming little towns, but if we had to choose one, it would be Windham in Greene County. Its panoramic views and waterfalls make Windham one of the most beautiful Thanksgiving getaways from NYC.

Here, you can ski at Windham Mountain or Hunter Mountain, hike to the Kaaterskill Falls – the state’s highest cascading waterfall, and visit the sanctuary of native plants at The Mountain Top Arboretum.

6. Buffalo

The city of Buffalo is a perfect destination for newlyweds, retired couples, as well as families with kids. There are many communities in the Buffalo area, such as Lackawanna, with affordable vacation rentals. They are all within driving distance of Niagara Falls. Buffalo may be chilly this time of the year but it offers plenty of Thanksgiving fun and festivities.

For example, there's the world's largest disco you can visit on Saturday night at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center. Buffalo has one of only a few city halls in the United States to be designed in the Art Deco style. It’s also one of the tallest municipal buildings in the United States at 398 feet. It’s also one of the tallest buildings of any kind in New York State outside of New York City. It was completed in 1931, about two years before the Empire State Building, another example of Art Deco. Being such an architecturally significant building, it was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Buildings in 1999. Buffalo’s City Hall was partly inspired by the Los Angeles City Hall (below) which was completed in 1928.

7. Cold Spring

Cold Spring is a small historic village on the Hudson River, only 50 miles from Manhattan. Escape to this quiet town upstate and spend Thanksgiving weekend enjoying the Hudson Valley's fall foliage, hiking the Breakneck Ridge Loop, and antique shopping on Main Street. Although the sculpture park Storm King Art Center isn't open on Thanksgiving Day, visitors can still see the exhibits any other day during the Thanksgiving weekend.

8. New England

When it comes time to gather around the table to carve the turkey, many Americans should be grateful for New England. Not only can the myth that launched Thanksgiving celebrations can be traced back to Massachusetts, but many of the dishes Americans serve — from apple cider to pumpkin pie — have New England roots.

From jellied cranberry sauce to canned pumpkin puree, so many staples that Americans across the United States incorporate into their Thanksgiving feast originate in this region. And of course, green chilies from New Mexico and even pineapple-centric dishes from the South are Thanksgiving favorites, too — but it's those New England flavors that appear on tables year after year.

One thing many Americans overlook around the holiday season is how much Native American people have contributed to the preservation of staple crops that is eaten every day — but especially on Thanksgiving — including corn and all kinds of squash. Without their efforts to plant, store, and cultivate diverse varieties of plants, the American diet would be overtaken by monoculture — and all Thanksgiving dinners would be much more drab.

9. Cooperstown

Thanksgiving weekend is the best time of the year to visit Cooperstown and enjoy its welcoming atmosphere. In addition to its amazing year-round local attractions, such as the ancient Native American burial mounds and education centers around the area and the Baseball Hall of Fame, there are some fun family events you can only attend around this holiday.

We recommend one that takes place on the Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving at the Farmers' Museum. Here, you can see how people celebrated Thanksgiving back in 1845, long before it became a national holiday.

Interesting Reads: Festivals and Events in New York City
Kalyan Panja