Last year my hubby, myself, and my in-laws started a tradition of having Thanksgiving in New York City. As a child, I had always wanted to spend Thanksgiving at The Plaza in NYC. I thought it would be so magical to stay at the Plaza, go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and kick off the holiday season doing all the holiday things in New York City. So we did! We had such an amazing time that we all agreed that this is something we should do every year for Thanksgiving. So this year again, we headed off to NYC for Thanksgiving.
My husband is a huge fan of Intelligencia Coffee so this year he wanted to stay at The High Line Hotel in the Meatpacking Chelsea District because they have an Intelligencia Coffee right inside the hotel and to be honest, it’s an adorable boutique hotel. This year Thanksgiving was also going to be a little more special because my sister-in-law was joining us and bringing her newly adopted teenage daughter. We were all very excited to meet our new addition to our family!
Thanksgiving Weekend in New York City
We checked in and explored The High Line Hotel, grabbed a coffee (of course), and met up with everyone including meeting my new niece!
Chelsea Market and SoHo
With a coffee in hand, we were ready to head to all our favorite spots in the city. Our first stop was a walk through Chelsea Market to grab a quick snack before walking to SoHo. It was my first time going to Chelsea Market and it was very cool. Lots of great little unique places to eat, trendy stores, along with some older stores full of everything you would need to run a restaurant to must-have kitchen gadgets.
Next stop, SoHo. I had made reservations for dinner at Balthazar, which is one of our favorite restaurants in NYC. The years I have been coming to visit NYC it’s usually the first place we have dinner. I also love to shop and walk around SoHo, the cobbled streets and the white buildings are my favorite. So that’s what we did before heading to dinner.
Winter Village at Bryant Park, Christmas Lights on 5th Avenue, and Rockefeller Center
After dinner, we headed over to Bryant Park to see and shop the holiday market. During the holidays, Bryant Park becomes a Winter Village with tons of adorable popup stores to shop, a restaurant, and an ice skating rink. If you are in NYC during the holidays you definitely have to stop by. My favorite pop up at Bryant Park is The French Mermaid. I’m linking the owner’s Instagram account here because her vintage repurposed designer jewelry and vintage designer bags are simply adorable. You have to check out all her pieces!
From Bryant Park, we walked around 5th Avenue and Rockefeller Center to see all of the amazing holiday lights. The holiday lights on 5th Avenue are so over to the top, you can’t help but feel like a little kid. It’s one of my favorite parts of coming to NYC during the holiday season.
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
The next day we got up and headed right to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. I never thought I would be excited to see the parade but it’s really quite something and another great NYC tradition. Even as an adult it’s really amazing to see all those giant balloons. It’s all part of the magic of New York City. It got pretty cold standing outside for a few hours so we warmed up at a typical NYC diner (I love a good diner) called Westway Diner.
The Empire State Building
My husband and I went off on our own to do something that I’ve been wanting to do for years. Which is to go up to the observation deck of the Empire State Building. Tickets are a little pricey at $38 a person, but if you have never been, it’s definitely a touristy thing that is worth doing. Here’s a tip to beat the lines, you can either purchase your tickets ahead of time or purchase them from the kiosk inside and skip the long lines to purchase tickets. We did the kiosk and it saved us about a 40 minute wait time.
The Nomad Bar and The Smith (Nomad)
After going to the Empire State Building we headed back to the hotel to relax and to get ready for Thanksgiving dinner. Before dinner, I wanted to stop by The Nomad Hotel Bar for a cocktail because it has recently been named on one of the best bars in America. We all crammed into the small bar and enjoyed a few drinks. They were pricey of course but really good! If you love hotel bars, a trendy vibe, and great cocktails like I do, you should definitely add this spot to your NYC list.
Before we left for NYC I had spent ages looking for a good place for Thanksgiving dinner. I wanted a traditional menu with enough choices that everyone would enjoy. Last year, since we stayed at The Plaza we had Thanksgiving dinner at The Plaza and it was terrible! So, we had to make up for it this year. The Smith (Nomad) had just the menu I was looking for! This year our Thanksgiving dinner was one of the best I’ve had in a while! Everyone loved it and I was just happy that I had picked a great place that everyone enjoyed.
9/11 Memorial, Chinatown, and Little Italy
On Friday morning we headed to the 9/11 Memorial. I hadn’t been there since construction on the Freedom Tower and so I really wanted to go see the memorial. It’s still heartbreaking to think about what happened there but the memorial couldn’t have been more beautiful and I’m so glad that I went to see it. After, we quickly stopped by Blue Bottle Coffee because my husband had been wanting to try their coffee. The coffee shop was very modern and minimalistic so I wasn’t sure what to expect the espresso to be like. I tried my husband’s and it was so rich and creamy, and I liked it even without sugar. We just had to purchase some beans for home because it was that good!
Next, we headed to Chinatown for lunch and to do some shopping. We ate at the Golden Unicorn which had been suggested by my husband’s cousin and it was really delicious! Then it was time to do some fun Chinatown shopping followed by hot chocolate and dessert at a favorite bakery of ours called Caffè Roma in Little Italy. My husband and I framed the photo we had taken last year at the cafè so we just had to recreate it and take another one this year. We also took a few holiday family photos as well.
We couldn’t come to NYC and not take our new niece to see the lights and all the craziness at Times Square. We ended the night and our NYC trip walking around Time Square and enjoying some greasy pizza slices.
We did so much in those few days but we all had the best time in NYC and really enjoy another amazing Thanksgiving in New York. I really loved meeting and getting to know my new niece, spending time with my in-laws and sister-in-law, my husband’s cousin, who I adore, and of course my amazing hubby.
After spending a few days at The High Line Hotel, I highly suggest staying here if you are looking for a great boutique hotel in a fun neighborhood. We loved lounging in the lobby bar, having Intelligencia Coffee and then in the evenings Intelligencia would switch into The Bar so you could enjoy a cocktail or a nightcap, which we did almost every night. The hotel was really comfortable and cozy, the staff was wonderful, and the hotel is dog-friendly too!
You can download the checklist I created below to help you plan your next trip to New York City!
Free Download: Save a copy of this checklist I made:
A Girl’s Guide to Spending Thanksgiving in New York City