For many families, Thanksgiving is the ultimate holiday. These unique and affordable destinations offer not only the chance to escape, but also to tap into historic and cultural celebrations, while still enjoying the custom of over-indulgence.
1. Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia
The first documented Thanksgiving in what is now the United States took place on December 4, 1619, at Berkeley Plantation on the banks of the James River in what is now Williamsburg, Virginia. Today, restaurants in the area recreate the first Thanksgiving dinner using local meats and crops, much of it coming from the exact same waterways and gardens that fed the first Colonists almost 400 years ago.
Money-saving tip: Guests who stay at the Kingsmill Resort get breakfast and the as well as complimentary shuttles to Busch Gardens and Colonial Williamsburg.
2. Cooperstown, New York
The Farmer’s Museum, a working 19th-century farm and village in central New York, lies along the elegant lakeshore. On November 23 and 24, families can take a tour of the period-style farmhouse, ride its antique carousel, watch blacksmiths at work, and see heritage-breed turkeys. While you’re in town, stop by the nearby Baseball Hall of Fame.
3. Chicago, Illinois
Bundle up in this holiday season and head to Chicago to partake in many Thanksgiving activities, including the Thanksgiving Day Parade, one of the largest in the country. Enjoy gigantic balloons, marching bands, festive floats, and more.
Money-saving tip: Stay at Hotel Julian, located across the street from Millennium Park, starting from just $99 per person.
4. Greenville, South Carolina
Greenville is the quintessential Southern city with an elegant waterfront and fall foliage. Kids will love the world-class Children’s Museum of the Upstate, or have the whole family sign up for the Virtual Turkey Day 5k.
5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
From Independence Hall to the Liberty Bell to the new Museum of the American Revolution, Philadelphia is filled with American spirit. On Black Friday, visitors can experience a new museum program called Retail & Rebellion, which covers the history of shopping and consumer goods in the U.S. (free). Don’t miss the city’s Thanksgiving Day parade—it’s the oldest in the nation.
Money-saving tip: While many city restaurants serve Thanksgiving feasts, the Radnor Hotel offers a classy, inexpensive menu at $39.95 per adult and $17.50 for kids ages 5-11.
6. Santa Fe, New Mexico
The whole family will love Santa Fe, with holiday lights set up on the trees and lampposts around Santa Fe Plaza and lit nightly for visitors to enjoy the festive atmosphere individually. We recommend making a reservation for the Thanksgiving Day lunch or dinner at Anasazi Restaurant. There will be a prix fixe menu with scheduled seating’s available at 12pm, 6pm and 8pm in the dining room, Wine Cellar and Library. The property will also be doing a Thanksgiving To-Go on both Wednesday, November 25 and Thursday, November 26.
Money-saving tip: Stay at the Santa Fe Sage Inn, which boasts 145 beautiful rooms decorated in southwestern colors and Native American patterns, for as low as $90 per night.
7. Ute Mountain Tribal Park, Colorado
Spend the holiday weekend in Ute Mountain Tribal Park with one of Colorado’s Native American Ute tour guides. They will show you how to interpret pictographs and teach you about the geological land formations and Ancestral Pueblo petroglyphs, artifacts, and dwellings.
Money-saving tip: Stay in nearby Mancos, a designated Colorado Creative District for its galleries along historic Main Street. The recently renovated Mancos Inn offers bunk rooms from $40 per person and private rooms from $70 per person.
8. San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio’s Riverwalk transforms during the holiday season into a light-filled wonderland with costumed float riders and music.
Money-saving tip: The Westin Riverwalk puts you at the center of all the action, for around $140 per night.
9. Portsmouth, New Hampshire
New Hampshire has deep historical ties to Thanksgiving, when a fisherman named David Thomson sent a shipload to a pilgrim village, saving them from starvation. Today, families can visit the Strawbery Banke Museum in downtown Portsmouth and learn the stories of families who lived in the buildings from 1695 to 1955. Children can learn how to make corn-husk dolls.
Money-saving tip: Take the guided 90-minute interactive Thanksgiving walking tour, offered on weekends in November for only $15 per adult and $10 per child.
10. National Harbor, Maryland
A short drive from both Alexandria, Virginia, and Washington D.C., National Harbor has several hotels and family-friendly attractions including the Capital Wheel, street performers, and musical bands. This year, the Gaylord will unveil a spectacular “A Charlie Brown Christmas” along with a gingerbread village.
Money-saving Tip: Put a twist on the traditional Thanksgiving feast at modern Indian restaurant Rasika West End in nearby Washington, D.C. For $22 per person, you’ll have a delicious spread of Turkey Mussalam with butternut bharta, jeera green beans, cranberry pulao, and onion sage kulcha.