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10 Reasons to Head to the U.S. For Thanksgiving

While Canadians mark the holiday in October with a few days of giving thanks and visiting relatives, our American cousins extend their celebration to a four-day weekend. Cross the US border November 28th and discover that showing gratitude in America involves much more than turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes.

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Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Believe the hype, Canada. New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a holiday spectacle that you have to experience at least once in person. Larger than life, and bursting with festive cheer, this year’s parade celebrates 87 years of pageantry, choreographed marching bands, and elaborate floats. Sailing high in the sky between Manhattan’s iconic skyscrapers, the parade’s signature character balloons enchant millions of spectators. Be sure to arrive early and claim your spot along Central Park West, Columbus Circle or Sixth Avenue.

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Black Friday Shopping

Get your credit cards and elbows ready! Whether you’re headed to Bloomington, Minnesota’s Mall of America, Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, or Fifth Avenue in New York City, you’ll find door-crashing bargains across the United States on November 29, the day following US Thanksgiving. Work off the calories gained from over-indulging in stuffing, and pumpkin pie while you fight for amazing deals that you can’t find back home in Canada.

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The World’s Largest Disco

Beloved by Canadians for its mouthwatering chicken wings, and cross border shopping, Buffalo is also Thanksgiving headquarters for the world’s largest disco. Held annually since 1994, this year’s shindig, on Saturday, November 30 at the Buffalo Convention Center, features the largest dance floor in New York state, and surprise celebrity guests. Revelers in the past have boogied under the mirrorball with David Cassidy, Henry Winkler, and the cast of The Brady Bunch. Profits from this retro extravaganza are donated to Camp Good Days & Special Times, a charity that provides camping experiences for children with cancer. General admission tickets cost $75.

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Feasting On The Water

Do candied yams, turkey, and cranberry sauce taste better with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge? Find out during a Hornblower Thanksgiving buffet cruise. Spend three idyllic hours sailing around the picturesque San Francisco Bay while you indulge in a decadent meal of local seasonal ingredients. Butternut squash ravioli, garlic mashed potatoes, and chocolate cake will tempt your taste buds along with prime rib, roasted turkey breast, and pecan pie. Feeling full? Work off a few calories dancing to the live band under the glittering Bay Lights.

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America’s Oldest Thanksgiving Parade

Philadelphia’s 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade throws a festive 1.4 mile party that’s hard to beat. Since 1920 (four years before NYC’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade), Philly’s downtown core has played host to marching bands, dance troops, choirs, and decorative floats. This year giant airborne balloon characters such as Cookie Monster and Elmo mix with special celebrity guests. The fun starts at 8:30am so arrive early and grab the perfect vantage point – locals swear by Logan Circle, and the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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NFL Thanksgiving Showdowns

Watching NFL football in person on Thanksgiving Day – you can’t get more American than that! Enjoy your turkey, gravy and apple pie with a generous helping of gridiron action. With three holiday match-ups, your appetite for football will be truly satiated – all you have to do is choose one of three US destinations: visit Detroit to watch the Lions take on the Green Bay Packers, head to Dallas where the Cowboys face the Oakland Raiders, or travel to Baltimore and cheer on the hometown Ravens versus the Pittsburg Steelers.

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Photo: © Macy's Inc

Travel Deals

American Thanksgiving is a popular time for vacations, but you don’t have to fall victim to sky-high prices. Use your travel smarts and uncover deals that other Canadians will miss. Melissa Burchat, iTravel2000.com’s Marketing and Promotions Manager, recommends the following tips to save money on your November Thanksgiving get-away:

  • – Drive and stay at hotels just outside the city limits of your main destination.

  • – Book your departing flights from airports in American border cities such as Buffalo, New York, Bellingham, Washington, or Plattsburg, New York.

  • – Book your hotel in advance to avoid price spikes.

  • – Leave Canada before Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 28) to avoid high prices, busy airports and roads.

  • – Return home to Canada before the weekend wraps up. You’ll save money on high fares, and skip crowded borders.

 

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Thanksgiving Day Race

Want to make amends for over indulging during Canadian Thanksgiving? If you’re looking for a healthy Thanksgiving do-over, grab your running shoes and head to Cincinnati, Ohio. On November 28, the city hosts its challenging 104th annual Thanksgiving Day Race. Not only will you reap the benefits of this 10k workout, but you’ll also be helping over 9 local charities including Ronald McDonald House. Register online and be ready for the 9am start at Paul Brown Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals.

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Celebrations With Pilgrims

Share a Thanksgiving feast with pilgrims from the year 1627. At Massachusetts’ Plimoth Plantation – a recreated 17th century village – visitors immerse themselves in the welcoming hospitality of America’s first English settlers. A bountiful autumn harvest means a multi-course dinner of authentic pilgrim fare including sweet corn pudding, marinated mussels, succulent turkey, roasted pork, leek and onion soup, and spiced cheesecake. Join in a spirited sing-a-long with your hosts, raise a glass of apple ciderkin and give thanks pilgrim-style.

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Catching The NBA’s Future Stars Today

Dribbling doesn’t have to be reserved for the Thanksgiving dinner table. Take in some exciting hoops action from November 28 through December 1 when the 8th annual Old Spice Classic holds court at the ESPN Wide World of Sport complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Eight college basketball teams including Oklahoma State, Purdue and LSU compete in a bracket format tournament that’s the ideal getaway for the whole family. Travel packages featuring game and theme park tickets as well as accommodation are available on the Classic’s website, and individual game tickets can also be obtained through Ticketmaster.