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Spend Thanksgiving in the NYC Suburbs

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There’s A LOT happening in the ‘burbs this Thanksgiving…

With many families opting to hang home this Thanksgiving, the NYC suburbs are seriously stepping up with tons of restaurants offering special seatings plus other fun events and activities happening all weekend long. If you’re planning to stay local, consider using that time—Thanksgiving Day included!—to get out and explore. 

 

LONG ISLAND 

On the typical Thanksgiving Day, you’ll find a handful of popular Long Island restaurants open, with special family-style and a la carte options. This year, though, lots of our faves are open for both takeout and dine-in, with limited indoor and, even, outdoor seatings ideal for city families (and suburban families who don’t want to deal with cleanup…). 

 

Thyme in Roslyn is offering a prix-fixe menu from 1pm to 8pm on Thanksgiving Day. Seating is limited, but they’re still accepting reservations via phone and online. Davenport Press in Mineola is also offering a Thanksgiving menu which, for your picky eaters, includes non-turkey options like prime rib, tilapia, pasta and more. Also serving dinner in its two dining rooms is Milleridge Inn in Jericho. Their prix-fixe menu includes all of the holiday classics. 

 

Looking for something to burn off the pumpkin pie? There are also plenty of hands-on activities Thanksgiving weekend. For crafty families, AR Workshop in Bellmore is hosting a series of painting events starting Friday, including a Family-Friendly Canvas countdown on Friday and its SaturDIY Workshop and Holiday Ornaments Workshop on Saturday. (side note: there’s also a location in Port Washington). 

 

Want to really get out? Head to Clark Botanic Garden in Albertson and check out the local plants and wildlife, or to Gatsby-esque Sands Point Preserve in Sands Point for beach-front hiking (side note: Sands Point is part of the Port Washington school district). 

Source: Jones Beach State Park | Magic of Lights

 

And if you’re already in the holiday spirit? Head to Jones Beach for its annual Magic of Lights Drive-Through Show running November 13 through January 2. Expect bigger, more exciting displays than ever, including new LED and digital animations. Book your ticket in advance—the beach is open 5pm to 10pm on weekdays (Thanksgiving included) and 5pm to 11pm on weekends. Another seasonal go-to, Bayville Winter Wonderland, opens the day after Thanksgiving and runs through New Year’s Day. This year’s experience includes a Christmas tree forest, ice skating, train rides, arcade games, rock climbing and a chance to meet Santa. 

 

WESTCHESTER 

Likewise, Westchester restaurants will be serving at many popular go-tos. If you’re looking for a place to grab an amazing Thanksgiving meal—and getting a lay of the holiday land—check out these hotspots (reservations required).

 

Moderne Barn in Armonk has a special Thanksgiving menu this year, including classics like turkey and stuffing as well as other options—filet mignon, risotto, salmon and more. Bronxville’s Underhills Crossing is serving Thanksgiving as well, with limited seating inside and out. 

 

Also open this year: The Inn at Pound Ridge, a Jean-Georges restaurant. With its beautiful interiors and views and modern-meets-classic Thanksgiving menu (turkey, veal milanese, sea bass and sirloin), this is a cozy spot for foodie families to spend the holiday. Harvest on Hudson is another good option for foodies. Located in Hastings (and sister restaurant to Half Moon in Dobbs Ferry and Harvest on Fort Pond in Montauk), their Thanksgiving menu is being served from 12pm to 9pm on Thursday with a “Friendsgiving” seating Friday from 4pm to 11pm. Wine pairings are available. 

 

If you’re covered for dinner, head to the Westchester Children’s Museum in Rye on Saturday, November 28 for a holiday kick-off concert. It’s part of their Weekend Workshop series

 

Another way to get in the spirit? Kensico Dam Plaza unveils its annual holiday attraction, Westchester’s Winter Wonderland. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, this spectacular light display is now in its seventh year. Families can drive through more than 1.2 miles of installations packed with thousands of lights, characters and animated displays—this year includes a Fireside Forest, Winter Winds Way, Candy Cane Lane, Magical Woods and Dove Drive. Then, pass through the Twirling Tunnel (be sure to wave “hi” to Santa) and its 100-feet of swirling color lights and wrap up at the 40-foot Christmas tree—it’s the biggest in Westchester. 

 

NEW JERSEY 

From classic Thanksgiving feasts to super modern and eclectic options, there are plenty of spots to enjoy a festive meal with your family. 

 

On Thanksgiving Day, Stone House in Warren is serving a family-friendly Thanksgiving menu from 1pm to 7pm. With plenty of options from classic turkey dinner to vegetarian options. Award-winning Chef James Laird’s Restaurant Serenade in Chatham is serving Thanksgiving dinner from Tuesday through Sunday—including Thanksgiving Day—from 5pm to 9pm. Seating is available inside and out. Felina by Landmark in Ridgewood is also offering a twist-on-tradition-style menu from 1pm to 7pm on Thanksgiving Day.  


Local favorite Faubourg is also serving up Thanksgiving this year—both inside its upscale dining room and outside on its cold weather-ready patio (think roaring outdoor firepit and heaters…). You can either snag food to-go—orders are due by November 18—or can reserve a table via Resy or by phone. Seatings are from 12pm to 8pm and the three-course menu includes both classics—butternut squash soup, roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and green bean casserole—as well as tuna tartare, lemon sole, short ribs and more. And for dessert? Apple, pumpkin and pecan pie. 

 

From there—and all weekend long—there’s plenty for families to see and do in the New Jersey suburbs. The Long Branch Holiday Bazaar kicks off the day after Thanksgiving at 12pm. Located at the Pier Village in Long Branch, this open-air market includes plenty of local shopping, seasonal workshops, music, holiday-themed food and drinks and more. 

 

Alternatively, head to Maplewood for their open-air market—the Springfield Avenue Open-Air Retail Market—happening Saturday and running through December 19. Stroll Springfield Avenue, hit up local shops and take in the live music (Thanksgiving weekend is the Cherry Lane Swans) while you get into the holiday spirit. Maplewood is also hosting Shop the Block through December 14. The shopping experience kicks off at the corner of Bloomfield and Maple Place. 

Source: MiddlesexCounty.gov

 

Thanksgiving weekend also kicks off ice skating season. Lace up your skates and head to Roosevelt Park Family Skating Rink in Edison or Mercer County Ice Skating Center in West Windsor. Both our outdoor rinks—Roosevelt Park is lake-adjacent so the scenery is stunning, while the Mercer County rink is home to a fireplace and lounge area plus a full snack bar. One quick note, though, if you’re planning to skate: while both rinks plan to be open, check their respective sites to confirm opening hours and, if needed, book your spot. 

 

Finally, don’t miss the Kringle Railway Adventure, a New Jersey family favorite. During the ride, you’ll sing holiday songs, play games and write your letter to Santa. There will also be a train car scavenger hunt and family versus family competitions.

 

The holiday train has been reimagined for 2020, running at 50% capacity. Families will be seated in pods of four or six—seating is reservation-only and passengers can choose their seating pod and themed car when they book. This year’s themed cars include Train car themes include Candy Cane Lane, Silent Night, Blizzard Car, A Very Country Christmas, Present Palace and Ornament Express.


The first excursions happen the Saturday after Thanksgiving and run through December 20. Santa—and local food trucks—will be onsite. Be sure to book in advance.

 

CONNECTICUT 

There are many Connecticut restaurants serving up Thanksgiving including Bernard’s in Ridgefield. Their menu—including elevated seasonal eats—will be served from 12pm to 6pm. Blackstone Steakhouse—with locations in Greenwich, Norwalk, Southport and Stamford—is also serving Thanksgiving dinner as is Elm Restaurant in New Canaan. Elm’s menu includes family-style starters followed by a la carte options ranging from traditional smoked turkey breast, stuffing and truffle mac and cheese to options like lobster, filet mignon, branzino and tuna tartare. 

 

In Greenwich, L’Escale is currently accepting Thanksgiving Day reservations for seatings from 12pm to 7pm. Not only does their menu offer twists on classic faves—apple cider-brined turkey, foraged mushrooms and maple-cinnamon creme brulee, for starters—but they’ve also infused the menu with some of their signature dishes including a Thanksgiving “Plateau” raw bar option, homemade gnocchi and lamb ragu and pommes frites. Also on the menu? Seasonal cocktails such as the Autumn Snap Martini and Pilgrim’s Pom. Another local French restaurant—Thomas Henkelmann Homestead Inn—is also open for Thanksgiving reservations for those seeking a more high-end holiday experience. 

 

For those looking to explore local activities and attractions. Ideal for families, the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk is hosting tons of IMAX screenings all weekend long. With the theater closing in January, this is a great opportunity to check out their amazing lineup and check out the animals and hands-on experiences.

 

If you’re looking for a more festive event, check out the 12th Annual Reindeer Festival in Greenwich. While Santa’s staying home this year, he’s sending Dasher, Dancer and Vixen to meet families. After chatting with the reindeer, visit the nursery and greenhouse, grab a Christmas tree and shop for holiday gifts. You can also check out the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, built in 1864. The first floor will be decorated for Christmas starting November 11. 

 

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