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NYC's Best Thanksgiving Activities For Kids And Families

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Paradegoers at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Nov. 26, 2015 (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Rovio)

Whether you want to work up an appetite for turkey, or burn off Aunt Dora's sweet potato marshmallow pie, we've got a list of Thanksgiving Day activities that are fun for the whole family. By Jessica Allen.

credit: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade FANS / Facebook

Attend The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Route begins at 77th Street and Central Park West, and continues to 34th Street at Seventh Avenue
New York, NY

More: Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Guide 

Anyone with a television can spend the morning with Pikachu, the Kilgore Rangerettes, the Great American Marching Band, and the various other scheduled performers and balloons, but only those of us lucky enough to be in New York can see the action live on Thanksgiving morning. For a unique perspective on the beloved parade, attend the balloon inflation on the Upper West Side on Wednesday, from 3 to 10 pm.

credit: Garrett Ziegler

Check Out The Views From The Empire State Building

350 Fifth Ave
New York, NY 10118

More: Best Fall Activities For Kids

We've all heard the statistics: New York City has some 8.5 million residents, with another 58 million visitors, spread over 305 or so square miles. But, in order to appreciate the city's true scale, sometimes it pays to get up high—very high. The Empire State Building's 86th floor features New York's tallest open-air observatory (bundle up: it's chilly up here even in the summer.) For a true treat for older kids, take one of the last elevators of the evening (the elevator stops at 1:15 am), and take in the late-night sights in the city that never sleeps.

credit: God's Love We Deliver / Facebook

Give Back With God's Love We Deliver

166 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10013
(212) 294-8158

Thanksgiving To-Go: Best Delivery Services 

Founded in 1985, God's Love We Deliver has since prepared and served some 15 million nutritious, individually-tailored meals -- free of charge -- every weekday to clients in the five boroughs and the surrounding metropolitan area. Join this worthy nonsectarian organization (or another organization of your choice) on Thanksgiving morning to make and deliver food to those coping with life-threatening diseases, as well as their children and caregivers Note: advance sign-up is required.

credit: Film Forum / Facebook

Go To The Movies at Film Forum

209 West Houston Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 727-8110

More: Best Thanksgiving Eve Bar Specials 

Going to a movie on Christmas is a time-honored tradition for some folks, but increasingly more and more families are heading out to a film after Turkey Day dinner. Film Forum has lots of kid-friendly fare, starting with a 12:30 screening of "The Adventures of Tintin," followed by "Hugo." Each is being shown in 3-D -- with no extra charge. Skip the popcorn in favor of noshing on leftovers when you get home!

credit: Rockettes / Facebook

Kick Along With The Rockettes

Radio City Music Hall
1260 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
(866) 858 0007

More: Can't Miss Holiday Shows In NYC

Like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Radio City Rockettes' Christmas Spectacular is a show that never gets old. Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season, so why not get a start on your countdown to Christmas by seeing the talented dancers do their stuff on stage—without missing a beat. There are three shows scheduled for Thanksgiving: one at 2 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.

credit: Garrett Ziegler

Visit The Animals At The Central Park Zoo

64th Street and Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10065
(718) 220-5100

More: NYC Zoo And Aquarium Guide 

The Central Park Zoo is open on Thanksgiving, so consider capping a stroll among the foliage or run-around time on the playground with a visit to the brown bears, snow leopards, sea lions, and every other creature who calls the space home. The Children's Zoo boasts "the only cow in Manhattan," as well as goats, potbellied pigs, and sheep. Although the Bronx Zoo is closed, the New York Aquarium, Prospect Park Zoo, and Queens Zoo are also open on November 24 this year.

Jessica Allen is a New York-based writer.
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