This time of year often marks waiting until the last minute to switch on the heat and enjoying the return of seasonal beverage favorites. Though the holiday season may still be several weeks away, Thanksgiving plans are underway. For some, there’s no place like home, and spending time with family and friends is the preferred choice. Others leverage holiday vacations as a solid excuse to skip the kitchen while still creating memories with those they love.

In a recent report, Allianz Partners highlighted the most popular destinations for Thanksgiving travel this year. For the 2023 Allianz Partners Top 10 Thanksgiving Destination Index, the travel insurance company reviewed more than 800,000 travel itineraries around the Thanksgiving holiday.

These cities will soon be buzzing with holiday visitors as the most popular domestic destinations for 2023.

New York, NY

aerial view of New York City during sunrise
Photo credit: Quintin Gellar

For the third consecutive year, New York takes the top spot for cities that holiday travelers will visit for Thanksgiving Day. As a major metropolitan city, there’s no shortage of activities and restaurants to indulge in. The annual pageantry of the Macy’s Day Parade takes place on Thanksgiving Day, a fun activity for families and those who enjoy a grand performance. The holiday season in New York also sees the return of pop-up holiday markets and skating rinks throughout the city. Fashion-forward visitors can get into the holiday spirit by enjoying the unique, over-the-top window displays at major retailers like Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, Henri Bendel, and Saks Fifth Avenue, among others. Most importantly, you’ll have your pick of casual or fine dining restaurants that remain open on Thanksgiving to serve those who would rather dine out.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle skyline at night
Photo credit: Jeff Boyce

Seattle makes the list as the only destination on the West Coast in the top five most popular cities. Plan a Seattle Harbor cruise tour, take one of numerous city tours, or visit the famous Space Needle. Switch things up with a visit to Mt. Rainier National Park to experience high mountain lakes, cascading waterfalls, and the best views of the glaciers of Rainier.

Pike Place Market is closed on Thanksgiving Day, but you’ll want to get there early if you decide to visit over the weekend. Its ‘Magic in the Market’ event on Saturday is where you can get in on caroling, eggnog, and the famous lighting ceremony after 5 p.m. Several restaurants and bars will also be open on Thanksgiving Day, with some serving special menus to celebrate the holiday.

Orlando, Florida

lake in Orlando Florida
Photo credit: Mick Haupt

Head to Florida for more favorable temperatures and plenty of activities to keep the family entertained. Of the city’s many Thanksgiving weekend events, FusionFest brings the spirit of cultures from around the world to O-Town. The free, two-day festival gathers 110 global cultures to celebrate music, dance, visual arts, spoken word, games, interactive activities and more in downtown Orlando. The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra is also hosting its annual Home for the Holidays musical celebration downtown.

No Thanksgiving is complete without a hearty meal, and Orlando is making sure its residents and visitors are well-fed. According to Visit Orlando, many of the city’s major hotels and noteworthy restaurants are offering reasonably priced, multi-course Thanksgiving menus. From Thanksgiving staples like turkey and stuffing to alternative preferences like plant-based dining, Orlando’s restaurant scene is preparing to satisfy your tastebuds.

Atlanta, Georgia

Atlanta skyline at sunset
Photo credit: ALTEREDSNAPS

As the fourth city on the list, there might not be a city that parties better or harder than Atlanta on weekends like Thanksgiving. However, before the nightlife entertainment begins there’s plenty to do during the day. Kick off the holiday by participating in the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon and 5k to get ahead of the calories you’ll consume later in the day. ‘Garden Lights, Holiday Nights’ at the Atlanta Botanical Garden is both romantic and family-friendly, with thousands of lights bringing the spirit of the holidays to life. You can also channel your inner child by visiting Atlanta signature stops like Zoo Atlanta or the Georgia Aquarium. The Rink at Park Tavern also opens on Thanksgiving Day for its seasonal ‘A Miracle on 10th Street’ event.

On the topic of Thanksgiving dinner, there are plenty of restaurants gearing up to serve multi-course feasts. Sun Dial is typically open on Thanksgiving, serving skyline views and a special prix fixe menu. Other restaurants where you are guaranteed a good meal include Ray’s on the River, South City Kitchen, and Old Vinings Inn. Although Rock Steady is closed on Thanksgiving, you’ll want to gather your adult family members for a vibey night on the town over the weekend.

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston skyline
Photo credit: Andrés García

Rounding out the top five, Boston brings it home as one of the most popular cities to visit this Thanksgiving. Sports fans can enjoy an outing to watch the Celtics or Bruins take on their opponents in basketball or hockey, respectively. Although it’s closed on Thanksgiving Day, head to Faneuil Marketplace over the weekend for a splash of holiday inspiration and an abundance of holiday shopping. Experience Boston’s fine arts scene by seeing The Nutcracker at the Boston Opera House or set sail on City Cruises’ Thanksgiving Day Afternoon Lunch Cruise on Boston Harbor.

Restaurants in Boston will leave the family satisfied on Thanksgiving Day, with everything from casual to fine dining. Highlights for Thanksgiving menus include Bambara Kitchen and Bar, Coach Grill, and Victory Point. Reservations are always a good idea, where available, as space will be limited and demand high at many restaurants.