Englishmen bake cornbread and Wampanoag Indians carve canoes at Plymouth Plantation, where Puritan settlers and Native Americans celebrated the first Thanksgiving. Besides walking through the 17th-century village you can dine on turkey, board a replica Mayflower ship and see Plymouth Rock.
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Giant balloons soar overhead, marching bands fill the street and Santa rides into Manhattan at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The procession can only be topped by the city’s window displays, decorated with animatronic elves and shiny new toys for good girls and boys.
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More than 200,000 lights brighten the River Walk at San Antonio’s Holiday River Parade Lighting. Visitors watch a procession of illuminated boats on the San Antonio River heralding the start of the American holiday season.
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Dig into roast turkey and sweet potatoes at taverns throughout Colonial Williamsburg. Adorned with candles and evergreen sprigs, this Virginia town gives a taste of America’s earliest days, with authentic blacksmithing, wig-making and costumed revolutionaries lobbying for independence.
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America’s largest Thanksgiving Day road race, the Turkey Trot welcomes 30,000 runners to Dallas to run off a few calories before the holiday feasting. Afterward football fans watch a Dallas Cowboys football game or visit Thanks-Giving Square, with artwork that encourages gratefulness.
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After the Thanksgiving Parade the nation’s largest German Christmas market opens, with wooden booths, glass ornaments and German carolers. Merry-makers snack on sausages and pretzels before visiting the window displays on Michigan Avenue, filled with prancing reindeer and festive lights.
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Give thanks for winter in Vancouver, where a long holiday weekend provides an excuse to reserve a hotel room and hit the slopes. Grouse Mountain offers skiing, skating and snowshoeing and the romantic Whistler Mountaineer train leads to snowy Whistler and Canada’s most dramatic alpine skiing.
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Exchange your turkey dinner for frozen margaritas at a palm-lined beach in Mexico. Cold weather-weary Northerners take advantage of the long Thanksgiving holiday to escape to Caribbean resorts in Cancun and Cozumel and explore Mayan history at Chichen Itza.
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Thanksgiving ushers in the holiday shopping season, and no place says shopping like the Mall of America. 400 stores tempt gift-givers with fur coats, jewelry, chocolates and the latest toys. If you need a break, entertain yourself with miniature golf, an aquarium and Nickolodeon Universe, a full-size amusement park, all under one roof.
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Celebrate the American holiday in her capital, Washington DC. Dine on turkey and pumpkin pie at 1789, a Federal house turned restaurant in Georgetown. Red brick houses and cobbled streets conjure up images of stocking-clad men arguing for independence. When the feast is over, see American history come to life at the Smithsonian Institution.
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