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Which Cities are Visited Most for Thanksgiving?

By Christian Roemer

Thanksgiving is a magical holiday where we eat tons of food, watch football, and have undesirable political conversations with our families. Thanksgiving is definitely a give-and-take kind of arrangement.

It’s also one of the busiest travel holidays of the year.
People fly and drive all over the US in a deluge of traffic and congestion. Then, after making the annual pilgrimage to wherever they’re going, most of them spend the day after Thanksgiving emptying their pocketbooks.


If you’re wondering where everyone’s going to be traveling this Thanksgiving, we’re glad you asked! Personally, I’m going to use this list to triangulate the exact location that I can go to get away from everyone. If you’re more of an extrovert, here’s how you can be smack dab in the middle of the action.


New York City, NY 

People from all over want to see New York City at Thanksgiving. There’s a really good reason for that too: The Thanksgiving Day Parade! This annual bash on the streets of the Big Apple feature celebrities singing, huge floats floating, lots of dancers dancing, and more high school bands playing than you can shake a drum stick at. Not only is the parade great, but the Black Friday shopping options are basically unparalleled.


Chicago, IL 

While not quite as famous as New York’s, Chicago has a pretty good parade in its own right. While you’re in the Windy City, you’ll have tons of other things to do too. Go ice skating, shopping, and check out the Pier. Depending on the year, the Bears might be playing too. There really are a ton of things to do in Chicago during this time of year, which is why so many people go there!


Orlando, FL 

When folks want to leave the cold, they go to Florida. That’s because Florida basically never gets below 60 degrees. Not only that, but a bunch of grandparents live in Florida. Disney is also in Florida--Orlando to be specific. Basically, families have all sorts of reasons to migrate South for the 4th Thursday in November.


Atlanta, GA 

This is sort of a trick inclusion. The Atlanta airport is the busiest one in the world, which means that people sift through ATL by default in order to get basically anywhere in the Southeast and beyond. Because it has so many connecting flights, literally millions of people will pass through Hartsfield Jackson Airport this year. According to the AJC, in 2018, over 3 million people stopped in. Woah.


Los Angeles, CA 

Another massive city, Los Angeles has its own share of fun stuff to get into during the Thanksgiving holidays. Like Florida, LA never really gets cold, so it’s the perfect respite from the snow in the Midwest and North. Additionally, Southern California is beautiful! Go driving up US Highway 1, visit Disneyland, and go to the beach all in a single day. It’s perfect!

If you’re wondering where all the people will be this Thanksgiving, any one of those 5 places is a pretty good bet. The sheer size of the cities makes it basically inevitable that they’ll be gridlocked with all of the travelers heading to and passing through them.

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