It’s our favorite time of year again — Thanksgiving! Bring on the turkey, football, and at least here in New York, the big balloons. This year we had some of our data crunchers decipher the best places in the country to celebrate Thanksgiving. Our methodology included the following:
- Proximity to airport: Many people fly over Thanksgiving (about 25.3 million this year, according to estimates), and a destination close to a large airport makes for an easier commute. All locations are under 15 miles from a major airport.
- Grocery Stores: Preparing a big Thanksgiving meal can include multiple trips to the local grocery store, so we looked not only at the number of grocery stores per city, but the number people per grocery store.
- Crime: We wanted to look at cities that were relatively safe, so when inviting family and friends to gather, you can enjoy a visit that has less of a chance of criminal activity.
We also limited our cities to those with over 100,000 people and cities where the weather is expected to be above freezing which we thought would lessen the chance of flight delays and make for a more comfortable game of touch football.
20. Honolulu, HI
Pop: 347,208 | Thanksgiving: 81 degrees, showers | 212 grocery stores | 4.8 miles from Honolulu International
19. Baton Rouge, LA
Pop: 227,027 | Thanksgiving: 74 degrees, sunny | 139 grocery stores| 5.9 miles from Baton Rouge Metropolitan
If you're spending Thanksgiving in Baton Rouge, head out on a river boat or watch demonstrations of various Civil War Small Arm weapons and experience a truly unique Thanksgiving.
18. Salinas, CA
Pop: 155,178| Thanksgiving: 58 degrees, sunny | 96 grocery stores| 14.6 miles from Monterey Regional Airport
Salinas was home to John Steinbeck and is known as the “salad bowl of the world” so it should be a nice place to spend a holiday based on a delicious meal.
17. Buffalo, NY
Pop: 258,869| Thanksgiving: 57 degrees, cloudy | 164 grocery stores| 6.3 miles from Buffalo Niagara International
The snow will be letting up just in time for the holiday. And if you’re looking for the best places to watch the Bills, we have you covered.
16. Oakland, CA
Pop: 412,767| Thanksgiving: 59 degrees, sunny | 264 grocery stores | 5 miles from Metro Oakland International
Oakland, the sixth largest city in California, is a great place to spend Thanksgiving. After your meal, head over to Lake Merritt where you can try to spot the “Oak-ness Monster” a sea creature that’s been a legend in Oakland since the 1940’s.
15. New Haven, CT
Pop: 129,044| Thanksgiving: 56 degrees, party cloudy | 89 grocery stores | 3.8 miles from Tweed-New Haven
New Haven is home to one of the top universities in the world. After your meal, stroll through the Yale Grounds or head on over to East Rock Park to work off that second piece of pie.
14. New York, NY
Pop: 8,394,639| Thanksgiving: 60 degrees, party cloudy | 5806 grocery stores | 4.5 miles from La Guardia
New York is famous for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is broadcast across the country every Thanksgiving morning. This year marks its 89th year.
13. Allentown, PA
Pop: 116,861| Thanksgiving: 59 degrees party cloudy | 82 grocery stores | 4 miles from Lehigh Valley International
12. Providence, RI
Pop: 175,708| Thanksgiving: 57 degrees, cloudy | 124 grocery stores | 6.4 miles from Theodore Francis Green St
If you still have room after your Thanksgiving meal, you might want to try a coffee and donuts. Providence has the most coffee and donut shops per capita of any city in the country, with over 25 doughnut shops per 100,000 people.
11. McAllen, TX
Pop: 135,912| Thanksgiving: 84 degrees, sunny | 96 grocery stores | 3.6 miles from McAllen Miller International
10. San Francisco
Pop: 843,572| Thanksgiving: 54 degrees, sunny | 602 grocery stores | 10 miles from San Francisco International
Many people in this area enjoy spending their holiday on the water with cruises and other boat outings offered on Thanksgiving day and throughout the holiday weekend.
9. Knoxville, TE
Pop: 185,236| Thanksgiving: 65 degrees, mostly sunny | 135 grocery stores | 11.5 miles from McGhee Tyson
If you’re planning on staying in Knoxville through the weekend, enjoy the market square, the Tennessee Theatre, or the Ijams Nature Center while you’re there!
8. Pompano Beach, FL
Pop: 105,502| Thanksgiving: 79 degrees, AM Thunderstorm | 80 grocery stores | 11.8 miles from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International
After your meal in this town, the thing to do is get in the water. There’s an aquatics center and numerous opportunities to snorkel and scuba dive.
7. Syracuse, NY
Pop: 144,866| Thanksgiving: 56 degrees, party cloudy |111 grocery stores | 5 miles from Syracuse Hancock
Syracuse receives more snowfall than any other city in the country. But don’t worry, this holiday you should be fine. The weather is a moderate 56 degrees – not bad for this part of the country.
6. Philadelphia, PA
Pop: 1,546,281| Thanksgiving: 56 degrees, party cloudy | 1211 grocery stores | 10.6 miles from Philadelphia International Airport
Philly is known for many things, from the Liberty Bell to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. But perhaps most famously, it’s known for its cuisine. You may want to save room for a cheesesteak after your Thanksgiving meal.
5. East Los Angeles, CA
Pop: 126,429| Thanksgiving: 56 degrees, party cloudy | 100 grocery stores | 14.7 miles from Long Beach Airport
There are plenty of things to do in this area after your turkey is done. Many things are even free – from fun hikes to free museum days, the sky is the limit.
4. Lafayette, LA
Pop: 126,341| Thanksgiving: 78 degrees, mostly cloudy | 100 grocery stores | 2.9 miles from Lafayette Regional Airport
Lafayette is located in the Cajun Heartland and is the unofficial Cajun capital of the south. If you like your turkey with a little Cajun spice, this may be the perfect Thanksgiving destination for you.
3. Elizabeth, NJ
Pop: 127,746| Thanksgiving: 61 degrees, partly cloudy | 102 grocery stores | 3 miles from Newark Liberty International
Elizabeth was New Jersey’s first capital and is now a regional hub for the east coast. With its proximity to major highways, airports, and some of the largest cities in the country, Elizabeth is a very convenient destination for a large get-together like Thanksgiving.
2. Bridgeport, CT
Pop: 143,769| Thanksgiving: 56 degrees, partly cloudy | 117 grocery stores | 14.9 miles from Tweed-New Haven Airport
Bridgeport is the largest city in the state and has 27 parks which are great for playing touch-football after your Thanksgiving meal.
1. Rochester, NY
Pop: 206,530| Thanksgiving: 57 degrees, partly cloudy | 172 grocery stores | 4.4 miles from Greater Rochester International
Rochester is home to the inventor of the calculator and the inventor of the breakfast cereal. Some fun trivia as you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner.
From all of us at Onboard, we hope you have a wonderful holiday. Because the truth is, the best place for Thanksgiving is wherever your family and friends are.