Forget Tradition With These Unconventional Thanksgiving Events

If you’re not heading home for Thanksgiving, you can still have a great holiday by taking a trip! Sure, you could go to New York for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or to New England to visit Plimoth Plantation for a historical dinner, but if you’re looking for something a little different, here are 3 unique Thanksgiving events worth traveling to.

Alcatraz Sunrise Ceremony – San Francisco, CA

Photo by Andrew Moore / Flickr
Andrew Moore / Flickr

To see Thanksgiving from a different perspective, wake up extra early on Thanksgiving Day and witness the Indigenous People’s Thanksgiving Sunrise Gathering on Alcatraz Island.

This ceremony commemorates the occupation of Alcatraz by the Indians of All Tribes from 1969-71, and it celebrates the indigenous people and their heritage on a day that is often focused on others. The special event is open to anyone.

How to get there: Book a ticket to San Francisco from Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, and elsewhere, then take a ferry to the island. The ferries cost $14 a person and leave between 4:15am-6:00am, so make sure to set your alarm!

Friday After Thanksgiving Chain Reaction – Cambridge, MA

mit fat small
Samara Vise (Courtesy MIT)

Though the Friday after Thanksgiving is synonymous with shopping, on the campus of MIT in Cambridge, MA, the day is focused on the science of creative contraptions! This will be the year that teams from all over the country converge at the MIT Museum to build Rube Goldberg-like machines based on a theme. All the individual machines are then linked together for a giant chain reaction!

You can watch the mechanical magic as a spectator (tickets are $15, but only $5 for students) or participate in the action by registering a team. Either way, it’s quite a different experience than Black Friday!

How to get there: Take a trip to Boston from New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and many more places, then hop on the T for a quick ride on the Red Line to the MIT campus in Cambridge.

The World’s Largest Disco – Buffalo, NY

Photo by andy 2.8 (Courtesy World's Largest Disco) / Flickr
andy 2.8 (World’s Largest Disco) / Flickr

Forget about the original Thanksgiving in the 1600’s, and time travel to the 1970’s to boogie down at The World’s Largest Disco in Buffalo, New York. On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, you can join thousands of people – including actual disco-era celebrities – to dance the night away on the largest dance floor in New York state!

Photo by andy 2.8 (Courtesy World's Largest Disco) / Flickr
andy 2.8 (World’s Largest Disco) / Flickr

Plus, proceeds go to charity, so you can get in the true spirit of Thanksgiving when you buy a ticket.

How to get there: Get a ride to Buffalo from New York City, Philadelphia, Toronto, and beyond!

Instead of a second (or third) helping of stuffing this year, go on a Thanksgiving adventure with Wanderu and discover a new way to celebrate!

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About the author
Kate Sedrowski

Kate Sedrowski

Kate Sedrowski is on a mission to spread delight while inspiring and encouraging people to travel. Her favorite travel companion is her teddy bear, and her favorite souvenir is the scar from the broken nose she got in a snowball fight in Québec City.