Thanksgiving Day is a public holiday observed every year on the fourth Thursday in November.
This holiday has its roots in the early pilgrim days as a celebration to the end of a fruitful harvest season.
For many americans it means time with family, turkey and mashed potatoes, a weekend of football, and naturally, the shopping.
A big part of Thanksgiving Weekend is now the sales in what has now become the largest shopping weekend of the year, which includes "Black Friday" or the Friday after Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, the Monday after.
More recently, some malls and stores are beginning to open on Thanksgiving Day, now dubbed "Gray Thursday", but many still remain closed, so check before you head out, and needless to say, if you don't like crowds, avoid the stores on these days.
Thanksgiving is also the "unoficial" start of the holiday season. Christmas and Hannukah decorations will be popping up all over town, and many holiday events and concerts kick off right around this time.
As in all public holidays, government offices, schools, post offices, banks and public libraries will close on Thanksgiving Day.
Many restaurants remain open and offer special dinners to celebrate the Holiday.
And this is the perfect time to head outdoors and enjoy the fresh air and cooler temperatures as we wave goodbye to the scorching heat of summer. And as migrating birds are heading back our way, this is a good time for a visit to the Everglades, enjoy the beautiful wildlife or a thrilling airboat ride!
Here are some popular events and things to do this Thanksgiving Weekend in Miami:
The dry season is approaching, meaning our migrating birds are coming back, manatees take refuge in our warmer waters, alligators are easier to spot as they congregate around the waterholes, in short, this is the season for visiting the Everglades and enjoying nature and the outdoors. Why not spend a couple of hours walking off all that turkey along the boardwalks and trails?
Our favorite short walks are:
These two trails are always full of activity and are very easy to get to. The walk can be as short or as long as you want to make it.
If you're up for a bike ride, the Shark Valley Loop is also a great option and there are bike rentals available here.
Simply drive along these two corridors and you can not miss the many signs advertising the airboat rides.
The largest Christmas-Themed Amusement Park and Carnival is back on its 26th year with its 3 million lights, 92" christmas tree, and the carnival rides for little ones and those wanting a little more extreme.
Located in the heart of Miami in Tropical Park, you will no doubt see the lights from the highway as you drive past.
It is a huge sprawling lively event, just coming to see the lights is worth the trip. Tons of entertainment for kids and families round it all up. There are the many live shows, games, magic acts, mazes, all sorts of rides, from carrousels to roller coasters and drop towers and of course, the carnival food!
When? November 3, 2016 to January 8, 2017 - 5:00pm to Midnight
Where? Tropical Park, on the Palmetto (SR826) and Bird Road (40th Street) 7900 SW 40th Street, Miami, FL 33155
How Much? Adults (10-64) $31.78, Children (3-9) $22.43, Seniors (65+) $22.43 Season and express passes available.
More Info: Santa's Enchanted Forest
What?: Pokémon GO is still going strong in Miami. If the game got us out even in the scorching heat of summer, now that temperatures are more pleasant, this is a great time to start enjoying the outdoors to go catch 'em all again. And what better chance than with Pokémon GO Celebration to Say Thank You.
Pokémon GO has released a special update for the Thanksgiving weekend. For a limited time, you earn double the amount of XP and Stardust when completing in-game actions.
When?: November 23 - 30, 2016
More info on the Thanksgiving Pokemon Go Event: www.PokemonGoLive.com
The official kick off to the holiday season in downtown Miami takes place the day after Thanksgiving as Bayfront Park unveils its 50-foot tree covered with glittering lights.
The countdown to the tree lighting is accompanied by cheery holiday music, so come and take a break from the shopping and enjoy the spirit of the holidays.
While you're at it, la Feria del Mercado de San Miguel also takes place at Bayfront Park, so come an enjoy some tapas and the fantastic atmosphere of this beloved Spanish market.
When? Friday, November 25, 2016, tree lighting at 7:00 pm
Where? Bayfront Park 301 N. Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132
Where to Park?: There is limited, paid parking at Bayfront Park. You can also park at Bayside Marketplace nextdoor or take the Metrorail to the Government Center Station then transfer to the Metromover Inner Loop to Bayfront Park.
How Much? FREE!
More info: Directions and Parking
When? Saturday November 26, 2016, 8:00 pm
Where? Knight Concert Hall at the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center
How Much? Find Tickets
When? Sunday November 27, 2016, 7:30 pm
Where? BB&T Center, Sunrise
How Much? $50 + Find Tickets
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