3 Thanksgiving getaways to remember

Thanksgiving is a great holiday to take some days off, spend time with those around you and reflect on life’s many gifts. This long weekend, whether it is a few days off from work or school, can also be an opportunity to get away.

During this beautiful season the fall leaves and sweater weather really add to the feeling of Thanksgiving. Although I may still be wearing shorts in Texas, I know that traveling home to Chicago will really get me in the holiday mood.

In fact, Chicago is one of the best places for a Thanksgiving getaway this year according to Fodor’s Travel. You can enjoy some cold, sweater weather and beautiful fall leaves while watching the annual Thanksgiving Day parade or walking along Lake Michigan. The parade is “one of the largest in the country,” and a sight to see by my standards. I, along with plenty of other locals and tourists, will have the opportunity to hit the streets of Michigan Avenue the next day to pick up some Black Friday deals.

Friday also includes the celebration of “wreathing the lions” at the Art Institute of Chicago, a landmark in the Windy City, which helps kick off the upcoming holiday season. If you take in a short walk from the Art Institute to Millennium Park, you can experience caroling and ice skating in the heart of the city.

Although I may be biased, I believe Chicago would be a great place to spend your Thanksgiving holiday. With so much going on, beautiful fall weather and amazing food to offer (whether it be turkey and stuffing or a deep-dish pizza), it is sure to provide a holiday to remember.

Santa Barbara
If your preference is more along the lines of sun and surf, then consider Santa Barbara, California. With year-round mild weather, it won’t disappoint as an enjoyable spot for respite during the holidays. Given the mild fall weather, you might just be able to sneak in an occasion to surf or swim. And if the weather proves to be a bit cool, you can still enjoy the shore by walking the beach or visiting some of California’s piers.

If you are looking to eliminate some of the stress that Thanksgiving can bring and let someone else prepare the dinner, Santa Barbara hosts “an abundance of great restaurants” serving the holiday meal, according to Fodor’s. And to complement your dinner choice, the area offers a wide variety of vineyards from which to pick some great Californian wine.

Like Chicago, Santa Barbara has great shopping if you are looking forward to Black Friday. A side trip might include a visit to the Funk Zone arts district to take in some galleries.

If you want to take a break from the traditional turkey this year, think about Toronto. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October, meaning a visit in November offers the chance to take advantage of discounted room rates, as U.S. News points out, and a great selection of food.

Exchange the traditions of turkey and stuffing for dinner at a gastronomic restaurant. Or a range of treats from Kensington Market, one of Toronto’s most diverse neighborhoods, ranging from smoke house fare to Parisian café-style cuisine. To a backdrop of fall colors, other highlights include Ontario Place, Toronto Zoo and trails ripe for exploring, according to U.S. News.

If you’re planning a break for Thanksgiving and are partial to a road trip, help yourself to the eatery ideas in “Road trips and restaurants: eating your way across America.”

Wherever your heart, or car, takes you, have a great Thanksgiving and an amazing holiday experience.

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