Thanksgiving weekend is all about turkey, family, and friends. But that’s not all! Syracuse is full of events and activities to kick-off the holiday season. Check out this list of what to do in Syracuse on Thanksgiving weekend!


For the Holiday Lovers


Tree Lighting Ceremony

The annual Christmas tree lighting will be live in Clinton Square once again this year, on it's usual day-after-Thanksgiving date, November 26th, 2021. A pre-show featuring the Onondaga Hill Middle School choir will begin at 6pm, with the main event starting at 6:30pm. There will also be a video event option again this year for those that are looking to social distance. This online program is being produced by Cumulus Media and will be available starting December 8th at  Ice skating at the Clinton Square Ice Rink will still be available, weather permitting, before and after the actual event. Masks are recommended for all attendees.

Gingerbread Gallery Opening

The 36th Annual Gingerbread Gallery returns for 2021, showcasing the best ornate gingerbread house creations. Tickets are available at the door and not available for pre-purchase. Visitors will also have access to explore the entirety of the Erie Canal Museum, including the full-size canal boat replica and 200 years worth of Erie Canal history. The Gingerbread Gallery will open daily from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. beginning November 19th, 2021 and running through January 9th 2022. Face coverings are still required for all staff and visitors inside the Museum. The Museum will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas days as well as shortened hours on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

Lights on the Lake

Another classic Syracuse tradition is Lights on the Lake in Liverpool. This holiday drive-thru light display is a favorite for both first-timers or annual visitors. This years event runs from daily November 15th, 2021 through January 14th, 2022 from 5pm - 10pm . Tickets are available online only, sold by the day and must be purchased in advance. 


For the Family


Discover the M.O.S.T

Bring the whole family down for an afternoon at the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science and Technology. Experience the age of the dinosaurs with Dino Zone, their permanent life-sized dinosaur exhibit, check out the Lockheed Martin Flight and Space exhibit or expend some energy in the Science Playground, a five-level indoor playground. While the Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day it is open the remainder of the weekend. On Saturday, November 27th, the popular Polar Express Pajama Party returns for the first of six event nights. Activities include a hot cocoa bar, storybook reading, salt crystal snowflakes and more! These events sell out so get your tickets today

Matilda The Musical

Syracuse Stage has returned to in-person performances and will is presenting the family fun show, Matilda The Musical, during the holiday season. Slated to run from November 19th, 2021 through January 2nd, 2022, this Tony Award-winning musical is a treat for the whole family, full of high-energy dance numbers and catchy songs. Tickets may be purchased online.


For the Sports Fan

Syracuse University Football vs. Pittsburgh

The Syracuse Orange take on the ranked Pittsburgh Panthers to end their regular season slate, at home, for the 2021 season. Buy your tickets today as the Orange look to earn a spot in the post-season. 

Syracuse Crunch Homestand

The Syracuse Crunch host a pair of regional opponents Thanksgiving weekend, with games on both Friday and Saturday nights. On Friday, the Crunch will faceoff against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, at 7pm. On Saturday, they take on in-state rivals Rochester Americans, at 7pm. All game attendees must be fully vaccinated. Get your tickets today.



For the Foodies


Thanksgiving Dinner

Let someone else do the holiday cooking this year! Discover which restaurants in the Syracuse area are offering dine-in or take-out Thanksgiving dinner options with all your favorite turkey day classics. Make sure to pre-order or make reservations now before it’s too late! Just looking for dessert? Order up pies, cookies and more from bakeries like Sweet Praxis, Exhale Cafe & Bake Shop and others! 


For the Shoppers


Small Business Saturday

From local boutiques to sweet treats, the Syracuse area has something for everyone on your list this holiday season. Find the perfect gift for your family or friends, or just treat yourself, with our list of some of the top spots to shop.

SKY Armory Night Market

Sky's Night Market returns for 2021 on Saturday, November 27th from 3:30pm - 10pm. Enjoy drinks, food and live entertainment while you shop. The market features 60+ local and regional makers, artists, designers, and retailers. Pick up some unique holiday gifts, gourmet foods, home decor, jewelry and more!

Black Friday Farmers Market

Shop local farmer and flea market finds with this special Farmers Market day! Locally produced fresh food, crafts, candles, masks, art, vintage products, holiday decor, and more will be available for purchase. The Market will run from 11am - 6pm on Friday, November 26th at the CNY Regional Market.