New York has the Macy’s Day parade and Boston has nearby Plymouth, Massachusetts, site of the first feast. But what those cities lack is Thanksgiving day games. For NFL fans who crave a truly unique destination on the fourth Thursday of November, Dallas is the best choice. It has football, history, food and decent weather - an important consideration when booking November travel. Plan the perfect Thanksgiving weekend around these must-visit Dallas-area locations.

Buildings making up the downtown skyline shine bright in the night sky. Below is a blur of headlights on the highway; Thanksgiving NFL city
With great food, rich history and a deep love of football makes Dallas the perfect city to visit for Thanksgiving © Westend61 / Getty Images

NFL Thanksgiving game

The Dallas Cowboys play annually on Thanksgiving, this year facing the Buffalo Bills. This tradition dates back more than five decades, when it began as a marketing stunt to draw greater attention to then-coach Tom Landry’s young squad. Thanksgiving day tickets directly from the Cowboys sell out well in advance, but fans can purchase them on secondary markets.

Spectators don’t have to forego a traditional dinner when they attend the game. AT&T Stadium serves more than 9,000 pounds of turkey and 180 gallons of cranberry sauce each year on turkey day. Check out the food stands throughout the stadium, including the East and West plazas, to get that stuffing fix. 

Can’t score tickets to the game? Watch on TV at one of the area’s premier Dallas Cowboys hangouts, many open to NFL fans on Thanksgiving. Tip a schooner to the ‘Boys at Katy Trail Ice House or enjoy T-day specials on drinks at The Nodding Donkey.

Best food

Dallas visitors who skip the game will find many restaurants open on Thanksgiving. 

One of the poshest, Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, features a kids’ buffet as well as brunch items for adults. Fearing’s, the Ritz-Carlton’s four-star dining room, serves a three-course meal with a Southwest twist. And City Works in nearby Frisco holds a party on Thanksgiving with TV feeds of the game and 90 beers to choose from.

A neon sign of a Pegasus glows in the evening next to a tall building outlined in neon green lights; Thanksgiving NFL city
Stay in the thick of the action in downtown Dallas © Dorti / Shutterstock

Best hotels

Stay at the Dallas Omni Hotel, within walking distance of the famed Pegasus Sign and JFK Memorial Plaza. Get the best morning coffee at the Lumen, located near Southern Methodist University, or choose Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, which puts fresh flowers daily in every room.

Staying close to the stadium helps make game day run smoothly. Live! by Loews in Arlington includes spacious rooms and sits within walking distance of AT&T Stadium. The charming Thornton Inn Bed & Breakfast is 2 miles from the stadium and serves high tea in addition to breakfast.

A group of trees scattered throughout the park are covered with bright, colorful Christmas lights; Thanksgiving NFL city
Before there's time for turkey leftovers, Christmas celebrations kick off in Dallas © Amitabh Mukherjee / Shutterstock

Best attractions 

Want to work up an appetite before eating pumpkin pie? The annual YMCA Turkey Trot begins outside Dallas City Hall at 9am Thanksgiving morning.

A must-see for NFL fans, Cowboys Christmas at the Star combines football and holiday fun, including a tree-lighting ceremony on the Tostitos Championship Plaza the day after Thanksgiving. Cowboys players and cheerleaders often attend.

Vitruvian Lights in Addison begins the Saturday after Thanksgiving as thousands of twinkling LED lights turn Vitruvian Park into a winter wonderland. That same day, Allen Community Ice Rink, a half-hour outside Dallas, hosts the 8th Annual Great Turkey Skate, which includes turkey bowling. 

It’s not Thanksgiving weekend without some shopping, and Dallas has plenty of options. The upscale Dallas Galleria opens early Black Friday, while the Allen Outlets open Thanksgiving evening for bargain hunters. NFL fans can find loads of Cowboys gear at both places. 

With Thanksgiving temperatures in the mid-60s, plenty of choices for a non-traditional Thanksgiving meal, and fun football and non-football themed adventures, Dallas makes the perfect Thanksgiving weekend retreat for NFL fans.

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