When Is Thanksgiving in the USA?

Thanksgiving Date 2018 to 2024: Plan Ahead!

Cooking Mincemeat - Old Sturbridge Village Thanksgiving
Media photo courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village.

When is Thanksgiving? In the USA, Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

Beginning with George Washington in 1789, annual presidential proclamations had declared the last Thursday of November as the Thanksgiving date. However, in 1941, a United States Congressional declaration officially designated the fourth Thursday of November as the date of the Thanksgiving holiday. Learn more about the history of Thanksgiving.

Whether you're planning to spend Thanksgiving in New England, where the Pilgrims celebrated the very first Thanksgiving in November of 1621, or to mark the holiday in another popular U.S. destination such as New York City, here is a handy guide to Thanksgiving dates for the years ahead.

Thanksgiving Date 2018 - 2024

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Thursday, November 28, 2024

Flying for the Thanksgiving holiday? More Americans travel between the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after the holiday than at any other time of year. AAA estimates nearly 51 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more from home for the holiday in 2017. Advance planning is crucial if you need to fly. Search for Cheap Flights with TripAdvisor.

Past Thanksgiving Dates

Thursday, November 26, 2015 | Thursday, November 27, 2014 | Thursday, November 28, 2013 | Thursday, November 22, 2012 | Thursday, November 24, 2011 | Thursday, November 25, 2010 | Thursday, November 26, 2009 | Thursday, November 27, 2008 | Thursday, November 22, 2007 | Thursday, November 23, 2006 | Thursday, November 24, 2005 | Thursday, November 24, 2016 | Thursday, November 23, 2017

What is Open and Closed on Thanksgiving Day?

Thanksgiving is America's most universally celebrated holiday, and traditionally, since Americans are all gathered around their dinner tables or in front of their TVs watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and NFL football, very few businesses are open. This has slowly begun to change in recent years, as more and more retailers embrace the idea of getting Black Friday shopping underway on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving is a federal holiday, so you can be sure the following will be closed: post offices, government offices, stock markets, schools, universities, libraries, banks.

Most businesses close, and many stay closed on Friday, as well, and grant employees a four-day weekend.

Essential services like hospitals, emergency and law enforcement services, utilities and airports, of course, will be open.

Most of the following are also open on Thanksgiving Day: restaurants (advance reservations are a wise idea), hotels, inns, transportation services (limited schedules may be in effect), gas stations (but fill up when you can to be safe). Laws regulating whether liquor stores may be open on Thanksgiving Day vary by state.

It's hit or miss whether you'll find the following open, so call ahead: retail stores, supermarkets, drug stores.

One of the coolest places in New England you can be sure is open on Thanksgiving Day is the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport, Maine: It never closes! Before the big day, visit Gozzi's Turkey Farm in Connecticut, where the resident turkeys sport neon colors in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.

What We Know About the First Thanksgiving

The origins of America's Thanksgiving holiday stretch back to 1621. The exact date of that first harvest celebration is lost to history, but it definitely took place earlier in the fall than the holiday is currently celebrated: sometime between September 21 and November 9, according to Plimoth Plantation, where dining with the Pilgrims is an annual Thanksgiving tradition.

There is only one primary account of the first Thanksgiving feast, penned by Pilgrim Edward Winslow in a letter to a friend back home in England. From that missive, we know about 90 of the Pilgrims' Native American neighbors joined in the celebration, which went on for three days. We also know there was plenty of fowl on the menu, and it's a safe bet wild turkey was one of the birds served. Venison was likely on the menu, too. And lobsters: Plymouth Bay was full of them. Plimoth Plantation historians also believe pumpkin, which is native to New England, was served during the celebration, but it wasn't baked in a pie.

And there were no apple trees yet planted in the region, so alas, no apple pie. You might be surprised to learn popcorn could well have been served as a treat.