Thanksgiving in The D: 2020 Edition

November 20, 2020 | Story by Michelle Fusco | Photos by Jerm

Thanksgiving has arrived in the Motor City. Like most other events in 2020, it will look different than in years past, but there are still plenty of ways to celebrate Detroit holiday traditions safely and responsibly.

Strut Your Stuff
While pandemic conditions prevent us from gathering thousands of runners in downtown Detroit, you can still start your morning with a brisk run or walk to give thanks for good health and burn off some calories before dinner. This year’s Strategic Staffing Solutions Turkey Trot has gone virtual, with 1 Mile, 5K and 10K options. Every registered participant will receive a long-sleeve tech shirt and finisher’s medal. Runners can choose a time and course that’s convenient for them. One of the 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks would make a great backdrop for an outdoor run, open 365 days a year.

Parade Plan
The 2020 America’s Thanksgiving Parade® presented by Gardner White is a live, televised-only production from the heart of downtown Detroit, continuing the 94-year tradition during these unprecedented times. Watch balloons, floats and bands march down Detroit’s Woodward Avenue, broadcast live on Local 4 TV starting at 9 a.m.

Fan-tastic Football
The Detroit Lions game is as much a Thanksgiving tradition as turkey and pumpkin pie. The Lions verse the Houston Texans at 12:30 p.m. ET at Ford Field. Detroit’s 81st Thanksgiving Day Classic will be broadcast nationally on CBS.

The Main Event: Thanksgiving Dinner
Take a break from the kitchen and enjoy a stress-free feast. Several metro Detroit restaurants offer decadent Thanksgiving-themed ready to go meal packages and desserts so you can focus on the fun.

Black Friday and Small Business Saturday
If you haven’t started your holiday shopping yet, now’s the time! Find day-after-Thanksgiving deals at shopping centers throughout metro Detroit, including The Mall at Partridge Creek, Great Lakes Crossing Outlets or Somerset Collection.

The area’s many unique small retailers are the best places to score cool, Detroit-centric gifts, from handcrafted watches, bicycles and leathergoods by Shinola to decorative ceramic tiles by Pewabic Pottery.  Boutique shopping districts in the metro area include downtown Plymouth, Birmingham and Rochester.

In addition to Eastern Market’s  year-round Saturday markets are special Sunday outdoor Holiday Markets, including one on Nov. 29. Peruse vendors selling Michigan-made gift options, such as clothing, art, jewelry, beauty products and more. You’ll find several specialty shops to explore in the neighborhood as well.

Bundle Up for Outdoor Fun
A stroll through the Detroit Zoo is always a memorable family activity. Timed tickets are available online only by visiting their website. Check out the zoo’s popular Wild Lights outdoor lights display, an after-hours, ticketed event.

Explore 300 years of American history at the 80-acre Greenfield Village, open Thursday through Sunday. Come back for Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village, starting Dec. 4.

The Big Bright Lights Show in downtown Rochester, a spectacular, colorful display that you just have to see in person, starts Nov. 24. Experience the Magic of Lights, a 1.5 mile drive-through holiday lights experience at DTE Energy Music Theatre, from the comfort of your own vehicle.

Check out Fairies Doors on Belle Isle, through Nov. 29. Look for fairy doors in a fun, interactive scavenger hunt on the grounds surrounding the Belle Isle Aquarium and Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory.

Go Safely
Detroit is doing its part to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau recently launched a Go Safely Initiative, to help ensure visitors that our community is committed to their health and welfare.

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Mentioned Attractions And Venues





  1. 1
    Huron-Clinton Metroparks
    13000 High Ridge Drive, Brighton, MI 48114
    810-227-2757
  2. 2
    Detroit Lions
    2000 Brush St., Ford Field, Detroit, MI 48226
    313-262-2222
  3. 3
    The Mall at Partridge Creek
    17420 Hall Road, Clinton Twp., MI 48038
    586-226-0330
  4. 4
    Great Lakes Crossing Outlets
    4000 Baldwin Road, Auburn Hills, MI 48326
    248-454-5000
  5. 5
    Somerset Collection
    2800 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy, MI 48084
    248-643-6360
  6. 6
    Shinola
    441 W. Canfield St., Detroit, MI 48201
    313-285-2390
  7. 7
    Pewabic Pottery
    10125 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit, MI 48214
    313-626-2000
  8. 8
    Eastern Market
    Russell Street between Mack Avenue and Gratiot Avenue, 2934 Russell St., Detroit, MI 48207
    313-833-9300
  9. 9
    Detroit Zoo
    8450 W. 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak, MI 48067
    248-541-5717
  10. 10
    The Henry Ford
    20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, MI 48124
    313-982-6001
  11. 11
    Belle Isle Aquarium
    Belle Isle State Park, 900 Inselruhe Ave., Detroit, MI 48207
    313-402-0466