Two California cities listed on 2021’s Best Places to Go for Thanksgiving

When it comes to enjoying Thanksgiving Day, you might want consider San Jose or Oakland. They made the list of 2021’s Best Places to Go for Thanksgiving.

With consumers having spent around $312 per person in the period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday last year, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its 2021’s Best Places to Go for Thanksgiving report.

To help Americans decide where to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast without breaking the bank, WalletHub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 20 key metrics. They range from the cost of Thanksgiving dinner and share of delayed flights to volunteer opportunities per capita and forecasted precipitation.

Thanksgiving Facts:

  • $312 – Average person’s spending over the five-day Thanksgiving period.
  • 10 Hrs. 2 Mins. – Length of time the average American male would need to spend on the treadmill to burn the 4,500 calories consumed at the average Thanksgiving meal.
  • $604+ Million – Estimated amount Americans spend on Thanksgiving turkeys each year, with 46 million turkeys killed for the holiday.
  • $26 Million – Amount of property loss caused by residential building fires each Thanksgiving.
  • 46% – Share of people celebrating Thanksgiving who try to avoid having to talk politics at the dinner table.
  • 65% – Share of Americans who expect COVID-19 to impact their Thanksgiving celebrations this year (only 15% expect the impact to be significant).

To view the full infographic, click here. 

Expert Commentary

Q: What money-saving tips do you have for people planning to travel for the Thanksgiving Holiday?

“Depending upon where you live, the Thanksgiving Holiday is still a great time of year to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. A road trip is a great way to save money and reenergize over the long weekend. Opportunities to explore the countryside include searching for the perfect pumpkin at an agritourism farm, geocaching, having a picnic (weather permitting) and a hike at a local or state park, or seeking out a fun and unique festival in a town you have never visited. Thanksgiving holiday travel does not have to be expensive or time-consuming. It can be as simple as hopping in the car and exploring new and unique towns in the surrounding region.”
— Stacy Tomas, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Oklahoma State University

“Prepare a budget for Thanksgiving, including for travel, food and entertainment. Book airline, hotel and car rental reservations weeks or months in advance to give yourself time to shop around for cheap deals. Thanksgiving is a great time to celebrate being with family and friends, so lodging with loved ones when traveling can also help keep costs down.”
— Bob Castaneda – Program Director, College of Management and Technology, Walden University

Q: What tips do you have for celebrating Thanksgiving on a budget?

“For this long weekend, time is of the essence. The fall is a busy time of year, and with the winter holiday in the not-too-distant future, Thanksgiving is a great time to make the most of the Thanksgiving break by hopping in the car and taking a road trip. Avoid the long lines and waits at the airport and maximize your time by planning a car trip within a few hours of your home. This will allow you the most time to relax and unwind, before hopping into the bustle of the winter holiday season.”
— Stacy Tomas, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Oklahoma State University

“Enjoying the Thanksgiving holiday is about being with family and friends and enjoying a holiday meal. Avoid unnecessary extravagant things such as new clothing or expensive decor and focus on quality time with your loved ones. Set a Thanksgiving budget and stick to it. Set money aside in advance of the holiday so that you already have funds earmarked for related expenses.”
— Bob Castaneda – Program Director, College of Management and Technology, Walden University

Q:: What are some of the big money wasters on Thanksgiving?

“Last-minute travels and impulse shopping for stuff you do not actually want or need. As someone who researches mobile apps and retailing, my best advice would be to use mobile apps for deals that can be used both in-stores and online. It can help to keep an eye on products you are planning to buy and compare deals and prices in different stores by checking their apps and websites.”
— Unnati Narang – Assistant Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

“One of the biggest money wasters on Thanksgiving is making too much food or meals that no one likes. Over decorating the Thanksgiving table with expensive tableware and centerpieces are also a waste. Be mindful to not have food sit out for a longer time than recommended, as it will just go to waste. Additionally, try to book any travel reservations in advance as the closer the date of travel is the more expensive the trip will be.”
— Bob Castaneda – Program Director, College of Management and Technology, Walden University

Top 20 Cities for Thanksgiving

1. Atlanta, GA
2. Orlando, FL
3. Scottsdale, AZ
4. Miami, FL
5. Raleigh, NC
6. Virginia Beach, VA
7. Las Vegas, NV
8. Tampa, FL
9. Greensboro, NC
10. Louisville, KY
11. Gilbert, AZ
12. Durham, NC
13. Cincinnati, OH
14. Chesapeake, VA
15. San Jose, CA
16. Oakland, CA
17. Chandler, AZ
18. St. Paul, MN
19. Washington, DC
20. Irving, TX

Image Sources

  • Oakland: Shutterstock