Days for giving thanks are honored around harvest time worldwide; in the United States, Thanksgiving has been a national tradition since 1621, when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans gathered for a harvest feast. Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and spend quality time with friends and family. Twenty-first century celebrations of Thanksgiving range from traditional feasts to unusual feats. From lacing up your tennies for the Turkey Trot to visiting the Seattle Aquarium, from viewing the Festival of Trees to perusing the Gingerbread Village, these are the best Thanksgiving Day Activities in Seattle.
Festival Of Trees 
The Fairmont Olympic Hotel
411 University St.
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 621-1700
www.seattlefestivaloftrees.comThe Festival of Trees has been a Seattle holiday favorite for almost four decades, featuring unforgettable trees from members of the Dr. Forrest L. Flashman Guild since 1978. The 2015 rendition of the festival begins the weekend before Thanksgiving, running from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2. This year, the festival features 21 ornately decorated designer trees, each embellished with a unique theme. The display, which is arranged at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, is as benevolent as it is beautiful, as each tree also tells the story of a Seattle Children’s Hospital Patient. Select trees are also available for purchase.
Seattle Turkey Trot
Magnuson Park
7400 Sand Point Way N.E.
Seattle, WA 98115
www.seattleturkeytrot.orgNow in its ninth year, the 5k Seattle Turkey Trot occurs on the morning of Thanksgiving – just in time to burn some extra calories before enjoying a holiday feast. The race begins at 9:00 a.m. and takes a picturesque route along Ballard’s Sunset Hill, terminating at Golden Gardens Park. Proceeds from the run benefit the Ballard Food Bank, so you can enjoy the scenery, get your heart rate up and help those in need, as well. Registration for the event ends on Nov. 24 and entrants receive a Turkey Trot tee-shirt. Children in strollers and dogs are both welcome, and fresh fruit and water will be available at the finish line.

Seattle Aquarium 
Seattle Aquarium
1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 386-4300
www.seattleaquarium.org

The venerable Seattle Aquarium, located at pier 59 in downtown Seattle, is open Thanksgiving Day from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. First opened in 1977, the Seattle Aquarium has delighted visitors of all ages year-round for decades. Visit its numerous exhibits, including the Window on Washington Waters, Marine  Mammals, Underwater Dome, Puget Sound Fish and Interactive NASA Kiosks. The aquarium’s unique Windows on Washington exhibit replicates Washington’s native water life and features dives shows several times each day. Visitors with young children shouldn’t miss the Marine Mammals exhibit, which features sea and river otters, Northern fur seals and harbor seals.

Related:  Family Guide To The Seattle Aquarium

Gingerbread Village 
Sheraton Seattle
1400 6th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98101
(206) 621-9000
www.gingerbreadvillage.myevent.comNow in its 23rd year, the Sheraton Seattle’s Annual Gingerbread Village features towering, ornately candied gingerbread structures accompanied by some favorite holiday tunes. This year’s rendition is entitled “Jingle All The Way” and includes scenes from “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” The gingerbread structures are created through a culinary collaboration between Seattle-area architects and the Sheraton’s own culinary staff. The Gingerbread Village is open from Nov. 24, 2015 to Jan. 3, 2016 and is free of charge.
Macy’s Holiday Parade And Star Lighting 
Begins on 7th Ave. and Pine St.
Seattle, WA 98101
www.seattle-downtown.com/eventsAfter recovering from a Thanksgiving feast, enjoy a longtime Seattle area tradition for the entire family on the day after the holiday. The annual Seattle Macy’s Holiday Parade includes costumed characters, community organizations, floats, and a special visit from Santa Claus. The parade begins at 9:00 a.m. on Nov. 27, beginning on the corner of 7th Ave. and Pine St. and ending in front of Macy’s department store. After the parade, head to Westlake Center to see the tree lighting ceremony, which commences at 4:45 p.m.Related: Ask A Seattle Expert: Thanksgiving Crafts For Kids

Tracy Campion is a freelance writer covering all things Seattle. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.