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Free and inexpensive things to do on Thanksgiving in South Florida

If you're out and about, some parks, natural areas, restaurants, attractions, lights displays and shopping plazas are open for fun, entertainment and food on Thanksgiving Day in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County. Maybe you want to take your relatives on a day trip to the next county. You will find lots of sights to see and things to do that are free or relatively inexpensive.

If you want to eat out, there are many restaurants open Thanksgiving Day or perhaps you would prefer to order your Thanksgiving dinner prepared to eat at home, rather than cook or eat out. If your family needs help with food, there are also places that are giving away Thanksgiving food free.

Things To Do Thanksgiving Day 2023



A variety of restaurants in South Florida offer dine-in or takeout options. 


For entertainment, attractions and holiday lights displays are poised to delight. Lots are free. Popular free events include WinterNational Thanksgiving Day Parade is 10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day with a route from Northeast 6th Avenue along 125th Street to Northeast 12th Avenue, North Miami 33161, with floats, dancers & music. 

A bit to the north, delight in a light show synchronized to holiday tunes. Free Symphony In Lights display at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., shows on the hour,  901 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach 33009.

For live entertainment, it's oceanside in Hollywood with live music 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. by Visions Band at Hollywood Bandshell, and it's free, weather permitting. Beach parking rates apply. Hollywood Bandshell is part of Hollywood Broadwalk offers oceanfront venue for walking, rollerskating & live entertainment


For shoppers, Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop flea market, 954-791-7927, is at 3291 W. Sunrise Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale 33311.  The venue includes a Ferrari museum. 


An assortment of attractions and recreation venues with fees are open and  include AllGolf in Pembroke Pines,  Santa’s Enchanted Forest in Dade and ‘Ice' Rink at Las Olas Oceanside Park in Fort Lauderdale. Plenty of state, local and regional parks and natural areas are free or relatively inexpensive including

Pondhawk Natural Area in Boca Raton with free entry, Fern Forest, Florida State Parks and lots of others. 

Other Things To do

Ride a train

Tri-Rail offers $5 all-day rates holidays and weekends. The railroad runs from Miami-Dade to West Palm Beach with stops in Broward.  Information about Tri-Rail, including routes and shuttles to and from stations, call 954-783-6030 or 800-874-7245 Feature: Tri-Rail offers $5 fares on weekends.

Brightline is offering a Thanksgiving fare of $39 fare for  one-way travel from South Florida to Orlando, and $20 for kids

  • Delight in the outdoors with a nature walk, a picnic or toss a Frisbee. Florida State Parks, entry fees are usually about $6 per vehicle with at least 2 people. Fees for pedestrians and bicyclists are usually about $2. Lots of local parks are open, including splash pads and playgrounds. Other parks

 South Florida's scenic parks and natural areas, plenty are free

Free entry for Deerfield Arboretum

Pondhawk Natural Area is an urban oasis in Boca Raton with free entry

Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden


  • WinterNational Thanksgiving Day Parade is 10 a.m. Thanksgiving Day Nov. 24 with a route from Northeast 6th Avenue along 125th Street to Northeast 12th Avenue, North Miami 33161, with floats, dancers & music
  • Santa’s Enchanted Forest is open 5 p.m. – 12 a.m. at Hialeah Park, 3100 E. Fourth Ave., Entry fees apply.
  • Zoo Miami, 12400 SW 152nd St., Miami.  It's open  10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Thanksgiving, with entry by 2 p.m. required, 305-251-0400, regular entry is $22.95 for ages 13 and older and $18.95 for ages 3 to 12. Tax is extra.
  • Frost Museum of Science, 1101 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, 33132, 305-434-9600, regular fees are $22.95 for ages 4-11, $29.95 for adults, free for 3 and younger, website
  • Miami-Dade Parks Phone your favorite park to verify. Holiday parking rates may apply.
  • Biking  in Miami-Dade


Photo/Sunrise Parks & Recreation


Photo/Downtown Delray Beach

Palm Beach County

 Riverbend Park. Photo/ Palm Beach County Parks

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Free and cheap things to do Thanksgiving weekend



Patti Roth

About Patti Roth

Patti Roth, the editor of Fort Lauderdale on the Cheap, scouts out state and national deals, discounts and coupons for our readers, finding the real deals and presenting them in an easy-to-read format. A veteran newspaper and magazine writer and a longtime South Florida resident, she has written for The Miami Herald, The Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida Travel and Life, E Environmental Magazine, Dog Fancy, Cat Fancy, US Architecture and Send your cheap tips to her at

Living on the CheapMiami on the Cheap is a member of Living on the Cheap, a network of websites published by frugalistas, journalists and consumer advocates. Find practical advice on saving money on groceries, travel and shopping, plus tips from our experts on how to live the good life for less at Living on the Cheap.

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