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Black Friday Alternatives

Black Friday Alternatives Photo

Photo by manumombo

Posted on November 22, 2011 in Trip Ideas

Millions of Americans will be joyously gathering this week, meeting up with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving. A holiday based on the historical meal between the pilgrims and the Native Americans, Thanksgiving is a holiday that brings up memories of seeing extended family members, eating good food, and watching football. However, the following day, Black Friday, will bring up different memories to millions of Americans, such as parking spaces that elude the time-space continuum, crowded departments stores, and to top it all off, hangovers. As the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday can be a huge hassle especially after you spent the entire week cooking and entertaining you visitors. This fickle Friday may offer the best deals for in-store presents, but I prefer Cyber Monday anyway (and you can enjoy that in the comfort of your own bed).

So fear not wise traveler. Although there may be a few pestering in-laws that need to be at Best Buy at four in the morning, there are many more things to be thankful for than shopping malls. If you are in the vicinity of some of America’s largest malls, it might be tempting to give in and max out your cards, but here are some alternatives to enjoy some more peaceful times with your family.

Instead of King of Prussia Mall, see Valley Forge National Historic Park, King of Prussia, PA

Photo by RoBoNC

The King of Prussia Mall is the largest mall in the US in terms of retail space. While it may be tempting to take advantage of some deals on early present for your friends, it may be a good time to take advantage of the miles of trail in Valley Forge before it is covered in snow. The Park recreates the Valley Forge encampment and hosts memorials and museum to teach the history of the Revolutionary War and the part the Valley Forge played in it. Nearly 30 miles of trails are available for hiking and biking, and the Schuylkill River runs through the park as well. As emp3700 puts it, “This is an often overlooked treasure tucked into the suburbs of Philadelphia.”

Instead of Mall of America, visit Minnehaha Falls Park, Minneapolis, MN

Photo by susanf

While the Mall of America itself has a host of activities that aren’t shopping-related such as an amusement park and aquarium, taking advantage of the Minnesota foliage while it lasts may be less stressful that figuring out where you parked. Split into two levels- an upper level that is manicured like a a park, and a lower level that is left in its natural state, Minnehaha Falls Park provides a beautiful view of some of the waterfalls of a Mississippi River tributary. Karameister asks, “Who knew that a park as large and neat as Minnehaha Falls could hide within a large city?”

Instead of South Coast Plaza, bask at Huntington Beach and Pier, Greater Los Angeles, CA

Photo by Howdymike

Those in California can give thanks for warm weather year-round, and can take advantage of it when celebrating the holidays with their family. The beach and pier provide everything from sea-side snacks to surfing and picnic areas. There are even many shops along the beach, so if you really want to shop you still can. The beach is great for families as well and more intimate get-togethers and provides wonderful sunsets. According to VickiFunes, “Everyone has his/her own tastes, but strolling the Huntington Beach Pier is one of those things that, like visiting Disneyland, gets a "can't miss doing" rating in my book.”

Instead of Millcreek Mall, birdwatch at Presque Isle State Park, Erie, PA

Photo by TravelingD

Although it will be too cold to swim in Lake Erie, Presque Isle State Park is a beautiful place to visit this time of year and a great place to take the family. Fishing remains a popular activity no matter what time of year, as does hiking the many trails of the park. A couple lighthouses dot the park, and the views of the lake are spectacular. Birdwatching is a popular activity here, and ademir reports, “Birdwatching at Presque Isle is a favorite spring and fall event with hundreds of 300 species and is considered one of the 10 best birding locations in the U.S.”

Instead of Aventura Mall, sightsee at Ancient Spanish Monastery, Miami Metro, FL

Photo by Travel’in Gal

Although shopping and Miami seem to go hand-in-hand, there are hundreds of attractions in the area that are great places to spend your time. The Ancient Spanish Monastery is nearby to the fifth largest mall in America, so it can be an easy pass-off instead. The monastery was originally built in Segovia, Spain in the early 1100’s and bought by William Randolph Hearst in the early 1900’s. He disassembled the buildings, and shipped the pieces to America and rebuilt them. The grounds of the monastery will most likely be less packed than any store and Travel’in Gal remarks, “The story behind it and the fact that it is the oldest building in the western hemisphere makes it truly unique and special.”

So here are just a few ideas of things to do with the family to avoid the hassle of Black Friday. For other ideas of things to do in these areas, check below.

Things to do in King of Prussia
Things to do in Minneapolis
Things to do in Greater Los Angeles
Things to do in Erie
Things to do in Miami

Posted by jhartmann13 (JJ Hartmann)

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