10 Ways to Spend Black Friday (other than shopping)

If the thought of venturing into a store on Black Friday leaves you shuddering, take heart. There are a host of things you can do on Black Friday that don’t involve fighting crowds or shelling out a lot of dough. Here’s a sampling of things to do and places to go besides the mall, and many are free.

1. Experience a national treasure. All national parks and historic sites are typically open on Black Friday. While administrative offices may be closed, visitors centers, museums and sites are normally open. Tours will be available as usual. (Check for any 2020-specific closures in your area.) 

2. Explore a park you haven’t yet visited in your own town — or a nearby town. Parks in most states and municipalities are open 365 days a year. Go for a walk, jog or bike ride to burn off those Turkey Day calories.


3. Commune with the animals. Many zoos are open year-round, holidays included. This time of year, you will also find zoos with holiday light displays, which really bring the place to life as it starts to get dark. Double check with your zoo, as sometimes there is an extra fee for the night lights show. This year, reservations may be necessary, and certain zoos might be closed to the public.

4. Have an artful day. Many art museums are open on Friday. Get there early as afternoons tend to be more crowded. (In 2020, you might need to reserve an entry time in advance.) Or check out art districts. Black Friday sales aren’t limited to shopping malls. Art galleries want your business, too, though there’s no charge just to look. Here are 9 ways to visit museums on the cheap.

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5. Scoop up deals on Thanksgiving decor. While everyone else is nabbing doorbuster deals, head to your nearby grocery store and/or drug store (such as Walgreens or CVS). All those Thanksgiving-themed items from plates and cups to napkins and knick-knacks will be reduced in price by 50 percent or more, as retailers clear the shelves for even more Christmas paraphernalia. You’ll find a ton of items decorated with autumn leaves or in warm fall colors, ideal for parties down the road.

mother and children cooking

6. Pull out a cookbook (or check the Internet) and try a new recipe — preferably nothing having to do with turkey or sweet potatoes. Or if your fridge is still full from Thursday, try these delicious ways to use Thanksgiving leftovers.

7. Take in a movie. While movie theaters are normally open on Black Friday, this year you might be limited to renting or streaming a film at home. Make it more fun by popping some buttery popcorn and passing out Halloween candy leftovers to enjoy during the movie.

8. Start making homemade gifts. Do you knit or crochet? Enjoy a quiet day while creating some thoughtful gifts for loved ones. Make packages of cards, homemade vanilla extract or special Christmas ornaments. Get the kids in on the action for some family fun.

9. Clean out your closets. Instead of adding more possessions, gather up things you don’t use to sell or give away. Pack them into bags or boxes and donate them to a non-profit such as Goodwill or Salvation Army. Not only will your home be tidy, but you can get a receipt for a tax-deduction. Read our tips for getting started with a minimalist wardrobe if you need some inspiration.

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If you liked this article you may also enjoy:

18 creative Thanksgiving leftover recipes

6 holiday shopping apps to score deals and stay organized

There are still a host of things you can do on Black Friday that don’t involve fighting crowds and shelling out a lot of dough. Here’s a sampling of things to do and places to go, and many are free. #blackfriday #familyfun #nospend


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