If you’ve overdosed on family togetherness around the Thanksgiving bird and the thought of venturing into a store on Black Friday leaves you shuddering, take heart. 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.
Unfortunately, in many places the public library is closed so you won’t find refuge there but here’s a sampling of other places you can go (some of these options are free but others have a slight charge):
- Experience a national treasure. All national parks and historic sites are open November 23. While administrative offices may be closed, visitors centers, museums and sites will be open. Tours will be available as usual. Some, such as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (Gateway Arch) in St. Louis, have extended hours for the holiday weekend.
- Tour a factory. Many factory tours, such as the tour of the Anheuser-Busch brewery in St. Louis, are free and will be operational on Friday.
- 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.
- Commune with the animals. Many zoos are open Friday. In fact, November 23 is opening night for ZooLights, a special holiday light display at the National Zoo in Washington, D. C. (where admission is free). ZooLights is from 5 to 9 p.m. Opening night will feature a number of special activities.
- Have an artful day. Many art museums are open on Friday, and some offer special events that day. For example, at the Art Institute of Chicago you can enjoy the 21st Annual Wreathing of the Lions, a family special event; discover the museum’s newest acquisitions; take in film screenings about film and photo in New York; learn about the art of the 1930s at a gallery talk, or take a 30-minute guided tour that discusses “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat.
- Plan your next trip. Curl up with your computer or a guidebook and start planning your next getaway, be it over the holidays or next year.
- Pull out a cookbook (or check the Internet) and try a new recipe — preferably nothing having to do with turkey or sweet potatoes.
- Cruise the holiday light displays in your city.
- Take in a movie.
- Clean out your closets. Instead of adding more possessions, gather up things you don’t use to sell or give away.
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