Four Centuries of P-Town History and Traditions

The story of Thanksgiving traces directly back to Provincetown, where the Pilgrims set foot on land on November 11, 1620, after their 66-day-long journey across the Atlantic Ocean. They would quickly sign the Mayflower Compact, permitting them to settle in New England, as they had initially planned to land in New York. And after several tough months battling disease and losing many of their group, the first Thanksgiving would take place the following year, when the local Native American tribe, the Wampanoag, and the Pilgrim settlers came together over a several-day shared feast.

Lighting of the Pilgrim Monument

In the four centuries since that first fateful Thanksgiving, the holiday has always marked a special place on the calendar in Provincetown. One of the most beloved annual events is the lighting of the Pilgrim Monument, a 252-foot tall granite tower built in the early 20th century to commemorate the Pilgrims’ landing and its historical importance. Every year, the community gathers around to watch the tower illuminate with over 3,000 lights, officially ushering in the holidays. The lighting ceremony usually takes place on the day of the Pilgrim landing (November 11th), but check their website for the official lighting date.

Provincetown Hotel sits directly next to the Pilgrim Monument – a number of our Provincetown Hotel Rooms even have balconies with direct views of the granite tower, and others have a skylight framing the landmark. There’s no better place to stay to experience the monument during the holiday season.

Fall meal being served to table to people

Plan Your Thanksgiving Meal in Provincetown

When you stay at our Provincetown Hotel over Thanksgiving weekend, skip the hassle of cooking and opt for a delicious meal at one of several restaurants in town.

The Pointe, located a block from us on Bradford St, offers a prix fixe 4-course Thanksgiving dinner in an elegant setting with an extensive wine list.

Strangers and Saints, a newer restaurant in town, is right on the water with gorgeous views of the bay and serves up a Thanksgiving menu inspired by their kitchen’s “coastal Mediterranean” focus. And their name is particularly fitting, as it references the “strangers” and “saints” among the original crew of 102 people aboard the Mayflower.

Mews Restaurant, a mainstay in P-Town for going on 60 years, serves up a Thanksgiving menu in addition to their regular menu, which features seasonal dishes with ingredients locally sourced from fishermen and farmers. From their waterside dining room, you’ll see the lighthouse at the end of the Cape, marking the exact spot where the Pilgrims saw land some 400 years ago.

Holiday crafts for sale at Provincetown holiday market

More Than Just a Feast – Events All Weekend in Town

Thanksgiving Day is just the start of P-town’s festive and fun-filled weekend.

The Canteen kicks off its holiday market on Saturday and Sunday, featuring local vendors selling their artwork and goods in a cozy outdoor setting near the harbor. Grab a hot chocolate or one of their “ski-lodge cocktails” and enjoy the holiday ambiance while shopping for some unique gifts.

The annual lighting of the Lobster Pot Tree takes place on Saturday, 11/26, in Lopes Square. Volunteers construct a genuinely one-of-a-kind holiday “tree” from some 60+ lobster traps, decorating them with lights and paying homage to the rich history of lobstering in Provincetown. Gather in the seaside square as the lobster tree is lit for the season, bringing the tight-knit community together in a quirky and perfectly P-Town celebration.

For some nighttime entertainment, look no further than Crown and Anchor. Whether you check out a burlesque show at the Paramount Club or stand-up comedy at the Wave Bar  – Crown and Anchor’s layout features 6 bars and multiple stages – you’ll have a blast at this local landmark epitomizing Provincetown’s open-minded spirit.

Book your stay with us and celebrate Thanksgiving in Provincetown, where the holiday began and where its traditions run deep!