There are plenty of ways to celebrate Thanksgiving in LA, from traditional family gatherings to oddball outings.
Whether you’re free of familial duties or you’re searching for ways to spend Turkey Day with friends and family out on the town, here are our favorite Thanksgiving events in Los Angeles.
Trot for Charity
Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks for the family and lifestyle you enjoy, but it’s also about helping others achieve that same happiness. The seventh annual Turkey Trot downtown benefits the Midnight Mission, an organization dedicated to helping people suffering homelessness, one of the city’s most pressing civic issues. Get some exercise in early at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning while giving back to the greater LA family.
200 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Celebrate at the Aquarium
Holiday events tend to focus on bounty from the earth, with fowl and gourds filling the menu, but the Aquarium of the Pacific out in Long Beach provides the opportunity to celebrate our fishy friends at the same time. The annual lunch on Thanksgiving day brings classic roast turkey and sides to the aquarium’s Cafe Scuba, Veranda, and Front Plaza. If your little ones prefer to celebrate mid-day rather than wait until evening for their feast, the aquarium makes the perfect spot to mix traditional eats with unique entertainment.
100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802
Dine with Disney Characters
The biggest celebrity at most Thanksgiving gatherings is a reclusive aunt or a cousin back from living abroad. But for something slightly more exciting, especially for kids, head to Disneyland where guests are treated to a three-hour buffet feast in the Grand Ballroom of the Disneyland Hotel. Along with classic Thanksgiving dishes, key Disney celebs will be in attendance, providing unique family photos that will inevitably be pulled out for every Thanksgiving thereafter.
1150 West, Magic Way, Anaheim, CA 92802
Make Someone Else Cook
Why toil away in the kitchen all day when you can book a table at one of L.A.’s premier restaurants and have a professional chef serve you turkey and fixins? Plenty of eateries around town offer special holiday menus for those who like to celebrate without turning on their own oven, including the annual family-style celebration at Craft, the California-style dinner at Tavern, and the idyllic multi-course feast at the Saddle Peak Lodge in the Santa Monica mountains.
See a Play About a Play About Thanksgiving
The appropriately titled The Thanksgiving Play at the Geffen Playhouse centers around “three ‘woke’ white thespians” trying to organize a culturally sensitive elementary school play about the first Thanksgiving. It’s satire for a holiday that already receives its fair share but could always use a little more.
10886 Le Conte Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Volunteer in Venice Beach
Every year a crowd of hundreds of supportive volunteers gather in Venice Beach to serve food and distribute necessities like clothing and toiletries to the homeless community in the area. It’s a great way to give back while soaking up the Venice sunshine at the same time.
1800 Ocean Front Walk, Los Angeles, CA 90291
Get Weird at a Pasadena Parade
The “Occasional Pasadena Doo Dah Parade” isn’t so occasional, given that it’s celebrating 42 years this November 24. The irreverent cousin of the Rose Parade, which also takes over the streets of Pasadena on New Years Day, the Doo Dah Parade gives locals a chance to strut the streets in their weirdest, wildest costumes and floats. Join the fun with your own getup, or just come see what all the weird is about.
2627 East Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91107