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Things To Do With Kids in Los Angeles During Thanksgiving Week (Besides Eating)

Are you looking for fun things to do in Los Angeles during Thanksgiving week? The kids are off school, family may be coming into town, and you’ve got a lot of days to fill.

Luckily, there is always something fun to do in and around LA. And Thanksgiving week, there are so many great ways for families to help out, volunteer, and make it a better holiday for others.  

MomsLA is your source for Things to do in Los Angeles With Kids

Spider Pavilion at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

Saturday, November 23

The Great Los Angeles Walk
Begins at Pershing Square, Los Angeles, CA

The Great Los Angeles Walk is happening on Saturday, November 23rd. This annual event, an “urban hike,” is a great way for families to share our diverse city with visiting relatives that are in town for Thanksgiving. Families can walk as much or as little as they’d like. Check the website for details on this year’s route. 

Enchanted: Forest of Light
Descanso Gardens
1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

Families can see “Enchanted: Forest of Light” at Descanso Gardens now through January 5, 2020 (5:30 pm to 10:00 pm each night). If you’re not familiar with it, Enchanted: Forest of Light is an “interactive, nighttime experience.” This one-mile walk is a rain or shine event. Stroll through and discover twinkling tulips, spinning polyhedrons, and “trees aglow in technicolor light.” Tickets must be purchased in advance and online.

The Second Home Pavilion
La Brea Tar Pits
5801 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

If you haven’t been already, don’t miss your chance to explore The Second Home Pavilion. (Sunday, November 24th is the last day.) Kids and adults will enjoy wandering through the brightly colored, 866-square foot structure. The Pavilion is an interactive art structure and is a great place to take some fun photos. Free admission is offered; tickets must be reserved in advance and can be done online. 

Sunday, November 24

Spider Pavilion
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007

If you haven’t yet been, you only have one more week to check out the Natural History Museum’s Spider Pavilion, the only Spider Pavilion in the United States. (It closes December 1st.) Stroll through the open-air pavilion and marvel at the many different spiders and their intricate webs. Can you find the goldenrod crab spider which can “change color from yellow to pink depending on the flower on which they sit”? Timed tickets are available online. 

Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)
628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802

The Museum of Latin American Art offers free admission each Sunday. It’s a great time to explore the “only museum in the U.S. dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino Art.”

Monday, November 25

California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90037

The kids may be out of school this week, but they can still get some quality, hands-on math time at the California Science Center’s MathAlive! Exhibit. This fun, interactive exhibit “brings to life the real math behind what kids love most – sports, nature, dancing, design, music, movie-making, robotics, and more.” (Admission to this exhibit and the Science Center is free; fees do apply to IMAX Theater screenings and to see the space shuttle Endeavour. Check the website for details.)

Activities at your local Los Angeles Public Library
Including the Arroyo Seco Regional Library
6145 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90042

Be sure to check out your local library’s calendar of events. Many are offering special themed activities this week. For instance, the Arroyo Seco Regional Library is hosting “Make it Monday: Inuit Stories and Craft” on Monday, November 25th at 4:00 pm.  To celebrate Native American Heritage Month, children will enjoy a special story time featuring Inuit stories, poetry, and games. Children will also be able to create their own mini-igloo.

Tuesday, November 26

Rancho Los Cerritos
4600 Virginia Rd., Long Beach, CA 90807

Rancho Los Cerritos hosts a children’s story time each Tuesday, from 9:30 am to 10:00 am. This free event does not require an RSVP. And while you’re there, be sure to take some time to explore this historic site which looks at the “relationship of the Rancho’s diverse peoples, from the period before Spanish settlement when Native Americans controlled the land, through the development of the Long Beach area, to the present day.” The adobe ranch house was built in 1844.

Sea Star Feeding
Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
1600 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Each Tuesday, from 2:30 pm to 3:00 pm, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium hosts Sea Star Feeding. This is a fun outing, especially if you have out-of-town relatives visiting this week. Children will help the staff as they feed sea stars. And while you’re here, you’ll observe over 100 local species! This activity is included in Aquarium admission (adults and children 13 and older are $5 each, children 12 and younger are free).

Wednesday, November 27

Thanksgiving Celebration!
Pretend City Children’s Museum
29 Hubble, Irvine, CA 92618

Join Pretend City’s Thanksgiving Celebration from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm on Wednesday, November 27th. Learn about the meaning of giving thanks through a variety of special activities including story time, arts and crafts, music and movement activities, and more. Check the website for a schedule of events. (Included in general admission of $13.75 per person). 

Big Sunday’s 8th Annual Thanksgiving Stuffing Event
6111 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038

At Big Sunday, they operate under the belief that “everyone has some way that they can help somebody else.” Big Sunday’s 8th Annual Thanksgiving Stuffing Event is happening on Wednesday, November 27th from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Volunteers enjoy music and being in the company of other giving people as they fill bags full of Thanksgiving dinner for thousands of people. Check the website to find out how you can help.  

Westside Thanksgiving Community Dinner and Celebration
West L.A. Civic Center
1645 Corinth Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90025

For over thirty years, the Westside Community Celebration has been making Thanksgiving a holiday that all can enjoy. Everyone is welcome to the Celebration, and the Celebration relies on donations and volunteers to be successful. Families can help in many ways — by donating food, clothing, funds; helping to sort donated items; serving and cleaning up. Check the website for information on how to sign up to volunteer and help at this special event.

Thursday, November 28 (Thanksgiving)

Dinner in the Park
Central Park
275 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105

For more than  forty-five years, Union Station Homeless Services has hosted Dinner in the Park on Thanksgiving Day. There are many ways for families to help including donating food, donating funds, and donating time. Check the website for details. This year’s event is happening on Thanksgiving Day from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Thanksgiving Day Pumpkin Smash
Santa Barbara Zoo
500 Ninos Dr., Santa Barbara, CA 93103

If you’re looking to get out-of-town (but not too far from home) on Thanksgiving, the Santa Barbara Zoo invites families to its annual Thanksgiving Day Pumpkin Smash happening from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. Watch and be amused as elephants, gorillas, and other Zoo animals play and interact with pumpkins. The event is included in Zoo admission. 

Burbank YMCA Turkey Trot
321 E. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91502

Run, walk, or push a stroller through Downtown Burbank and participate in the Burbank YMCA Turkey Trot. This event starts at 7:30 am, and 100% of the proceeds “support the YMCA Financial Assistance Program benefitting community residents.” This event is designed for everyone whether you’re a “competitive runner, casual jogger, or enthusiastic runner.” Enjoy pre-race expo as well as a Kids Fun Zone. Check the website for registration information. 

Drumstick Dash
New location – Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood, CA

“Move your feet so others can eat” by participating in the Drumstick Dash. This annual 5K/10K running event raises “funds for the homeless and hungry throughout the San Fernando Valley.” This family event allows participants to run, walk, or even push a stroller. Participants receive a shirt, finisher medal, and the good feeling that knows you’ve helped someone else.

40th Annual Harry Sutter Memorial Turkey Trot Fun Run 
Sam’s Club Parking Lot
2601 Skypark Dr., Torrance, CA

The City of Torrance Community Services Department hosts the Annual Harry Sutter Memorial Turkey Trot Fun Run Thanksgiving morning at 8:00 am. This three-mile run promises to be lots of fun. All participants receive a commemorative shirt, and after the fun run, there will be a drawing for lots of great prizes. And don’t forget to donate canned foods which will be distributed to people in need throughout the South Bay.

Turkey Trot Los Angeles
City Hall
200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012

Everyone is invited to “run first, feast later” at the 7th Annual Turkey Trot Los Angeles. Families may participate in the 5K, 10K, or 1-mile Wide Wobble for kids. Every participant receives a shirt, medal, and bib. The festivities are from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. Additionally, the event benefits the Midnight Mission! Check the website for registration information. 

26th Annual Thanksgiving Day Run and Food Drive 
Memorial Park
1301 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

The Annual Thanksgiving Day Run and Food Drive is a popular tradition for many families. This 5K Run/Walk begins at 8:30 am, and there is a special Kids’ Mile Run event designed for children 12 and younger. (The 1 Mile Kids’ Run begins at 9:30 am). The Food Drive is the largest food drive in the Foothill communities. Canned and non-perishable food sanctions are gratefully accepted. In 2017, more than 160 families benefited from the donations. Register online. 

7th Annual Palisades Funding Turkey Trot
Pacific Palisades Charter High School
15777 Bowdoin St., Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Families are invited to participate in the 7th Annual Palisades Funding Turkey Trot happening Thanksgiving morning at 8:00 am. There is a 5K and a 10K race. Finishers receive a medal. This event benefits the Hearts with Hope charity, “an initiative that brings medical, dental, and administrative care to children living with congenital heart disease throughout the world.” Registration information is available online.

The Gentle Barn's "Cuddle Turkey" event is one of the great ways to celebrate Thanksgiving in Los Angeles. #gentlebarn #turkey

A Gentle Thanksgiving 2019
The Gentle Barn
15825 Sierra Hwy, Santa Clarita, CA 91390

The Gentle Barn hosts its annual plant-based Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, November 28th from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm. This special event is a very special way to celebrate Thanksgiving. Children will have the chance to feed the resident turkeys and families will enjoy a “delicious, gourmet, vegan meal, and take part in a Native American drum circle.” Reservations must be made ahead of time. See website for details. 

Friday, November 29

Family Friday
Pretend City Children’s Museum
29 Hubble, Irvine, CA 92618

If you’re not interested in shopping take the kids to Pretend City Children’s Museum for Family Friday. Enjoy story time, holiday activities, special games, music and movement (Turkey Hokey Pokey!), and much more. All activities are included in general Museum admission of $13.75 per person. 

Saturday, November 30

The Great Pumpkin Hunt
South Coast Botanic Garden
26300 Crenshaw Blvd., Palos Verdes, CA 90247

Today’s your last chance to visit the South Coast Botanic Garden to participate in The Great Pumpkin Hunt. Explore the Garden in this special scavenger hunt type activity. “This annual tradition will have you exploring picturesque areas of the Garden in search of hidden pumpkins leading you to the unexpected.” The Garden is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Small Business Saturday
Multiple Locations throughout Los Angeles

No need to go to a mall or large department store to start your holiday shopping. Shop locally, and take advantage of Small Business Saturday on Saturday, November 30th. If you need some ideas to get you started click here to read Sarah’s post “7 Great Made-In-LA Gifts Perfect For The Holidays (Or Anytime)” and here to read “Best Independent Toy Shops In And Around Los Angeles.”

Sunday, December 1

The Hollywood Christmas Parade
Hollywood Blvd., Vine St., and Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA

The Hollywood Christmas Parade begins at 5:00 pm on Sunday, December 1st. This annual event signifies the start of the holiday season for many local families. Enjoy marching bands, equestrian units, live performances, giant balloons, celebrities, and much more. Ticket information is available online. 

La Habra Tamale Festival
Euclid St. between La Habra Blvd. and Lambert Rd., La Habra, CA

The largest tamale festival in Orange County is happening on Sunday, December 1st. This all-day, free festival (9:00 am to 6:00 pm) features live musical and dance performances, a craft pavilion, contests, a health and wellness area, tamale making classes, a kid’s zone, and lots of delicious food. Be sure to check the website for information on the free shuttle. 


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