Things To Do With Kids in Los Angeles During Thanksgiving Week
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.
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Saturday, November 17
The Great Los Angeles Walk
Begins at Pershing Square, Los Angeles, CA
The Great Los Angeles Walk is happening on Saturday, November 17th. This annual event begins at 9:00 am at Pershing Square and travels down 6th Street, through Koreatown, and then down Santa Monica Boulevard to the ocean. This “urban hike” is a great way for families to share our diverse city with visiting relatives that are in town for Thanksgiving.
Aquarium of the Pacific
100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802
The Aquarium of the Pacific invites families to its Autumn Festival happening on Saturday, November 17th and Sunday, November 18th from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm each day. Families can learn about the “arts, cultures, and marine environments of Asia” in this annual festival which highlights the traditions of Japan, China, Korea, and the Philippines. The Festival is included in the general Aquarium admission. Click here for a coupon for $10 off adult admission.
3rd Annual LACCNAIC Pow Wow
200 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012
Celebrate the “many cultures on the land of one of the first villages in Los Angeles” at the 3rd Annual LACCNAIC Pow Wow on Saturday, November 17 from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. Enjoy arts and crafts vendors, dance contests, native foods, hoop dancers, and more.
Sunday, November 18
Enchanted: Forest of Light
1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
Enchanted: Forest of Light returns to Descanso Gardens beginning on Sunday, November 18th and continuing through January 6, 2019 (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.
Barnsdall Art Sundays
JAC Studio 1
Barnsdall Art Park
4800 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90027
Each Sunday, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, Barnsdall Art Park invites families to participate in free, family-friendly art workshops. Each workshop focuses on a global culture and different media are explored each week. On Sunday, November 18th, families will create Native American Sand Paintings. All materials are provided.
6th Annual Toluca Lake Turkey Trot
Chase Bake Parking Lot
10050 Riverside Dr., Toluca Lake, CA
The 6th Annual Toluca Lake Turkey Trot is happening on Sunday, November 18th. To participate, a $10 donation is required and all proceeds will support the North Hollywood LAPD PAL (Police Activity League). Check the website for more details as they become available.
Monday, November 19
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007
If you haven’t yet been, this week is your last chance to check out the Natural History Museum’s Spider Pavilion, the only Spider Pavilion in the United States. Stroll through the open-air pavilion and marvel at the many different spiders and their intricate webs. Can you find the pink toe tarantula? Or see the jumping spiders in action? Timed tickets are available online.
Tuesday, November 20
The Great Pumpkin Hunt
South Coast Botanic Garden
26300 Crenshaw Blvd., Palos Verdes, CA 90247
Visit the South Coast Botanic Garden (before November 30th) to participate in The Great Pumpkin Hunt. Explore the Garden in this special scavenger hunt type activity. “Locate birdhouses inhabited by parrots, owls, woodpeckers, and hawks to collect their clues and find the hidden pumpkin garden.” The Garden is open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. And on Tuesday, November 20th (and the third Tuesday of each month) families can enjoy free admission.
Activities at your local Los Angeles Public Library
Including the Mark Twain Branch Library
9621 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90003
Be sure to check out your local library’s calendar of events. Many are offering special Thanksgiving-related activities this week. For instance, the Mark Twain Branch Library is hosting a Thanksgiving Craft event on Tuesday, November 20th at 3:00 pm. Children will create a Thanksgiving themed craft they will then take home.
Wednesday, November 21
Big Sunday’s 7th Annual Thanksgiving Stuffing Event!
6111 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038
Big Sunday wants to make sure that everyone has a special Thanksgiving celebration. So each year, volunteers join Big Sunday in filling bags with holiday food. And while you’re filling bags on Wednesday, November 21st from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, volunteers will also enjoy arts and crafts, music, and breakfast. Sign up online. Volunteers can show up to help, and/or can also commit to bringing food and/or monetary donations. UPDATE 11/20 – THIS EVENT IS FULL, BUT CHECK WEBSITE FOR MORE WAYS TO HELP OUT THIS HOLIDAY SEASON.
Westside Thanksgiving Community Dinner and Celebration
Bandshell of the West LA Civic Center
1645 Corinth Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90025
The Westside Thanksgiving Community Dinner and Celebration has been feeding the community for more than three decades. Volunteer opportunities are available on Wednesday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm; there are no sign-ups, just stop by and help when you can. Check the website for a list of items that are needed and ways to help.
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 21st. 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 $12.50 per person).
Thursday, November 22 (Thanksgiving)
Dinner in the Park
275 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105
“For 46 years, Union Station Homeless Services has hosted Dinner in the Park on Thanksgiving Day!” Families can help in many ways including donating (items, money, their time), holding food drives, assisting at the dinner, and more. Check the website for details and to find out how to get involved. Dinner in the Park is held on Thanksgiving Day from 10:00 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.” There is a 5K/10K Run, a 5K Walk, and a Kids Run. Check the website for registration information.
4024 Radford Ave., Studio City, CA 91604
“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. The race begins at 8:30 am, and a special “Lil’ Gobblers Run” begins at 10:00 am.
39th 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
200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
Everyone is invited to “run first, feast later” at the 6th Annual Turkey Trot Los Angeles. Families may participate in the 5K, 10K, or 1-mile Wide Wobble for kids. Every participant receives a hat, medal, and bib. The festivities are from 8:00 am to 12:00 pm. Additionally, the event benefits the Midnight Mission!
25th Annual Thanksgiving Day Run and Food Drive
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. Last year, the food collected served over 160 families. Register online.
6th Annual Palisades Funding Turkey Trot
Pacific Palisades Charter High School
15777 Bowdoin St., Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Families are invited to participate in the 6th 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.”
The Gentle Barn’s “Cuddle” Thanksgiving Event and Dinner
RSVP for Address
The Gentle Barn hosts its annual plant-based Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, November 22nd. This year The Gentle Barn will be sharing the special occasion in honor of their “Cuddle” turkeys with children and adults who come out to experience their incredible intelligence and healing traits. The event starts at 3 pm and includes feeding the resident turkeys some of their favorite treats such as cranberries, blueberries, and pumpkin pie. There is a full, gourmet plant-based dinner provided by a group of sponsors that will feed more than 500 guests, followed by a Native American Drum Circle and traditional bonfire. Companies sponsoring the event and providing holiday food and beverage and gifts include: Field Roast, Sun Chlorella, Outstanding Foods, BeTru, Zevia, Dr. Brite, Vegan Rob’s, Pacifica, Follow Your Heart, Original Sprout, and Dr. Bronner’s. Reservations must be made ahead of time. See website for details.
Friday, November 23
12th Annual Science of Gingerbread
Discovery Cube Orange County
2500 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92705
The Science of Gingerbread exhibition will be at the Discovery Cube from November 23rd until January 6, 2019. Learn about how everything we do in the kitchen involves science, math, and engineering. Kids can build a candy car and compete in the Gingerbread Derby, visit with Santa (on select days), and many other fun activities. Tickets and details are available online.
For many families, the day after Thanksgiving means it’s time to start thinking about the holidays. Visit the Los Angeles Zoo to see their annual holiday festivities including Reindeer Romp and the L.A. Zoo Lights (which continue through January 6, 2019). LA Zoo Lights is a yearly holiday light extravaganza. Families will marvel at the holiday “wonderland of light” featuring seasonal treats, visits with Santa on certain dates, and more. Stop by Reindeer Village for photos, enjoy holiday music, make holiday-themed crafts, and much more. The Los Angeles Zoo is the only place in Los Angeles to see live reindeer. Check the website for a complete schedule. Reindeer Romp is included in general Zoo admission; separate admission fees are required for LA Zoo Lights.
Saturday, November 24
Craft & Folk Art Museum (CAFAM)
5814 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
The Craft & Folk Art Museum invites families to its annual Holiday Marketplace happening on Saturday, November 24th (11:30 am to 5:00 pm) and Sunday, November 25th (11:00 am to 5:00 pm). This event is a special gift-shopping opportunity as well as museum fundraiser. Enjoy music and complimentary refreshments while browsing “handmade goods made by a curated selection of dynamic and vibrant makers in Los Angeles.” The marketplace is free with museum admission. (General admission is $9; seniors 65+, students, and teachers are $7; and children under 10 are free).
Home Depot Kids Workshops: Gingerbread Man Ornament
Several locations including
5600 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028
Get into the holiday spirit at the free Home Depot Kids Workshop on Saturday, November 24th from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Children will assemble a gingerbread picture frame that can also serve as an adorable Christmas ornament. Once built, children will decorate the frame with paint and holiday stickers. Children will go home with their craft, a certificate of achievement, a workshop apron, and a commemorative pin (while supplies last).
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 24th. 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.” Also, be sure to check out the annual “We Heart Eagle Rock Block Party” a day-long event supporting small business in Eagle Rock (and featuring a special Family Zone).
Sunday, November 25
The Hollywood Christmas Parade
Hollywood Blvd., Vine St., and Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA
The Hollywood Christmas Parade begins at 5:00 pm Sunday, November 25th. 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, November 25th. This all-day, free festival (10:00 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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