Updated for 2022
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.
If you’re going to be working this week, read our list of Thanksgiving Camps in Los Angeles.
More fun in Los Angeles this season!
- Hanukkah Events in Los Angeles
- Thanksgiving Take-out Dinner
- Restaurants for Thanksgiving Dinner (dine-in)
- Places to Do Good this Thanksgiving
- Christmas and Holiday Events in SoCal
- See Christmas Light Displays
- Get Photos with Santa Claus in SoCal
- Places to go Play in the Snow in SoCal
Things To Do Every Day of Thanksgiving Week
Saturday, November 19
Surfing Santa Competition
Salt Creek Beach
33333 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point, CA
Ready for an only-in-L.A.-event? Then head to Dana Point for the Surfing Santa Competition happening this weekend on Saturday, November 19th and Sunday, November 20th. This special event benefits Surfers Healing, “the original surf camp for children with autism.” Contestants will be dressed as Santa or other holiday-inspired characters as they participate in a surfing and stand-up paddle board competition. The event is free for spectators to attend. Details are available online.
Seal Beach Turkey Trot
Start and Finish on Main St., Seal Beach, CA
The Seal Beach Turkey Trot is happening on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, November 19th. There is a 5K and 10K Run/Walk option, a 5K Gym Challenge option, and a 1K Kids “Don’t Be a Turkey” Trot (for kids 10 and younger). The Seal Beach Turkey Trot has partnered with two charities, Grateful Hearts and Project Seek. The Seal Beach Turkey Trot’s goal is to “donate over 300-holiday meals for families in need” and to “raise funds for our local schools.”
Sensory Sensitive Saturdays
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
3720 Stephen M. White Dr., San Pedro, CA 90731
Visit the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium on Saturday, November 19th from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm for Sensory Sensitive Saturdays. Stop by the Welcome Booth for “sensory bags equipped with noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and a weighted lap pad.” You’ll also find dedicated areas of the Aquarium set aside for family members who may need a quieter environment.
Sunday, November 20
Rooftop Cinema Club
1310 E. Franklin Ave., El Segundo, CA 90245
Rooftop Cinema’s El Segundo location is screening two family-friendly films on Sunday, November 20th. Elf (rated PG) will be shown at 1:00 pm and Home Alone (rated PG) will be shown at 4:15 pm. Cinema snacks are available for purchase on-site. Tickets are available online.
Sawdust Festival Annual Winter Fantasy
935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Drive down to Laguna Beach for the Sawdust Festival Annual Winter Fantasy. “Winter Fantasy is a one-of-a-kind holiday art festival that offers a festive, handcrafted shopping experience in an enchanting winter wonderland with thousands of lights and decorations.” Additionally, there will be three stages of live music, puppeteers, art classes, visits with Santa Claus, and more. Check the website for details and ticket information. (Families can visit the Sawdust Festival Annual Winter Fantasy for five weekends, between November 19th through December 18th.)
Andell Family Sundays – Gift Giving Across Cultures
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
Visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Sunday, November 20th between 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm for Andell Family Sundays. “Giving helps build relationships and community, and gift giving is an important practice in many cultures throughout the world such as Fiji or Japan.” Participants will make special gifts for the special people in their life in “workshops inspired by objects in LACMA’s collection.” This is a free workshop, for all ages.
Monday, November 21
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007
If you haven’t yet been, you don’t want to miss the chance to visit the Natural History Museum’s Spider Pavilion, a “one-of-a-kind seasonal pavilion.” (It closes in just a few days on November 27th.) Stroll through the open-air pavilion and marvel at the many different spiders and their intricate webs. Timed tickets are available online.
Enchanted Forest of Light
1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
Make plans to visit Enchanted Forest of Light at Descanso Gardens. If you’re not familiar with it, Enchanted Forest of Light is an “interactive, nighttime experience” featuring a “one-mile walk through unique lighting experiences in some of the most beloved areas of Descanso Gardens.” This is a rain or shine event. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available online. (Enchanted Forest of Light opens November 20th and continues through January 8th, 2023, 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm each night).
Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails
Discovery Cube Los Angeles
11800 Foothill Blvd., Sylmar, CA 91342
Visit Discovery Cube Los Angeles to see and experience the special exhibition Thomas & Friends: Explore the Rails. The exhibit offers a lot of hands-on fun which all relate to “important concepts in early childhood Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).” The exhibit includes “everyone’s favorite blue engine Thomas, his engine friends and the Island of Sodor’s iconic locations from Mattel’s popular series.” All activities are included in general admission. Tickets are available online.
Tuesday, November 22
Muddy Boot Farm
Kidspace Children’s Museum
480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91103
Kidspace Children’s Museum invites families to experience Muddy Boot Farm now through December 31st. This new outdoor exhibit “invites children to ‘dig in’ to the farm-to-table movement.” Children will have the chance to learn about plant growth cycles, learn about decomposers, “prepare, sort, weigh, and sell” their harvest, and more. “Explore the path our food takes from the seed to the store as you watch how seedlings sprout and grow.” Tickets are available online.
Friendship Bracelets, Keychains & More for Teens
North Hollywood Amelia Earhart Regional Library
5211 Tujunga Ave., North Hollywood, CA 91601
The North Hollywood Amelia Earhart Regional Library is hosting a special workshop – Friendship Bracelets, Keychains & More for Teens – on Tuesday, November 22nd at 4:00 pm. All supplies will be provided for tweens and teens to “make friendship jewelry using safety pins, cords, beads, and more.” This program is designed for participants ages 11-18.
Rancho Los Cerritos
4600 Virginia Rd., Long Beach, CA 90807
Rancho Los Cerritos hosts a children’s storytime each Tuesday morning from 10:00 am to 10:30 am. Storytime is held outside and is free to attend. Families are welcome to bring blankets and snacks and get comfortable as you listen to volunteers and staff read from diverse authors.
Wednesday, November 23
Big Sunday’s Annual Thanksgiving Stuffing Event
6111 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038
Big Sunday’s Annual Thanksgiving Stuffing Event is happening on Wednesday, November 23rd from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. Each year, Big Sunday collects and packs “bags full of Thanksgiving dinner for thousands of people, including vets; homeless families; women in domestic violence shelters; group homes; low-income families with autistic children; food pantries; schools and more.” Volunteers are needed to donate food as well as pack everything up. Plus, all volunteers are invited to “join together for a community breakfast.” Check the website for more details as they become available.
Pershing Square Holiday Ice Skating
532 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, CA 90013
Pershing Square Holiday Ice Skating is back this year and opens Wednesday, November 23rd. Get ready to make some special memories! Everyone is welcome, from “first-time gliders to experienced skaters.” Tickets and details are available online. (The rink will be open daily through January 1st, 2023.)
Pretend City Children’s Museum
29 Hubble, Irvine, CA 92618
Join Pretend City’s Thanksgiving Celebration on Wednesday, November 23rd. “Today we are reflecting and expressing everything we are thankful for!” Fun activities include music and movement (get ready for Five Little Pumpkins), art projects, story time, and more. Check the website for a schedule of events. All activities are included in general admission. Tickets are available online.
Thursday, November 24 (Thanksgiving)
Drumstick Dash 2022
NoHo Arts District
Race Starts at 11275 Chandler Blvd., North Hollywood, CA
Described as “LA’s largest Thanksgiving 5K/10K run,” Drumstick Dash is happening on Thanksgiving morning. “Move your feet so others can eat!” In addition to the run, the fun also includes freebies, a costume contest, as well as a Lil’ Gobblers Race. All proceeds “will help Hope of the Valley provide over 500,000 hot meals for homeless men, women and children.” You can find all the details as well as registration information online.
A Gentle Thanksgiving ‘22
The Gentle Barn
15825 Sierra Hwy, Santa Clarita, CA 91390
The Gentle Barn hosts a Pre-Meal Celebration of Turkeys on Thursday, November 24th from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. Families will have the chance to “cuddle our turkeys, feed them treats, join us for pie, and games, and celebrate life, love, and liberty with our majestic turkeys who should have been cherished throughout history for their intelligence, affection, and dynamic personalities.” Reserve your tickets online.
Turkey Trot Los Angeles
Starts and Finishes at City Hall
200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
The annual Turkey Trot Los Angeles has a great motto: “Trot before you gobble and support an important cause.” This event will support The Midnight Mission, an organization dedicated to helping those struggling with homelessness. There is a 5K and 10K option as well as a “Widdle Wobble” for those 12 and under. Races have staggered start times on Thanksgiving morning. Details and registration information are available online.
Check out our post 15+ Turkey Trots in SoCal for Thanksgiving for more information about other Turkey Trots
Friday, November 25
Holiday Light Festival 2022
Griffith Park & Southern Railroad
4400 Crystal Springs Dr., Los Angeles, CA
From Friday, November 25th until Friday, January 6th, 2023 families are invited to take a train ride as part of the Holiday Light Festival 2022. The 10-minute ride circles the mile-long track which is decorated with thousands of lights. “Delightful scenes and thousands of lights will captivate you and your family, setting the mood for a wonderful, magical holiday season.” Ticket information is available online. (Monday-Thursday: 5 pm to 8 pm; Friday-Sunday: 5 pm to 9 pm. No rides on December 24th, 25th, and 31st)
30th Annual Festival of Lights
The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa
3649 Mission Inn Ave., Riverside, CA
“The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa’s Festival of Lights is one of the national’s largest holiday light collections.” The free holiday extravaganza is really a sight to be seen. Many families make it an annual tradition to make the drive to Riverside and stand in awe at the sight before them. The Festival of Lights begins on November 25th and continues until Friday, January 6th, 2023.
Friday Movie Night: The Grinch
Ovation Hollywood – Center Courtyard
6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028
Ovation Hollywood is hosting an outdoor showing of The Grinch on Friday, November 25th at 7:00 pm. Check in at the Ovation Hollywood Booth to “receive free popcorn and discounted treats from the TCL Chinese Theatre Concessions Stand.” Details are available online.
Saturday, November 26
Small Business Saturday
Multiple Locations throughout Los Angeles
Shop locally, and take advantage of Small Business Saturday on Saturday, November 26th. If you need some ideas to get you started click here to read our 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.”
L.A. Zoo Lights: Animals Aglow
Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
5333 Zoo Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90027
Make plans to visit the L.A. Zoo for its annual special event, L.A. Zoo Lights: Animals Aglow. “Explore an immersive landscape filled with spectacular lantern sculptures of animals among blooming flowers, towering trees, and more for, a wildlife-centered experience that’s as inspiring as it is breathtaking.” Tickets are available online. (November 18th through January 22nd; closed most Mondays and Tuesdays plus Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. A Sensory-Inclusive Experience is planned for one night only on November 30th.)
Family Matinee: The NeverEnding Story – Accommodative Screening
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
6067 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is hosting a Family Matinee showing of The NeverEnding Story on Saturday, November 26th at 11:00 am. “The film’s a timeless enchanting tale that denotes the power of imagination and magic and persists in the psyche of audiences who grew up with it.” (Recommended for children 7 and older.) Tickets are available online. (The movie is rated PG.)
Sunday, November 27
An American Christmas Story at the Reagan Library
Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum
40 Presidential Dr., Simi Valley, CA 93065
Visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum to see their newest exhibition An American Christmas Story. In this 5,000-square foot exhibit, families can learn about some of the “fascinating holiday traditions and the unique expressions of the holidays from all 50 states and all of the American territories.” Over 60 trees will be on display. “Artifacts from around the world , including rarely seen items from the Reagan family’s very own Christmas trees,” as well as Hanukkah Menorahs which were given to the President at the White House during the 1980s will also be on display. Additionally, Santa Claus will be visiting the Reagan Library on select days, including Friday, November 25th, Saturday, November 26th, and Sunday, November 27th. The exhibition will be on display until Sunday, January 8th, 2023. Ticket information is available online.
California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90037
The North American Premiere of Amazônia Photography by Sebastião Salgado is truly a sight to see. The exhibition features “more than 200 photographs by world-renowned Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, including portraits of the Amazon’s indigenous peoples and large-scale rich landscapes.” In addition, be sure to see Amazon Adventure 3D, an “immersive IMAX movie that transports viewers to the lush Amazon rainforest to meet some of the region’s captivating animals on our 7-story screen.” Ticket information is available online.
The Hollywood Christmas Parade
Hollywood Blvd., Vine St., and Sunset Blvd., Hollywood, CA
The Hollywood Christmas Parade celebrates its 90th Anniversary this year. The Parade is scheduled for Sunday, November 27th at 6:00 pm and features marching bands, equestrian units, live performances, giant balloons, celebrity sightings, and much more. Ticket information is available online.
Wendy Kennar is a mother, writer, and former teacher who has lived her entire life in the same Los Angeles zip code. You can read more from Wendy at her website WendyKennar.com where she writes about books, boys, and bodies (living with an invisible disability).