The Best Thanksgiving Day Specials, Attractions & Events in Los Angeles

Enjoy theme parks, outdoor ice skating and turkey trots

Photo courtesy of Turkey Trot Los Angeles, Facebook
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Los Angeles has always been known for bucking tradition, so it's no accident that Southern California gives those who visit during Thanksgiving ample opportunity to do the same. With average temperatures well into the 60s, numerous dining options, and many attractions open for at least part of the day, Thanksgiving in L.A. is as stuffed with activities as that turkey about to be carved.

NOTE: All Thanksgiving dinners and events are taking place on Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017 unless otherwise noted.


Thanksgiving at Fogo de Chão
Photo courtesy of Fogo de Chão

Theme Parks & Studio Tours

"The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" at Universal Studios Hollywood
"The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™" | Image Courtesy of Universal Studios Hollywood

For a fun, family-friendly Thanksgiving, a visit to one of L.A.'s theme parks or taking a studio tour may be just the ticket.

Book the VIP Experience at Universal Studios Hollywood, and get VIP seats to shows and front-of-line privileges to all attractions, including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ - from magical spells to magical creatures, from dark villains to daring heroes, it's all here! Enter the post-apocalyptic world of AMC’s The Walking Dead , and experience Fast & Furious: Supercharged, Springfield - home of The Simpsons, Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem - a 3D Ultra-HD movie motion-simulator ride - and Super Silly Fun Land, an interactive playland adventure.

For movie and TV fans, few L.A. attractions can compare to Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood, which offers an immersive, behind the scenes look into Hollywood at work. Guests experience a fascinating 2-hour tour that travels through famous backlot streets, soundstages, sets and craft shops. No two tours are alike. Highlights include DC Universe: The Exhibit, featuring legendary superheroes like Wonder Woman and their nemeses; Stage 48: Script to Screen, an interactive soundstage that explores the film and television production process; cinematic treasures in the Prop Department; and a working, branded replica of the Central Perk Café from the hit TV show Friends.

If you're looking for thrills, there are 19 roller coasters at Six Flags Magic Mountain - more than any amusement park in the world - making it the undisputed “Roller Coaster Capital of the World.” For a classic oceanfront experience, visit Pacific Park at the Santa Monica Pier for rides and games the whole family will enjoy.

Outdoor Ice Skating

LA Kings Holiday Ice at L.A. LIVE
LA Kings Holiday Ice at L.A. LIVE I Photo courtesy of L.A. LIVE

Griffith Park Attractions

Hollywood Sign viewed from horseback
Photo courtesy of Sunset Ranch Hollywood


Oak Forest at Descanso Gardens
Oak Forest at Descanso Gardens | Photo by Ritchie Porch, Discover Los Angeles Flickr Pool

Take advantage of L.A.'s beautiful weather with a stroll through one of the city's stunning botanical gardens. Located in La Canada Flintridge, Descanso Gardens is a 160-acre urban oasis complete with a camellia oak forest, streams, a lake, bird sanctuary, five-acre International Rosarium and colorful flower displays, as well as a mini-train route for the kids. Further east in Arcadia is the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, which has 127 acres of birds, plants, animals, and the historic Queen Anne cottage, which famously appeared in the opening credits of TV's Fantasy Island.


The annual Turkey Trot Los Angeles is taking place in Downtown L.A. on Thanksgiving morning. Turkey Trot L.A. features 5K and 10K routes on the historic streets of Downtown, taking runners and walkers past some of L.A.'s most famous landmarks. The Turkey Trot also includes a post-event festival at Grand Park, costume contest and more.

The world famous Laugh Factory will host its 38th Annual Free Thanksgiving Feasts on Thanksgiving Day. Top comedians including Dane Cook, Kevin Nealon, Shawn Wayans, Tim Allen, Tom Arnold and other celebrities will help serve each guest a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. Comics will perform live shows following each meal served throughout the day at 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Last year, the Laugh Factory served 2,500 people - the goal is to host even more guests this year.

The 24th Annual Thanksgiving Day Run & Food Drive is taking place at Memorial Park in La Cañada Flintridge. The 5K run/walk is open to all ages and abilities and is a major fundraiser for the Community Center; proceeds are used to support its year-round programs. The professionally-timed race takes place along Foothill Boulevard and begins promptly at 8:30 a.m. The Kids’ Mile Run begins at 9:30 a.m. and is ideal for children age 12 and under. Pre-registration for the 5K is $35 and $15 for the Kids’ Mile Run. Participants are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to be dropped off at Memorial Park on Thanksgiving morning and donated to families in need.

The entire family is invited to participate in the 38th Annual Harry Sutter Memorial Thanksgiving Day Fun Run. The three-mile fun run/walk begins at 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning. A raffle follows the fun run - winners must be present to receive prizes. Runners and spectators alike can bring canned goods for a special Thanksgiving Food Drive. While you watch, run or walk, your canned foods will be distributed to people in need throughout the South Bay.