Where To Go Thanksgiving Day: 15 Places Open for Family Fun in Los Angeles

Head downtown and take a spin around Pershing Square's outdoor ice rink. Photo courtesy of Holiday Ice Rink DTLA
What's open on Thanksgiving Day in LA?

Filling your house with family this week? Isn't it wonderful? And doesn't it make you just want to... get them all out of your house? We mean this, of course, in the nicest possible way. After all, this is sunny SoCal, and maybe your guests have traveled far to enjoy LA. Telling them where to go is just being a good host, right? Even if the family members in your home this Thursday are the same ones who are always there, knowing what's open could be invaluable—both for clearing the house to prepare the meal and for walking it off afterward. Our event calendar has the full listing of Thanksgiving day happenings, and our holiday guide has a few ideas, too; the suggestions below are 15 places you may not have realized have opening hours on the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!

  1. Los Angeles Zoo
    The zoo's visiting reindeer have arrived early this year, enjoying a little SoCal sunshine before the big night—perfect for a Thanksgiving day visit.
  2. Pumpkin Smash at the Santa Barbara Zoo
    Elephants, gorillas, and other zoo animals get pumpkins to play with as part of their Thanksgiving fare. Plus the reindeer are in town there, too!
  3. Aquarium of the Pacific
    All the same fish are there (plus the odd shore bird and Arctic fox), but a lot fewer people.
  4. Seasonal ice rinks
    A great way to burn off that extra dessert is on one of our outdoor ice rinks; there's one within easy reach of most of us this holiday season, and most are open for skating on Thanksgiving day.

    RELATED: Fun Things To Do When Grandma & Grandpa Visit LA

    Photo courtesy of Descanso Gardens.

  5. Descanso Gardens
    Over the river and through the woods, to Descanso you can go—or to the Arboretum, if you prefer your garden walks with oodles of peacocks.
  6. Pacific Park at the Santa Monica Pier
    The perfect ending to a SoCal Thanksgiving is a sunset ride on the iconic Ferris wheel at Santa Monica Pier.
  7. The Great Pumpkin Hunt
    Last call for pumpkins: South Coast Botanic Garden offers its seasonal scavenger hunt for just one more week. Sounds like the perfect place to walk off some great pumpkin pie.
  8. Bike and surrey rentals at Lake Balboa
    Why not rent a surrey, so the whole family can work off that big meal together?
  9. Skypark at Santa's Village
    How about a little snow and a whole lot of Santa on Thanksgiving Day? If your kids think they're on to that guy at the mall, blow their minds at Lake Arrowhead's Christmas theme park.

    Photo courtesy of SkyPark at Santas Village

  10. The Queen Mary
    Why not make the day memorable by exploring Long Beach's historic ship? The Christmastime event doesn't start until Black Friday, but the ship is worth a visit any day.
  11. Disneyland
    What could be more fun than avoiding football and hanging out with Mickey, Minnie, and all their friends at the happiest place on earth?
  12. Universal Studios
    The kids will surely tell you all about what they're thankful for if you take them to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter—especially just in time for another season of holiday lights in the skies over the Castle.
  13. Knott's Berry Farm
    Sure, Knott's is known for chicken, not turkey, but what difference does it make if you're grabbing a bite between roller coaster rides?
  14. Six Flags Magic Mountain
    If you have teens, there's a good chance they'll prefer Riddler's Revenge to a boring turkey dinner. 
  15. Go sand sledding!
    Make a big impression on those visiting relatives with the ultimate SoCal winter activity—though if Grandma and Grandpa have something quieter in mind, we know lots of great family-friendly hikes, too. 

Finally, wishing all of our readers a wonderful holiday!

LA Zoo
5333 Zoo Drive
90027 Los Angeles , CA 34° 7' 19.398" N, 118° 17' 36.9204" W
Santa Barbara Zoo
500 Ninos Dr.
93103 Santa Barbara , CA 34° 25' 10.236" N, 119° 40' 4.8648" W
Queen Mary
1126 Queens Hwy.
90802 Long Beach , CA 33° 45' 10.2348" N, 118° 11' 22.92" W
Pacific Park
200 Santa Monica Pier
90401 Santa Monica , CA 34° 0' 35.8344" N, 118° 29' 47.436" W
Aquarium of the Pacific
100 Aquarium Way
90802 Long Beach , CA 33° 45' 55.6236" N, 118° 11' 52.7568" W
Descanso Gardens
1418 Descanso Dr.
91011 La Cañada Flintridge , CA 34° 12' 24.5448" N, 118° 12' 0.1008" W
Lake Balboa
6300 Balboa Blvd.
91316 Encino , CA 34° 11' 7.3356" N, 118° 30' 7.6572" W
The Arboretum
301 North Baldwin Avenue
91007 Arcadia , CA 34° 8' 41.4636" N, 118° 3' 2.844" W
Universal Studios Hollywood
100 Universal City Plaza
91608 Universal City , CA 34° 8' 11.544" N, 118° 21' 6.0516" W
The New Beverly Cinema
7165 Beverly Blvd
90036 Los Angeles , CA 34° 4' 35.1588" N, 118° 20' 44.7432" W
1313 Disneyland Drive
92802 Anaheim , CA 33° 48' 55.4256" N, 117° 55' 35.0364" W
Knott's Berry Farm
8039 Beach Blvd
90620 Buena Park , CA 33° 50' 39.7104" N, 118° 0' 7.1208" W
Six Flags Magic Mountain
26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy
91355 Valencia , CA 34° 25' 30.8172" N, 118° 35' 48.9804" W
South Coast Botanic Garden
26300 Crenshaw Blvd
90274 Palos Verde Peninsula , CA 33° 46' 59.4408" N, 118° 20' 55.8708" W
Skypark at Santa's village
28950 CA-18
92385 Skyforest , CA 34° 13' 58.4292" N, 117° 10' 9.8256" W