Top 5 Things to Do in L.A. This Week

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro, used under a Creative Commons license

This week's roundup comes with an asterisk, because the top thing to do this week is almost certainly to spend Thanksgiving with your loved ones, eat entirely too much food, fall asleep on the couch and then wake up to make a turkey sandwich. That said, there's plenty more to do, including burning off some calories before the big meal, helping the homeless, touring the tastes of downtown L.A. by bike, catching a movie while chowing on leftovers, and, of course, getting ready for Christmas.

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Turkey (and Tofurky) Trots in downtown L.A., Long Beach and Pasadena | L.A. details | Long Beach details | Pasadena details
Before tucking into turkey and all the trimmings, perhaps you'd like to pre-emptively burn some calories. Maybe you want to work up an appetite. Or maybe you just want to get out of the house to avoid being roped into helping with dinner. Either way, a quick 5k or 10k run through scenic downtown Los Angeles, along the shore in Long Beach or around the Rose Bowl in Pasadena should do the trick. All levels of physical fitness are welcome, costumes are encouraged, and prizes and goodies will be handed out.

Gobble Gobble Give at the Echo and the Raven Spa | Echo details | Raven details
The holiday season presents lots of great opportunities to give back to the community and to help those less fortunate, and this pair of potluck dinners benefitting the homeless is but one example. Participants are asked to bring Thanksgiving dishes as well as cold-weather clothes, toiletries and other goods in for donation, and everything is assembled into care packages and taken directly to those in need. Volunteer opportunities abound.

Thanksgiving Leftovers Potluck and 'Heaven's Gate' screening at Cinefamily | Event details
It's part potluck, part movie matinee as the Cinefamily encourages folks to clear their fridges, share the bounty of their Thanksgiving leftovers, sit back and tune into a new three-and-a-half-hour digital restoration of Michael Cimino's epic Western "Heaven's Gate." Though Cimino's follow-up to "The Deer Hunter" was widely panned on its initial release in 1980, the passage of time and expanded edits have improved the reputation of the film, which stars Kris Kristofferson as a U.S. marshal caught up in a dispute between land barons and immigrant farmers in Wyoming.

Tour de Taste and Beer Garden at L.A. State Historic Park | Event details
Still hungry? The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition and Southern California CycloCross have you covered with this tasting tour of downtown L.A. -- though you'll have to pedal for your supper. The daylong event starts at Los Angeles State Historic Park with cyclocross races and clinics, and continues with bike expeditions to nearby dining establishments such as Badmaash, Blossom, Localita & the Badasserie, Tony's, and Big Man Bakes, where sweet and savory tastes await. Did we mention there's also a beer garden? Ride safely!

Hollywood Christmas Parade | Event details
The passing of Thanksgiving marks the exact moment when Christmas season kicks into high gear, as Black Friday sales attract hordes of shoppers, lights and tinsel spring up like weeds, and holiday songs take over the airwaves. Hollywood wastes no time getting into the spirit, and this weekend hosts its 82nd annual Christmas Parade. The event kicks off with a concert featuring Stevie Wonder, LeAnn Rimes, Kenny Loggins and more, after which a procession of bands, equestrian groups, giant balloons and other special guests will trace a horseshoe-shaped route from in front of the Chinese Theatre to the intersection of Sunset Blvd. and Orange Drive. In case you miss it -- or want to see yourself on the tube -- the parade will be broadcast on TV throughout the holiday season.

For more options this week and every week, go to kcet.org/events.

About the Author

Oliver Gettell is a writer and editor based in Los Angeles.
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