Turkeys and Charity and Pie, Oh My: Nine Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving in Downtown

Work up an appetite with a 5K or 10K run at this year's Turkey Trot. The Thanksgiving morning event starts at Los Angeles City Hall.

Thanksgiving has its staples: turkey, pumpkin pie, professional football, and marathons of “The Twilight Zone.” The first two parts usually involve long hours in the kitchen cooking and assembling the meal. If that’s not in the cards for Thursday, Nov. 28, there are plenty of spaces in Downtown Los Angeles that will be open for Angelenos, offering special menus and activities for Thursday. 

Here are nine dining and meal specials, plus ways to give back or have fun for the holiday around Downtown Los Angeles, if you’re having trouble making plans. Do note that many places will fill up, so get those reservations in early.

Lend a Hand: Thanksgiving is a time to eat, but also a great time to help those less fortunate. The Midnight Mission in Skid Row is hosting its annual Thanksgiving brunch for homeless individuals from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Volunteers will feed more than 2,500 people over the course of the event. There will also be live entertainment from musicians, including the Urban Voices Project. The mission is still accepting volunteers and donations for the brunch. Note: Consider volunteering at the mission year-round.

At 601 S. San Pedro St. or midnightmission.org.

Trot It Off: Thanksgiving is full of traditions, from giving thanks to eating pumpkin or sweet potato pie. In Downtown, another tradition is the annual Turkey Trot. Back for its seventh year, the Thanksgiving morning race offers both 5K and 10K routes, starting and ending at City Hall. Don’t be alarmed if you happen to see people dressed as pilgrims running through Bunker Hill. There’s also a children’s run in nearby Grand Park. The event starts at 6:45 a.m. and registration starts at $20. Proceeds benefit the Midnight Mission, and includes a T-shirt. It’s also a good way to work up an appetite for a meal later.

At 200 N. Spring St. or turkeytrot.la.

Turkey Fries: Another way to give back on Skid Row is at the Union Rescue Mission. The shelter has enough volunteers for its annual Thanksgiving Day event, but it is looking for volunteers to help with its annual turkey fry. Volunteers will help prepare the food and get everything set up for homeless individuals to enjoy a hot holiday meal. Both activities are being held on Friday, Nov. 22 ahead of the holiday. Note: Similar to the Midnight Mission, consider helping out year-round.

At 545 S. San Pedro St. or unionrescuemission.org.

Get Nomadic: The Financial District’s NoMad Los Angeles hotel is already known for its restaurant, including a famed roast chicken for two, and on Nov. 28 it’s offering a special prix-fix menu that includes modern New American twists on classics. Diners can enjoy French onion soup to start, following by roast turkey or braised short rib. A white truffle dish follows after, with dessert including a choice of apple or pumpkin pie, or sorbet. Dinner is $75 per person.

At 649 S. Olive St. or thenomadhotel.com.

Filets, Fish and Turkey: Further north on Bunker Hill, Nick and Stef’s Steakhouse is staying open for Thanksgiving Day. Instead of a prix-fix menu, the restaurant is mostly offering its usual options, including towers of seafood. There is a Thanksgiving dinner with cranberry compote, chestnut stuffing and other trimmings for $55. It’s still a steakhouse though, so if red meat is what you’re craving, there are filets and full porterhouses available for $45-$72.

At 330 S. Hope St. or patinagroup.com.

Classic Fare: A reliable Downtown stalwart is the Original Pantry Café. The long-running, and never-closing, 24/7 diner is once again offering a Thanksgiving special on Nov. 28. Expect a place with a hefty portion of turkey, stuffing and potatoes, with all of the fixings as well. Former Mayor Richard Riordan’s restaurant tends not to skimp on portions. The cost this year isn’t out yet, but in the past it’s been below $20. There will also be slices of pie available. Don’t forget your cash though, as no credit cards are allowed.

At 877 S. Figueroa St. or pantrycafe.com.

Coffee and Pie and Burgers: Cassell’s Downtown location has been a reliable source for diner-style breakfast and hearty hamburgers, but it’s also got a special Thanksgiving menu. Cassell’s will be serving up roasted turkey with balsamic-glazed Brussels sprouts and butternut squash, with plates going for $19. The space is also offering a special menu of holiday pies throughout the season, so you can grab a slice or take home a whole pumpkin, pecan or cranberry pomegranate pie.

At 421 W. Eighth St. or cassellshamburgers.com.

A Taste of Paris: For a twist on the classic turkey dinner, head over to Spring Street’s Le Petit Paris. The French-themed restaurant is hosting a Thanksgiving feast from 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m., with pork-stuffed turkey medallions, scallops and crab cakes, and a sweet potato-based sweet-and-salty s’more appetizer. For those who do not partake in animal products, there are vegan options for both the appetizers and entrees. Desserts include pumpkin choux, plus a vegan berry pie. Dinner is $65 per person. Kids under 10 can get in for $25.

At 418 S. Spring St. or lepetitiparisla.com.

Take It Home: If you don’t want to go out for Thanksgiving, there are some options available to make home cooking easier. Whole Foods is offering a variety of meal packages for people to reserve. On the larger end, there’s a whole turkey and roast ham dinner for 12 that goes for $279 and includes two pies, stuffing, mashed potatoes and much more. On the lighter side of things, there’s a turkey dinner for four for $80, prime rib for eight at $230, and also sides sold individually. Packages can be ordered online or in-store.

At 788 S. Grand Ave. or

holiday.wholefoodsmarket.com.

nslayton@timespublications.com.