For students unable to make it home for the Thanksgiving holiday, say “no thanks” to spending it desperately hoping you can still smell last year’s turkey, stuffing, mash potatoes and pie. There are plenty of people thankful you too are staying back because now they have some good company to spend the holiday with.

The many options Los Angeles offers students are worth appreciating. So dig into some Turkey, and some great ideas, too.

Start by rallying up a Thanksgiving Crew by creating a Facebook group to find friends who aren’t able to make the trip back home to enjoy dinner with their folks. Propose some fun options and decide together whether a mellow night watching Netflix (highly advisable to order in advance) or some 24-hour bowling is more suitable.

Adventure is just around the corner at the Santa Monica Pier (200 Santa Monica Pier), where a Ferris wheel, carousel and roller coaster are all begging to be ridden – that is if you didn’t indulge in a large Thanksgiving feast first!

Speaking of Thanksgiving feasts, if you want to escape the normal tryptophan-filled Thanksgiving, grab your crew and head over to Maggiano’s Restaurant (189 The Grove Drive) to experience a unique twist on conventional Thanksgiving dinner. When you’re finished, you can check out the tallest Christmas tree standing in Los Angeles at 110-feet tall at the Grove along with dancing fountains and holiday music reminiscent of Main Streets across the country.

Vegans can unite because there’s a tryptophan-free option for you too at Rancho Park in West L.A., which is hosting the Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck Picnic ( Bring yourself and a dish that feeds eight to 10 and enjoy games, music and your own extended Vegan family. Setting up begins at 11 a.m. and a Circle of Thanks is at noon. At 12:10 p.m. let the feasting begin.

Other exciting options include making a trip out to Universal Studios, open until 6 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. And if Universal Studios isn’t your theme park of choice, you can always count on Mickey and Minnie at Disneyland to embrace you with a hug just in time for the warm holiday season.

It’s never too early to start embracing the season of giving, by grabbing some friends or choosing to go on your own to feed those less fortunate at a homeless shelter. Many groups are looking for volunteers including Food on Foot (

Perhaps you are part of the elite shopping royalty – that select group of people who can find amazing deals on just about anything. You are going to want to get to bed extra early as Black Friday starts up at around 5 a.m. for most stores. If you’re down for waiting on long lines, you can get a heads up on your shopping list at prices comfortable for any college student.

Who said Thanksgiving wasn’t a good time to throw a pre-Superbowl Party? Stuffed with football games all your buddies can enjoy together, if you prefer chips and salsa to Turkey, this may be the option for you.

Maybe you are saying thanks this Thanksgiving break for finally getting the time for that R&R you wished for ever since your midterms ended. Take a bubble bath and catch up on all that reading – unfortunately finals, whether you like it or not, are just around the corner.

No matter what or how you choose to celebrate, if you can’t go home, make sure to call home. Your family misses you just as much and wishes they could be spending the holiday with you, too. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to call up anyone you care about and remind them how thankful you are they are a part of your life, and how they make it that much sweeter.