5 fun ways to burn off Thanksgiving calories around Los Angeles

Skaters take to the ice at an outdoor rink beneath office towers in downtown Los Angeles, on November 21, 2011. Will you join them this year?
Skaters take to the ice at an outdoor rink beneath office towers in downtown Los Angeles, on November 21, 2011. Will you join them this year?

Racing to avoid the stampedes during Black Friday would be a sure way to slim down after any Thanksgiving feast. But not everyone wants to brave the shopping malls. If you're feeling more stuffed than Thursday's turkey, or tofurkey, here are five ways to get active in Los Angeles this weekend.

1. Hike hidden parts of Los Angeles.

The state's largest StairMaster may be in your neighborhood. In the 1920s, before the city was so dependent on cars, city planners built staircases in steep hillside communities so pedestrians had easy access to public transit. Turns out, these hidden steps dot more than 40 L.A.-area hillsides. Work those quads and see a different side of the town you thought you knew so well.

Secret Stairs L.A. has a guide book dedicated to the staircases; read more and locate maps here and here. This daring blogger has conquered all 42 walks in the book – take a look for inspiration.

RELATED: Black Friday: 7 alternative things to do besides shopping in Los Angeles

2. Brush up on your best dance moves.

Don't have a favorite dancing spot? Try the Funky Sole at The Echo. It is exactly what it sounds like: a funk music dance party. Every Saturday, the intimate Echo Park venue lowers its disco ball and invites DJs to spin infectious, bass-and brass-heavy tracks until the early a.m. Leave your cares and calories on the dance floor as Funky Sole nears the end of its 11th year.

Where: The Echo, 1822 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
When: Saturdays, 10 p.m. - 2 a.m.
Admission: Ages 21 and over. Free before 11 p.m., $5 entrance fee after.
Event Page

 Get a taste of the event:

If funk isn't your scene, take your moves to a street and salsa dance in Santa Monica. Every Sunday, Salsa Familia invites anyone and everyone to do some hip-swinging at the Third Street Promenade.

Where: 3rd Street, Santa Monica, CA, between Wilshire Blvd. and Arizona
When: Sundays, 4 p.m. - 9 p.m.
More info: Completely free; all levels welcome. Visit their event page to see where exactly they'll be each week.

3. Lace up and skate ... on ice.

Holiday ice skating rinks are opening around the area. In the San Fernando Valley, the only open-air ice rink is open for business. And if you have to go to a mall, you can skate on more than 7,000 square feet of real ice at the Westfield Promenade in Woodland Hills. On Black Friday, the rink will offer free admission from 6:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m., and free skate rentals from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Where: Westfield Promenade, 6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA
When: Open through Jan. 27
Hours and admission vary; more information here.

Woodland Hills might be too far, so here's a map with other open-air ice rink locations. Click on the place marks for more information:

View Southern California Open-Air Ice Rinks in a larger map

4. Thanksgiving is so yesterday; channel Christmas.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, nothing stands in between you and the winter holidays.

Get into the spirit by walking through a winter wonderland as Old Town Pasadena transforms for Christmas. The city will decorate Holly Street with 20 tons of snow and real reindeer. Plus, a variety of choral groups and sing-alongs will keep the mood cheery all through the celebration. Stroll to the One Colorado Courtyard to catch a Christmas tree lighting as Santa arrives.

Where: 21 E. Holly Street, Pasadena, CA
When: Friday, Nov. 23, 4:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Admission: Free
Event Page 

The Mission Inn's Festival of Lights in Riverside will keep your holiday season aglow. On Friday, they kick off their light display with fireworks and live entertainment. With over 3.6 million lights at the hotel, you'll have to move around aplenty to see them all.

Where: The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, 3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA
When: Opening ceremony on Friday, Nov. 23, 9:00 a.m. Display up through Jan. 5.
Event Page

You can also visit a 65-foot Christmas tree at Knott's Merry Farm, or string up lights as a volunteer at Altadena's famed Christmas Tree Lane and help brighten the 10,000 light spectacle.

5. Learn on your feet.

Discover Van Nuys' past as your Thanksgiving gut becomes history with the Museum of the San Fernando Valley's Historic "Walk it Off" Walking Tour. See the elementary school that Marilyn Monroe attended, an air raid siren and more as you walk through the suburb known as "The Town That Started Right."

Where: Van Nuys City Hall, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys, CA
When: Sat, Nov. 24, 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Admission: $10 donation suggested. RSVP at (818) 347-9665 or email events@TheMuseumSFV.org.
Event Page