Whether you prefer being around the table, serving up food, on skateboard or feet to the road, there are lots of ways to meet up with others and spend Thanksgiving alone, but together. Whether you want to justify a large meal by first getting in your steps for a good cause or shake it out later in the day, commune with people in groups indoors or outdoors, stand up or sit down, you can catch that sense of camaraderie and gratitude that often sums up the spirit of the day. 

YMCA Pittsburgh Turkey Trot

Join others to make a run for greater food security. Sponsored by UPMC, the YMCA food pantry program and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, the trot gives you three options: Run a mile, 3.1 or five. If you don’t want to pound the pavement, volunteer to make it a great experience for others. 

Where: North Shore
When:  1 Mile Family Fun Run — 8:00 a.m.; 5K (3.1 miles) — 8:30 a.m.; 5 Mile — 9:15 a.m.
Cost: Prices range from free up to $109.99 depending on age and race chosen

More info (run, volunteer) 

Sewickley Turkey Trot 

Running or walking, you can help the Sewickley YMCA’s Faith in Action program as you wind your way through the borough, a cultural landscape layered with history from Native Americans to the American Revolution, home to a number of famous modern day figures and a traditional nesting ground for Pittsburgh Penguins. Your 5K jaunt will begin and end at War Memorial Park.  

Where: War Memorial Park, 811 Blackburn Rd., Sewickley
When: 8:15 a.m. registration ends; 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. start times
Cost: Prices vary depending on age, from free to $35

More info 

Highland Park Turkey Trot

The Highland 1 reservoir in Highland Park. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)
The Highland 1 reservoir in Highland Park. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

If you join this trot, you can be among those who say they were part of the first cohort at this inaugural event hosted by the Highland Park Community Council. Run or walk around the reservoir — a 0.75 mile route. 

Where: Highland Park, up the stairs at the top of the reservoir just off of Highland Park Avenue
When: 10 a.m. (9:30 a.m. if you want to decorate a turkey headband)
Cost: Free

More info or hpccpgh@gmail.com

2023 Seubert Struttin’ Our Stuffin’ Turkey Trot

Loop around North Park Lake on this mostly flat, untimed, non-competitive 4.4 miler and help raise funds for Supportive Concepts, an organization helping people with mental illness, developmental disabilities and addiction in need of skills and resources for independent, healthy living. Registration opens on-site the day of the run. Remote runners can download the Strava app in advance. 

Where: North Park Boathouse, 10301 Pearce Mill Rd., Allison Park
When: 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.; race starts at 9 a.m. 
Cost: $15 for children, $25 for adults 

More info

Graham Park Thanksgiving Day Classic 

Every sports team needs community support. Show you care when you choose this morning run or walk event to boost the Seneca Valley Cross Country Boosters. Flat and fast is how they describe this USATF certified 5k course. This is a rain or shine event. 

Where: 260 Graham Park Dr., Cranberry
When: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.  
Cost: $40

More info

Thanksgiving Morning Skate

Swissvale’s inclusive 12,000-square-foot indoor skate park offers a different way to spend the day. Dust off your board or learn a new skill in the company of up to 11 others at this cozy holiday skate session.  Skateboards, roller skates or blades are welcome. Enjoy the in-park cafe with Vienna sweets and coffee or peruse the skate shop. Rentals by the hour are available. Tickets can be purchased in advance online or walk-in, but spots may go quickly. 

Where: Switch & Signal Skate Park, 7518 Dickson St., Swissvale
When: 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Cost: $12 

More info 

The UPMC Rink at PPG Place

Who needs Rockefeller Center? Meet some new friends on this bigger and better downtown Pittsburgh ice. This holiday rink will be open and you can get tickets online or through in-person walkup for both one-hour and 45-minute sessions. Skate rental and sharpening available on site. 

Where: PPG Place, Downtown
When: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Cost: $10 to $12, based on age and other factors; $5 to $6 for skate rental

More info 

Highland Park Zumba

Try a Turkey Burner class Thursday morning. Zumba is a Latin-inspired aerobic dance workout that is all about fun, and busting your moves at this public venue is a community experience. Dress for the weather. 

Where: Highland Park Entry Garden and Fountain
When: 10 a.m.
Cost: Donation-based — pay what your heart desires

More info 

Gobble til you Wobble

Complete a virtual 5K, 10K or half marathon and 15% of your registration fee will support Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization. Pick a trail, treadmill, track, race or road. Then get creative and run, jog or walk at your own pace and in your own time. Grab a friend or make one of a stranger on the way. And you get a medal. Shipped directly to you in the mail, no less.  

Where: Anywhere 
When: You pick 
Cost: $21

More info 

Thanksgiving Day Virtual MS Run

The National MS Society is raising $30,000 and you can help by participating in this virtual morning 5k and 1-miler designed by you. Download their donor app and run along with those on real ground in Wilmington, Del., all while you gather support to help end multiple sclerosis, a debilitating disease. Advanced registration is recommended to leave time to familiarize yourself with the app and make the most of this virtual community experience that spans the nation. Fun gift incentives are built into the experience. 

Where: Anywhere
When: Anytime starting 12 a.m. on Thanksgiving
Cost: The app is free to download

More info

Humane Animal Rescue of Pittsburgh

Take an animal out of a shelter for a few days to give it a break over your holiday and keep each other company! Registration is online and easy. The Rescue also has a handful of volunteer opportunities in their facilities that do not involve handling animals. 

Where: Homewood West and Chateau in Pittsburgh; also Verona 
When: TBD and coordinated with HARP
Cost: Varies based on food and other supplies needed for the animal’s care, which the fostering individual is expected to cover

More Info:  (foster, volunteer

Mt. Lebanon eat in and takeout Thanksgiving Dinner

If you’d like to eat dinner with others or help to feed them, you will be welcomed at Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church, serving via delivery, takeout or sit-down dinner. 

Where: Mt. Lebanon United Methodist Church. 3319 W. Liberty Ave. 
When: Providing deliveries from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Eat-in and takeout from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Free

More info. Volunteers call: 412-531-7131 

TransGiving Pittsburgh

Trans YOUniting’s sixth annual TransGiving is offering a meal to anyone who wants one, no questions asked, no judgment. Bring yourself to this newly opened, inclusive space for a sit-down dinner or take one away, and/or volunteer to make it a positive experience for all who pass through their doors. Forms for volunteers and diners should be filled out in advance via the link below. 

Where: QMNTY Center, 525 East Ohio St., Pittsburgh
When: Pick up and delivery meals 1 to 8 p.m.; sit down and eat 2 to 6 p.m.; volunteers needed 12 to 8 p.m. 
Cost:  Free

More info

Jubilee Kitchen

Jubilee serves the Pittsburgh community through a soup kitchen 365 days a year. Volunteers can help nourish others on Thanksgiving Day through meal preparation, serving guests, cleaning up and washing dishes. Find out what is needed. 

Where: 2005 Wyandotte St., Pittsburgh 
When: 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 
Cost: Free

More info

Get Stuffed with Love Thanksgiving Project

This is meal packaging headquarters for the distribution of over 3,500 meals to those in need in Pittsburgh. Join Rotary Club members and the parishioners of Holy Assumption of St. Mary Orthodox Church to cook and assemble food for delivery by Pittsburgh Police officers on this holiday. 

Where: Holy Assumption of St. Mary Orthodox Church, 105 South 19th St., Pittsburgh
When: 5 a.m. to completion
Cost: Free

More info. Phone: 412-431-6428

Ma & Pop’s Country Kitchen

There are no gimmicks here, just a desire to make family of community. These restaurant owners are welcoming anyone who might be alone on Thanksgiving or might not be able to provide a warm meal for their children. You can also volunteer to help provide the meal to others. If you plan to commune around the table, make a reservation. 

Where: 2840 South Park Rd., Bethel Park 
When: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; serving in the diner 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; pickup and delivery 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Free, but you can donate a dessert

More info. To reserve a place at the table: 412-595-8451, press 2, leave a message with your number and they will call you back. For volunteering or questions, call 412-670-1212. 

Light of Life Ministries 

A tent set up to provide daytime shelter for homeless people, at the Light of Life Rescue Mission, in the Central North Side. (Photo courtesy of Doug Smith, Light of Life)
A tent set up to provide daytime shelter for homeless people, at the Light of Life Rescue Mission, in the Central North Side. (Photo courtesy of Doug Smith, Light of Life)

Light of Life Ministries serves those impacted by poverty, addiction and homelessness and works to distribute meals on the holidays. If you’d like to help package and deliver as a volunteer, sign up online. 

Where: 234 Voeghtly St., Pittsburgh
When: 3:45 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Free 

Sign-up portal, email volunteer@lightoflife.org or call 412-258-6128

Be Healthy and Smart Initiative Thanksgiving Day Brunch

Eat or volunteer at this non-traditional, home-cooked brunch event  promising warmth, kindness and togetherness, hosted by the Statewide Regional Black Equity Coalition Ambassadors. There’s no carry-out option, but meals can be delivered to seniors and disabled individuals within a two-mile radius. 

Where: Sixth Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 6556 Shetland St., Pittsburgh
When: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: Free

More info. Email rrr@3reds.org or 724.315.7710

412 Food Rescue 

By some estimates, 305 million pounds of food are wasted on Thanksgiving Day. Download the 412 App and help retrieve and deliver food in your community so those in need can put it to use. Spend your day doing good and meet proprietors and neighbors along the way. 

Where: Anytime 
When: Allegheny County and anywhere in their six-county network
Cost: Free

More info

Thanksgiving Jazz from the Alex Peck Trio — Jazz at Eddie V’s

Grab a drink at the bar or get a table nearby. Talk to a stranger between sets. Alex Peck leads his trio in live jazz at this food and drink venue.

Where: 501 Grant St., Pittsburgh
When: 5 to 8 p.m.
Cost: Your drinks and/or food at your table

More info 

Christine Graziano is a writer and can be reached at studio.cgm@gmail.com.

This story was fact-checked by Tanya Babbar. 

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