Thriller dance, party mark Jackson's birthday
One of the more notable gatherings was at Prospect Park in Brooklyn, for a party hosted by filmmaker Spike Lee.
As DJs spun some of Jackson's hits, thousands enjoyed the tunes while dressed in Jackson-type costumes, sporting the singer's trademark white gloves.
"I was just like everyone else. I loved his talent," said Lee, who directed two music videos for Jackson in 1996.
He is expected to be buried Sept. 3 at private ceremony in a Los Angeles cemetery.
A police investigation is still ongoing into the singer's death.
Brooklyn's borough president Marty Markowitz designated Saturday, Michael "King of Pop" Jackson Memorial Day.
Many braved the cool, rainy weather to pay tribute to their favourite performer.
"It could be thundering, I don't care," said Edna Robles. "I watched him through the years and I think he's the best. I love him."
12,937 do Thriller routine
Further south, in Mexico, thousands gathered in front of Mexico City's Monument of the Revolution to participate in a giant Thriller dance, led by a Jackson impersonator.
Organizers say 12,937 moved to the music, breaking the world record for most people doing the Thriller dance — something the Guinness World Records book could confirm in a week.
"We did it," organizer Javier Hildago yelled to the crowd, kitted out in black fedoras, white gloves, sunglasses and zombie face paint, after they recreated the 1983 video.
"Mexico gave the best tribute in the world to Michael Jackson," declared impersonator Hector Jackson.
The current record was set in May by 242 College of William & Mary students who performed the routine in Williamsburg, Va., according to Guinness World Records.
Austrian art show
At a more subdued celebration for the King of Pop Saturday, some 30 young Austrian artists unveiled their works exploring the many facets of the music star.
Running until Sept. 19 at Vienna's Jennyfair gallery, the exhibit includes mixed-media works, video and paintings that touch upon Jackson's music and some of the scandals that marked his life.
Organizers say the art pieces are part of their buildup to a Sept. 26 tribute concert in the Austrian capital, to be staged in front of an 17th century palace.
Jackson's brother Jermaine is expected to announce a star-studded lineup of performers soon.
With files from The Associated Press