People will argue that L.A. doesn’t really have a winter, and while we may still be hanging out in short sleeves in mid-November it doesn’t mean the city hasn’t already fully embraced the (slightly) chillier months with a flurry of twinkling holiday lights, hot cocoa and winter activities. Of course, we don’t really get a natural sprinkling of snow in the main city, but nothing is stopping you from getting your fix of icy fun in the mountains or a magical holiday experience.
So whether you’re looking to make snow angels or you’re just hoping for a mix of exciting things to get you in the seasonal spirit, here’s a list of must-do experiences in and around L.A.
Stanger Things: The Experience is probably the least expected, but the most genius place to hide in for the winter. In this mind-bending recreation of Hawkins, the cult Netflix series is bought to life with a thrilling, interactive storyline that makes you forget all about the cold—besides, dodging the Demagorgan can work up a sweat. You can wait out rainy days playing 80s arcade games, taking part in mysterious experiments or indulging in nostalgic food and drinks like Scoops Ahoy! Get your tickets to the uʍop ǝpᴉsdn where winter doesn’t exist.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is experiencing an unusual mid-winter bloom and it’s utterly breathtaking. Over the last few weeks pockets of wildflowers have been adding pops of color to the arid landscapes, thanks to much-needed rainfall last September. While it’s impossible to predict when and where this will happen there is a good chance of seeing it right now. Find out all about this rare floral display here.
Just a few miles away from Santa Barbara, nestled amongst the lush hills, you’ll find this stunning outdoor spa. However, if you’re willing to venture a little further you can reach a number of hot springs filled with sulphur which is known for its healing properties. Is there anything better than rewarding yourself with a free, hot soak after a long week? Find the full list here.
Every Thursday to Sunday through January 9, you can stroll through the lavender fields and olive groves draped with 1 million twinkling lights to enjoy festive food, ride in a horse-drawn carriage, toast S’mores, browse the Xmas Village with unique handmade goods and even pose for photos with Santa. Find out more here.
Contrary to popular opinion, Santa is actually a huge fan of the sunny West Coast. In fact, him and his elves have been bringing that North Pole magic to Lake Arrowhead for years. Adventurers of all ages will find an alpine adventure with gingerbread men, candy and seasonal decorations filling this festive village. Partake in workshops, find souvenirs, take hikes and so much more at Skywalk Santa’s Village. Find out everything you need to know about Santa’s Village here.
From surfing in the summer to skiing in the winter, SoCal really does have it all. While you may have to venture out to partake in this exhilarating sport, but the picturesque setting of skiing at Big Bear makes it well worth it. For the active romantics, you may even consider going for an enchanting night ski down the snow-covered slopes. So make sure you keep an eye on the weather and be ready to book yourself a wonderful winter weekend away.
Italy may be out of reach for some, but you can still go on a Venetian escape along the canals in Long Beach. During the holiday season, you can cruise under romantic bridges filled with festive lights and stunning surroundings. Find out more about the Long Beach lighting activities here.
9. Celebrate The Season With A Holiday Candlelight Concert At One Of L.A.’s Most Incredible Locations
Step out of the chilly winter nights and into the most exquisite spaces to experience the most treasured holiday classics. The beloved Candlelight series is bringing talented musicians to perform at venues, illuminated with hundreds of candles this season. Wrap yourself in seasonal nostalgia with awe-inspiring renditions of classics across genres. Find all of these special Christmas Candlelight editions here.
If you can’t get away this winter, fear not. The Fairmont Plaza is bringing the Alps to you with its après-ski winter dining pop-up on the iconic patio. You can indulge in all the seasonal tidings like cheese or chocolate raclette, decadent winter cocktails and a firepit where you can toast your s’mores. Once you step into your personal chalet decked out with cozy decor, you’ll immediately be transported to an alpine wonderland without actually dealing with the snow. Find out more about this epicurean experience here.