The great thing about living in Southern California in the winter is not having to shovel snow… or own a coat… or worry about frozen pipes. The bad part? Missing out on all the fun winter activities such as sledding, making snowballs, and enjoying a white Christmas! Hot chocolate just doesn’t have that same satisfying ‘warm-you-up-all-over’ feeling when it’s 75-degrees out and you’re wearing slip flops. Trust. Below is my list of 5 activities that you can do during the holiday and winter seasons in Southern California PLUS a giveaway to win a 4-pack of tickets to Winterfest OC ! Keep reading for details and entry form>>
1. Visit Big Bear
The easiest way for those of us who live in the Los Angeles-area to enjoy snow is to head up to Big Bear, Calif. for a weekend. We’ve booked cabins the past two years and have had a lot of fun playing in the snow (snowball fight!), walking around the shops at Bear Village and I even tried out skiing for the first time.
Unless we have a particularly rainy December, snowfall doesn’t hit until after the beginning of January so I recommend waiting until after the first snow to book anything or even head up there for a day. However; if you are a snow skiing or boarding aficionado, the slopes at both Bear Mountain and Snow Summit are now open and are churning out the faux snow for major shreddage.
2. Amusement Park Holiday Fun
There really is no place more magical than Holidays at the Disneyland Resort currently running now through Jan. 7th. Both parks are decked to the max (um, how adorable are those above tire wreaths at Cars Land??) and it truly is the best time to enjoy the parks. At Disneyland, the castle is absolutely STUNNING at night, with twinkling lights and decor, and although it may not be my most favorite ride, “It’s a Small World” is super cute and merry. I do always love riding Haunted Mansion Holiday, with it’s fun & festive Nightmare Before Christmas makeover. The characters are in cute Christmas costumes and the treats are on another level yummy!
This year, Disney’s California Adventure is hosting Festival of Holidays with festive entertainment a special seasonal edition of World of Color, and kiosks throughout serving up holiday foods and beverages (um, yes there is alcohol), many of which are inspired by different culinary cultures around the world.
Disney’s neighbor, Knott’s Berry Farm is transformed into Knott’s Merry Farm with a fun Christmas Crafts village (perfect for gift hunting!), Christmas carolers, beautiful decorations throughout (especially in Ghost Town!), a holiday ice show starring Snoopy and nightly snowfall in Ghost Town. When I visited a couple years ago, they had Santa’s Christmas Cabin where you could meet the main man himself, and indulge in yummy sweets and gourmet hot chocolate. Yes, please!
Universal Studios Hollywood is offering Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter now through Jan. 7th with lights, holiday decor and treats, along with Grinchmas, complete with the Grinch himself and the Who’s, through Dec. 31st.
You can also celebrate holiday magic, including world’s largest LEGO Christmas tree or pose with LEGO Santa and reindeer at Holidays at LEGOLAND now through Jan. 1st.
3. Spend the Day at the Beach
Um, where else can you spend Christmas (comfortably) on a beach? While most of the nation is bundled up in coats and boots, So Cal’ers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to spend this weekend, which will be in the balmy mid-70’s, at the beach! Chill out in the sun, walk the pier or hit up local eateries for some al fresco dining.
When we’re in a beach mood, we typically head down to Huntington Beach in the OC for sandy beach fun and to visit local restaurants and bars that are just steps away on Main street for some eats and drinks. This holiday weekend, you can even book a cruise around Huntington Harbour during Cruise of Lights to view Christmas lights on display at homes and boats.
4. Hunt for Christmas Lights
Since we’re already on the subject of Christmas lights, this weekend is perfect to hunker down in the car with a thermos of hot chocolate, blast the Christmas music and go on a drive through neighborhoods with the best Christmas lights. Word on the street is that the best of the best can be found off Thoroughbred St. in Rancho Cucamonga, Descanso Garden’s Enchanted: Forest of Lights, the Los Angeles Zoo, Griffith Park, Acacia Street in El Segundo, Christmas Tree Lane in Altadena, and if you’re in the Riverside area, the Mission Inn’s Festival of Lights is absolutely gorgeous and a must-see!
5. Winter Fun at Winterfest OC
Where can you find lights, snow, and ice skating in So Cal? Right in our backyards at Winterfest OC. Back for more winter fun, Winterfest OC opens today Dec. 21st and will run through Jan. 7th at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa. This year’s event will feature snow tubing (SO fun!), snow play area for the kids (and the kid in all of us), an ice skating rink, carnival rides and a light maze. I attended last year’s event and it was so much fun and definitely got us into the seasonal spirit. Visit WinterfestOC.com for tickets, OR enter below for your chance to win a 4-pack!