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!
Audrey Marie says
Being from Upstate NY, the idea of going to the beach on Christmas is so foreign to me! I love my snow on Christmas. Big Bear is gorgeous though, I would love to go back one day.
Leeann @ Join the Gossip says
I love the Crystal Cove Christmas tree on the beach. Last year was my first visit but planning to go back this weekend!
Looks like so much fun!
Sami | The Classic Brunette says
I’ve never been to Winterfest even though I’m in the OC area! That would be so fun. My favorite winter activity is actually cozying up by my fireplace and watching Christmas movies!
The Classic Brunette
Nicole Green says
I bet the amusement parks are so fun this time of the year! The pictures of all the lights always look gorgeous. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!
Sarah Caperton says
Disneyland during the holidays is so much fun. Mayeven head to the beach while my daughter and I are on break from school. She would love to play in the snow!!
I haven’t been to Big Bear in forever!! Love all your holiday things to do in SoCal! Most definitely applies to NorCal as well.
Tiffany Khyla says
I live in Louisiana, and I hate being cold, so I definitely prefer a warmer Christmas. That’s great that there are so many ways to get into the Christmas spirit in southern CA! I would love to do Christmas at Harry Potter Land. Yes, please!
Disneyland looks stunning at Christmas!! I have only been to California once and it was many years ago- I’d love to go back and see it as an adult!
I’ve been dying to get to southern California. It’s been years since I’ve visited!
Lauryn Hock says
This is such a great list! I am from So Cal as well and totally agree
Cameron - Diary of a Southern Millennial says
Everything looks like so much fun! Big Bear looks beautiful!
shannon fowler says
I love looking at christmas decorations. It doesn’t really have to be any specific place.
I can’t wait for some kinda of snow…. January is usually the time for SoCal! Til then I’ll enjoy these cooler temperatures and bundling up.
Oh I so wish I was in California! This giveaway and all of these photos are so fabulous and festive! Living through these photos!
xo, Taylor (www.tayloramead.com)
Looks beautiful. It’s sad, but I live fairly close and I have never attended.
Molli Vandehey-Taylor says
i love tubing! so much fun!
Amy S says
This would be awesome,who doesn’t love snow and Christmas lights. Merry Christmas.
cassandra d says
Sledding and snowballs in Big Bear. Making snickerdoodles.
I haven’t been to SoCal since I was probably around 10! Definitely need to get back there soon.
xx, Danielle | http://www.pineappleandprosecco.com
DeAndrea M. says
I have always wanted to go to Disneyland after going to Disney World so often. I hope to make it to the West Coast soon.
Lisa Kerr says
My favorite Winter activity is staying in bed all day and watching movies;)
Jacqueline K says
My favorite winter activity is being with family, opening presents and celebrating Christmas!
Soha Molina says
I like sledding.
elizabeth mclaughlin says
Looks like a lot of fun!
Angel Waddle says
My favorite winter activity is playing in the snow
nicholle demag says
I’ve always wanted to go to Disney around the holidays- it looks so magical!
McKenna Bleu says
Spending the day at the beach sounds magical to me.
These ideas look like so much fun!!
Disneyland is so magical this time of year! I’ve always wanted to go to the beach regularly during the winter too! 😉
Omg so many of these things are on my bucket list! I need to make it out to SoCal!
Pinning this for later! I would love to go to Disney during the holidays.