Winter has come to Southern California at last! The temperature has plunged down to the frosty mid-60s, and Angelenos everywhere are putting on an extra sweater or a light jacket. (To be fair, it can get down to the 40s and even the 30s at night… but also to be fair, that’s the seasonal high in many other parts of the country.)
A Los Angeles winter means more than just the opportunity to wear closed-toe shoes; it also means the chance to enjoy some outdoor fun that’s only available for one season a year. (Yes, such is the case everywhere that experiences seasons, but pointing that out doesn’t make it not true here.) Forget the summertime strolls or the apple bobbing of autumn; it’s time to dive into the Winter Wonderland of Los Angeles! Or whatever, here’s a list of fun things to do around LA this winter. Enjoy.
Every winter, historic Pershing Square, located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles, features a lovely ice skating rink that’s fun for the whole family, a great spot to take a date, or a sorely misguided destination for a stag party! Each session lasts for an hour, and the rink is open from mid-morning until 9:30 PM on weeknights, and until 11 PM on Friday and Saturday. Skates are $4 to rent and an hour-long session costs just $9 per person, making this an affordable way to while away some winter hours. The Holiday Ice Rink in Pershing Square is open until January 18th.
Who knew that pure, unbridled snowy fun was available less than 80 miles from the heart of Los Angeles? Lots and lots of people, that’s who. At least now you can join their ranks. The Snow Drift Snow Tubing Park is located about an hour’s drive from LA. tucked away among the pines of the San Bernardino National Forest. Or, more accurately, it’s spread across a long, steep hill. The premise here is simple: sliding at a high rate of speed down a slippery, snowy hill atop a rubber tube is fun. And for $15, you can complete as many runs as you want down the slippery, snowy hills at the Tubing Park. Just be ready to have sore legs from the uphill climbing.
Every night during the month of December (and in fact for the last few nights of November and the first few nights of January) the Los Angeles Zoo comes alive with more than just a horde of wild beasts… it comes alive with lights! The LA Zoo Lights is, in the events’ own words, the ” brightest holiday tradition” in the city. A certain portion of the zoo has been “transformed into a fantastical wonderland populated by glowing light animals” and dazzling installations that will thrill visitors of all ages, provided that have not been utterly crippled by their own cynicism and bitterness. Tickets cost about $15 each (a bit less on weekdays; a bit more on weekends) and even kids as young as 2 need a ticket to enter, but this annual display of luminous artistry is well worth a visit.
Did you know that there’s an actual honest-to-goodness mountain ski resort less than an hour and a half’s drive from LA? You knew that also? Well… OK, but I’m still going to talk about it. The spot is called Mountain High, and what it lacks in creativity of name it makes up for in convenience. With more than a dozen lifts, some 1,600 feet of vertical rise (and a top elevation of around 8,200 feet on the East Mountain Peak), and more than 500 acres of total terrain, convenient ol’ Mountain High offers a genuine opportunity for quality skiing (or snowboarding) even when you only have a half day free. Or just call in sick and make a day of it, but make sure not to injure yourself (while flying off a jump like that one time, Ryan) while playing hooky.