Los Angeles isn’t known for its bone-chilling winter weather, and if you’re looking for fresh powder so you can hit the slopes, you’re not going to find it in LA. That doesn’t mean the city of angels isn’t a solid choice for the winter months.
In fact, Los Angeles offers something very special that you won’t find in any other location. Weather ripe for blue jeans and light sweaters, serious holiday fanfare, world-class shopping, and a whole lot more. Keep reading to learn more about which hot spots you must check out this winter in Los Angeles.
Experience winter in Los Angeles
1. The Grove
The Grove is an outdoor shopping mall on a monster scale, with shops ranging from a marquis Apple store, to a fashion lover’s paradise in Diane Von Furstenberg, Nordstrom, and more cost-effective options like Zara. The grove offers more than just great holiday gifts though, as every square inch of the place is decorated to the hilt for the holidays.
Stop in and feel like you’ve been transported to a winter wonderland inside of LA proper – without the snow, of course.
Where: 189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA
Outdoor ice skating isn’t something most people associate with a city that often has 80-degree temperatures on Thanksgiving. That’s exactly what you’ll find in locations from downtown’s Pershing Square, to spots in San Fernando Valley locations like Woodland Hills though.
Come early when the ice is good, or later in the evening when the temperatures have dropped for the best skating, and don’t worry if you forgot your jacket—it’s still Los Angeles.
When: Dec to Jan
Where: Multiple locations
Known for beautiful landscapes pretty much all year round, Descanso Gardens gets even more beautiful when Forest of Light takes over. With wonderful holiday decorations in an already spectacular place, you’ll wonder why anyone spends time in any other city around the holidays.
When: Dec to Jan 7
Where: 1418 Descanso Dr, La Cañada Flintridge, CA
Big Bear isn’t technically part of Los Angeles, but just a two to three-hour drive away, you’ll find a true winter haven where you can actually ski, snowboard, tube, and play in the snow. Lodging is also relatively affordable compared to places like Vail and Aspen, and driving is often a possibility without snow chains.
Check the weather report before you go if you’re trying to avoid a storm, or if you’re trying to locate one so you’ve got the best possible weather for skiing and snowboarding.
Where: 43101 Goldmine Dr, Big Bear Lake, CA
5. Hike LA
LA isn’t known for its snow sports, which is what most people associate with winter. That doesn’t mean you can’t get some exercise and take in some seriously beautiful scenery. With some of the best hiking in the world, LA is no slouch for the outdoorsman or outdoorswoman in you.
With simple, quick hikes like Runyon Canyon, to multi-day jaunts in the Santa Monica mountains, there’s a little something for everyone, even if there is no snow falling from the sky.
Where: Multiple locations throughout LA
Once the mercury drops below a chilly 80, the fireplaces all over LA alight for the first time. In the bars, this can make for a wonderful backdrop to a refreshing winter cocktail made by one of LA’s many alcohol enthusiasts.
Spots like the Raymond, The Gold Rush at the Culver Hotel, and playful, whimsical locations like The Roost in Los Feliz all serve up drinks with a touch of fire this time of year.
Where: All over Los Angeles
Every year the Golden Dragon Parade marches through Chinatown in Los Angeles, and every year, it’s an even more wonderful spectacle than the last. Enjoy the parade and stop in one of the dozens of mind-blowing restaurants offering everything from Chinese barbecue to world-class New Year’s dim-sum offerings.
Where: Chinatown Gateway, between Broadway and Cesar Chavez Ave
Los Angeles may not be blanketed with snow on Christmas, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an exceptional place to spend a winter. Hit all of these locations, and you’ll be having a very merry holiday, no matter what you celebrate.