A Los Angeles Winter: 10 Things to Do in and Around the City

Table of Contents

Explore the top 10 winter activities in Los Angeles, from skiing in Big Bear Lake to holiday lights at The Grove. Enjoy ice skating at Pershing Square, surfing in Santa Monica, and unique experiences like Malibu Wine Hikes. Don’t miss the annual Hollywood Christmas Parade and Universal Studios Hollywood’s Grinchmas. Sip and savor at the Los Angeles Uncorked Wine Festival for a memorable winter in Los Angeles.

LA Skyline with Snowcapped Mountains

When winter descends upon Los Angeles, the city and its neighboring areas come alive with a captivating array of activities and attractions. Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, there’s something for everyone to enjoy during the cooler months, from ice skating to wine tasting. Explore the top 10 experiences in and around Los Angeles in winter, optimized for a memorable adventure.

Women sipping wine at Saddlerock Ranch

Malibu Wine Hikes

Malibu Wine Hikes present a unique winter adventure, close to LA, that seamlessly blends nature and wine. Your journey begins with a 2-mile hike through the picturesque Saddlerock Ranch in the heart of Malibu. Along the way, you’ll not only enjoy breathtaking views of rolling vineyards and the Malibu Mountains but the excitement doesn’t stop with the hike. Knowledgeable guides will introduce you to wine directly from our vineyards. You’ll gain insights into the winemaking process and the ranch’s history. This unforgettable adventure combines the beauty of the outdoors with the elegance of fine wine, creating a true winter gem in Malibu. Malibu Wine Hikes offers private tours and wine tastings, perfect for your corporate holiday event! 

Dates: Open All Year

Location: Malibu

Enchanting Holiday Lights at The Grove

The Grove, an iconic shopping and entertainment destination, comes alive during the holiday season. The centerpiece is a massive Christmas tree adorned with sparkling lights. As the sun sets, this beautifully decorated outdoor space transforms into a magical winter scene. Enjoy nightly snowfall that adds to the festive atmosphere. There’s also holiday music playing, creating the perfect backdrop for shopping and strolling. Don’t forget to catch a glimpse of the dancing fountains, which become even more enchanting under the holiday lights.

Dates: December 16, 17, 22, 23

Location: The Grove LA

Descanso Gardens' Enchanted: Forest of Light

At Descanso Gardens, winter transforms this botanical paradise into an ethereal “Enchanted: Forest of Light.” Stroll along illuminated pathways surrounded by a magical landscape of light displays. Each section of the garden offers a unique experience, from the glowing tulips to the whimsical garden of red lanterns. The magical ambiance, coupled with the fragrant winter air, creates an enchanting journey through nature’s beauty.

Dates: November 19-January 7

Location: Descanso Gardens

Ski at Big Bear Mountain Resort

Skiing and Snowboarding in Big Bear Lake

When winter blankets the region, there’s no better place for skiing and snowboarding than Big Bear Lake and Snow Summit. Nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains, this winter wonderland offers excellent slopes for all skill levels. You can rent equipment and take lessons if you’re a beginner or hit the challenging runs if you’re an experienced skier or snowboarder. The crisp mountain air and snowy landscapes make Big Bear Lake a perfect getaway for snow sports enthusiasts.

Dates: Opening weekend – November 24

Location: Big Bear Mountain Lake

Ice Skating at Pershing Square

Lace up your ice skates and glide onto the ice at Pershing Square in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. This open-air ice skating rink is nestled among towering skyscrapers, making it a quintessential winter activity with an urban twist. Whether you’re an experienced skater or a novice, the rink provides a delightful space for both individuals and families to enjoy the joy of ice skating in the heart of the city.

Dates: November 17 – January 7

Location: Pershing Square

Santa Monica Winter

Santa Monica Pier Holiday Lights

The Santa Monica Pier offers a delightful escape into a winter wonderland. As the holiday season approaches, the pier becomes adorned with dazzling holiday lights. Take a leisurely stroll down the boardwalk to enjoy the enchanting atmosphere. The highlight is the Pacific Wheel, a solar-powered Ferris wheel, which provides breathtaking panoramic views of the illuminated coast. Don’t forget to explore the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium and, of course, take a romantic walk along the sandy beach at sunset.

Dates: Month of December

Location: Santa Monica Pier

Surfing and Paddleboarding

Despite the cooler temperatures, the mild winter climate in Santa Monica makes it an ideal destination for water sports. Embrace the season by catching some waves through surfing or enjoying a calm paddleboarding experience along the scenic coastline. Several local outfitters offer equipment rentals and lessons, catering to all skill levels. It’s a fantastic way to stay active and experience the serene beauty of the ocean during the winter months.

Dates: All Year

Location: Santa Monica Pier

Los Angeles Christmas Parade

Annual Hollywood Christmas Parade

One of the most cherished holiday events in Los Angeles is the Hollywood Christmas Parade, typically held in late November. This iconic parade, dating back to 1928, features a dazzling array of festive floats, marching bands, celebrities, and, of course, Santa Claus. The parade route usually stretches along Hollywood Boulevard, making it a spectacular showcase of holiday spirit and entertainment. Families and locals gather to witness the magic of this beloved holiday tradition.

Dates: November 26

Location: Starts on Hollywood Blvd at Orange Drive traveling east on Vine to Sunset Blvd.

Los Angeles Uncorked Wine Festival

The Los Angeles Uncorked Wine Festival is an annual wine extravaganza that takes place in late January. The event brings together winemakers and enthusiasts to create an unparalleled wine-tasting experience. Throughout the festival, you’ll have the opportunity to indulge in fine wine tastings, sample a diverse array of vintages, and savor gourmet culinary delights. From wine and food pairing sessions to live demonstrations, the festival offers a wealth of experiences for wine connoisseurs and epicureans.

Dates: January 27, 2024

Location: Union Station

Universal Studios Hollywood's Grinchmas

Experience the magic of the holiday season at Universal Studios Hollywood’s Grinchmas. The park transforms into a winter wonderland inspired by Dr. Seuss’s classic tale, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” You can meet the Grinch himself, enjoy holiday-themed shows, and immerse yourself in Whoville’s festive atmosphere. It’s a whimsical and heartwarming holiday experience that’s perfect for visitors of all ages.

Dates: November 23 – January 1

Location: Universal City

As winter blankets Los Angeles and its surroundings, there’s no shortage of captivating experiences to enjoy. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, enchanting light displays, winter sports, or gourmet culinary delights, this diverse city has something to offer everyone. Embrace the season by exploring the top 10 winter activities in L.A., creating cherished memories and making the most of the magic that Los Angeles has to offer during the cooler months.

Los Angeles Winter Skyline at Sunset

To help you make the most of your winter journey, we’ve put together a comprehensive set of questions that address everything from the climate to the most magical Christmas lights and decorations. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, these insights will ensure you have a delightful and memorable winter experience in LA.

– What’s the weather like in Los Angeles during the winter months?

Los Angeles experiences a mild and pleasant winter climate. Daytime temperatures typically range from 60°F to 70°F (15°C to 21°C), with occasional cooler evenings. While it’s not as cold as some other winter destinations, it’s advisable to layer clothing and a rain jacket as this is typically the rainy season.

– Where can I find the best Christmas markets and holiday shopping in LA?

Los Angeles hosts several delightful Christmas markets and holiday shopping destinations. Some popular options include The Grove, a well-known shopping and entertainment complex, and the annual Renegade Craft Fair, featuring unique handmade gifts. Don’t forget to explore local holiday markets in neighborhoods like Downtown LA and Pasadena.

– What are the best places to see holiday lights and decorations in the city?

To experience the magic of holiday lights and decorations, head to locations like The Grove, Rodeo Drive, and the Los Angeles Zoo Lights. Griffith Park’s Festival of Lights and the annual Sleepy Hollow Christmas Lights Extravaganza in Torrance are also well-loved spots for festive displays.

– What’s the average water temperature at LA’s beaches in the winter?

The water temperature at LA’s beaches can vary during the winter but typically ranges from 57°F to 63°F (14°C to 17°C). While it may be too chilly for swimming, it’s a great time for beachcombing, coastal walks, and enjoying the stunning ocean views.

– Does it snow in LA in the winter?

Snowfall in Los Angeles is extremely rare. While the city occasionally sees snow on its surrounding mountains, it’s uncommon in the urban areas. However, you can easily access nearby mountain destinations like Big Bear Lake for a snow experience during the winter months.


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