Get Out of the House: Post-Christmas Outdoor Excursions That’ll Make your East Coast Friends Jealous

Whales, horses, and a great day hike.

Well, the weather outside wasn’t frightful. In Los Angeles, it was almost 80 degrees. On Christmas. Our hearts go out to our friends across the country who spent the holiday with glistening snotcicles dangling from their mustaches, frozen tears bedazzling their faces, and wind-whipped noses redder than Vincent Gallo’s eyes. Sure, it’s a humblebrag to show off swaying palm trees, crashing waves, and blood orange sunsets on social media, but it’s also a public service to those elsewhere. Think of it as a digital postcard that takes people’s minds off of their chilly environs. Pull yourself out from the tidal waves of torn wrapping paper and get outside to these outdoor opportunities for great after-Christmas Instagrams.

Santa Anita Opening Day
Since Hollywood Park just closed, Santa Anita Park in Arcadia is your best bet for playing the ponies. On December 26, it’s off to the races as the gorgeous track located at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains hosts opening day for live horse racing. The Whiskey in Winter tasting party in the swank chandelier room kicks off the day early (11:30 am). Think of it as the finish line at the end of the holiday hustle. 

Whale Watching Cruises
If you think flying across the country is difficult, Pacific Gray whales will put you to shame. They travel up to 10,000 miles to vacation in Mexico’s lagoons, where they spend the breeding season getting freaky. When the honeymoon is over, they head back north to the Bering Sea to spend the rest of the year noshing. On their voyage, they pass by our coast, and you can witness their journey during Island Packers whale watching tours that depart from Ventura Harbor beginning on December 26.

Bungee Jump from the Bridge to Nowhere
Before Sarah Palin hijacked the term “Bridge to Nowhere,” Southern California had our own lonely structure. For avid hikers, the Bridge to Nowhere in the San Gabriel mountains makes for a great day hike; it’s about 5 miles each way and traverses creeks, wild foliage, and a boulder or two. The path is a little rough but it’s quite an adventure–and it’s just north of Azusa. At the end of the hike there’s an arch bridge that was built in 1936. A flood washed out the road and all that remains now is the bridge. If seeing the bridge isn’t enough, adrenaline junkies can actually jumping off if it. Bungee America offers jumps from the bridge every Saturday and Sunday; call ahead to book and see if you can jump dressed as Santa Claus or maybe as an elf.