Get Your Dose of Magical Winter Vibes Without Leaving L.A.

Lights, ice skating, drunken Santas—we really do have it all

Don’t let the lack of (real) snow, cold, and weather forecasters unnecessarily standing outside in blizzard conditions fool you. There are plenty of things to do in Los Angeles to make it feel like wintertime. 

Gaze at the City’s Most Instagrammable Lights at the L.A. Zoo

Fawn over real reindeer, visit Santa, and gaze at one of L.A.’s most impressive Christmas light displays at
L.A. Zoo Lights. The celebration runs through January 7, but check the calendar for special events. This year they’ve launched two nights of “Holiday Happy Hour”—December 7 is “Flapjacks & Flannel” sponsored by Bushmills’ Red Bush Irish Whiskey and December 8 brings “Tamales & Tequila” sponsored by VIVA XXXII Tequila. Expect gourmet hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine, and a signature cocktail in the lounge area to accompany the dazzling lights.

The L.A. Zoo, 5333 Zoo Drive,, Griffith Park 

Have a Snow Day in Elysian Park

It’s hard to picture Elysian Park nestled under a blanket of snow, especially in L.A.’s eterna-drought, but holiday fun is here. Head to
Snow! Los Angeles this winter to tube across nine acres of faux snow, then drink hot cider between stints at the inflatable snow globe photo booth. With five unique tube lanes—and a bunny hill for the kids—it’s not quite Mammoth, but it’s fun. 

The Old Lodge at Stadium Way & Scott Ave., Snow! Los Angeles, Elysian Park

Drink the Best Hot Chocolate at Cafe Demitasse

Try a modern twist on the classic seasonal drink with
Demitasse’s lavender hot chocolate, a supremely indulgent drink topped with a thick, toasted marshmallow and laced with hints of herb. It’s basically a gourmet dark chocolate bar in liquid form and completely addictive.

Cafe Demitasse, 135 S. San Pedro Street,, Little Tokyo

Have a Cocktail on the SANTA Monica Pub Crawl

Drinking becomes a charitable way to spend your Saturday (December 16) at the Santa Monica Pub Crawl, an annual fundraiser for the Westside Food Bank. The multi-route pub crawl hits bars on Wilshire, Main Street, the Pier, and the Third Street Promenade, and teams can register for a special scavenger hunt. Costumes are required, and they happen to make for an excellent icebreaker.

SANTA Monica Pub Crawl, Westside

Ice Skate Like the Kings

A photo posted by Truc Truong (@truc__) on

The best part of L.A.’s warm winters? Being able to ice skate outdoors without, you know, actually getting cold. Rent skates at
L.A. Live’s downtown rink, which is sponsored by the Los Angeles Kings, then glide around a towering Christmas tree in the heart of the city. 

L.A. Live, 800 West Olympic Blvd., L.A. Kings Holiday Ice, DTLA

Visit Knott’s Merry Farm

Knott’s Berry Farm’s holiday iteration features nightly snowfall, a Christmas crafts fair, and Santa’s cabin starring the big man himself. Grab a cup of hot spiced wine and take in a brand new tree lighting ceremony as professional carolers provide all the holiday cheer you can handle.

Knott’s Merry Farm, 8039 Beach Blvd.,, Buena Park

Shop for Presents Under a Magical Snowfall  

A photo posted by The Grove (@thegrovela) on

The Grove’s holiday decorations are always unparalleled. With a 100-foot tall Christmas tree, snowfall scheduled twice nightly, and a full Santa’s cottage set up for holiday photos, it’s the most festive place to shop in L.A.

The Grove, 189 The Grove Drive,, Fairfax District

Experience an Interactive Production of The Nutcracker

You’ve seen The Nutcracker, but have you ever sat down for some hot cocoa with the Sugar Plum Fairy? Be the first to go inside a three-dimensional experience of the ultimate winter fantasy.

The Bloc, 700 S Flower St.,, DTLA

Explore CHILL at the Queen Mary

The Queen Mary’s annual event brings ice tubing, ice skating, and a full live music lineup to Long Beach. Schedule a breakfast with Santa, then check out “Alice in Winterland,” a new interactive, 14,000-square-foot experience that tells a festive version of the classic Alice in Wonderland story, complete with a tea party and hedge maze.

The Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Highway,, Long Beach


RELATED: 12 Classic L.A. Restaurants That Are Totally Decked Out for the Holidays

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