The Best Things to Do with Kids in LA This Winter

best places to go sand sledding in LA
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While Los Angeles may lack that traditional winter solstice aesthetic, it certainly makes up for in its impressive collection of activities. From museums and indoor playspaces to car trips to see real snow, here are our favorite indoor and outdoor activities to keep your tiny Angelenos busy while the temperature (occasionally) drops and the crowds and tourists (thankfully) wane. Scroll below for our kid-friendly guide to LA’s winter wonderland.

This article is sponsored by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a leading children’s hospital that treats the toughest childhood cancers and pediatric diseases. Spread some holiday cheer this season by participating in the second annual St. Jude Joy Drive. Visit their site to learn more.

what to do in mammoth with kids
Kristin R. via Yelp

Winter Activities in LA: Find Snow near LA

1. Sure, LA County may have just had the driest November since 1992, but we are close enough to expansive mountain ranges that have already received a big snowfall (just look at the snowcap mountains framing DTLA on a clear day). Bundle up your kids, blast some carols, and take advantage of (a real) winter’s bounty at our local alpine wonderlands that are just a hop, skip, and a quick car ride away. Snow tubing? Check. Sledding? Check. Everybody happy? Check check. Here's our kid-friendly guide for snow play near LA.

2. Want to take your kids skiing for the first time but are a wee bit nervous? Fret not. We’ve got 5 tips to get your kids snow plowing down the mountain in no time.

3. Now that you’re ready to ski, get thee to Mammoth Mountain for some powdery fun.

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Winter Activities in LA: Explore Art near LA

4. Rembrandt and Picasso are located indoors for you, while the outdoor sculpture garden with a duck pond is for them. The Norton Simon, an LA gem, is a win, win!

5. On the westside, the Hammer Museum supplies parents with thoughtfully curated exhibitions and kids with an entertaining atrium and kids art activities galore. 

6. Open 7 days a week, you can always rev your engines and go-go-go to The Petersen Automotive Museum—don't miss the 007 Bond in Motion Exhibit that is now open and features original vehicles from the James Bond film franchise. 

7. Swiss media artist Pipilotti Rist has an exhibition on at MOCA that is an audio-visual delight for kids and parents alike on view now until Jun. 6, 2022. 

8. It may have been a while but there's no time like the present to revisit your favorite kid’s museums in LA.

Winter Activity in LA: Explore Little Tokyo

9. Have you visited the JANM? It’s an amazing little museum in Little Tokyo well worth a visit. Miné Okubo's masterpiece, Citizen 13660, is currently on view until Feb. 20, 2022.

10. Plan to stop at kid-favorite Fugetsu-Do in Little Tokyo, a sweets shop that's been around since 1903 (!!!), is a must. We hear the Rainbow Dango is a crowd-pleaser.

11. Go shopping at JapanLA—an adorable shop that inspired by all things Japan and, you guessed it, LA.

Andie Huber

Winter Activity in LA: Getaways near LA

12. Take a ferry ride to visit LA's mediterranean-style getaway, Catalina, in the winter. 

13. Rent one of these cozy cabins near LA for a wintery experience you'll never forget. 

14. Of course, Palm Springs with kids is always a good idea—even in the winter. 

15. Or, if you can't spend the weekend, try one of these daytrips where you can escape LA and feel like you're a million miles away.

best winter activities in LA
Ron G. via Yelp

Winter Activities in LA: Play Tourist for a Day

16. Head to Grand Park to work off some steam at this epic playground and then, refuel with some kid-friendly food at Grand Central Market just an 10-minute walk up the street—we have it on good authority the PBJ LA stand is a kid crowd-pleaser.

17. Thar’ she blows! Come Jan., it's officially whale-watching season. Book your spot and watch the migration route for whales who are heading south down the coast to Baja for the winter. 

18. LA is never so clear as after a rain. These observation decks and lookouts offer sweeping views of the city.

19. Visit Santa Monica and make sure to stop by the Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park for scream-worthy roller coaster rides and epic seaside views.

indoor playspace, indoor playground
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Winter Activities for Kids: Oldies but Goodies

20. When the sun comes out, zip over to one of our favorite outdoor playgrounds in LA.

21. Go see some animals up close and personal at these kid-friendly animal encounters spots near LA.

22. Got a tiny firefighter wannabe in tow? Take them to one of these amazing LA-based firefighter spots around town to quench their heat thirst.

23. Got a case of cabin fever? When it's too cold or too dark for the playground, LA's best indoor play spaces are the outdoor equivalent of a knight in shining armor. Grab a coffee and enjoy the four walls and a closed door that encircle their wild runs.

24. Of course you don't need snow to go sledding thanks to our sand berms located along the coast. Here are all the fun spots to go sand sledding in LA

25. Sunny and mid-70s? Get outdoors and take a hike—here are all the spots to go with babies, toddler and big kids.

26. Trains run all year long and make for a great winter activity. Here are the best spots to ride the rails around LA.

 

Andie Huber

Winter Activities in LA: Become a Foodie Family

27. Plan a date night with your kids! Enjoy an al fresco meal (thank goodness for heat lamps) with your toddler someplace where they will lick the plate clean (maybe literally).

28. Ready to upgrade your pizza night? Here are LA's best pizza spots to try now.

29. Pretend you're a pilot or a medieval knight! Why not making dinner ever more fun and hit up one of these theme-based restaurants you can only find in LA?

30. Embrace the doughnut and discover why this round-shaped sweet has become the unofficial dessert for LA (for both kids and adults).

31. If bagels are more your thing, plan a breakfast nosh at one of LA's noteworthy Jewish Delis.

32. Stop by one of these family-friendly LA breweries for a little corn hole, ping-pong and more. 

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Winter Activities in LA: Winter Classes for Kids

33. Holidays got you feeling less than zen? Practice your child pose, with child in tow, at these local parent and child yoga classes in LA.

34. You know what they say...when it rains, parenthood creativity is required to pour. Get out there and enjoy some good, messy fun at Cr8Space

35. Purple Twig is another incredible option for winter art classes for kids!

36. Indulge in some musicality with an online, outdoor, or indoor class at LoveBug & Me Music

–Kira Cook

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