19 Must-Do Family Activities for Your Winter Bucket List

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Editor’s note: We’re making every effort to provide you with the most up-to-date information. However, there are widespread closures to slow the spread of Covid-19. We’re doing our best to keep all of our stories and calendar up to date. Stay safe, and stay home! 

We’ve got plenty of ways to keep your kiddos entertained this winter, in SoCal style. From exploring the best tide pools in San Diego or having an awesome whale watching adventure, to treating the kids to a yummy holiday cookie decorating kit or having a festive breakfast delivered for free, read on for how to have an amazing family winter!

1. Hop on Old Town Trolley's Holiday Lights & Sights tour to ride a wave of cheer in American's Finest City. 

2. Burn off some energy by letting little groms warm-up and drop-in at one of these cool skateparks.

3. Take your little sailors on a whale watching excursion to spy gray whales as they pass San Diego on their annual 10,000-mile round-trip journey from the Bering Sea to the lagoons of Baja California.

4.  Gather up your family and friends and go spend an evening at San Diego Botanic Garden's Botanic Wonderland event.

5. Check out our list of 100 things to do in San Diego with kids to quash the "I'm bored" blues.

6. If your SoCal kid is craving snow play, we know just where to go to find fresh powder.

7. Satisfy that sweet tooth craving by warming up with a fresh mugful of hot chocolate. Here are our fave spots to order up the yummy drink.

8. Order a piping hot pizza to be delivered and watch your favorite family movie. Support a local business by checking out our picks for the most delectable pizza pies being delivered in your neighborhood.

photo: Beth Shea

9. Take a short road trip to drive through and experience Electric Noel––which runs until Jan. 3. The drive-thru begins at Santa’s command center and the elf village, weaving through Main Street and down Mistletoe Lane while discovering the neon glow of lights along the way. The fun storyline and musical tracks ranging from Reba McIntyre to Frozen is fun for the whole family and its magical, high-tech spectacle of lights is truly a sight to behold.

10. Go on a tidepooling adventure with trained naturalists who will show you how to tread lightly during your visit and help you discover the wonderful world of tide pools.

11. Surprise your kids once they're in their pajamas at bedtime with an impromptu car ride to see the best Christmas light displays all over town this season.

photo: Bonnie Taylor

12. Switch up your routine and take your kids to a new park they've never visited. Here's a list of 7 local parks with activities you've yet to discover.

13. Thanks to San Diego's warmer winter weather, having a family picnic is totally doable! Check out our favorite secret picnic spots paired with the most delicious nearby takeout food.

14. Have a total blast riding UTC's Ice Trikes. Races are eight minutes long and include lights and music.

15. Treat your family to a memorable getaway at a nearby cozy Airbnb cabin. We've rounded-up the best cabins to book in SoCal for winter fun.

16. Indulge yourselves by getting a delicious Snooze breakfast delivered for free through Dec. 27th! Be sure to check out Snooze's holiday menu items, which are only available for a limited time. Peppermint bark pancakes and pumpkin, pecan pie pancakes are the perfect way to start a winter morning. Place your order here

17. Order a holiday cookie box to-go from Nutmeg Bakery & Cafe. You'll be supporting a local business and giving your kids a super fun and yummy activity. Each box contains a dozen assorted holiday sugar cookies with frosting and sprinkles to make your own designs. Tag Nutmeg in photos you take of the cookies for a chance to win a $25 gift card.

18. California Center for the Arts has been transformed into a spectacle of light for Northern Lights. Go take in the holiday sights and sounds and enjoy tunnels of twinkling lights, giant LED Christmas trees, and blow-up figurines of favorite holiday characters. This self-guided holiday experience is completely free and open to all.

19. Take a wintry hike with your kids. We've outlined the best winter hikes to explore with your family, from Big Bear to Elfin Forest. Read our guide here.

––Beth Shea


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