Any season in Los Angeles is technically a good one but for us locals, there’s something magical about the cooler months. During the winter, when those temps finally dip, it gives us the opportunity to partake in those activities that are just more enjoyable in milder weather, not to mention the destinations are less crowded, and the atmosphere, more laid back. How cool is that? Take a look at our top picks below and let us know what you think in the comments! 

photo: Chris M. via Yelp 

The Beach
Forget about the bathing suits and board shorts. Wintertime at the beach calls for hoodies and hot cocoa. Most nearby beach towns never move past the low 70s mark in the winter, so it’s a perfect time to bike along the beach, take a stroll, play some volleyball, watch a sunset (or a sunrise) or simply play in the sand without breaking a sweat. If you’re really looking for an event, try going to a beach with bonfire pits. You can start in the late afternoon and end in the early evening, so things don’t get too chilly. And chances are you won’t have to camp out for a pit. There’s not as much demand in the winter.

Annenberg Beach House
415 Pacific Coast Hwy
Santa Monica, CA 90402
Phone: (310) 458-4904

Dockweiler State Beach
12001 Vista Del Mar
Playa Del Rey, CA 90293
Phone: (424) 526-7777

Santa Monica State Beach
415 Pacific Coast Hwy
Santa Monica, CA 90402
Phone: (310) 458-8300


photo: via L.A. Zoo

The L.A. Zoo
The L.A. Zoo might be known for its outstanding wildlife habitats and animal displays, but certainly not for its shade. If you’ve ever been, you know walking up steep cement hills while pushing a fully loaded stroller to the top tier of the zoo is no easy feat in summer weather. The zoo always seems to be hot, except during the winter months when local temps max out in the mid-70s. This makes visiting the animals a whole lot more enjoyable for everyone, because what child doesn’t like visit monkeys, tigers, giraffes, and elephants all in one day. The only thing that should be melting on your trip is your ice cream cone.

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
5333 Zoo Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Phone: (323) 644-4200

photo: via Grace K.

Botanical Gardens
There’s nothing better than a quiet walk amongst California native flora and fauna. That is, except when there’s a cool breeze to go along with it. These botanical gardens are beautiful all year round but are often overlooked in the winter months, because many don’t associate blooms and beauty with gray skies. Well, there’s a lot to see here during from December through February and beyond. Sweet peas, pansies, violets, and jasmine all bloom in the wintertime in Los Angeles.  Take a stroll among the trees and enjoy a day sans sunhats.

Descanso Gardens
1418 Descanso Dr
La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011
Phone: (818) 949-4200

Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Rd
San Marino, CA 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2100

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
301 N Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, CA 91007
Phone: (626) 821-3222

photo: Jason C. via Yelp 

Olvera Street
Downtown Los Angeles can get hot, real quick. There’s a little something called the urban heat effect that keeps this place balmy and sweltering in the summer months. The skyscrapers keep the warm air in as the asphalt and concrete continue to generate heat. If this alone sends you to the cooler for a cold glass of water, we’ve got you covered. Check out one of Downtown’s biggest attractions, Olvera Street, in the cooler winter months for a dose of chill along with your history lesson. Visit the Avila Adobe, the first house ever built in Los Angeles, or eat your way through a culinary history of Mexico. Have your fill of tacos, burritos, pan dulce, churros and more. And don’t forget the champurrado, a Mexican hot chocolate and corn drink that is best served in colder months.

Olvera Street
845 N Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 628-1274

photo: via Rachael Brandon

Theme Park It
Take your pick: Universal Studios, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm or Legoland. These theme parks are always a little sweeter in the cooler months. There’s no standing around in line under the hot sun, ice creams that melt faster than you can lick them, or gallons of sunblock. The parks are generally less crowded, which means shorter lines for food and rides.

And who says you can only visit a water park in the summer? The Great Wolf Lodge is open all year round because it’s all inside! So if you have water-loving kiddos at home who can’t wait for the outdoor water parks to open in the summer, take them to Great Wolf Lodge to get their fill of wet and wild fun.

Read more about these theme parks here: Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Lego Land and Great Wolf Lodge

photo: Manuel M. via Yelp

Whether is Runyon Canyon or the path to the Hollywood sign, hiking in the winter months has its advantages. Trails are less crowded and the views are much clearer. The sun isn’t typically as strong so you don’t have to worry about what time of day you hit the trails. And there’s nothing better than fresh air and aerobic activity to help the kids come down from the holiday candy sugar highs.

Runyon Canyon
2000 N Fuller Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Phone: (323) 666-5046

Hike to the Hollywood Sign
3200 Canyon Dr.
Bronson Canyon Griffith Park
Los Angeles, CA 90068

What activities did we miss? Tell us about your favorite Los Angeles activities that are just better in the cooler months.

—Christina Fiedler


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activities in LA