Who’s ready to swap flip-flops and shorts for boots and mittens? We know just where to go to experience snow in San Diego this holiday season! Bundle up your little snow angels and head for the bunny hills! From the mountains and local resorts to wintry festivals and LEGOLAND, if you’re wondering “where’s the snow near me” read on for 13 cool spots to play in the snow.

photo: LEGOLAND®

LEGOLAND® Holiday Show

Find flurries and fun at the Heartlake City Holiday show, where snow falls nightly. How will Emma and her friends get out of the snowstorm? A snowball’s throw away you can take a picture with LEGO® Santa and his reindeer, munch on a holiday churro dipped in chocolate and enjoy the rides.

Dates: Nov. 23-Dec. 31
Cost: Regular Admission

Event details.

Coronado’s Snow Mountain

Snow way! Watch Santa arrive via ferry to beautiful Coronado and then enjoy crafts and games and real snow right here in warm and sunny San Diego. It's a treat!

Date: Dec. 6
Time: 2-7 p.m.
Cost: Free

Event details.

Holiday Nights in Carlsbad

Fun festivities! Head to this North County resort for snow sledding, letters to Santa, s'mores roasting, cookie decorating, holly trolley rides, live entertainment, and more! The Westin & Sheraton Holiday Nights is free and open to the public with select paying for activities and food (plus beverages). Note that there are different activities offered on each night of the event.

Date: Dec. 5, 12 & 19
Time: 5-8 p.m.
Cost: Free

Event details.

Alpine's Snow Festival

Sleigh bells ring! Head out to Alpine for their 24th Annual Parade of Lights then stay for the (free!) Snow Festival with real snow! Bring you mittens and your scarves because it’s sure to be a good time. The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. with the Snow Fest immediately following.

Date: Dec. 6
Time: 6-9 p.m.

Event details.

photo: Santee Lakes

Santee Lakes Snow Hill

Snow falls at Santee Lakes! Santa sleds into town (and look-out!) it's a snowball fight. Plus, crafts, pony rides, face painting and more. The best part, sledding down the snow hill. Parking is $10 and tickets are $1 each with activities and rides ranging from 1-8 tickets.

Date: Dec. 8
Time: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Cost: Activity & rides range from $1 to $8

Event details.

photo: San Diego Botanic Garden

Botanic Wonderland

Snow kidding! You can sled at the San Diego Botanic Garden during their Botanic Wonderland event. In fact, there's a flurry of cool activities. From sparkling light displays (that you can walk through) and a horse-drawn carriage to roasting marshmallows and (yes!) sledding down that snow hill.

Dates: Dec. 3-8, 10-15, 17-23 & 26-30
Time: 5-8:30 p.m
Cost: $20-$25/adult; $12-$17/child; kids under 3 are free

Event details.

photo: Village Walk at Eastlake

Village Walk at Eastlake’s Snow Nights

Your little snow bunnies will love dancing in the snow that falls nightly at the Village Walk. You’ll love the fact that everyone stays warm and dry. A perfect way to get a taste of winter, San Diego-style.

Dates: Dec. 8-24
Time: 6 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Cost: Free

Event details.

photo: Ali Kaukus

Omni La Costa Resort

Let it snow! Celebrate the holiday season with snowfall in The Plaza. Feel enchanted in a winter wonderland this season beneath a magical snowfall. Watch as flakes of white snow float down from above during the month of December. This is a winter wonderland that's not to be missed!

Dates: Thurs., Fri. & Sat. in December
(Including Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.)
Time: 5-7 p.m.
Cost: Free

Event details.

Poway Winter Festival

Experience the magic and charm of winter in Poway. Feel snow between your fingers while sledding down the snow hill, smell roasting marshmallows as you devour delicious s’mores, experience the wind in your hair skating around the synthetic ice rink, and more! Lights will twinkle, as music sets the tone and laughter fills the air. Winter Festival brings to life all of the charm and entertainment of a cold-mountain town, set right in Poway.

Festival hours are Fri. 5-9 p.m. and Sat. 3:30-8:30 p.m.

Note: There will be a free shuttle service will be available from the Boys and Girls Club and City Hall parking lots.

Jan. 10 & 11

Event details.

Snow on Mt. Laguna

Mt. Laguna is a cool San Diego County snow area. You need an Adventure Pass to access the forest. For weather updates follow the Laguna Mountain Lodge Facebook page. When you head up, there are plenty of turn off spots (however, it does get crowded). Bring snacks, a full gas tank and snow chains. It’s a National Forest (not Big Bear!)

Travel Time: 45 minutes from Mission Valley (on clear roads)
Cost: $5/Adventure Pass for one day
Where to Purchase: Mt. Laguna Lodge, Kiosks, Big 5

Mt. Laguna Lodge
10678 Sunrise Hwy.
Mt. Laguna, CA 91948
Online: lagunamountainlodge.com

Snow in Julian

Baby, it's cold outside. A Northern storm can drop snow in Julian. Watch the weather, then drive up right after it snows. Your crew can sled on the small snow hills, then it's time for hot cocoa and warm apple pie in town. Remember, the snow melts quickly around Julian.

Travel Time: About one hour

Jess Martin Park
Cost: Free
2955 Highway 79
Julian, CA 92036

William Heise Park
Cost: $3/day
4945 Heise Park Rd.
Julian, CA 92036

Lake Cuyamaca
Cost: $10/day
15027 Hwy 79
Julian, CA 92036
Online: lakecuyamaca.org

Snow on Palomar Mountain

The magic of snow. Travel to Palomar Mountain from North San Diego. Bundle up your little snow bunnies with jackets, scarves and mittens for it's time to make your fave snowman and toboggan down a snow hill.

Good to know: fill-up your tank (no gas stations on the mountain), bring snacks and snow chains too.

Travel Time: About one hour and a half
Cost: Pull-outs free; $10/day park permit

Palomar Mountain
9952 State Park Rd.
Palomar, CA 92060
Online: palomarmountian.gov

Snow in Idyllwild

Worth the drive! Whether you take the day or a weekend trip you’ll be glad you drove (about two hours) up to Idyllwild. You’ll find a cute mountain town where you can take a winter hike, sled or just walk the town after a fresh snow. There are plenty of cute shops to look into and places to eat to boot!

Travel Time: About two hours.
Cost: Free to visit town.

Idyllwild, CA 92549
Online: idyllwild.com

––Nikki Walsh


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