Los Angeles has some beautiful weather but sometimes you need to be reminded that there are changes in the seasons other than cool and cooler and warm and warmer. These spots are close enough to LA that you can get a taste of winter weather while still being close enough to home. Whiz down the hill, rosy-cheeked and squealing or ski these great slopes with these magical snow filled areas close to L.A.
4730 Crystal Springs Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
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Los Angeles might be known for beautiful weather, but a relatively short drive east leads to some of the best ski areas in the country. Not much of an action sports person? Go for a hike in Griffith Park, and be rewarded with spectacular views of the ocean and Hollywood sign, and in winter —sometimes — the snow-topped San Gabriel Mountains. Need more inspiration? Check out this list of the best mountains in Los Angeles.
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54325 North Circle Drive
Idyllwild, CA 92549
This little mountain town nestled in the Mt. San Jacinto State Park has something for everyone. From snow for the kids to play around in to cute bed and breakfasts for the family to stay overnight and great restaurants for mom and dad, its a peaceful and idyllic (no pun intended) place to get around and enjoy the winter weather. Idyllwild has no skiing so it doesn’t get as crowded as some mountain spots, but there are hiking trails and rock climbing which are breathtaking.
54325 North Circle Drive
Idyllwild, CA 92549
When it’s snowing on Mt. Baldy you can see it from most of the greater Los Angeles area. That means it won’t take you too long to get there, but you’ll feel like you’re on a fabulous ski vacation far, far away. There is skiing, snowboarding, and tubing available on the mountain and it makes for great fun with your kids, your significant other or friends. And, just because it’s close doesn’t mean it’s not exciting. Mt. Baldy is home to the steepest vertical drop in Southern California.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
1 Tramway Rd.
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Palm Springs evokes images of palm trees and cocktails, not snow and hot chocolate. But, winter weather is just a tram ride away. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway starts at the Valley Station and travels more than 5,800 feet up to Mountain Station in the Mt. San Jacinto State Park. There’s plenty to do once there including snow shoeing or cross country skiing. If it’s possible to make it to through the Desert View Trail, check out the view from 10,000 feet.
Big Bear Lake
630 Bartlett Road
Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
Located 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles, Big Bear Lake is a unique mountain resort surrounded by the beautiful San Bernardino National Forest. Skiiing, snowboarding, sledding, and cross-country skiing await you and the trip is fairly quick (about a 2-3 hour drive) compared to other snow resorts. Altitude ranges from around 6,750 to 9,000 ft. and the area boasts around 300 days of sunshine a year with semi-moderate temperatures during Winter. Serious skiers can head to Snow Summit or Bear Mountain for some great slopes as well.
3538 Mt. Pinos Way
Frazier Park, CA 93225
If you’ve ever driven the Grapevine to the San Francisco area and wondered what was in that beautiful open space, its Frazier Park. Frasier Park is part of that area and it’s a great place to take a quick day trip and play in the snow. Located right off of Interstate 5, Frazier Mountain is a broad, pine-forested peak within the Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County.
28200 California 189
Lake Arrowhead, CA 92352
Lake Arrowhead is just a few hours outside of Los Angeles and is a great place to spend a weekend playing in the snow. The lake itself is beautiful, and Lake Arrowhead Village offers a nice afternoon of shopping, eating, and hiking. There is an outlet mall, cute little shops, a playground for kids, festivals throughout the year, and access to day hikes. The drive should take around 2 hours and is well worth it once you enter this idyllic setting.
24510 California 2
Wrightwood, CA 92397
Just 90 minutes from Los Angeles, Mountain High is a snowy ski resort nestled in the San Gabriel Mountains. Mountain High which is comprised of 3 resorts has a variety of lifts and trains to appeal to any type of ability level. Ski, snowboard and snow tube at this great resort and head back home when you’re done! Aside from skiining, snowboarding and tubing, the resort area offers sightseeing, shopping, dining and more.
The Americana At Brand
889 Americana Way
Glendale, CA 91210
Glendale’s version of The Grove, The Americana At Brand, starts off the holiday season with their “Celebrate The Season” events including a magical snowfall starting on November 21. The mall has a snowfall during the holidays to light all visitors’ spirits.
189 The Grove Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90036
There is quite the backdrop when it starts snowing at the Grove every night starting on November 18 from 7pm and 8pm. The Grove has one of the tallest Christmas trees in North America, a fabulous water show from the fountains, and a Santa’s house that’s almost as big as my own house. It’s not to be missed.
Holly Street Wonderland
21 E. Holly Street
Pasadena, CA 91105
The most wonderful time of the year is here in Pasadena. Old Town Pasadena turns into a Winter Wonderland on November 29th. After a day of shopping head over with the kids for an evening of fun in 20 tons of snow. There will be a holiday train, kid’s crafts and reindeer as well. Don’t forget your mittens and a camera!
Garden Grove Winterfest
13630 Atlantis Way
Garden Grove, CA 92840
Atlantis Play Center is transformed December 3rd from 4pm to 7pm into a winter wonderland filled with great crafts, a visit from Santa and 20 tons of snow for sledding and play! Bundle up and be prepared for a day of fun in the snow!
Ice Station Snow Day
27745 N. Smyth Drive
Valencia, CA 91355
Have a weekday off with the kids with nothing to do? Play in the snow with the entire family, ice skate and warm up with some hot chocolate. Bring your camera and Christmas lists for a special meet and greet with Santa.
Snow Days at Kidspace Children’s Museum
480 N. Arroyo Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91103
It’s a winter wonderland in the middle of Pasadena! Bundle up and head out to Kidspace Children’s museum for a day in the snow. Kidspace trucks in tons of snow for both children and adults to play in. Be prepared for hours of fun making snow men or snow angels. Snow Days is from Thursday, December 26th to Monday December 30th
Snowfest Lake Forest
21701 Pittsford Drive
Lake Forest, CA 92630
Head over for a day in the Snow at Pittsford Park! Grab the kids, the camera, and your friends and play in the snow on Saturday January 25th. Sleds and saucers will be available for you and your family to slide down Mount Pitts. There will also be a free snow play area for kids 5 and under and additional attractions, including guest appearances from a galaxy far away. Food and drinks are available for a nominal fee. Pre-registration is mandatory. Tickets are sold out by the time of the event!
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