Los Angeles

Skiing and Snowboarding with Los Angeles Kids: Ski Day Trips!

On a clear day, as you head east in Los Angeles, you see them beckoning: those glorious snow-capped mountains. If we had bionic vision, we could watch skiers sashaying down the hills—the resorts are that close. And whether you're a seasoned snow veteran or new to skiing or snowboarding—or you'd just prefer that someone else teach your kids to ski—you'll be happy to know that skiing can be easy, close, and occasionally even free.

So if you're ready for winter activities beyond skating and sledding, check out this list of area slopes and snow schools. Plan it right, and you could be on the slope two hours after packing the car—because the mountains are even closer than they look.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Boat Parades, Christmas Parades, Last of Hanukkah

It's December, and people are taking to the streets. They are marching. They have something to express, and they want to be heard. They're also floating. Or maybe motoring. Whatever they're doing, it's not drifting, because then they would end up on the beach, and you know what that means: stuck in the snow. (Tons of it)

Sure, all the Christmas parades and holiday light walks (which is of course what you knew I was talking about) may seem a tad early, but only if you don't realize we are well into December. Well in. As in this weekend, next weekend, then Holy Mother of Merriment It's Practically Christmas!!! or something like that. And the Boat Parades? That's totally our SoCal spin on 'Tis the Season.

Menorah lighting kinder have the rest of the weekend still to rack up their gifts (and nosh on gelt and latkes).  The fun is just beginning!

So get on your toes join the parade, and get in on this weekend's fun...

Queen Mary Christmas: A New Holiday Tradition To Chill with this Year

Christmas at the Queen Mary is a great place for a family to chill. That said, if you're looking for Chill with a capital C, the ship's hitherto popular holiday extravaganza, well, that is just so last year. This year, the vintage ocean liner debuts an all-new Christmas event, based entirely on board The Queen Mary. While in previous years the entertainment was spread out on the adjacent tarmac, featured against the backdrop of the photogenic floating monument at the heart of Long Beach, this year all the festive action is located right on the art deco decks of the beloved ship.

25 Christmas Movies to Fill Your Family with Holiday Cheer

 Is your house brimming with the magic of Christmas and the holiday season? When the tree has been trimmed, and all the gifts have been wrapped, it's time to put the kids into those Christmas jammies to snuggle up with the perfect family Christmas movie. Don’t let picking the wrong festive flick turn you into a Grinch.

Unlike the naughty list, this holiday movie list is filled with positive messages, classic tales, and just the right amount of seasonal cheer. So, pop some popcorn and enjoy a family movie night with one of these Christmas classics perfect for kids. 

Must-See Holiday Light Shows Worth Paying or Driving for this Christmas

An after-dinner drive to take in one of LA's classic neighborhood holiday light displays is a treat all families should indulge in. It's an easy, cheap way to get in the Christmas spirit (or just enjoy someone else's). Of course, counting on other people to decorate their lawns is only so reliable. To be sure of a full evening of light and good cheer, sometimes it's worth splurging on a pay-to-play light display. Several local destinations indulge us in our desire to see grand-scale holiday lights, from Zoo Lights to walks in the woods. The bigger the group you can round up, the more festive—but also the more expensive it can get. It helps to know which of LA's big public light shows are worth the ticket price this holiday season.

Best Things to Do in Charleston, South Carolina with Kids

Warm, charming, and packed with history, Charleston, South Carolina, regularly tops the lists of America’s most visit-worthy cities, and it’s easy to see why. Beautiful beaches and waterways, leafy streets and parks, gorgeous architecture, and a thriving cultural scene mean there’s always something to see and do. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that Charleston is one of the best food cities in the country.

Best of all, Charleston is especially fun to visit with kids. It’s easy to get around, the weather is almost always nice (even though the summer months can be sticky and humid), and the overall vibe is incredibly welcoming to families. Our family has been vacationing in Charleston and the neighboring barrier islands for over a decade: Here are the things we love to do, the places we love to eat or stay at, and—just as important—what we’d recommend skipping with children in tow.

December GoList: Best Holiday Events and Activities for LA and OC Kids

Thanksgiving is behind us, and the daily, backward-counting dose of chocolate known as Advent begins. Suddenly we have barely three weeks left to squeeze every bit of holiday fun out of this city that we possibly can—with a week left over to decide whether we should try to celebrate New Year's Eve with our kids, or elusively without them. There are amazing holiday light displays to take in and loads of free holiday extravaganzas. There are Santa photos to snap, trees to light, and Nutcrackers to see; and Hanukkah looms large on the lit horizon, too. In short, no matter how hard you try to do it all, there is more epic fun stuff going on than anyone could possibly do in a month. If you had to choose, though, below are the dozen December events we suggest you make time for.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Hanukkah, CicLAvia, and Santa Breakfasts

Oh Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah, come light the menorah. And another. And another. It's no surprise that a holiday that extends over eight crazy nights has an abundance of menorah lighting festivals. You're going to need a lot of matches, a few LEGO bricks, napkins, and maybe some Dramamine

Christmas-celebrating kids are getting plenty of action of their own this weekend. Since it's, say what now, December, those advent calendars are officially fair game. Plus, we are launching into the month-long lead-up to the big day, starting with more Santa breakfasts than you can shake a stick (or break a leg) at. And tree lightings. Also Christmas trains. And ships. Lotsa Christmas going on out there.

Fear not parents: you're not getting left out in the cold. Besides getting to foot the bill for all of the above (yay!) there is fun to be had this weekend that will definitely appeal to you. No word on whether Santa's putting a new SUV under the tree for you, but a Momma can dream, and maybe test drive a few favored models at the LA Auto Show. You can push the limits of reality at the latest VR experience and pummel your friends and family with pancakes. You can pet a snow leopard... no, scratch that. No snow leopard petting at the Snow Leopard Festival. (Mildly disappointing but all things considered probably for the best.)

Keep reading for our best picks for the weekend, whatever you are celebrating.

Where To Donate Toys for the Holidays: Toys for Tots, Spark of Love, and More

The holidays can be a particularly rough time to be in need, and this year's terrible fire season has put far more families in this position than usual. Showing our kids how the community rallies is important. We can make time to volunteer with our kids—a great holiday tradition—and kids can also experience the joy of giving by passing along some of last year's gifts, sharing the old with someone new before finding out what Santa delivers this season. When we pursue the parental thrill of buying super-cool toys, wrapping them, and making our kids' day on Christmas or Hanukkah, maybe we could add just one more for a child in need. We know of some great places to bring both kinds of toy donations—new and gently used—to spread around some of that holiday joy.

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