Los Angeles

18 Hanukkah Celebrations for Kids in LA and Orange County

However you spell it—Hanukkah, Hanukka, Hannukah, Chanukah, or Channuka—SoCal is a great place to be for the Festival of Lights. Home to a Jewish population larger than that of Jerusalem, Los Angeles is all about "lighting candles, wearing sandals, by the sea" (at least, that's why Tom Leher spent Hanukkah in Santa Monica). Giant menorahs light up open spaces from The OC to the Valley

Some of this year's events may be affected by our recent fires (most notably the festival at the Shalom Institute, typically one of the LA's biggest). But be assured that there are plenty of celebrations to fill the 8 crazy nights, including the popular event at the Skirball Center, as well as numerous local events and candle lightings to burn the sunset oil all week long.

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree This Year: Southern California Tree Farms

Ah, childhood in New England. I remember the hip-deep snows of December, building snowmen until my fingers froze, and drying my hand-knit mittens by the fire. Fast forward to my boys’ childhoods in LA, and I wonder: What will they remember? Sand sledding at the beach and wearing shorts on Christmas day? Will they never make snow angels in their best friend’s backyard?

Thankfully, one winter tradition we can carry on here in the Southland is cutting down our own Christmas tree. If you’re willing to cross county lines, you, too, can experience this classic holiday outing. If living Christmas trees aren’t your thing, and you want something other than a pre-cut or artificial tree, get ready to set hacksaw to tree trunk, watch the tree fall gently to the ground, and smell the sap on your hands as you sing carols on the car ride home. We have compiled a list of area tree farms to help you get started.

25 Fun Things to Do in Jackson Hole with Kids

Old West charm? Check. Rugged natural beauty? Check. Toss in four seasons of family-centric fun, and Jackson Hole is an ideal place to introduce kids to the American West. Our extended family—including eight kids between the ages of 3 and 13—went to this postcard-perfect Wyoming valley situated south of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park over the summer. But we're already dreaming of returning in the winter for ski and sleigh-ride adventures. 

To quote my 6-year-old during one action-packed July day that started with a zip on a "cowboy coaster" and ended with a moose sighting in the backyard of our rental house: "There's just too much to do in Jackson Hole!" To help guide little cowpokes and parents, we've handpicked 25 special activities that will see you through both warm and wintry weather in Wyoming.

For a Mountain West adventure in a more urban setting, read our guide to Denver. Happy trails!

LA's Christmas Boat Parades: Newport Beach, the Marina, and 9 More

Unlike certain other parts of the country that shall remain nameless (no need to go rubbing it in the noses of cities like, say, Boston), LA is all about outdoor activities at Christmastime - and nothing says "This is why I moved to Southern California" quite like a Christmas boat parade. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, boat owners gussy up their crafts and parade them up and down waterways for applauding spectators, who line the harbors and marinas from Dana Point to Ventura. Driving around looking at holiday lights is great; letting them float by you is even better...

Fire Damage Update: Closures Affecting Los Angeles and Ventura County Families

As we approach Thanksgiving week, we are reminded of all we have to be grateful for, and perhaps much we have taken for granted in the past. Our wild, beautiful woodlands and coastline are the heart and soul of our city, but can also represent great vulnerability. Our hearts go out to all who have experienced loss in the last week.

According to the most recent reports, 98,362 acres have been burned by the Woolsey and fire, and 435 structures have been destroyed, with another 57,000 still listed as being in danger. Even in areas where the immediate risk of fire has passed there may still hazards due to debris, utility outages, and damaged infrastructure such as roadways and power lines.

Many venues were closed and whole communities evacuated during the fires, due to air quality, road accessibility, and continued fire risk. As our emergency responders get the flames under control, we can start to take stock of the damage that has been done.

Below we list the status of some popular locations in the affected area that may impact your family. We will update the list as we get more information.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Reindeer Romp, Doo Dah Parade, and Surfing Santas

The worst of times can bring out the best in people. This week we have been reminded of the heroes that live among us: the veterans who put themselves in harm's way to defend our nation, and the fire fighters and emergency responders who put themselves in harm's way to defend our homes. Thanks to their bravery, we have the privilege of looking forward to what lies ahead. This weekend, take a moment to find the joy.  

Find the whimsy in pure absurdity and imaginations run amok. Find the mystical creatures hiding in plain sight. Find the light in the darkness (so pretty!), and follow the shimmering pathLook to the stars and see all eternity; look to the earth and see that we are all connected. Sitting on grains of sand you can expand your mind (and your vocabulary!) - just be sure to clean up after yourself.

You better not pout, you better not fly; we're getting a visit from some old guy. And a parade. And some tree lightingsWith music. Sounds pretty joyful to me.

Keep reading for our most joyous suggestions for this weekend...

Volunteering at Holiday Time: Fun Ways for LA Kids To Find Their Spirit of Giving

Sharing traditions with our children makes the holidays all the sweeter. The pies we bake, candles we light, songs we sing, and the gifts we give enrich the rhythm of this festive season. Volunteering to help those in need is another tradition we can offer to our kids. Giving our time and attention to our communities, whether we're dishing up food or singing Christmas carols, is often the best gift of all. And setting up our kids for a life of sharing and empathy is a gift we give to them and to the world they inherit.

The Top Baby Names of the Next Decade Are Here

Doesn’t everyone wish for a crystal ball during the baby naming process? Aren't we all looking for that perfectly unique but not too weird baby name? Just us?

Well, Nameberry.com just released its list of the baby names it expects to be the most popular in 2028. So get ready all you expecting parents! Pull up a chair and scroll through this futuristic list to see which baby girl and baby boy names are rising to the top in the next decade—and which are tanking. For those who have already gone through the baby naming milestone, Nameberry's list might just give you a hint as to whether or not your little Olivia or Oliver will be sitting next to half a dozen other kids who share their name come schooltime.

Disney Princess Subscription Boxes Arrive Just Before Holidays

Disney has just launched a brand-new princess subscription box filled with tiaras, tulle — and fairy tales, of course. With the holidays right around the corner, and many kids (not just ours, right?) already working up their wish lists, we suspect this latest, kid-targeted subscription service will land at the top of a few most-wanted toys' lists.

Promising to deliver this Disney magic straight to your favorite princess-loving kid’s door for either a year, six months, or month-to-month, the first boxes will make it in time for Christmas delivery, we're told.

Where To Go Thanksgiving Day: 15 Places Open for Family Fun in Los Angeles

Filling your house with family this week? Isn't it wonderful? And doesn't it make you just want to... get them all out of your house? We mean this, of course, in the nicest possible way. After all, this is sunny SoCal, and maybe your guests have traveled far to enjoy LA. Telling them where to go is just being a good host, right? Even if the family members in your home this Thursday are the same ones who are always there, knowing what's open could be invaluable—both for clearing the house to prepare the meal and for walking it off afterward. Our event calendar has the full listing of Thanksgiving day happenings, and our holiday guide has a few ideas, too; the suggestions below are 15 places you may not have realized have opening hours on the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!

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