Los Angeles

Skypark at Santa's Village: Christmas Spirit Returns to the SoCal Mountains

There's nothing like a winter day in LA, when you can see the snowy mountaintops from the traffic on the Santa Monica Freeway. It makes you want to grab a sled and head for the hills. This season brings back another way to get up there and enjoy the snow: Skypark at Santa's Village in Lake Arrowhead. Christmases may come and go, but Santa's sleigh bells keep on ringing year-round at this 230-acre, holiday-themed amusement park, which recently reopened its doors after nearly 20 years. This year's special holiday celebration kicks off November 9 and keeps jingling the bells until January 7, 2018, much to the delight of kids throughout Southern California

10 Fun Things To Do with Preschoolers and Toddlers This Week

As the unstoppable force of the holiday season picks up pace, it's a good time to enjoy the expert ability of toddlers and preschoolers to be in the moment—and enjoy some free and affordable events together.  From indoor play spaces to outdoor playgrounds, from a day in the Science Center to a day out in DTLA, we know some exceptional things to do for not-quite-school-age kiddos and their parents this week and beyond. Many of the great exhibits that began this summer come to an end in the next month or two, including the Spider Pavilion which wraps up its webs this month, so catch them now before the crowds take away your moment of Zen.

Sand Sledding: Winter Fun on the Sand Berms at Venice Beach

The berms are back!

Rumor has it that in some parts of the country sledding involves getting cold and wet. How very... un-Californian. Oh, sure, there are places near LA to go sledding on snow if that's your thing, but we're raising California kids—and that means beach sledding. Every winter a few Los Angeles area beaches get their annual sand berms—intended as protection against winter storms and violent surf. Or so they say. The real purpose is clearly to lay the groundwork for the ultimate SoCal winter sport.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Snowfest, Exploring Your Universe, Extra Hour of Sleep

Candy is brain food; know how I know? Because mere days after our collective indulgence in trickety treats, we're seeing a massive uptick in smart people science activities. We've got the land around us; we've got the power of flight. We've got projectile launching; we've got the whole giant universe at our fingertips.

In this sweet interim period (post candy corn, pre candy cane), there are other holiday observances worthy of note: Día de los Muertos gets some attention this weekend, and Veterans Day will be upon us soon. But that's it. Because it would be way too soon for anything winter.

By the way, we're very pleased with all the better-than-average parenting you've been doing, so we put in a good word for you and bam! An extra hour of sleep for you on Sunday. You can thank us with your excess brain food.

Keep reading for our brainiest picks for this weekend...

Thanksgiving Day: 10 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 10 places you may not have realized have opening hours on the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!

November GoList: Best Things To Do with LA and OC Kids This Month

When Halloween is over, that can only mean one thing: time for Santa. You get a couple of days to donate or cash in all of that Halloween candy before the advent calendars, candy canes, and Hanukkah gelt start arriving. Rip down the Halloween decorations, quick, because some of your neighbors are already prepping their amazing holiday light displays. Yes, November is the sandwich month, and we're not just talking turkey. Read on for our top November things to do in LA, Ventura, and OC. We'll keep adding to our calendar daily and sending our weekly newsletter in time for each weekend, too; with so much going on, we'll have to!

LA's Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks Pop up from Downtown to the Valleys to the Beach

One thing Angelenos love doing during the winter months is pretending that it’s winter, and the most fun way we do it is by turning parking lots and other open spaces into outdoor skating rinks for the holidays. Whether your family is trying skating for the first time, or you've got budding athletes looking for a change of scenery from indoor skating lessons, nothing says Southern California quite like the sight of kids and families in tank tops and mittens gliding merrily in the sunshine.

10 Free Things To Do Halloween Week, Beyond Trick-or-Treating

A week that brings not one but two holidays is full of options, and our favorite way to narrow those down is to focus on what's free. You don't need us to tell you that Halloween is this week, but you might appreciate knowing some free ways of celebrating beyond trick-or-treating. You probably also know that Day of the Dead (aka Día de los Muertos) is this week, but you might not know how many of those parties are free. Then again, maybe you'd just like to find some quiet fun that gives your weary wallet a break; we know a few free ways to do that this week, too. Check out our 10 free weekday picks below.

ChocXO Chocolate Tour: Is There a Willy Wonka Factory in Orange County?

The answer to this tantalizing question is yes and no—but mostly yes.

Down the 5 freeway, in a nondescript Orange County strip mall past the Irvine Spectrum, is one of SoCal's best-kept secrets. ChocXO is a bean-to-bar chocolate factory, complete with direct trade cacao beans, organic chocolate, and an on-site retail store that whips up steaming mugs of decadent hot chocolate. But most remarkable of all is that your kids can go behind the scenes and witness for themselves the magic that turns those little beans into the most revered food in their diet. It's the closest thing to Mr. Wonka's factory this side of Hershey.

Sweet Ways to Donate Your Halloween Haul to Those in Need

Got a Halloween candy hangover? Come November 1, parents across the country are wondering how they're going to get rid of all the candy their kids brought home. Some of it will be eaten, sure, but just one look at the amount of calories in an average Halloween haul and you'll want to make sure the bulk of it goes anywhere besides your family's stomachs.

There are a number of creative ways to get rid of Halloween candy, like using it for crafts or science experiments, having the Switch Witch take it in exchange for a small toy, or, you know, saving it until Easter and throwing it in the basket. (Hey, it's only six months away—how stale can that candy get?) But perhaps the best thing to do with Halloween candy is donate it. That way your kids can enjoy a truly special treat: The feeling of helping others. Here are eight charitable organizations who accept donations of unopened candy.

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