The Best Holiday Nature Walks Around Town

While Southern California may not experience a winter chill like other parts of the country, it's still possible to get into the seasonal spirit when you stroll around town. Spend time outdoors with your little ones and get active as you enjoy some of our recommended holiday nature walks.

L.A. Zoo

Combine animals, nature, and lashings of festive cheer with an evening wander around L.A. Zoo. The zoo remains open longer throughout the winter, allowing people to enjoy beautiful animal-inspired light displays. There are plenty of lights, twinkling features, colors, and projections to capture the imagination of kids of all ages. The adults are sure to be impressed too!

South Coast Botanic Garden

Botanic gardens are always top places for families looking to interact with nature, and South Coast Botanic Garden is no exception. Visit in the evenings to enjoy the lights of GLOW, a temporary seasonal exhibition throughout the gardens. Admire the scenes by the koi pond, inhale the aromatic aromas as you admire the lights throughout the lavender garden, wander through the illuminated lower meadow and take your time enjoying the magical vistas.

Griffith Park

If you're feeling extra active, wear sturdy shoes and take the kids for a late afternoon hike up Mount Lee to the iconic Hollywood Sign. As well as experiencing plenty of nature and getting a great workout you'll be rewarded by stunning views over the city. If you wait until the sun starts to go down you can also spot the city lit up beneath you. Look for shimmering Christmas trees and lights in all colors of the rainbow. Alternatively, for a more leisurely experience, take little ones for a ride on the Griffith Park Train. It's sure to inspire wonder as it winds through plenty of Christmas lights and festive decorations.

Venice Canals

Enjoy an evening walk through Venice and admire the pretty bridges all decked out in holiday lights. You can make your walk as short or as long as you like, and there are plenty of places to stop for refreshments along your route. Check the calendar and, if you time your holiday walk right, you can also watch the stunning boat parade.

Pacific Beach Pier

For a shorter holiday nature walk, visit Pacific Beach Pier. The pier shimmers and shines with vibrant lights and also boasts many wreaths and a large Christmas tree. You can also stroll along the beachfront and enjoy the views.


Head to Pomona's Fairplex to enjoy the kitsch of the Elf on the Shelf holiday display. Take a leisurely walk through the charming Christmas Village, complete with varied places to eat and shop, before marveling at the whimsical elf-themed displays. There's a trolley ride too if little feet don't want to walk too far. Extra energy to burn off? Glide around the ice-skating rink for giggles galore.

Descanso Gardens

Enchanted: Forest of Light brings lots of seasonal cheer to the pretty Descanso Gardens. Gorgeous lights and installments are spread through the diverse flora of the botanical garden, with added sound effects for even more ambiance. Arty and truly stunning, plan to spend a good amount of time enjoying the diverse displays.

L.A. County Arboretum

The magical L.A. County Arboretum is another fabulous place for a holiday nature walk. Lightscape, from Moonlight Forest, features large illuminated displays in the shadows of tall trees. Bedazzled by the blanket of pulsing lights on the main lawn, the glowing torches in the Fire Garden, and the gigantic lilies in front of Queen Anne's Cottage. Other terrific destinations for holiday fun outdoors include the lit-up Holiday Road walking trail at King Gillette Ranch, a desert hike in the snow at Joshua Tree, and snow-time adventures (catch the lift up there) at the top of Mt. Baldy.