A winter staycation in Los Angeles is a cheap way for locals to enjoy family time together while the kids are out of school for the holidays. Los Angeles vacations rarely highlight cheap hot spots – this staycation guide picks up where they leave off.
Winter Staycation Road Trip: Angeles Crest Highway
There is nothing quite like the Angeles Crest Highway on a cloudy day. Drive slowly along this (often) two-lane highway and enjoy the vistas of the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel mountain range. Pack a picnic lunch and veer off at mile marker 34.2 to access the Switzer picnic area and its 22 picnic tables. Bring the hiking boots and plan on a short post-repast hike. Orient yourself by getting directions to the nearest junction with the SR2. As cheap vacations go, this activity is about as cheap as it gets.
(Free) Cultural L.A. Vacation Destination: The Getty
The J. Paul Getty Museum (a.k.a. “The Getty”) is a premier winter staycation destination. As outlined in my Getty visitor guide, the hours of operation are Tuesdays through Thursdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays the hours are extended until 9 p.m. Fine art rubs elbows with gorgeous landscapes and modernistic sculptures. This staycation stop is free to visit but there is a $15 parking fee per car (on Saturdays after 5 p.m., there is no fee!)
Hollywood Forever Cemetery: the L.A. Vacation Must-See
Although winter in sunny Southern California is rarely as drab, cold and forbidding as it is in other parts of the country – we have palm trees and azure skies year round! – there is something sobering about stopping at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery during a winter staycation.
The movie buff and hobby historian may pay homage to Rudolph Valentino, Cecil B. DeMille and Jayne Mansfield. Real life tragedies (that rocked the newspapers of the 1940s and onward) allow for a more removed evaluation through the looking glass of time. Pick a cloudy day for your visit. Hours are daily from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Staycation Staple: The Venice Beach Freakshow
Plenty of Los Angeles vacations take tourists to Venice Beach and its curiosity shops and pier attractions. During this winter staycation, do not neglect to visit the Venice Beach Freakshow! A word of caution to moms of very impressionable toddlers and those who will faint at the sight of two-headed turtles, a wide array of stuffed wildlife with extra appendages and also a few preserved human body parts or circus freaks: the $3 is money well-spent if you have the stomach for a real live freak show where tattoos and piercings rule.
L.A. Vacation/Staycation Resources:
Angeles Crest Highway: SR2
J. Paul Getty Museum at 1200 Getty Center Drive in Los Angeles, 90049
Hollywood Forever Cemetery at 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood, 90038
Venice Beach Freakshow at 909 Ocean Front Walk in Venice Beach, 90291