What to do in Los Angeles Over Winter Break

By Alexa Povlitz

When students put down their pencils, return their rented textbooks, and submit their final papers on December 14, they breathe a sigh of relief. It’s finally winter break – no more tests and no more work. For those staying around USC over winter break, the time off from school is the perfect opportunity to explore Los Angeles. While LA isn’t typically thought of as a “winter destination,” this is all the more reason to see all the city has to offer – areas that may be packed during peak tourism season in the summer are equally as great in the winter, but with less crowds. If you’re looking for some things to cross off your LA bucket list this winter, check out some of my favorite destinations below.

LA Live Ice Skating Rink

Ice skating is a great winter activity, perfect for an evening out with friends. The ice skating rinks at LA Live and Pershing Square are decorated enough to make you feel like it’s the dead of winter, but you never need to wear more than a coat to feel warm enough. LA Live is just a few minutes away by public transportation or Uber, and there’s plenty to do when you hang up your skates. Grab some friends, get some dinner and watch a movie after!


It’s no secret that Los Angeles has some of the best hiking in the US. The great thing about LA is that it’s warm enough to hike year-round, and there are trails at every level. For those who prefer easier hikes, check out the famous Runyon Park trail or some of the shorter trails in Malibu State Park. The Hollywood Sign hike is iconic, but a little longer and more uphill. For those looking to push themselves, I recommend Malibu State Park – there are tons of trails with incredible views. Hiking is a great winter break holiday because it’s free and a great way to see some of the natural beauty LA offers.

Melrose Trading Post

If the price tags at the Grove are too high for your student budget – like they are for mine – hop over to the Melrose Trading Post. Open on Sundays, this flea market is hosted in the Melrose High School parking lot. It’s another great place to get gifts, or just shop for yourself! The flea market has great art, clothing, and jewelry and is close to Melrose Street, which has some of the best thrift stores in Los Angeles. Bonus – this could be a great place to get holiday sweaters for an ugly sweater-themed party!


This food truck festival originally started in Brooklyn, but it didn’t take long to find its way over to the West Coast. Smorgasburg hosts food vendors and trucks from all around Los Angeles every Sunday at the Alameda Produce Market in downtown LA. Like LA Live, this destination is close to USC so it’s very easy to check out over break. Every week there are new vendors, so I recommend doing some research before and coming with 2 – 3 vendors you really want to try. Most of the food is somewhere between the size of a snack and a meal, so don’t be afraid to try a few places.

Featured image from Wikimedia Commons

Alexa is a senior majoring in International Relations Global Business with a minor in Chinese. She has lived all around the US, in New York, San Francisco, Florida, South Carolina, and more. Alexa studied abroad in Shanghai in the spring of 2016, where she took the highest level Chinese classes. Her favorite part of studying abroad was traveling to Taiwan and other cities in Asia. On campus, she is involved in a sorority and a women in business group. Alexa also enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and watching documentaries.