Given that the City of Angels enjoys nearly a perfect climate with only the occasional rain storm, winter in Los Angeles is a dream situation for many who don’t live and thrive here. Happily for Los Angeles families, activities of all sorts taking place outdoors and in abound in the Southland. Every member of your crew will be eager to partake, partially because these activities are all free of charge to anyone participating. The following are five of the best.
La Brea Tar Pits
5801 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Fossils are fun, especially as you discover a bunch of rare finds with your entire tribe at the legendary La Brea Tar Pits and especially when these fossils are some of the world’s most famous remainders of the Ice Age. In fact, this legendary site has hold of more than 100 tons of fossilized bones from more than 200 species of mammals, birds, reptiles and fish. All were found in sticky pools of prehistoric asphalt starting in1875 when amateur paleontologists were at work for the first time at Rancho La Brea. Now, professionals continue their work in these pits. When you visit, expect a certain nasty smell well worth inhaling for this enthralling experience.
Los Angeles Central Public Library
630 W. 5th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
There’s always something fun and free happening for everyone in your clan at Los Angeles’ iconic downtown library, from story telling to knitting lessons to computer usage. However, if you just want to navigate this library — known as the Los Angeles Central Public Library — for typical uses that don’t cost a cent but that do add to your knowledge in every way, consider its millions of resources in the form of books, audiobooks, periodicals, DVDs and CDs waiting to be checked out.
Music Box Loop
Vendome St. to Descanso Dr.
Silver Lake, CA 90039
Even if it’s true that nobody walks in LA, Angelenos do more: they climb stairs. Located in Silver Lake, these stairs are where climbers take on the 702 steps up and down with a total distance of 2.5 miles. You need to be in shape to make this mission work, but if you do you will get to know the location of the Academy Award-winning short featuring Laurel and Hardy (the pair carried a piano up and down the stairs) and produced by Hal Roach. The 1932 movie’s name is, not surprisingly, “Music Hall Loop.”
El Pueblo Historical Monument
125 Paseo de la Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90012
The oldest quarters in Los Angeles, El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument symbolizes the long and storied history of this famed metropolis. Native American, African and European pioneers traversed the desert for a thousand miles to show up in this spot that is now a big part of downtown Los Angeles but what was completely rural when the town was founded in 1781. Since then, our City of Angels has been ruled by Spain, then Mexico, and finally by the United States. Twenty-seven historic buildings are part of El Pueblo where 11 edifices are open to the public and well worth a day spending time getting to know the roots of where we love to live.
17985 Pacific Coast Hwy,
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Nobody should turn down a visit to the Getty Villa, a museum begun by the legendary oil magnate in 1974 so he could feature his artsy belongings to share with the masses — for free. All were housed in a fresh interpretation of the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum until 1997 when his decorative arts and paintings collections were relocated to the Getty Center in Brentwood. Now, the villa is new again, holding J. Paul Getty’s Mediterranean antiquities artifacts from Italy and Greece, with examples dating back to 6,500 BC. Themed rooms run the gamut, with the Timescape room mapping civilizations along with the art and statuary created in those times. Outside, carefully curated gardens surround an inviting pool. Plan on spending at least a few hours at this inspirational place; it is that fascinating!
Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist. Check out her articles on Examiner.com.