Schools are out for three weeks for winter break, and if you are staying in town, the kids are not going to winter camp, and you've got to entertain them on a tight budget, we have the best list of free and cheap things to do with your kids over the winter break.
1. Go to Museums
Many LA Museums offer free admission days every month. Check our list of Free Museums days in December for all the museums that are free during the month of December.
2. Go to the Movies
See old time favorite family movies such as "Jingle All The Way", "National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation", and more at Beverly Cinemas for only $10 per person.
3. Visit a Public Library
Public libraries often offer free workshops, movies, shows and more. Most also have winter reading challenge. Log your kids' progress and earn points for reading, attending a library event, or writing a book review. It’s fun and free. Plus, when your kids reach the summit of the Winter Reading Challenge mountain, they'll earn a chance to win a family membership to Discovery Cube and more! Click here to find a library near you.
4. Check out the Holiday lights
Go see some of the wonderful Christmas displays lighting up the city. Click here to find the list of holiday lights.
5. Visit California Science Center
The California Science Center is a dynamic destination where families, adults and children can explore the wonders of science through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and awe-inspiring films. The admission to the California Science Center is always free.
6. Make Crafts at Michael's Stores
Michael's stores offer free or cheap craft classes during the winter break. Find a store near you here.
7. Participate in a workshop at Home Depot
Home Depot offers free workshops for kids ages 5-12 on the first Saturday of every month between 9 am-12 pm. Find a Home Depot near you here.
8. Visit The Grove
Each day throughout the holiday season, you can enjoy a festive brass band, drummer boys, stilt walkers, gingerbread men and toy soldiers, a cappella performances and more at The Grove. Also see "snow fall" every night at 7pm & 8pm. (If you want to avoid parking fees, take an uber).
9. Visit The Boone Children's Gallery
The Boone Children’s Gallery is a free, creative space where your kids can explore the art of East Asian brush painting. Friendly and helpful staff introduce painting techniques and offer tips.
10. Visit Noah's Ark
Visit Noah’s Ark at the Skirball for Free on Thursdays. Free Thursdays are first-come, first-served only, subject to availability Free Tickets are available at the admissions desk starting at 11:45 a.m.
11. Go to a Farmer's Market
Farmer's Markets are great places for social time, and opportunities to teach kids about healthy eating. You can also try samples at most Farmer's Markets, and maybe able to catch Santa during the last week of December at some locations. Find a Farmer's Market near you here. We also highly suggest visiting The Original Farmer's Market during your winter break.
12. Go to Travel Town
Explore dozens of old time railroad locomotives and cars, and ride a mini train. There is no admission free to Travel Town, and you can ride a mini train at a very minimal fee.
13. Visit a Fire Station
Take a tour at your local fire station. Your kids can sit in the big fire engines, take pictures and learn about fire engines. Find a Fire Station near you here.
14. Explore the Greystone Mansion
Explore this beautiful old mansion with distinctive English gardens located in Beverly Hills on a 16 acre land. Greystone mansion is free and open to public every day.
15. Visit Santa Monica Aquarium
See over 100 local species on exhibit at Santa Monica Aquarium, enjoy hands-on activities, and daily educational programs. Kids under 13 are free, and adults and kids 13+ are only $5.
16. Take a trip to a Dollar Store
Take the kids to a dollar store for a little math lesson. Tell them how much they can spend, and let them find items that don't exceed that amount. Find a store near you here.
17. Visit Cabrillo Aquarium
Explore conservation of Southern California marine life at Cabrillo Aquarium. The admission is only $5 for adults and $1 for children.
18. Go on a Tidepool Walk
December is the best time of the year for a tidepool walk to see animals in their natural habitat. Click here for calendar of events at Cabrillo Aquarium to find the best time for a tidepool walk.
19. Attend a Free Class at an Apple Store
An adventure awaits each week as kids create fun, hands-on projects at the Apple store. Designed to spark imagination and creativity, kids will explore coding, storytelling, illustration, movie making, music, and more, all for free. Find an Apple Store near you here.
20. Go to a Free Workshops at Microsoft Store
Kids ages 8 and up can learn how to code at participating Microsoft Stores that offer free Coding Workshops during Winter holidays. They will learn to use their imagination to customize their own coding projects! Find a Microsoft Store near you here.
See our event calendar to find more events during the winter break, and every day of the week.
You may also enjoy:
65 Cool Places To Explore With Kids During Winter Break
Where To See and Take Photos With Santa In And Around LA During Holiday Season
Best Places to See Holiday Lights in Los Angeles 2018