Where to Find Snow in the Bay Area
During the holiday season, San Francisco is home to four different outdoor ice skating rinks. However, that's about as much winter weather action as there can be in the temperate City by the Bay. Luckily, San Francisco makes it easy to find your own winter wonderland in our neighboring destinations. Whichever winter activities you enjoy, we've got them. Here are our favorite places to find snow in the Bay Area.
Watch the Snow Fall
One of the best things about being so close to the mountains is having the chance to watch the snow fall from a comfortable seat inside a cozy mountain lodge.The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, with its unparalleled views, is open year-round. It features an elegant dining room, as well as a popular Sunday brunch and a heated outdoor swimming pool.
If ice skating is more your thing, don’t think that you're limited to the city rinks. The Bay Area has another option: Long Barn Lodge. It's a popular choice for skaters of all skill levels with its gorgeous mountain setting.
Ski and Snowboard
If skiing and snowboarding are what you like, head to Yosemite. The national park boasts 10 runs as well as a beginner-level terrain park and lessons for anyone who wants to get better on the slopes. Serious skiers and snowboarders will enjoy the Dodge Ridge Ski Area, as well as Stanislaus National Forest. You'll find 61 runs and over 830 acres of downhill skiing and snowboarding.
Take A Cross-Country Ski Adventure
You can also try cross-country skiing in the Bay Area. Set off across the open terrain and enjoy some 90 miles of marked trail in Yosemite National Park, or set a destination to Glacier Point and try snow-camping. It is a 21-mile round trip that brings you to some of the park’s most popular vistas. You will see Half Dome and Yosemite Valley from an incredibly unique viewpoint. Plus, you can even spend a night at Yosemite’s Glacier Point Ski Hut! The rustic lodge has a bunk area that sleeps up to 20, as well as a dining room, wood stove, and cozy lounge area.
Kids (and kids-at-heart) all enjoy snow tubing. The Yosemite Snow Tubing Area is a short drive away. You can also head to Pinecrest and visit the Leland High Sierra Snow Play. Its tubing and sledding offerings cover 12 acres. The best part is the tow ropes that carry you back up the hill.
Take A Sleigh Ride
In the winter months, you can also enjoy horse-drawn sleigh rides from Tenaya Lodge. The 45-minute adventure takes you through Yosemite’s Incense Pines and Sugar Cedars for an experience that is truly unforgettable.
Experience Winter Festivals
The Bay Area is home to several winter-themed festivals. Some of them are centered around Christmas, like the Downtown Christmas Parade in Columbia and the Sonora Christmas Craft Faire, but there are many others, such as the Taste of Yosemite, an annual culinary festival that takes place in January and February.
If you need to warm up indoors, that doesn't mean the fun must stop. Tuolumne County boasts a number of casinos, including Black Oak Casino, which features 164,000 square-feet of slot machines and table games. There's even a 24-lane bowling alley and arcade, making it an option for the whole family. North of the city, Sonoma's Graton Resort & Casino has a dizzying array of games complemented by fabulous restaurants.
Who says you can't enjoy our nearby wine country in the winter? From Dec. 1, 2018 to Feb. 3, 2019, Calistoga hosts its Winter in the Wineries program. A special passport gets visitors complimentary tastings at 17 different area wineries, including Castello di Amorosa, Chateau Montelena, and Sterling Vineyards.
Take to the Seas, or Soar in the Skies
Why not try something a little unusual this holiday? Winter is whale-watching season in Monterey. The natural setting of the bay and local conservation efforts have made the area a favorite for beautiful creatures of all kinds. Or, get a bird's-eye view in a hot air ballon in Napa. Most experience packages include a champagne brunch!
This holiday season, remember San Francisco. You can find your own winter wonderland in the Bay Area and enjoy the type of experiences that only come around once a year.