What to Do When All Your Friends Are Skiing in Tahoe


winter family fun

My husband and I are not native Californians, so it’s taken us a few years to fully grasp what we refer to as the “Tahoe Migration”. Every winter, the majority of our friends disappear on the weekends to go skiing. Ski trips intimidate us, so while we are excited for our friends who are passionate about powder, we do feel a little left out. 

The Winter season also challenges my activity creativity: rainy weather often keeps us indoors and it’s hard to make weekend plans in advance because our friends defer to the weather app to dictate their availability. 

With playdates harder to come by, I’ve cultivated a list of things to do on these winter weekends to pass the time:

Get a Museum Membership

Each year we rotate sites to mix it up. This year we have been frequent visitors to the SF Exploratorium, which leads to hours of hands-on play that our kids really enjoy. In previous years when the kids were younger, they loved Curiodyssey in San Mateo and The Discovery Museum in Marin (some of the best views of the GG Bridge, btw!). Our friends are members at the California Academy of Sciences, which is another great indoor spot. 

Take Your Kids to Wine Country

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to take your kids to Wine Country and still have a good time. We are members at Viansa, mainly because it’s one of the first wine stops and a great place to stretch our legs, grab some food, and it has some truly gorgeous views. Some of our other favorite haunts include Robledo, Larson Family Winery, and Frog’s Leap. These places all have large spaces for kids to run around, and we even bring the kids’ scooters sometimes for them to ride around in the parking lot. (Yes, we are those people!) Our kids now request Gun Bun by name because they like to go on the hike down to the lake while we enjoy a tasting or sip on a bottle of rose`. 

Take a Day Trip to Monterey

Head south and visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This is seriously one of my favorite spots, and the kids love it too. We could spend hours in the Deep Ocean exhibit and wading through all the jellyfish. Watching the sea otters eat their lunch is a favorite highlight! Plus there are great lunch and dinner options nearby before heading home. 

Frequent Your Local Indoor Playground

On the peninsula, our new favorite is Luv 2 Play in San Carlos, which is open to the public on weekends and has food, coffee, free wifi and a place for me to sit and get some work done while the kids play.

Sign Your Kids Up for Basketball

It may be too late this season, but our kids have developed a love for basketball, which is convenient because it keeps them active on the winter weekends! It might also get them in the mood for March Madness, which is around the corner. 

Enjoy the Relative Warmth of the Bay Area

On the weekends when it’s not raining and the sun is out, we feel truly blessed to live in this part of the country where winters are mild and we can be outdoors almost year-round. Take advantage of the sunshine to explore San Francisco, go visit the tidepools in Half-Moon Bay, or go for a hike or a bike ride on the Bay Trail. 

Those are our ideas, now what are yours? Share with us your favorites so we can add to our list. And Happy Winter! 

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Meredith is a transplant to the Bay Area and has fallen in love with the weather, gorgeous scenery, and plethora of local wineries. A wife and mother of two, she works part-time as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. She hails from Texas, where she attended the University of Texas and will always bleed orange. She then moved to Washington DC to attend Georgetown's School of Medicine, where she fell in love with her future husband, a fellow student, and has been happily married for almost a decade. She and her husband lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for several years for their medical training and found it the perfect place to start a family. She relocated to the Bay Area a few years ago and has quickly adapted to West Coast living. Meredith enjoys the balance of part-time working and full-time parenting and loves to write about this ongoing struggle. In her persistent drive to find more "me time", she actively pursues her interests in reading, running, soccer, baking, and wine tasting.


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