Travel

California -Christmas or March break?

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  • Jun 29th, 2018 12:28 pm
[OP]
Member
Sep 1, 2015
277 posts
96 upvotes

California -Christmas or March break?

Planning family trip with 2 college age boys for southern California mostly LA, Hollywood, Anaheim. Are limited to periods they are on break. More days Christmas than March. Looking at pros and cons.

Weather, crowds, airport traffic but number of days important too. Would like to spend 10-12 days and we live on east coast so connections through Toronto or Montreal are inevitable.

Any experiences for Christmas time to share?

Another factor is using airmiles where I can have only 3 tickets at Christmas vs 4 if we leave Feb 28(cutoff for low season). Any comments appreciated.
15 replies
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2001
18118 posts
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Christmas is a holiday that pretty much everyone (in Canada and US) has time off.
Spring Break is a "holiday" that is meant for students (and their parents who take care of them) and varies from place to place. It can take place at various weeks.

For example, here is a listing of US / Canadian post secondaries and their spring break:
https://www.cvspringbreak.com/when-is-s ... reak-2018/

Both prices the same I would choose spring break over Christmas just because attractions will be that much quieter.


In terms of weather, March is also much nicer weather.
Deal Expert
Oct 6, 2005
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Disneyland and Universal Studio will be at capacity during March Break and Christmas. When is Quebec March Break - if it's early March, crowds may not be too bad - crowds start picking up around 2nd week of March and peak around Easter Holidays for Spring Break (April).

However, other attractions should be fine, they never get too busy in L.A.

Weather is hit and miss at both times of year - it'll be quite chilly in both December and March - bring multiple layers. You won't be hitting the beach in December or March.
Deal Addict
Nov 13, 2013
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Ottawa
coolspot wrote: Disneyland and Universal Studio will be at capacity during March Break and Christmas. When is Quebec March Break - if it's early March, crowds may not be too bad - crowds start picking up around 2nd week of March and peak around Easter Holidays for Spring Break (April).

However, other attractions should be fine, they never get too busy in L.A.

Weather is hit and miss at both times of year - it'll be quite chilly in both December and March - bring multiple layers. You won't be hitting the beach in December or March.
I am pretty sure you can not notice the difference between March Break and the week before or after at any LA attractions. All of Canada doesn't have the same March Break. California kids do not have a vacation that week and they are a big percentage of visitors. They do have Xmas off of course as do all North American kids.
March weather is much better in Southern California. Usually Spring which is very pleasant t-shirt weather. Christmas is winter. Still pleasant most of the time. If it drops to 5 everyone will of course have their parkas on. You get +20 that time of year sometimes also.
Finally bonus of December is there are some nice events for Christmas in LA. It might be second only to NY for those cool traditions. The Hollywood Santa Clause Parade, outdoor skating downtown, Los Posadas (Mexican Candlelight parade) etc.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 15, 2006
9087 posts
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Toronto
We were in California (SFO-LA) in mid-late April this year. In late April, you still need to wear sweater/jackets in mornings and evenings. Of course 14C is much better than the ice/snow we still had in Toronto this mid-April.
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Jun 15, 2015
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Mississauga, ON
My sister lived in LA for a few years and I visited during both the spring (March/April around Easter) and over Christmas 2016.

It was low-upper teens when we were there very rainy (not the norm though even for December). Attractions were open (went to Magic Mountain during our trip). Universal / Disney was very busy. We stayed at a hotel (Loews of Hollywood) since we had family with us from Europe and our hotel pool (outdoor) was heated. Drove over to Vegas as well so So Cal too.

If your after better weather then ya I would go with March.
Deal Expert
Oct 6, 2005
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fogetmylogin wrote: I am pretty sure you can not notice the difference between March Break and the week before or after at any LA attractions. All of Canada doesn't have the same March Break. California kids do not have a vacation that week and they are a big percentage of visitors. They do have Xmas off of course as do all North American kids.

March weather is much better in Southern California. Usually Spring which is very pleasant t-shirt weather.
March is busy, and only gets more busy as Spring Break hits it's peak in April ... starting about the second week of March, Disneyland gets very busy. You can check the crowd calendars to confirm. I went this year to Disneyland and won't do it again - much too crowded.

As for weather, it's unpredictable, weather is nicer than Canada, but temperature swings quite wildly - i.e. a chilly 15 degrees in the morning, to a nice 25 in the afternoon, back down to 10 - 15 during the evening. If OP is expecting beach weather, they're not going to get that in March (unless there is a heat wave).
[OP]
Member
Sep 1, 2015
277 posts
96 upvotes
Not looking for beach weather(Mexico is for that). We are looking for nice weather to see the sights(Hollywood, Universal,Disneyland, etc) and hopefully not too crowded. We did Disneyworld a few years back during Christmas and it was crazy busy. 1st week of March is our break.
Deal Expert
Oct 6, 2005
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cocreg wrote: Not looking for beach weather(Mexico is for that). We are looking for nice weather to see the sights(Hollywood, Universal,Disneyland, etc) and hopefully not too crowded. We did Disneyworld a few years back during Christmas and it was crazy busy. 1st week of March is our break.
March for sightseeing is fine - just wear multiple layers. As for Disneyland and other theme parks, avoid on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday - that's when the locals visit. First week of March, it should be "quiet" (relatively speaking) as Spring Break season hasn't started yet. Undercover Tourist has a nice crowd calendar you can use to see which dates to visit the theme parks.
Deal Addict
Nov 13, 2013
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Ottawa
coolspot wrote: March is busy, and only gets more busy as Spring Break hits it's peak in April ... starting about the second week of March, Disneyland gets very busy. You can check the crowd calendars to confirm. I went this year to Disneyland and won't do it again - much too crowded.

As for weather, it's unpredictable, weather is nicer than Canada, but temperature swings quite wildly - i.e. a chilly 15 degrees in the morning, to a nice 25 in the afternoon, back down to 10 - 15 during the evening. If OP is expecting beach weather, they're not going to get that in March (unless there is a heat wave).
This seems like an accurate description of the weather but I don't think someone arriving from Halifax in March will consider 15 in the morning chilly. 25 would be a bit warmer than average but I think would qualify as beach weather though the water is far to cold to swim. Actually in some ways the weather is better than the summer as there won't be fog.
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Oct 25, 2009
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Moncton
Am I missing something? Are you saying college age as in 18 and 19 year olds? Are you sure they want to spend 2 weeks with you? 2 weeks without their girlfriends? 2 hours without their girlfriends?

And hotels in California are not cheap. Are you going to be sharing with them for 2 weeks? Also, drinking age in the USA is 21. Even without girlfriends, they might prefer being in Canada chasing semi-drunk girls their age.

Not sure what you mean by east coast, but Halifax is well connected to Eastern US airports. You can easily get to California without flying via Montreal or Toronto. Westjet might even get you there via Calgary, Edmonton or Vancouver.

Also, please do not go all the way to California for Universal or Disney when you can do that in much closer Orlando. Halifax has direct flights to Orlando in late winter and spring.
Toronto is a very small part of Canada
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Jun 15, 2015
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Mississauga, ON
cocreg wrote: Not looking for beach weather(Mexico is for that). We are looking for nice weather to see the sights(Hollywood, Universal,Disneyland, etc) and hopefully not too crowded. We did Disneyworld a few years back during Christmas and it was crazy busy. 1st week of March is our break.
Amusement parks & touristy attractions (ie. WB Studio Tour was hard to get during Christmas week as opposed to other times). Christmas week leading up to the first Monday in January after New Years Day is busy since people have time off pretty much no matter where you go in the world. I was there during that week in January and did the "touristy" things that week for that reason.

I would check crowd calendars because the US has different break times then Canada. Many US schools have "winter" break and "spring break". Therefore anything from mid-February until Easter it's SOMEONE's "school break". In Canada basically every province is off for "March Break" at the same time so far different from the US.
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Dec 27, 2009
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I would stay the F away from Anaheim (I assume you are going to Disneyland) at Christmas break and Spring Break (but especially Christmas break). Trust me on this. I LOVE Disneyland, and you couldn't pay me to be there over the Christmas break. I always pulled my kid out of school for the week and went at a more "off" time such as early December, October, etc.
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Jan 12, 2005
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How young are you kids? Just take them during the school year.
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Feb 7, 2017
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GateGuardian wrote: How young are you kids? Just take them during the school year.
First line by OP:
2 college age boys

Hence why family vacation time has to be Christmas Break or March Break

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