What’s open and closed amid L.A. and state’s stricter COVID rules

Beachgoers are cast in silhouette on Santa Monica Beach in November 2017.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

It’s hard to keep track of all the new COVID requirements, which include county, city and now state policies. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced a strict “regional stay-at-home order” as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. The order’s provisions could go into effect as soon as Sunday in many counties, including 11 in Southern California. It’s designed to last at least 21 days. The day before, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced restrictions that mostly reinforce L.A. County rules that will last through Dec. 20.

So what’s new? Newsom’s order forbids nonessential travel, defined as vacation or recreational travel, in counties most affected by COVID-19. The Thanksgiving holiday advisory asking people to stay home and not travel has become a requirement, under this order.

Whether outdoors or indoors, you can gather only with members of your own household. Plus, hair and nail salons, playgrounds and family entertainment centers will be shuttered. Retail businesses are limited to 20% capacity. Read more here.


Here’s a quick look at what’s open and what isn’t in Southern California.

L.A. County

Public playgrounds have closed again under the new rules. Cardrooms, indoor and outdoor, are now banned. Hair and nail salons are closed too.

L.A. County rules permit these places (mostly outdoors) to be open: beaches, piers, skate parks, campgrounds, community gardens, drive-in theaters, golf courses, outdoors places of worship, hotels, batting cages, go-karts, miniature golf courses, tennis, bocce and pickleball courts, outdoor pools, shooting and archery ranges.

Under L.A. County’s restrictions, these options (mostly indoors) are off the table: restaurant dining rooms and patios (takeout is OK), arcades, bowling alleys, movie theaters, bars and distilleries (except for retail sales), nightclubs, live performance theaters and concert venues, museum, gallery and aquarium interiors, indoor places of worship, stadiums and arenas, theme/amusement/water parks (more on that later) and basketball and volleyball courts.

Face coverings and distancing in public are mandatory; public health officials urge all to wash their hands often.

Parks, trails and playgrounds



Angeles National Forest, except for areas burned in the recent Bobcat fire. California 2, Angeles Crest Highway, is closed at Red Box/Mt. Wilson Road until further notice.

San Bernardino National Forest, except for the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area, also because of recent wildfires.

•Federal and state parklands in the Santa Monica Mountains, though some picnic tables and water fountains may not be available.

•Griffith Park. Miles of hiking trails and acres of grass. Some Griffith Park features remain closed, including Griffith Observatory and Travel Town. But the park pony ride has restarted, open to children ages 1 to 14.

Elysian Park in L.A. (Most L.A.-area parks remain open.)

Franklin Canyon Park in Beverly Hills. (Picnic tables and drinking fountains are not available.)


•Hollywood’s popular Runyon Canyon Park is open with limits. Visitors may complete a one-way loop on the West Trail; the East Trail is closed.

Botanic gardens and zoos

Botanic gardens and zoos are limited to 50% capacity under the most recent rules. You’ll need to have an advance reservation before you go.


•Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reservations are required (except for members); tickets cost $15. Info: Descanso Gardens

•The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden in Arcadia is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entry 4:30 p.m.). Reservations are required; tickets cost $15 each. Members show their card and get in free. Info: The Arboretum

•South Coast Botanic Garden on the Palos Verdes Peninsula is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entry 4:30 p.m.). Reservations are required; tickets cost $15 each. Members show their card and get in free. Info: South Coast Botanic Garden

•The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanic Gardens in San Marino has its outdoor spaces open. If you want to visit, you must make a reservation (even members). Tickets cost $25 to $29 for adults; open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Indoor spaces are closed. Info: The Huntington


•The Sherman Library & Gardens in Corona del Mar also requires reservations. Its gardens are open from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; tickets cost $5. Info: Sherman Library & Gardens

•The California Botanic Garden in Claremont requires reservations too. Garden hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays; tickets/reservations cost $10. Info: California Botanic Garden

•The Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens in Griffith Park is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Timed tickets are required (even for members) and must be booked in advance; $22 for adults. Info: L.A. Zoo

Welcome to our comprehensive gift guide for the 2020 holiday season.

Oct. 30, 2020

Theme parks

Your favorite roller coasters and other rides at theme parks are closed, but Orange County parks have partially reopened for dining and shopping.

•Disneyland Resort hotels remain closed indefinitely, as do the theme parks in Anaheim. However, shops and restaurants are open in the Downtown Disney District and Disney California Adventure, with COVID-19 protocols.

•Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City are closed, but the site’s hotel and California Marketplace are open for shopping and dining options. Knott’s is hosting a Taste of Merry Farm through Jan. 3 with holiday lights and a round of food options. Tasting cards ($40 for adults and $20 for kids ages 3 to 11) for specific dates must be bought in advance. (Many December dates are sold out.)


Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita keeps rides closed but will feature Holiday in the Park Drive-Thru Experience through Jan. 3. Visitors must be from the same household, and tickets are required for each person in a vehicle. Tickets start at $25 per person for ages 3 and older; buy tickets in advance.

State parks


The vast majority of state parks in Southern California are open for day trips; some are also open for camping, including popular Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu. But rangers urge visitors to check in advance with individual parks or


These Southern California parks are fully closed: Watts Towers of Simon Rodia State Historic Park in L.A. County; Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park in Kern County; and Border Field State Historic Park in San Diego County. In addition, most state campgrounds and indoor state park facilities (including many museums) remain closed throughout California.

National parks


Southern California’s two national parks — Joshua Tree and Channel Islands — remain open, as does Death Valley National Park, which is mostly in Inyo County. Most camping in those parks remains open (although Scorpion Anchorage area on Santa Cruz Island is closed for pier construction).

Other outdoor options



Southern California ski resorts from the Wrightwood area to Big Bear Lake are open daily, with limited lifts operating. Warmer temperatures will affect the how many areas open and snow-making operations. Many snow play places are open too. You can’t buy walk-up tickets because of the pandemic; make sure you buy a lift ticket before you leave home.

•The L.A. Dodgers are celebrating their 2020 World Series championship with a holiday light festival in parking lot areas 10 and 11 from 5 to 11 p.m. most nights through Dec. 24. You’ll see light shows, LED video displays and more from within your vehicle. Tickets cost $55 to $115 per car.

Holiday lights will burn brightly despite the pandemic. Some displays at gardens have been canceled, but there are plenty of neighborhoods, from Woodland Hills to the Palos Verdes Peninsula, to drive or walk through in the next month. Here’s a list of where to go to see lights in the L.A. area.

•Hollywood Forever Cemetery will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cemetery schedules hour-long kundalini yoga and meditation class on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday mornings at 8 a.m. (weekdays) or 9 a.m. (weekends) on its Fairbanks Lawn. Pay by donation.

Forest Lawn Glendale, a cemetery that dates to 1906 and includes graves of many entertainment figures. Indoor exhibits (including the Great Mausoleum and the Great Hall of Liberty) are closed.

Sunset Ranch Hollywood, which offers horseback tours of the upper reaches of Griffith Park near the Hollywood sign, is open daily (including Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day). Prices for one- and two-hour riding tours, typically six riders per guide, are $50-$95 per person.



•Though the Santa Monica Pier is open, its Pacific Park amusement rides, Ferris wheel and merry-go-round remain closed.

•Pop-up ice rinks are canceled this year. The Holiday Ice Rink at Pershing Square in downtown L.A., Ice in Santa Monica and other rinks won’t open this year.

•The Santa Anita Park racetrack in Arcadia is closed. The track is hoping to open to racing Dec. 26, according to its website.

Reservation gaming

Many reservation casinos, citing tribal sovereignty, have reopened throughout California with a variety of pandemic health measures in place. Among them:

Pechanga (hotel is closed), Riverside County
Morongo, San Bernardino County
San Manuel, San Bernardino County