What’s open and closed in SoCal amid state’s stricter stay-home rules

The entrance of the Los Angeles Zoo
The Los Angeles Zoo closed Monday to comply with the state’s new stay-home rules.
(Los Angeles Zoo)
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It’s hard to keep track of all the new COVID-19 requirements, which include county, city and new state stay-home rules tied to ICU hospital capacity. The governor’s order went into effect Sunday in Southern California’s 11 counties and the San Joaquin Valley when hospital capacity at ICUs dipped below 15%. Bay Area counties adopted the rules prematurely in hopes of relieving pressure on hospitals as cases of COVID increase dramatically.

New state rules will last at least 21 days.

So what’s new? Public playgrounds closed again but reopened Wednesday after the state heard from angry parents and legislators.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order also forbids nonessential travel, defined as vacation or recreational travel, in counties most affected by COVID-19. Whether outdoors or indoors, you can gather only with members of your own household. Plus, hair and nail salons, and family entertainment centers will be shuttered. Retail businesses are limited to 20% capacity and 35% for grocery stores. Read more here.


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

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

These places (mostly outdoors) remain open: beaches; piers; skate parks; campgrounds; community gardens; drive-in theaters; golf courses; outdoor places of worship; hotels; batting cages; go-karts; miniature golf courses; tennis, bocce and pickleball courts; outdoor pools; and shooting and archery ranges.

These options (mostly indoors) are off the table: indoor and outdoor 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 for day use, 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 are limited to 50% capacity under the most recent rules. You’ll need to have an advance reservation before you go.


• The Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens in Griffith Park closed Monday. Info: L.A. Zoo


• 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 may 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 may 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

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, Downtown Disney District shops and restaurants such as Marceline’s Confectionary and Trolley Treats remain open; food is for takeout only and must be eaten elsewhere. COVID-19 protocols remain in place at the site.


• Knott’s Berry Farm and Soak City are closed. Knott’s is deciding whether to continue its holiday Taste of Merry Farm through Jan. 3. The on-site event features 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

California State Parks in affected areas remain open to visitors but have temporarily closed campgrounds for overnight stays. Rangers urge visitors to check in advance with individual parks or before their visit.

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.

National parks

National parks in California remain open for day use but temporarily closed campgrounds, lodgings and some dining options Monday. Southern California’s two national parks — Joshua Tree and Channel Islands — and Death Valley National Park, which is mostly in Inyo County — closed campgrounds.

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 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 hourlong kundalini yoga and meditation classes 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.

Santa Anita Park racetrack in Arcadia is closed.

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