Just a short flight or a few hour drive from Los Angeles is the town of Mammoth Lakes, nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and boasting spectacular views and fantastic ski slopes. This once sleepy town boasts some of the best skiing in California. Whether snowboarding or skiing Mammoth has plenty for everyone. To book group or private lessons, buy lift tickets or passes and rent gear check out Mammoth Mountain.
Not up for skiing? There’s so much to do with your family including the Mammoth outdoor ice rink, and Woolly’s Tube Park where you can ride the slopes in an inner tube. You can take a Snowmobile Adventure or go on a Scenic Gondola Ride or a Snowcat Tour. There’s cross country skiing too. If you’re planning a trip to Mammoth Lakes be sure to check out their event calendar for the Village. There’s always something going on.
The Village at Mammoth boasts number of great stores and family friendly restaurants. You’ll find that the prices in Mammoth Lakes are much more reasonable than some of the other ski destinations like Vail, Beaver Creek, or Aspen. I loved walking around the village stopping at local shops like Hatley for fun winter clothes for kids and PJS for adults, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Company for apres ski treats, Busy Beez General Store for bottled water and snacks for your room and McCoys for mountain gear and memorabilia from the trip! Need a little apres ski pick me up? The Village at Mammoth is home to the really cool Shelter Distillery conveniently located adjacent to Side Door Cafe and Wine Bar (they have crepes too).
Now lets talk food. I have to admit, I was non-plussed by the restaurants at the Village at Mammoth. The local Italian place Campo has a great vibe and is always crowded, my daughter loved their wood fire pizza and there’s a couple of decent pasta dishes but I wouldn’t be giving this place a glowing Yelp review. Its maybe 3 stars. The best places in the village are Smokeyard BBQ and 53 Kitchen and Cocktails. Our favorite places were nearby but not in the village including Whitebark at the Westin and Nevados. If you’re willing to drive just minutes away our friend and LA realtor Sewit Eshetu recommends Red Lantern for Chinese food or Jimmy’s for Greek food. Both have really cool ambiance and are conveniently located in the same building. The stars hanging from the ceiling and all the white lights at Jimmy’s give it a very romantic, wintery vibe.
For breakfast there’s no question where to go. Old NY Deli & Bagel Company has everything on the menu including omelettes, bagel sandwiches, breakfast burritos, pancakes, French toast and even matzo brei. If you’re staying at the Westin and don’t have time to walk over to Old NY Deli then eat at the hotel. They have incredible chilaquiles and french toast.
And do NOT miss Erick Shat’s Bakery in Bishop on Highway 395. Stop there on the way up for deli sandwiches, Shat’s famous bread and their bakery. Didn’t have time to stop? There’s Shea Shat’s in Mammoth Lakes featuring many of the Bishop location famous items but its not the same. They do, however, have the most incredible giant coconut macaroons.
Looking for coffee? There’s a Starbucks in the Village but its not your usual Angeleno Starbucks experience – its very underwhelming. There’s coffee (and tea) at Old NY Deli & Bagel Company in the village or you can try something luxurious and totally memorable at Black Velvet Coffee. This is a true coffee aficionado’s spot. A craft coffee roaster, espresso bar and wine bar, Black Velvet is where to stop. Once you’ve tried their coffee you’ll want more. Never fear you can order it online and they will ship it right away.
There’s plenty of places to stay in Mammoth Lakes. The Westin Mammoth is very family (and dog) friendly and is conveniently located at the edge of the village and just up the stairs from Mammoth Mountain and the gondola. The rooms all come with kitchenettes and larger rooms with full kitchens. There’s also the Village Lodge, Snowcreek Resort and numerous (gorgeous) houses, cabins or condos for rent in Mammoth on VRBO or Airbnb. You can also go “glamping” by checking out the listings on Glamping Hub. Wherever you stay, shop, dine or experience Mammoth Lakes, I wish you a fun family adventure!
LAURA NIX GERSON is the CEO of Nix|Gerson Media and the Founder of MomAngeles a site she launched because she was planning a lot of playdates and her friends kept asking her where to go and what to do. So it seemed easier just to put it all online in one place. In a past life Laura was a publicist, event marketer and web producer….oh wait, she still is. Laura has contributed to Modern Mom, CBS Local and Babble. Her greatest joy is story telling, sharing local finds and connecting people. Follow her @MomAngeles.