Local’s Guide to a Winter Weekend in Mammoth Lakes

With quick and easy direct flights to Mammoth Yosemite Airport, enjoying a winter weekend adventure in the Eastern Sierra is a must. (You can even ski for free the day you arrive when you fly from or connect through Denver or San Francisco to Mammoth Lakes.) To make the most of your getaway, here’s an insider’s guide to the best times to go skiing or snowboarding, when to pack it up for the day and where to find some delicious food and drinks while you’re here.

Winter Activities for a Saturday in Mammoth Lakes

Whether you fly or drive to Mammoth Lakes, you’ll want to be settled in by Friday night so you can get an early start on Saturday morning.

7 am – Grab Breakfast and Head to the Mountain

Although weekend mornings typically start a little later, the early bird truly gets the worm at Mammoth Mountain, especially if it’s a powder day. Get up, get dressed and grab a hot cup of coffee and a bit of breakfast from the abundance of local options.
  • Try out Mammoth Lakes’ first food truck, First Chair, which serves warm, simple breakfast fare in the Footloose Sports parking lot. The location is especially convenient if you’re picking up rentals or demos from Footloose Sports.
  • Black Velvet Coffee has some of the best brews in town, with coffee prepared in any form you could want. Breakfast here is on the lighter side, with grab-and-go pastries and hand-held waffles. All of Black Velvet’s options are Fair Trade and organic.
  • Want to wake up a little earlier and hit the slopes as soon as the lifts start spinning? Looney Bean opens bright and early at 5:45 am and offers roasted varietals and blends from around the world. Get an extra boost of energy for the slopes from the coffee shop’s variety of bagels, croissants, cookies and smoothies.
With an early wake-up call, you’ll be one of the first in line at the lifts and able to get in tons skiing or riding before many visitors are out of bed.

11 am – Beat the Crowds with an Early Lunch

Lots of skiing means you’ll be ready for an early lunch (also great to beat the crowds at your choice on-mountain dining locations). Make your way around to the backside of the mountain to check out the Outpost, where you can sit on the sun deck and enjoy a quiet, leisurely break with a grilled cheese and a beer. By the time the rest of the crowds are ready to stop for lunch, you’ll be fueled and ready to ski for a few more hours.

2 pm – Find the Perfect Spot for Après Ski

Let’s be hones, if you started skiing at first chair you most likely aren’t going to make it until last chair. And it’s okay to call it quits before your legs give in, after all, gotta save some of that strength for round two tomorrow. After a day on the slopes, you’ve earned a beer before you continue exploring the Mammoth Lakes area.
  • Mammoth Brewing Company has been producing award-winning beers since 1995. Between the brewery and tasting room there’s always plenty of seating. If you fall in love with one of the brewery’s delicious options on tap, they have growlers available so you can take more to go.
  • Distant Brewing specializes in Belgian-style ales, barrel-aged creations and sour beers that are sure to surprise the palette, making it an essential stop for beer fans. The owners brewed from home for eight years, and then spent four years brewing at their original location, Black Doubt Brewing, before opening the current location.
  • Not a beer person? That’s okay. Head over to Petra’s Bistro and Wine Bar in Alpenhof Lodge. Pick a glass from their extensive list and warm up by the large fireplace.

3 pm – Explore More of Mammoth Lakes

Saturday afternoon in Mammoth Lakes offers multiple activities, so now it’s up to you to figure out what you’re up for. You could continue exploring the outdoors, check out some local shopping or reward your tired muscles with a massage. Here are some options:
  • Still have some strength in your legs and want to continue enjoying the great outdoors? Drive down to Hot Creek and explore the geothermal vents and a leisurely walk on the nature trail.
  • Head over to The Village at Mammoth and stroll through the pedestrian street window-shopping for some retail therapy. Or head to one of these shops in town to try our goods made right here in Mammoth Lakes.
  • Book a massage at one of the day spas around town. Try the Healing Arts Center on Old Mammoth Road or Simply Massage in The Village at Mammoth.

7 pm – Grab Some Dinner

You’ve had a long day by this point, and are probably ready to chow down on some really good food. Mammoth Lakes offers everything from good old fashioned comfort food to gourmet specialty dishes. Give these options a try to replenish and unwind.
  • Giovanni’s Restaurant & Bar has some of the best pizza in town. Whether you’re going to enjoy the bar’s flat-screen televisions during a sporting event or looking for a family-friendly venue, this restaurant is sure to please. Take-out and delivery are also available.
  • Mammoth Tavern is a gastro-pub located in Old Mammoth district. Between the Tavern’s specialty handcrafted cocktails and small plates, it’s a great way to end the day and try a few different dishes.
  • Mogul Restaurant continues to hold its spot at the top with a range of delicious dining options from both land and sea, all prepared to its tastiest potential. The great service and wide selection of wine make it a good spot for a relaxing dinner.

Late Night – Check Out the Nightlife Scene

On the off chance you still have some energy and are ready for more, there are a few great late-night spots around the area that keep the fun rolling well past midnight.
  • Rafters Restaurant and Lounge features live music every weekend from both local and visiting bands with a great stage and sound system to match. If you’re looking for some good tunes, good drinks and maybe one last bite of food, give Rafters a try.
  • Lakanuki Bar & Cafe is a tiki bar with aloha vibes right in the heart of a winter wonderland. The location in The Village at Mammoth makes Lakanuki a great option for continuing the night after dinner at a restaurant in The Village at Mammoth or a beer at Clocktower Cellar across the street from The Village.

Winter Activities for a Sunday in Mammoth Lakes

8 am – Breakfast

Time to prepare for the slopes once again. However, if you enjoyed a late night, a hearty breakfast to shake off any potential of a hangover is essential. These brunch places offer a variety of classic breakfast options, as well as a few that are unique to their restaurant, and are sure to please any diner.
  • The Stove is a local favorite hole-in-the-wall, serving breakfast and lunch daily from 6:30 am until 2 pm. The restaurant’s country cooking style is to die for, but they offer healthier options as well.
  • The Good Life Café has both dine-in and take-out options and offers outdoor seating at the restaurant. Open bright and early at 6:30, the restaurant’s breakfast menu has something for everybody.
  • If you’re looking to hit the slopes early once again and want a good grab-and-go option, check out Shea Schat’s Bakery. Schat’s has everything from delicious breakfast baked goods to awesome sandwiches for lunchtime. The bakery’s fresh-squeezed juice also can’t be beaten.

10 am – Back to the Mountain (or Have an Adventure)

With a full stomach and coffee for an extra boost of energy taken care of, you’re ready for another day of skiing. Since you’ve started later, you might even have the energy to enjoy the slopes until the last chair runs. Take in all the beauty that is Mammoth Lakes. For those too wiped out for a full day on the slopes, there’s always the splendor of Convict Lake. This beautiful area offers an amazing display of Sierra Scenery. Take the Convict Lake Trail around the north side of the lake, which gets more sunshine in the winter. If you’re there when the snow is still passable, a full walk around the lake to the inlet adds up to a two-mile round trip hike.

4 pm – Grab Some Food Before You Leave

Mammoth Lakes offers a number of upscale restaurants, but sometimes those more affordable places are worth trying out. Before you hit the road and get back to real life, give one of these places a try.
  • Salsa’s Taqueria on Old Mammoth Road is smaller than most restaurants, but its authentic Mexican food cooked to order and affordable prices make Salsa’s worth the stop. The restaurant offers take-out if you want a burrito for the road instead of dining in.
  • Red Lantern on Old Mammoth Road offers all the classic Chinese staple dishes for an affordable price. Between great service, cool décor and well-made food, this location is a calm environment to chow down on large portions before you get behind the wheel.

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