Did a full day walking tour of LA. Our tour guide Damien was very knowledgeable & passionate about giving us all the information in a clear & concise way. The tour was very well planned & organised & was not tiring.
We did The Real Hollywood tour & loved it! The tour was at a great pace & the guide (Vicky) was very knowledgeable & made the tour fun. Thank you!
Stuart was so knowledgeable & was worth the day with him. I had been to LA multiple times before but this is the first time I had taken a tour – so thrilled to have this experience with my mom & sister. I would recommend this tour again & again.
We had an amazing DTLA Murder Mystery Ghost tour with Damien & Dante… thank you very much from the Italian girls… very interesting & funny… absolutely recommended!
This tour was awesome! Stuart is very knowledgeable, likeable & fun. The stops on the tour were very interesting & I learned a lot. I’ve been on quite a few tours of this nature & this was one of my favorites – highly recommend!
Did a walking tour of LA (LA in a Day). Vicky started us off with the Hollywood tour & Damien (who is also the owner) was our guide for the rest of the day. The entire day was awesome, I suggest this tour. There isn’t that much walking, to be honest. It’s very fun!
My boyfriend & I took the DTLA Murder Mystery Ghost tour with Stuart as our guide & had the most amazing time! We had experiences we will never forget! We were able to see parts & people of Los Angeles that we never would have without Stuart. I give this 10/10. If we visit again, this will be at the top of our to do list!
Absolutely amazing! Highly recommend taking both The Real Hollywood Tour & the Central Downtown LA tour! Our time in LA wouldn’t have been the same. Great way to learn about the city, see it from a different angle, explore the local life & learn about its history & filming industry. Damien our guide was fantastic!
Sylvie was our host & was fantastic. She had a lot of local knowledge & gave her unique perspective as someone who had moved to the area many years ago, so she had an outsider’s as well as an insider’s perspective. The tour gave us a great overview of Santa Monica & Venice & set us up for a great rest of the day.
We took 2 tours, the Santa Monica & Venice Bike tour (with Sylvie) & the Real Hollywood tour (with Damien). Both were great & highly recommended. Sylvie & Damien were informative, knowledgeable & easy to talk to. They were like you were with friends. We were traveling as a family of 4 with 2 boys (15 & 12). We all enjoyed the tours.
10 Things to Do in LA with Kids
If you're visiting Los Angeles with the family, it can often make deciding what to do a little tricky. What are the best things to do in LA with kids? Do you choose activities that will appeal to mom and dad and make the kids tag along, complaining all the time? (Shake of the head) Or do you focus on child-friendly excursions that can, frankly, get a bit boring for the parents? (Shrug and nod) If you're honest you'll probably go for a bit of both.
Trust us, you can do way better than that. Los Angeles is a family and child friendly destination with dozens of activities and places which will be entertaining for everyone in your group. In this list of the best things to do in LA with kids we’ve tried to avoid the obvious (ahem Disneyland) and gone for some lesser known – but equally interesting – and affordable activities, experiences and destinations.
We also produce a guide to the top events happening here every month, such as screenings, festivals, exhibitions, concerts etc, at Inside LA. There are usually at least 3 or 4 which are good activities to do with the kiddo's.
Family Activities & Places of Interest in LA
1. GO TO THE BEACH
Los Angeles has some great beaches – and going to the beach should work for all the family, so this has to be first on our list of things to do in LA with kids. Because of the generally great weather here a beach day is feasible, and usually enjoyable, from April to October and even on nice days during winter.
Which beach? Santa Monica and Venice are very popular of course and our Santa Monica and Venice Bike Tour is a great way to see the area, but Manhattan Beach and, if you have a car, Malibu are nice too. Check the map below for more specific suggestions on which beaches to visit (be sure to check out El Matador Beach and the Annenberg Beach House).
2. GO TO A CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
It’s called a museum but think of Kidspace as a learning environment full of hands-on experiences and exhibits for the little ones. They’ll be occupied for hours, learning about the natural world, doing scientific experiments and trying as hard as they can to winch themselves up a pole. It’s a great, fun, safe and affordable experience for the whole family.
Another great option, if your kids love learning and books (and many do)? Los Angeles Central Public Library. They have a great children's section (in the historic part of the building) and offer numerous family-focused events, such as Los Libros Festival.
3. VISIT LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART
LACMA is one of the greatest art museums in the world. It also has a great program for families (including free membership for kids, with a plus one) that encompasses art classes, story time in the galleries and workshops.
LACMA is also in the Miracle Mile cultural quarter, which includes the La Brea Tar Pits Museum (at which they’re still discovering dinosaur fossils), the Petersen Automotive Museum and the Academy Museum (which is dedicated to the arts and sciences of film). Between these institutions you could occupy the kids for several days.
4. VISIT CALIFORNIA SCIENCE CENTER (TOP PHOTO)
Next on our list of things to do in LA with kids is another museum. A free one! The California Science Center is a fantastic spot to visit with the family. There are fighter planes to stare at, rides which mimic the experience of sitting in a rocket and blasting off into orbit and the Endeavour space shuttle (which was made in Los Angeles).
Right next-door is the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, which also has several programs that are designed for children. This neighborhood, which is also home to the main University of Southern California campus and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, is now gaining a new addition with the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art (otherwise known as the Star Wars Museum) which is beginning to take shape.
To make visiting even easier use the Metro E-Line to get here (Expo Park/USC station).
5. VISIT GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY
Everyone who visits Los Angeles should really go to the Griffith Observatory. It’s iconic. You’ve seen it in countless movies, TV shows and music videos. From the Observatory you can look down over downtown and the whole Westside almost (depending on the haze) to Century City. On top of that there is a great, free, museum inside the Observatory itself. Quite a few of the exhibits are interactive and the museum is almost the perfect size to have some serious learning heft – but small enough that you can see everything in about an hour.
We explore Griffith Park, summiting Mount Hollywood itself before finishing at the Observatory, on our Mount Hollywood Hike (Children from 7- 12 years old gain free entry).
6. GO TO THE GROVE
The Grove is a high-end outdoor mall, situated in the Fairfax District in L.A.’s Westside. It has the usual brand names, including Nordstrom, Gap and Barnes and Noble and has a movie theater. Every Thursday they organize Kids Club between 10 am and midday at one of the stores, with puppet shows, story time and other fun activities. You could follow this up with lunch at the Original Farmers Market next-door.
7. LEARN ABOUT BALLONA WETLANDS
The Ballona Wetlands is a marsh area south of Venice. Why is there a wetland area in Los Angeles? Well, the Los Angeles River used to take a right turn after passing downtown and reached the sea where Marina Del Rey is now. However in 1835 after a torrential downpour the river burst its banks and made its way down to Long Beach, carving a new route, which it has followed to this day. The wetlands that were created by this are a hugely important natural resource that we’ve only really become aware of in the last few decades.
The Friends of the Ballona Wetlands undertake very important conservation work and organise regular eductional tours of the area. Check their website to see if you can organise a trip to this little known, but very interesting, part of Los Angeles.
8. GO TO A SHOW
Everyone knows Disneyland is near Los Angeles (in Anaheim), so we don’t need to put that on any list of things to do in LA with kids, but how about visiting Disney’s main theater in Los Angeles? It’s way cheaper than Disneyland – if a lot smaller. El Capitan, which opened in 1926, was one of three theaters constructed in the area for Sid Grauman, the others being the Chinese Theatre and the Egyptian Theatre. El Capitan was intended primarily for live performances, but in 1942 it was converted into a movie theater. Now it presents a mixture of live shows and movies, all from the Mouse Kingdom.
Another fantastic option for the little ones is Bob Baker Marionette Theater. It's a wonderful organization that was started by Bob Baker in a theater near downtown in the 1960's. Now they've moved to a historic theater space in Highland Park. All their shows are quite magical. They also organize out door events several times a year, which are a lot of fun.
9. MAGIC MOUNTAIN, BABY!
Possibly the best adventure park in the Los Angeles area, Magic Mountain is in Santa Clarita about 25 miles north of Los Angeles, but you can get there on public transport. The park is enormous and has every ride that you could possibly imagine – and several that you would never have dreamt up in your wildest nightmares. If you plan ahead you can get tickets for as little as $55 (children under 2 years old are free).
10. SPEND A DAY AT KNOTTS BERRY FARM
Knotts Berry Farm started out in 1920 with Walter Knott selling berries at the side of State Route 39. After a few years he built a diner and, when that became popular, began adding various attractions to keep diners amused while they were waiting for a table. Today it’s a one hundred and sixty acre theme park in Orange County (not far from Disneyland), so things have changed a lot since those early years and it’s full of thrill rides and similar attractions. It’s a great place for a family visit and tickets can be purchased for as low as $48 (which is very reasonable for Southern California).
As you plan your trip be sure to check Inside LA – where we post a monthly breakdown of the best things to do here, which usually includes several family-friendly activities.
If you have any feedback on our list of things to do in LA with kids, or if you have some recommendations of your own, please email us and let us know. We’ll be sure to take it into account.
This map is interactive. To open in Google Maps click the icon in the top right corner.