What you need to know!
Did a full day walking tour of LA. Our tour guide Damien was very knowledgeable and passionate about giving us all information in a clear and concise way. The tour was very well planned and organised and was not tiring.
We did the Hollywood tour and loved it! The tour was at a great pace and the guide (Vicky) was very knowledgeable and made the tour fun. Thank you
Booked the Wild Wild West To Now tour, our guide Terry was great! (He) was very knowledgeable and the tour brought us to some really cool DTLA areas we've never been to which was so much fun! Definitely worth the reasonable price. THANK YOU TERRY!
We had an Amazing Murder, Mystery & Ghost tour with Damien and Dante... thank you very much from Italian Girls... very interesting and funny… absolutely recommended!
My boyfriend and I took the Heart of Hollywood Tour and had a wonderful experience with Stuart. Really helpful for personal questions, funny, full of knowledge and a passion for Hollywood. Can't recommend this enough!
Angela took us inside some beautiful Broadway theaters, told us about LA history and was very enthusiastic about her city. The great thing was that she actually took us inside the buildings. Plus after the tour we went for the 35cent cocktails! Great tour and great guide!
I did the Historic Core Tour!!! It was an awesome walking tour and very informative even for this Angeleno!! I am downtown daily and drive past this area and never knew the history of various locations of the city!! This provides that!!
My son and I booked and completely enjoyed a private tour. We had a wonderful evening! Damien took us on a fun, informative tour. My son loves photography, and Damien did not disappoint, as he took over 300 photos!
10 Things To Do in LA with Kids
A lot of visitors to Los Angeles are coming with the family, which can often make deciding what to do a bit tricky. Do you just choose to do activities that will appeal to the parents and make the kids tag along, complaining all the time? Or do you focus on child friendly excursions that can, frankly, get a bit boring for the adults? 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 and destinations.
As you plan your trip be sure to check our blog – The Los Angeles Lowdown – where we post a monthly breakdown of the 10 best things to do in LA, which often includes family friendly activities.
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).
It’s called a museum but think of it 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.
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, opening in 2019, the Academy Museum (which will be dedicated to the arts and sciences of the movies). Between these institutions you could occupy the kids for several days.
Next on our list of things to do in LA with kids – another museum. Even better, a free one! The California Science Center is a fantastic museum 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 space shuttle Endeavour itself (which was made in Los Angeles). Right next-door to the CSC is the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, which also has several programs aimed specifically at children.
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.
6. 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.
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.
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. The theater, which opened in 1926, was one of three 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 was converted into a movie theater. Now it presents a mixture of live shows and movies, all from the Mouse Kingdom. Your little ones will love this one.
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).
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).
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.
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