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Los Angeles or better known by its initials LA means “The Angels” in Spanish. Los Angeles is the 2nd largest urban region and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in United States. LA offers many amazing tourist spots and activities for the whole family to enjoy.
The most obvious choice would be Disneyland where your kids will have the time of their lives. But Disneyland is a very obvious choice since LA offers more than just that; the city is beaming with vibrant and colorful cultural opportunities, grand outdoor spaces, art and more. Another reason why LA is popular among travelers is its magnificent weather almost all year round. The city has moderate temperatures, which means kids will have a lot of time enjoying the many activities under the sun.
How To Get Around Los Angeles With Kids
Los Angeles is a big city, and also tends to have very heavy traffic. Depending on where you stay, it is recommended to rent a car if you want to visit several attractions as they are far away from each other. There are buses and trains, but they are not as effective as it is in places like Europe. So, make sure to stay in a central location, use Uber and Lyft as needed in combination with public transportation or just rent a car.
Below is a detailed list of the best things to do in Los Angeles with kids:
- Universal Studios
Universal Studios attracts thousands of people every year. Visiting Universal Studios is the perfect opportunity to go behind the scenes and catch a glimpse of how movies are acted. There are several rides available too.
Disney in California is made up of two theme parks, Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Both parks are much smaller than their counterparts at Disneyworld Florida but are just as fun. You can spend one day at each park or visit both parks in one day. They are right opposite each other so getting from one park to the other won’t take long.
- Knott’s Berry Farm
- Six Flags Magic Mountain
- Pacific Park at Santa Monica Pier
Water Parks To Visit In Los Angeles With Kids
- Raging Waters San Dimas
- Soak City U.S.A.
- Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
- Buccaneer Bay at La Mirada Regional Aquatics Center
- Great Wolf Lodge
- Museum Of Contemporary Art
This is a big museum which actually covers three separate locations in LA. The main branch of this is in downtown LA. This grand revenue exhibits American and European art from the previous 75 years and more than 6000 artworks are displayed in these three locations.
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art
LACMA is considered as the best art museum for kids in LA, providing world class art in a family-oriented environment. The museum has many wonderful attractions such as the LACMA sculpture garden, Modern Art galleries, and the Boone Children’s Gallery just to mention a few.
- Getty Center
This is a place which is home of J. Paul Getty Trust which is the largest organization which is dedicated to the world of art. This center is a place of the permanent collection of amazing painting and artwork and contains various pre-20th-century art pieces too. There are also lots of fun exhibits to keep kids busy.
- Battleship USS Iowa Museum
The USS Iowa Museum is the only battleship in the West Coast that is open to the public. The museum offers a cool interactive way for kids to explore the city’s rich maritime history. The highlights of the museum activities include scavenger hunt as well as tours that are educational, at the same time really fun.
- Chinese Theater
This beautiful theater located in Los Angeles right on the Hollywood Walk of Fame features the largest IMAX screen and provides one of the best movie experiences. If you’re in Los Angeles with kids and want to watch an IMAX movie, then make sure to head there.
- Walt Disney Concert Hall
This amazing concert hall is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra. It is a beautiful building designed by well-known architect Frank Gehry. People flock here from all around the world to enjoy the best classical music.
- Bob Baker Marionette Theater
The longest-running marionette theater in the country offers the best childhood entertainment such as puppet shows. Kids of all ages will surely be delighted with the shows’ amazing art of puppetry. The Bob Baker Marionette Theater has been named a historic cultural monument by the city, and one of the best parts of the show is that kids get to enjoy free ice cream while the adults can have free coffee after the show. This is definitely one of the best things to do in Los Angeles With Kids.
Entertainment And Shows
- Hollywood Bowl
This is an amphitheater located in Hollywood Hills. If you are looking for live music shows, then this is one of the best venues. Don’t forget to check to see what shows are playing before planning your trip to Los Angeles.
Other Family Entertainment And Kids Shows In Los Angeles
- Storybook Theatre at Theatre West
- Family Theatre at Santa Monica Playhouse
- A Faery Hunt
- Creating Arts Company
- Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica
- McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica
- The Wallis Annenberg Performing Arts Center
- Segerstrom Center for the Arts
- Children’s Book World
- Books and Cookies
- The Nine O’Clock Players
- Glendale Centre Theatre
- Kidspace Children’s Museum
Kids will never run out of activities to try out at the Kidspace Children’s Museum. You can spend a whole day here, but don’t forget to bring extra clothes and towel because your kids will surely get very active at the museum. The exhibits are held outdoors but they also feature an indoor imagination workshop. The other features of the museum include interactive greenhouse, ant colony climbing structure, and also the Arroyo Adventure area. Here’s their site for more details.
- La Brea Tar Pits
La Brea Tar Pits is situated in the heart of Los Angeles and is known to have some of the most amazing fossils from around the world. The museum is displays a huge variety of fossils which includes saber-toothed cats and mammoths.
Other Children’s Museums In Los Angeles
- Zimmer Children’s Museum
- Pretend City
- Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
- Noah’s Ark at Skirball Cultural Center County
- Discovery Cube Los Angeles & Orange County
- Bowers Kidseum
- Southern California Children’s Museum in Pasadena
- La Habra Children’s Museum
- LA County Museum of Art Family Programs
- Quick Culture Tours for Kids
- California Science Center
Science can be cool at the California Science Center. Kids will surely get excited at all the features and activities in the center such as the Space Shuttle Endeavour displayed at the Samuel Oschin Pavilion. The center is a great destination for parents to introduce the world of science to their children, even those at a very young age. The California Science Center features interactive exhibits, innovative programs, live demonstrations, and awe-inspiring films. For reservations and tickets, visit their site.
- Griffith Observatory
If you are looking for a chill destination where your kids can learn about a thing or two about Science and stars, then you will surely have a good time at the Griffith Observatory. The observatory has many cool attractions such as the Hall of the Sky and Hall of the Eye; displays that are located at the ground floor, showing our relationship to the stars. The Griffith Observatory is considered as a longtime LA icon and has appeared in many popular movies. For schedules and other information, check out their site.
- Angel Flight Railway
A great adventure awaits at LA’s landmark since 1901, the Angel Flight Railway. If you want to combine a bit of history to a fun tour, then the whole family will surely have a great time with the 118-year old train cars which climb up and down the Bunker Hill located in Downtown LA. The best part is that the ride only costs a dollar for each way. The funicular ride may just be a short one but it will be a great and unique experience and will surely be one for the books. For more details, check out their site.
Other Train Museums to visit in Los Angeles With Kids
- Travel Town
- Los Angeles Live Steamers
- Griffith Park and Southern Railroad
- Lomita Railroad Museum
- San Pedro Red Cars
- Union Station Los Angeles
- Disneyland Railroad
- Orange Empire Railway Museum
- The Fairplex Garden Railroad and Rail Giants Museum
- The Calico Railroad Steam Engine at Knott’s Berry Farm
- Aquarium of the Pacific
The Aquarium offers exciting activities for all kids such as whale watching cruises, an immersive theater show at the new Pacific Visions, interaction with animals, and daily shows hosted by animal care experts. There are over 11,000 animals in the Aquarium with more than 50 exhibits. The kids can also join the feeding of colorful birds at the Lorikeet Forest. Reserve a spot at the Animal Encounters so you can have the chance to feed a sea lion and other magnificent creatures. Plan your visit by checking out their site.
- Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
- Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
- Marine Mammal Care Center
- LA Zoo
- Santa Ana Zoo
- Wildlife Learning Center
- Live Audience
Most people who visit Los Angeles look forward to being part of the audience on the live tapping of a show. These tickets are free and you can find then on 1iota. Check out TripSavvy to read more on the ins and outs of obtaining tickets.
- Universal CityWalk
If you are looking for the best place to be out and relax then nothing can be as better than the Universal CityWalk. This place is home to 30 shops, 25 restaurants, 6 nightclubs, a theater, and amazing concert venue. It is also right next to Universal Studios which is one of the best things to do in Los Angeles with kids.
- Hollywood Walk Of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is famous for compromising of over 2,600 stars embedded on the sidewalk. Don’t forget to snap a photo with the names of your favorite Hollywood Stars. Parking is hard to find here, so keep that in mind.
You can’t come to Los Angeles with kids and not visit one of the many beaches here. Do note that the beach water can be a bit cold, however most people don’t care, and you’ll notice that most of the beaches are packed, especially in the summer. Not all Los Angeles beaches have a pier, so I made sure to note the ones that do below.
- Santa Monica Pier – this pier has a small amusement park called Pacific Park making it the most kid friendly piers of all.
- Redondo Beach Pier
- Venice Boardwalk
- Santa Monica Beach
- Venice Beach
- Zuma Beach
- Leo Carillo State Park
- Redondo Beach
- Dockweiler Beach
- El Matador State Beach
- Paradise Cove Beach
- Hermosa Beach
- Malibu Lagoon State Beach
- Manhattan Beach
- Newport Beach
- Descanso Gardens
This is a beautiful garden that has leafy trees, lily ponds and roses. It is such a great place to spend the afternoon with your kids especially for a picnic. In the summer, there are plenty of family-friendly concerts. Don’t forget to check out daily story times as well as the Enchanted Railroad.
- Hollywood Sign
The Hollywood sign is one of the most iconic signs in Los Angeles and it makes for the perfect photo back drop. If you visit Los Angeles with kids and you are up for a fun hike, then make sure you add this to your list of things to do. Don’t forget to pack workout outfits for you and your kids. If you would rather hike with a group, you can book a group tour on Viator.
- Griffith Park
This amazing park consists of a huge landscape which is more than 4,210 acres. This is one of the largest municipal parks with wilderness area in the United States. You can have a picnic here, as well as go on a hike as there are plenty of family friendly hiking trails.
- LA River
The LA River may have seen its worst in the past, but it is already in the process of rejuvenation. There are so many activities at the LA River such as swimming, biking, fishing, horse riding, kayaking, and picnicking. You can also rent bikes at the Spoke Café and bike going to the Frog Spot where you can chill and even listen to live music. LA River offers a different side to the city where families can be one with nature and enjoy many fun activities.
- The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
This is a huge and amazing library that consists of plenty of rare books, a 120-acre botanical garden and over three separate art galleries. Your kids will have a blast exploring all the gardens especially the Japanese and Chinese gardens. There’s a splash pad for kids to play in and plenty other outdoor activities to keep the kids busy. Make sure to pack an extra change of clothes.
- Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden
Looking for kid friendly mini hikes, then this is the best place for you to visit in Los Angeles with kids. There are a variety of hands on activities as well as story time as well as roaming peacocks.
- Will Rogers Trail Rides at Westside Riding School
- Los Angeles Horseback Riding in Topanga Canyon
- Soul to Soul Equine Healing and Trail Rides
- Connemara Ranch at the Shalom Institute
- Malibu Riders
- Rocking K Horse Rentals
- Ocean Park Ranch
- Wagon Wheel Ranch on the Palos Verdes Peninsula
- Horse Play Rentals at Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center
- Third Street Promenade
This is a perfect place for shopaholics to visit. It is an open-air shopping mall which is houses of all of the major chain stores such as H&M, Urban Outfitters and more. You can also find amazing boutiques all around which are filled with beautiful and trendy outfits.
- Rodeo Drive
Rodeo Drive is a two mile street located in Beverly Hills that is well known for its designer and high-end shops. If you want to catch a glimpse of LA life, then you and your kids will have fun here. You can people watch, do some eye shopping and grab a meal.
Other Things To Do In Los Angeles With Kids
- Go on a whale watching tour
- Visit American Girl Place
- Take the kids to a baseball game
- Watch a basketball game at the Staples Center
- Watch a medieval show with dinner at Medieval Times
- Watch a pirate show with dinner at Pirate’s Dinner Adventure
- Go on a Warner Bros Studio Tour
- Take helicopter ride and Hollywood tour
- Visit Madame Tussaud’s
- Take A Hollywood Fun Trolley Tour
- Take a Hollywood and Beverly Hills Celebrity Home Tour in an open bus.
- Hike up to the secret swing at Elysian Park
- Check out the open air observation deck at OUE Skyspace LA
- Take a day trip to San Diego and visit Legoland, Sea World and San Diego Zoo.
- If you’re in San Diego you can add another day on and take a day trip to Tijuana. Make sure you have your passports before you cross the border.
As you can see there is are so many things to do in Los Angeles with kids, so make sure to plan enough days!