This year, LA stands to be one of the top family destinations in America and I just had to do some digging to find out why! We’re now adding a trip to LA to next year’s travel plans and here are our Top Ten Things to do in Los Angeles with Kids.
Things to do in LA with Kids
Los Angeles: Beyond DisneyLand
Yes, even LaLa Land can be a down to earth choice for your next family vacation
The City of Angels offers some of the biggest attractions anywhere in the country and you know that Ella and I are going to spend at least half of our time in LA at DisneyLand. However, LA has a lot more to offer than DisneyLand and Hollywood celebrity sightings!
If LA is in your sights for a family vacation, I encourage you to spend at least a few days a bit off the beaten path at these unforgettable and unique stops in Los Angeles.
I also highly recommend checking out Get Away Today, a family-oriented travel agency that offers the ONLY refundable Disneyland tickets and they are often having amazing sales or deals on other local attractions, hotels and transportation – and it doesn’t cost you anything extra. (You actually usually end up saving a ton more than if you were to try to book all of these things on your own.) They are fully accredited by Disney and often offer cheaper park tickets than you can purchase directly from Disney.
Non-Disney Family Attractions in LA
For a non-stuffy introduction to art that still lets kids blow off a little steam, don’t miss the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. With galleries featuring traditional art on display, a killer sculpture garden that encourages kids to engage with the art, and family-friendly events, this is a great choice for all.
The Last Bookstore
This quirky and unique stop offers both new and used books and records, and is one of the largest independent bookstores in the country. Whether you need a quiet place to take the intensity down or you and your family simply love to read and browse vinyl, this is a can’t miss stop.
Griffith Park and Observatory
There really isn’t much you aren’t able to do in this massive park. Featuring an entire equestrian center (yes, pony rides), the LA Zoo, bird sanctuary, accessible playground, and stunning outdoor Greek Theater, Griffith Park may take you two days to fully explore. Train lovers will adore Travel Town while everyone will clamor for a ride on the historic merry-go-round. Take the time also to visit the Griffith Observatory which offers a planetarium, theater, and telescopes for scanning the skies (which is always free). When you’re ready to stretch your legs, take carefully maintained hiking trails into the hills for great viewing of the Hollywood sign.
Okay, so it’s a theme park – but we loved Universal Studios Orlando and we most definitely will be spending a day or two at Universal Studios Hollywood. It has several attractions not available at the Orlando park and Ella can never get enough Harry Potter!
La Brea Tar Pits
Now, this one sounds like a bit of an odd one but my friend Katie from Views from a Step Stool has assured me that her brother loved visiting the tar pits so I’m planning on checking it out. (If your kids dig natural history museums or dinosaurs this will probably be a hit.)
If you’re looking for an accessible beach to visit, Annenberg is perfect for families with kids of all ages. Parking is nearby and can be reserved ahead of time online, bathrooms are clean and plentiful, and there is even a playground and splash pad to enjoy.
Combine TV history with a shady walk that even the youngest ones can tackle in the middle of the city, and you’ve arrived at Bronson Canyon. Visit the bat caves where the 60’s Batman TV show was filmed and take a break from the intense sun exposure while still enjoying outdoors. Bring a picnic and don’t forget to visit the playground at the park below the caves.
MetroDemic Scavenger Hunts
If your kids love scavenger hunts, be certain to give one of these a try. Using your smart phone, you solve puzzles and clues to attempt to save the city from a deadly epidemic that will begin in 90 minutes. Explore LA like never before, test your knowledge, and learn something new.
Heritage Square Museum
While the glitz and glam of today’s LA can be over bright, understanding the history of the Southern California area, and LA specifically can help bring things back to earth a bit. Through the detailed recreations and exhibits, you’ll be transported back to life in 19th century Los Angeles.
Kids of all ages, whether they saw the movie or know the actor, will have fun exploring the star’s handprints outside the TCL Theater (formerly Grauman’s Chinese Theater). See if you can find your favorites and be surprised at who might still be missing!
We are so pumped for our LA trip – if you know of any awesome LA attractions for kids that we’ve left off of this list, please be sure to let me know!
If you’re also planning on swinging by San Francisco on your trip, be sure to check out our Best Things to do in San Francisco or if you’ll be swinging by Anaheim, check out our Must-Eat Disneyland Foods.