Ask almost anyone around the globe what their initial impression of Los Angeles is, and the universal consensus is that it’s a fun city –and they’re not wrong. Add kids into the mix and that fun factor skyrockets to another level! Whether you’re looking for safe outdoor places for the kids to burn off energy, or want to discover cultural or educational attractions for the whole family to enjoy together, there’s no shortage of exhilarating options to pass the time – both indoors and outdoors.
Is Los Angeles good for kids?
In short, yes! With consistently beautiful weather, beaches and wildlife nearby, and a long list of unique attractions that truly deliver on entertainment, education, and inspiration, LA simply has it all. One thing’s for sure: Your kids will never be bored in this sprawling SoCal city.
The restaurant scene is diverse and active, so you make your choices about where to take your kids. Of course there are places that are less kid-friendly than others, but in general, the city is welcoming to youngsters and expect to see them in a variety of places.
Transportation options abound. You can rent bikes and take to the beach-side bike paths, there is a subway and the train system for getting out of town a bit is just about as quick as driving. However, you may find that while there are fairly robust public transportation options, renting a car may be easiest. LA is very spread out and the different areas are diverse and wonderful to explore. To easily hop from one place to the other with your brood in tow, a personal car is probably the best way to go.
Best things to do in Los Angeles with kids
The Arts District Wall Murals
Add some color to your life with a trip to the trendy Arts District in downtown LA (aka, DTLA). Here, you can find dozens of fabulous wall murals and cool painterly creations that will undoubtedly inspire an Insta-worthy photo session for the whole family. We have a feeling that older kids, tweens and teens will likely appreciate this area more so than little ones, and be sure to check out the up-and-coming retail shops and fun eateries (like Salt & Straw Ice Cream or The Pie Hole) for a treat in the area, too.
California Science Museum
This very kid-friendly museum located at Exposition Park is a winner with its educational exhibits on life sciences, ecosystems, human innovation, and powered flight. Top billing at the Science Center goes to the Space Shuttle Endeavour, one of only four space shuttles nationwide, where visitors can have a multi sensorial experience while simultaneously learning about life in space. Admission is free, but certain exhibits and IMAX movies may require an entrance fee.
Aqua Surf School Surf Lessons
It doesn’t get more LA than an afternoon catching some waves! Book a surf lesson for your little ones and make memories while soaking up the sun in Santa Monica. Aqua Surf teaches private lessons, surf camps, team building events, and more for all ages (4 and up) and abilities, and you can rest easy knowing that this insured and certified school prioritizes both safety and education. Bonus: They also pride themselves on teaching students how to surf in two hours or less!
You could also take a picnic to one of Los Angeles' fabulous beaches.
Duff’s Cake Mix
Put your culinary talents to the test at this kid-friendly do-it-yourself cake decorating studio founded by Food Network star, Duff Goldman. With five locations throughout Los Angeles and surrounding areas, it’s never been easier to pop into an interactive experience that’s totally unique and fun for all. Duff’s Cake Mix provides absolutely everything you need to bring your cake vision to life, and may inspire some budding bakers to follow their decadent dessert dreams one day. If anything, the whole family will most definitely enjoy a few delectable treats together in a fun, lively setting.
Los Angeles Zoo
The Los Angeles Zoo is special and extraordinary, and not just because of its oceanic size. Built on 133 acres in the hills of Griffith Park, this family-friendly attraction is the place for visitors of all ages to get up close and personal to many endangered animals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and plants of different species. There’s a classic carousel and educational exhibits for kids to interact with animals, too.
Aquarium of the Pacific
Trek down to Long Beach for an unforgettable and very worthwhile visit to the Aquarium of the Pacific. This expansive site has plenty of awe-inspiring tanks filled with beautiful species of fish and stunning sea creatures, including a shark lagoon, a sea otter habitat, and interactive exhibits like an outdoor touchable area, too. Don’t miss the Lorikeet Forest exhibit, where you can feed the small, colorful birds and snap some vibrant photos, too.
Step into a stunning fairytale-like nature scene at the Descanso Gardens. This massive 160-acre botanical garden is located in La Cañada Flintridge, and features mostly forested areas with artificial streams, ponds, lawns, nine botanical collections, a miniature railroad, house museum, modern art gallery, and more. The urban retreat also boasts a redwood forest, a lake, a bird sanctuary and the largest camellia garden in the United States. There’s even programmed events like morning yoga, weekend walks, story time for kids, gardening tutorials, and annual festivals to cater to visitors of all ages.
Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens
Tucked away in the picturesque San Marino neighborhood of Los Angeles is the majestic Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens. This massive research and cultural center is immaculately maintained and surrounded by 120 acres spread across 12 specialized gardens (including a Children’s Garden, Shakespearean Garden, Japanese Garden, Rose Garden, and more), and also features the Library Exhibition Hall, the Huntington Art Gallery, a botanical conservatory, research library, and the Scott Galleries of American Art, to name a few. Tip: Admission to The Huntington is one of the free things to do in Los Angeles on the first Thursday of every month, with advance tickets.
World-famous Griffith Park is possibly the most well-known and beloved public park in all of LA and for good reason. This massive outdoor space offers over 70 miles of crisscrossed hiking and biking trails, several mountain peaks, three golf courses, and endless attractions for visitors of all ages. Kids will have a blast enjoying different playgrounds and pony rides, in addition to exploring Batman’s caves, Travel Town, The Southern Railroad, and Walt’s Barn, an old-fashioned model train museum, with collectibles and nostalgic souvenirs from Walt Disney's life and hobbies.
Los Angeles Arboretum
Frolick outside and enjoy the good weather with the kids at the Los Angeles Arboretum. Spread out over 127 acres of natural and historic wonder, this expansive outdoor oasis is the perfect place to let the kids roam and run free in a stunning and peaceful setting. There’s free parking, a hiking path, peacocks a plenty, a serene waterfall, and rare plant collections to admire, as well. Check out their updated schedule for nature and gardening classes, bird walks, cooking classes, tram tours and train rides, family field trips, outdoor concerts, and even a vast horticultural library so your family can get outside and appreciate the beauty of nature together.
Kidspace Children’s Museum
Parents love Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena because there’s an endless stream of activities to occupy kids of all ages here. Walk through the kaleidoscope entrance and dive into a world of fun and education for the whole family. This popular interactive children’s museum offers music classes and story time, and boasts both indoor and outdoor environments that will keep the kids occupied and engaged for hours on end. Expect to find a vast variety of interactive exhibits, a climbing structure, an ant hole, a rain drop tower, tricycle path, STEM play, a physics forest, and so much more.
Santa Monica Pier
Another memorable experience that can’t be missed is the Santa Monica Pier, where you can find the Pacific Park amusement park complete with a fun solar-powered Ferris wheel, a mild roller coaster, midway games, carnival rides, food and snack stands, and endless entertainment overlooking the glittering ocean. This classic pier is also home to the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium and gets busy on weekends, so keep that in mind if you’re trying to avoid crowds.
Natural History Museum
For an educational experience unlike anywhere else, make a stop at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. With nearly 35 million specimens and artifacts, this site is the largest natural and historical museum in the western United States, and offers plenty of opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. Explore the Butterfly Pavilion, Nature Gardens, Dinosaur Lab, insect exhibits, and 3D movies for a full day of awe-inspiring memories.
Underwood Family Farms
One unique way to unwind on the weekends is to head north to Moorpark and enjoy a day at Underwood Family Farms. This working farm invites guests to experience interactive activities like picking their own super fresh, locally grown produce, educational farm tours, or petting and feeding sweet animals like baby goats, sheep, ducks, alpacas, and rabbits.
There’s also no shortage of smile-inducing attractions, including a bounce house, electric train, petting corral, and mini electric tractors for a healthy dose of good wholesome fun. Underwood Family Farms makes a great day trip from Los Angeles, take a look at these other places to get out of the city a bit.
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