While the "City of Angels" may be best known for Hollywood's glitz and glamour, there are also loads of attractions you and your kids will enjoy on family vacations. From laid-back beach communities to action-packed amusement parks (and everything in between!), this exciting metropolis has it all. Use this guide of things to do in Los Angeles with kids to make the most of your LA excursion.
Experience the excitement of LA through this assortment of first-rate attractions. You'll be amazed by the endless opportunities for entertainment and education at these museums, parks, and other allures.
It's one of the most popular museum destinations in California, and your kids won't want to miss out on 400,000 square feet of fun, scientific exploration. The museum keeps young ones entertained by presenting science through exhibits tied to popular culture or blockbuster movies. Plus, there are tons of hands-on activities and demonstrations in Science Court. Last, but certainly not least, you'll all leave awestruck by the 7-story IMAX theater that brings worlds "as small as an atom and as vast as the universe" to life right in front of your eyes.
When it comes to family fun, Pacific Park is your go-to destination. Located on the historic Santa Monica Pier, it's the West Coast's only pier-set amusement park. The world's only solar-powered Ferris wheel will raise your whole family to new heights-130 feet above the ocean- for a fantastic coastline view. Younger travelers love riding up, down, and around in the Crazy Submarine ride just for kids. So hop on rides, play games, and eat that carnival-style food all while soaking in Southern California's endless sunshine at this family playground.
Meet more than 11,000 ocean animals at this all-inclusive aquarium in Long Beach. Kids get closer than ever to exotic creatures of the Pacific through several fantastic exhibits. Hand-feed brilliantly colored lorikeet birds as you stroll through Lorikeet Forest, then journey over to Shark Lagoon to reach in and touch more than 150 small sharks in the shallow touch pools. At the Aquarium on the Pacific, your family will have an unbeatable interactive experience.
If your child can't wait to get a driver's license, head over to one of the world's largest and most beautiful automotive museums. You'll see hot rods, Model-T's, custom vehicles, motorcycles, celebrity cars, and even the former LA trolley system's Red Cars. The third floor of the museum is geared specifically toward kids with hands-on exhibits designed for them to climb up into the driver's seat. This 300,000-square foot museum will fascinate young children and their parents alike.
The ultimate Hollywood movie experience waits for your family at the entertainment capital of LA. Go behind the scenes on the legendary Studio Tour from the comfort of new state-of-the-art trams. Then get ready for an action-packed adventure through movie-themed rides, shows, and attractions like the famous Jurasic Park ride or The Adventures of Curious George play area for kids. Check out the Special Effects Stage and catch a showing of King Kong 360 3-D (only at Universal) for the world's largest 3-D experience. End your day at Universal CityWalk with dozens of unique restaurants and stores. A visit to Universal Studios is the icing on any LA trip.
Sometimes, the hardest part of a family vacation is finding food that everyone likes. No worries-all 5 of these restaurants boast bountiful options for kids and parents in a welcoming environment.
With an atmosphere designed for families, this Ventura Boulevard restaurant has served up exceptional kid-friendly options for decades. Art's has one of the most extensive kids' menus, spanning everything from hot dogs to meatloaf to pancakes and French toast. Coloring placemats and crayons are also available for the kids upon request. However, this restaurant is not just for kids. Those with big appetites can fill up on the triple-decker sandwich or the steak plate.
This city landmark and food stop now has 2 convenient LA locations housed in repurposed train cars. Although they specialize in hot dogs and burgers, they also offer a variety of salads and sandwiches for the healthier eater. Since 1975, Carney's owners have been dedicated to finding the freshest ingredients on the market. Rave reviews leave no doubt that this has paid off.
Inspired by California's famous Redwood trees and national parks, this 2-story restaurant is a majestic wonderland of artificial trees and streams. (Don't be fooled by the unassuming outside appearance). The home-style menu offers all the classics from the Ham and Brisket entrée to sides of whipped potatoes and baked squash. But Clifton's knows they also have younger visitors to please, which is why they offer "The Treasure Tray." This well-balanced meal for kids 12 and under offers options like spaghetti and meatballs or chicken and corn. Kids also get to choose a toy from the "Treasure Chest."
Los Angeles is packed with a variety of Mexican restaurants, but if you're traveling with hungry children, La Parrilla is the stop for you. The prices are reasonable, the atmosphere is festive, and the menu is extensive. A small kids menu for children 10 years and under includes smaller portions of simple quesadillas, enchiladas, and taquitos for a lesser price. However, the rest of the menu is anything but simple with a full range of Mexican dishes featuring the freshest ingredients and spices.
For a treat the whole family will love in a casual, neighborhood atmosphere, stop by this dessert joint. Kids will love the huge assortment of colors and flavors of gelato and sorbet, and you'll love the fresh seasonal ingredients. These frozen desserts can even be served sundae-style to create a special delight for kids. If the very lengthy flavor list (from Banana Fudge to Eggnog) doesn't thrill you, there's the option to create your own custom flavor!
Check out these free attractions for fun family adventures that won't break the bank. They offer the best of LA's history, entertainment, and scenery.
Amble on over to Paramount Ranch to experience Hollywood's version of the Wild West. Although it's actually located between Malibu and the San Fernando Valley, this "movie ranch" was built by Paramount in 1927 and has been used for filming Hollywood hits ever since. Bring your camera to take pictures of the kids on the Old West town set. You can also go hiking on one of the two easy trails and bring a picnic for a fun family daytrip.
Bask in the rays at Point Dume State Beach while the kids sprawl in the sand. This Malibu state park is the perfect nature getaway for your family with wide beaches, coastal bluffs, sand dunes, and rocky cliffs overlooking the ocean. It's quieter than most LA beaches, and there are great shallow tide pools that will impress the kids with small sea creatures. Stairways built into the bluffs make for safe access to breathtaking ocean views, so snap a few photos while you're there.
Take the kids for a ride on the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round. This historic hand-carved carousel has attracted visitors since 1937. Each of the 60 horses, decorated with jewel-encrusted bridles and painted with sunflowers and lion's heads, transports you up and down (mimicking a jumping motion) as the merry-go-round spins. The largest band organ on any West Coast carousel plays over 1500 selections of marches and waltz music, adding a truly old-world feel to this timeless pleasure.
Enjoy an afternoon at Runyon Canyon Park, a nature haven in the Santa Monica Mountains with scenic views of all of LA. As it's known for its liberal off-leash pet policy, kids will love watching the many dogs frolic alongside their owners. Pack a picnic and bring a kite for some outdoor fun and stay to watch the gorgeous West Coast sunset.
Hop on board to the Travel Town Museum and enjoy the many stationary train exhibits. Young children love to climb through the old empty trains at this Griffith Park historical site. A miniature train ride also runs around the perimeter of the facilities, providing a magical experience for kids. This low-key attraction with a gift shop on location is great for a laid back afternoon.