Things to do in Los Angeles with Kids

We have had a lot of friends and family come to visit us since we moved to Los Angeles 8 years ago. When they ask us what there is to do in LA it’s hard to know where to start. There are stunning beaches, beautiful mountain ranges, museums, theatres, music venues, shopping, and incredible food. Some of our favorite Los Angeles landmarks are easy to get to and inexpensive or free like, the Getty Center in West Los Angeles or the California Science Center near the USC campus. No child ever says they’re bored because there are so many great things to do with kids in LA, from the Santa Monica Pier, to the LA Zoo, to the Natural History Museum. And of course there’s Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Magic Mountain, and Raging Waters park.

What we love most is a trip to the beach in the late summer when it’s warm and full of happy families. I could go on and on about all that I love about this city. Here is just a glimpse of all that is awesome about LA.

 

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  • Long Beach Aquarium 2 of 17
    Long Beach Aquarium
    Not technically in Los Angeles, the Long Beach Aquarium is near LA and worth the visit. Not only is it an amazing Aquarium with a Magellanic penguin exhibit, shark tanks, and an otter lagoon, but it's at a beautiful location with a view of the Queen Mary ship.
  • Olvera Street 3 of 17
    Olvera Street
    Olvera Street is the oldest street in Los Angeles and home to many vendors selling authentic (and some kitschy) Mexican goods. There are several festivals throughout the year, including the annual blessing of the animals on Easter, the Dia de Los Muertos party, or Las Posadas, the biggest celebration of the year. For 9 days people gather to celebrate Las Posadas and recreate Joseph and Mary's journal to find a place at the inn. Even if it's not a holiday, there's a lot of history to learn, food to eat, and goods to buy.
  • Beach near Santa Monica 4 of 17
    Beach near Santa Monica
    This stretch of beach (near Will Rogers State Beach) is just one of many for swimming, surfing, or just enjoying the day. The Strand bike path, not seen in this picture, stretches 22 miles along the Pacific Coastline, from Redondo Beach through Venice and Santa Monica to Pacific Palisades.
  • Dodger Stadium 5 of 17
    Dodger Stadium
    Whether or not the Dodgers are doing well, a visit to Elysian Park is always a treat. One reason is the fantastic weather in LA, and another is the great fans in Los Angeles. In this picture, kids are lining up to run the bases after a game.
  • Natural History Museum 6 of 17
    Natural History Museum
    If your child loves dinosaurs, then the Natural History Museum is a must. The museum's 35 million specimens date back 4.5 billion years. If that's not cool enough, there's the sister museum, the La Brea Tar Pits, which is the only active ice age excavation site in the world.
  • Knotts Berry Farm 7 of 17
    Knotts Berry Farm
    Knotts Berry Farm in Orange County has roller coasters, kids' rides, and Peanuts characters, but what's charming about it is the old west vibe it has going. This is a stagecoach ride at the park.
  • Los Angeles Murals 8 of 17
    Los Angeles Murals
    Los Angeles is home to more than 1,000 murals and street art. You can drive around and keep your eyes open or take a tour to find some of the best in LA.
  • Santa Monica Pier 9 of 17
    Santa Monica Pier
    The Santa Monica Pier hosts free concerts in the summer and tons of carnival fun year round. Pacific Park on the pier is home to the world's only solar powered ferris wheel.
  • California Science Center 10 of 17
    California Science Center
    The California Science Center is now home to the Space Shuttle Endeavor, only one of the many incredible attractions at this free (by donation) museum. There's so much to see here, you may need more than one day. There are many interactive exhibits, including an aquarium, a desert habitat, a bicycle highwire, and a special Discovery Room for kids ages 7 and under.
  • Hollywood Bowl 11 of 17
    Hollywood Bowl
    The Hollywood Bowl (seen here during a concert with Dave Matthews) is the place to be in the summer. Whether it's hosting a concert, the annual Sound of Music Sing-Along or the Los Angeles Philharmonic, it's always a special evening.
  • The Getty Center and Getty Villa 12 of 17
    The Getty Center and Getty Villa
    The Getty Center and the Getty Villa are both on spectacular settings with beautiful views. The Center hosts collections of European and American art from the middle ages to the present, and the Villa (pictured above) is dedicated to the study of the arts from ancient Greece and Rome. Both have incredible gardens and good cafes.
  • Los Angeles Outdoors 13 of 17
    Los Angeles Outdoors
    There are countless hiking trails in and around Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains and the Angeles National Forest (pictured here). The beautiful weather means there's hiking nearly year round.
  • Watts Tower 14 of 17
    Watts Tower
    One of the wackier sights in Los Angeles is Watts Tower in the Watts neighborhood of LA. It was built by one man over 33 years. The steel and mortar structure resembles Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia in Spain.
  • Los Angeles Zoo 15 of 17
    Los Angeles Zoo
    The Los Angeles Zoo in Griffith Park is 33 acres and incredible. There is a Gorilla Reserve, Botanical Garden, and The LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Repties) exhibit (a Gray's Monitor from the exhibit is pictured above).
  • Disney Concert Hall 16 of 17
    Disney Concert Hall
    The Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall is beautiful to see, and the acoustics inside the building make it the perfect place to hear the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
  • Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure 17 of 17
    Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure
    Disneyland. No trip to the Los Angeles area is complete without a trip to Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure

 

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