Thanks to this 100 things to do with kids in Los Angeles list, you’ll always have fun activities to do with the family here in good old southern CA. From essential city spots and hidden gems to plenty of only-in-LA moments, this ultimate guide has something for everyone. And it has the makings of memories that will stay in your heart (and theirs) forever. Read on for all the fun, kid-friendly activities that’ll have everyone lovin’ Los Angeles day after day.
photo: Newport Coastal Adventures via Yelp
1. Thar’ she blows! It’s officially whale-watching season now through Apr. Go catch a boat and watch the migration route for whales who are heading south down the coast to Baja.
2. Keep those New Year resolutions going by eating seasonal in-season fruit and vegetables at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, one of the biggest and best in the country.
3. Cross this off your bucket list: Walk the Enchanted Ferndell Nature Center Trail, and reward your efforts with a slice pie at Trails Café (resolutions need days off too).
4. Catch the latest flick with your babies thanks to these movie theaters that welcome kids.
5. Giddy-up and grab a horse ride at one of these equine-friendly spots.
6. Play rocket scientist with a free tour at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
7. Take a tour and see a movie at the old-fashioned movie palace that is the El Capitan.
8. History comes alive at the Los Angeles Fire Department Museum and Memorial.
9. Live out all those cowboy and cowgirl dreams (while getting a bit of history) at The Autry.
10. Just because we live in a city doesn’t mean we can’t have incredible animal encounters.
11. Poke into some history at the La Brea Tar Pits and take a roll down the grassy hill.
12. Meet the peacocks at the LA Arboretum.
13. Meet the endangered animals that make their home at the STAR Eco Station.
14. It’s what a hamburger’s all about: eat at In-N-Out Burger (bonus points for ordering off the secret menu).
photo: Union Station
15. Soak up the art deco style at Union Station and ride the rails.
16. Take a tour of Universal Studios and see how movie magic is really made.
17. Bike, walk, scooter or jog around Culver City.
18. Get your free NexGen Membership at LACMA and visit as often as you can.
19. Meet the creatures that inhabit Noah’s Ark at the Skirball Center.
photo: Roshan Nikam via flickr
20. Explore Santa Monica with our insider’s guide.
21. Have a magical brunch at The Magic Castle.
22. Hit up Smorgasburg LA to eat and drink your way through a Sun.
23. Meet the majestic wolves at the Shadowland Foundation—they’ll even eat out of your hand.
24. Take a spin on the carousels that will bring a smile to faces young and old.
photo: Jean B. via Yelp
25. Nibble a churro as you stroll down Olvera St. in the oldest part of the city.
26. Hike to an epic waterfall.
27. Have sushi in Little Tokyo and visit the Japanese American Museum that offers a free family Sat. every month with fun activities and crafts for kids.
28. See the whole city before you when you whoosh down the glass OUE Skyslide.
29. Two words: Grunion run.
30. Take young court jesters and fair maidens to the Renaissance Faire.
31. Barnsdall Park has it all: Frank Lloyd Wright’s historical Hollyhock house, free family art afternoons, amazing art classes, a cutting-edge art gallery and in the summer a Fri. night wine tasting.
32. Search for treasures at one of these top-notch flea markets.
33. Be serenaded over supper at Hollywood’s oldest Italian restaurant, Miceli’s.
34. Hike the otherworldly Vasquez Rocks. Used to stand-in as other planets for Hollywood, this area is truly out-of-this-world.
35. Horchata and churros are LA’s must-have desserts. Head to one of the best spots in LA to get your fix.
36. Visit the Children’s Garden at the Huntington Library and Gardens but don’t forget to bring a change of clothes.
37. Visit the Original Farmers Market at 3rd & Fairfax for classic LA food and live music.
photo: Andie Huber
38. Roam the gardens, the Family Room, and one of the ever-changing exhibitions at one of the most spectacular spots in the city, aka the Getty Center.
39. Make like a pirate at the Tall Ship Festival.
40. Echo Park is a hidden gem in LA and we’ve got all the reasons why.
41. BAM. POW! Make like Batman and visit the Bronson Caves.
42. Channel your inner circus performer and fly above the Santa Monica pier at Trapeze school.
photo: Sassy R. via Yelp
44. Get into nature for longer than a hike and go camping at one of these world-class spots.
45. Wands out! Send an owl post to your friends and drink a butterbeer or grab a butterbeer ice cream at Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
46. Visit our own enchanted isle where the buffalo roam and no cars are allowed: Catalina.
47. Explore the stacks at the Central Library.
photo: bettie_xo via flickr
In the Spring
49. We are known for year-round sunny days. Cool off at these splash pads and spraygrounds.
50. As Malibu recovers from the Woolsey Fire, make sure to visit and support this local treasure.
51. Ride the Enchanted Railroad and see the cherry blossoms in full bloom at Descanso Gardens.
52. Fun fact: Almost 90% of all the strawberries grown in the US are grown in California. And lucky for us we get to go pick those strawberries and eat ’em at their freshest.
53. Root for the boys in blue! Tour the coolest mid-century baseball park in the country and stay to see the Dodgers play ball!
54. LA loves to read! Visit the LA Times Festival of Books, one of the best book fests in the country.
photo: Meghan Rose
In the Summer
55. Watch a polo match at Will Rogers State Park; you can also tour Will’s house and stables and hike to see a gorgeous view of the mountains and ocean.
56. Avoid the crowds, the traffic and the late night by catching a free rehearsal at the Hollywood Bowl.
57. Bring your blankets to these outdoor movie spots and watch a film under the stars.
58. Let the kids get dirty at these hands-on nature spots.
59. Catch some free Shakespeare in the park by the Independent Shakespeare Company and The Actor’s Gang.
photo: Patrick Fore via Unsplash
In the Fall
60. Get your fall fix in and go apple picking.
61. Pick your Halloween pumpkin from LA’s best pumpkin patches.
62. Catch the world’s wackiest parade: The annual Doo-Dah Parade.
63. When you are craving a change of seasons, these parks will surely satisfy.
In the Winter
64. Who cares that we don’t have snow? Sled the LA way, at the beach, on the sand dunes.
65. Go ice skating at Pershing Square at Christmas time.
66. Check out all the Christmas lights displays in town including the oldest-in-America show, located in Altadena.
67. Take the Christmas Train to chop down your own tree on the Fillmore and Western Railroad.
68. What is the only US city to host the Olympics twice? That’s right, Los Angeles! See the Olympic flame at the Coliseum and start building anticipation for the Summer Olympics coming back to town in 2028.
69. Drive to Palm Springs for date shakes, the stunning sights in Joshua Tree and a tram trip to the snow.
70. Find the faeries in a local park with A Faery Hunt.
71. Pick the following LA food institutions to eat at for your next meal: Philippe’s, Original Tommy’s Hamburgers, Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffle, The Apple Pan, Langer’s Deli, and Original Pantry.
photo: Jean Claire G. via Yelp
72. See a show in the planetarium at the Griffith Observatory (and find out what you’d weigh on Jupiter).
73. Sip a Shirley Temple in the Munchkin hotel aka The Culver Hotel.
74. Check out these rooftop gems for some of the best views of LA.
75. Spend an evening with the roughest, toughest chicks in town: LA’s Derby Dolls.
76. Visit the Hollywood Forever Cemetery for a summer movie screening OR the Day of the Dead celebration.
photo: Salt & Straw via Facebook
77. Have an ice cream at one of the top ten ice cream shops in the area.
78. Hop over to the Bunny Museum—it’s wild, wacky and exactly what you want from a bunny museum.
79. The Kidspace Children’s Museum will showcase just how lucky we are to live in such a cool city.
80. LA nights are just as much fun as events during the day thanks to these post-sunset activities.
81. Lions, tigers, and bears can’t wait to say hello at the Los Angeles Zoo…as well as elephants, gorillas, and some loud and friendly chimpanzees.
photo: Mar Vista Art Dept.
82. Drop-in art classes not only save our sanity but our weekends as well.
83. Who says you can’t drink beer with the kids? These kid-friendly breweries are changing that.
84. Visit the Natural History Museum to see delicate Monarchs and giant dino bones.
85. Play tourist in your own town with a visit to the hand and footprints Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
86. LA is expensive. Here’s where the kids can eat for free.
87. Say hi to the seals and sea lions at Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific.
photo: Andy Castro via flickr
88. Don’t just visit Disneyland, visit like an insider with our tip-top secrets.
89. Spend the night at a museum: NHM, the Zoo, the Tar Pits, Skirball and Aquarium of the Pacific all host family sleepovers.
90. Splash in the fountain at downtown’s Grand Park.
91. Need to get out of town? These are our favorite and easiest day trips.
92. Make like the Beach Boys and take a surfing lesson.
93. Put your pinkies up for tea at the Bel Air Hotel.
94. Visit The Last Bookstore and expand your bookshelves (and mind!).
photo: Union Station
95. Take your train-obsessed kid to one of these spots to fulfill their trainspotting dreams.
96. If we’ve had rain, head to one of these epic waterfall hikes.
97. Take a dip in one of these resort pools that offer day passes.
98. Visit the amazing Watts Towers by Simon Rodia.
99. Upgrade your Instagram feed with these artistic, only-in-LA walls.
100. When the weather doesn’t cooperate (rare but possible) head to one of these awesome indoor playspaces.
Feature image: Camille H. via Yelp
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—Meghan Rose & Andie Huber