The beach in November, snowcations in Mammoth, and enough food from around the globe to ensure sophisticated palates by age 3—LA is a glorious place to be a parent. Not like you need any reminding (a holiday trip home to the Midwest should take care of that), but we wanted to take a moment to reflect on what makes our home the happiest place on earth for both kids and parents.

why we're thankful to be a parent in Los Angeles photo by Flickr user  Maxime Auger via Creative Commons

photo credit: Maxime Auger via Creative Commons

1. You don’t have to board a plane to allow your kids to immerse themselves in a new culture. Chinatown, Olvera Street, Little Tokyo and Little Ethiopia are just a freeway (or a few blocks) away.

2. The arts abound, with museums, theater, art studios, music classes or dance performances and lessons; there are a million and one ways here to cultivate your children’s artistic abilities and interests.

3. We live in a city where people are free to be who they are. Individuals and families of various cultures and walks of life all call this place home and each day is an opportunity to instill kindness, compassion and tolerance in our kids.  From Venice to WeHo to Ktown to Downtown, just visit any nook in our city to check out the awesome diversity.

4. Whether it’s at the Griffith Observatory, Hollywood Walk of Fame or The Grove shopping center, stars (human ones and the kind our kids wish upon) abound in this city known for star sightings.

5. We’ve got mountain tops and ocean views, sunsets and forests, gardens and the desert, cities and suburbs and just about everything in between. If it’s all about location, location, location— here in LA we’ve got it in spades.

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photo credit: Chaboukie

6. Shop til you drop at hip, trendy and one-of-a-kind boutiques, second hand stores where you can score designer duds for less, and even big box stores abound where you can go bulk and stock up on all those things that always seem to disappear from the diaper bag. If you want to buy it, you can find it!

7. Even in the dead of winter families can spend the afternoon pool side. Only in LA can you find people heading to the sand for the holiday staycation. Park play-dates also happen throughout the year. Struggling in and out of snowsuits?  Can’t even imagine it!

8. Here in the winter, we have sweater weather. Not parka weather, not wellington boots and thermals weather—sweater weather. Closet space is for surf boards, tennis & golf gear and sand toys, not bulky coats.

9. We don’t have to leave town to hit the theme park! Whether your kid loves the thrill of a roller-coaster at Six Flags, the chance for a dinosaur sighting at Universal Studios or they’ve got a soft spot for the mouse, you don’t have to spring for plane tix to indulge in childhood’s greatest delights.

10. People make fun of our eating habits, but we love the variety. There’s an eatery that caters to the taste buds or allergies of every member of your family. Whether you’ve got a sushi lover or a kid who will only eat mac and cheese you’re covered. Hip froyo spots and cool coffee shops are just the tip of the iceberg. Vegetarian, juice bars and gluten-free havens are on every corner. Not to mention, we’ve got our share of legendary food places.

Clover via facebook 4

photo credit: Clover via facebook

11. After a long week, few things are more relaxing than a nap. But a great manicure and pedicure come close. Nail shops are as numerous as palm readers in our city and many cater to the 10 and under crowd.  Pamper ’em young, we say!

12. Living in LA can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.  LA has loads of really cool free activities— stuff to eat and do. Whether it’s a free concert, museum or a restaurant where kids eat free, living in LA doesn’t have to break the bank.

13. Contrary to popular belief, LA peeps are not as self absorbed as some think. From donating to a local charity to dropping off food at the food bank, there are loads of ways we teach our kids to make a difference in our city—and beyond.

14. We practically invented farm to table, mostly because here the farm is never far from the table! As the fruit bowl of the nation, several farms can be found close by. On a lazy day, simply opt for a local farmers market.  There’s one on every corner, every day of the week.

15. We do complain about the traffic a bit, but we don’t even have to leave the house!  You can have milk and cookies delivered, order Thanksgiving dinner to go or have a cool class come to you.

16. It’s a great city to show your little girl some serious girl power. Women are political leaders (both CA Senators are women!), professors, activists, studio execs, business owners and holding their own in the rink.

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photo credit: Derby Dolls

17. We’re a movie town, but we love our books! With libraries galore, indie bookstores tucked around town and specialty places for kids like Books and Cookies, not to mention the annual LA Times Festival of Books, LA loves the lit.

18. LA is leading the charge in going green.  We’re all about making strides to reduce our carbon footprint and helping our kids learn how they can do the same. Recycling and upcycling may seem trendy, but here it’s also a way of life.

19. There are plenty of places to make a splash. Public pools, splash pads and water parks. Even in the drought-iest of days, you can keep it cool.

20. We still have a winter experience, just minus the freezing temps! Local malls bring out ice skating rinks and artificial (and real) snow all winter long. And you can always turn up the AC while you sip your phenomenal Hot Chocolate.

Big Gay Ice Cream

photo credit: Big Gay Ice Cream

21. While we are a rather health conscious city, we do love our sweets.  Ice cream is the new cupcake, donuts (and fonuts) rule the breakfast table and we’ve never met a macaron or salted caramel treat we wouldn’t devour.

22. But back to the health conscious thing – we’re a fit city! With awesome hiking trails, exercise classes with kids and super yoga for the whole fam, we’ve got lots of ways to get and stay fit together.

23. To drive or not to drive, that is the question. No, really!  We’ve got options. There’s actually an extensive and growing subway, trains and bus system in the city. And with more bike lanes and bike laws all the time, we’re becoming a pedal friendly place, too.

24. Not only are there tons of opportunities for kids to participate in athletics, but there are many opportunities for them to watch them. The Derby Dolls, Dodgers & Angles, Clippers & Lakers, Sparks, Kings & Ducks, the Galaxy and USC & UCLA all call this city home.  Who needs football?

25. Our city is filled with a rich history, and each day every family living here gets a chance to add to LA’s story.

What’s your story? What makes you thankful to be an LA Parent?

-Krishann Briscoe