Who doesn’t love bowling? It’s fun for all ages, affordable and technically it’s a sport, so you can call it your exercise for the day. Bowling alleys are plentiful in LA and range from neon entertainment centers to retro lanes reminiscent of your own childhood. These spots will be right up your alley if you’ve got the time to spare for a little family adventure.
Pinz is the perfect balance of state-of-the-art, modern bowling with a kicked-back vibe. Despite the celebrity clientele, there’s no pretension of the nightclub-like lanes popping up around the city (save those spots for date night!), but this is definitely not your grandpa’s bowling alley. With 32 lanes this is one of the biggest bowling hot spots in town. Though daytime is the least busy, you can reserve your lanes online 24 hours in advance, which is handy if you want to wow your little bowlers with an evening of cosmic bowling. Because what’s more fun than chucking a heavy ball at some pins? Doing it surrounded by black lights and disco balls, with glow-in-the-dark pins, of course. Pinz also has a large arcade with a great mix of new games and retro pinball, plus everyone’s favorite: air hockey.
Details: Games are $3 per person with $3 shoe rental Mon.-Fri. from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., $6 evenings and weekends, and $9 Fri. and Sat. after 7 p.m. Shoe rental for evenings and weekends is $5 per person. Be sure to sign up for their email promotions for deals like the Family Fun package which includes 2 hours of bowling and 5 pairs of shoes for $64.99 daily before 3 p.m.
Pinz Entertainment Center
12655 Ventura Blvd.
photo: Alma V. via Yelp
Bowling is just the icing on the cake at this all-in-one entertainment center located in a Little Tokyo shopping mall. After you and your crew strike a few pins on the sleek, LED-lit lanes, you can play a round of pool or hit the massive arcade that makes you feel like you’ve entered a kids’ version of a Vegas casino. In other words: jackpot! With nearly 100 different games and redemption prizes you can spend an entire day in the arcade alone. If you really want to take things up a notch, however, give your future Voice contestants something to sing about and belt out a few Taylor Swift hits in the karaoke lounge. All that playing and singing will definitely work up your appetite; luckily they have plenty of menu options to entice your junior rollers, including mouth-watering pizzas, pasta and burgers. Or leave the alley behind and nosh on superior ramen, sushi and cream puffs in the mall.
Details: XLanes can be popular with the evening crowd downtown, so the best time to go with kids is before 5 p.m., when it’s cheaper to bowl and less crowded. Mon. – Fri. before 5 p.m., one game of bowling is $5.50 per person, Sat. & Sun. it’s $6.50. The hourly rate is $50 per hour. Shoe rental is $3 for adults, $2 for kids per game or $2 with hourly rental.
333 Alameda Street #300
photo: Eric T. via Yelp
If you’re looking for a no-frills, old school bowling experience that will remind you of being a kid, then head to Corbin Bowl. Though you won’t find LEDs and big screens here, the alley is newly renovated so while it’s kitschy, it won’t leave you running for the hand sanitizer. In addition to their 26 lanes, Corbin Bowl also has a small arcade with a fun-in-itself automated redemption prize kiosk. There’s also a snack bar with all the usual deep-fried bowling alley staples, like hot dogs and chicken strips.
Details: Rollers and bumpers are available on request and the attendant will even bring the lightest 6-pound balls directly to your lane when setting up the bumpers. Rates are $4 per person per game or $20 per hour for a lane that covers up to six people before 5 p.m. After that games are $6.50 per person or $40 per hour. Shoe rentals are $4 per person. They also have several weekend specials, like Family Night on Saturdays and Sundays from 5-7 p.m., $45 for two hours of bowling and shoe rental for 5 people.
19616 Ventura Blvd.
Go green at the city’s only solar-powered bowling alley. Besides being eco-friendly, this recently renovated alley features 30 lanes and an automated scoring system that will snap a picture of you to add to the scoreboard. Just in case your little fashionista insisted on leaving the house in flip-flops, don’t worry, you get free socks with every shoe rental. Socks are recycled by being washed and donated to the homeless. It’s a win-win! Gable House also offers a big arcade, tavern with yummy food and a laser tag arena that really ties the place together.
Details: Gable House offers hourly rates at $20 per lane Mon.-Fri. from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and $27.50 per lane evenings and weekends. If you’re already up early on the weekends, take advantage of the very low rate of $2.50 per hour on Sundays 7 a.m.-11 a.m.
22501 Hawthorne Blvd.
photo: Julio B. via Yelp
Bowlero Mar Vista
Upscale bowling is all the rage these days, but most of the glammed up alleys are targeted towards adults, boasting high-end bars and dress codes. Recently opened Bowlero in Mar Vista definitely fits the hip bowling bill, with its sleek lounge-style decor and massive screens projecting movies above the dimly lit lanes, but it also welcomes families with open arms, especially in the more kid-friendly daylight hours. Hit the lanes in the morning or early afternoon when you’re more likely to find like minded mini-bowlers and no wait times. There’s no flashy redemption arcade here, but you can give your little ones a glimpse into your childhood with the handful of pinball machines and vintage arcade games that are a dollar per play.
Details: Bowlero’s bowling prices vary and change frequently, from $5.25 per game on weekdays up to $9.99 per game on weekends, so it’s best to call in advance, another benefit of that is that you can also check lane availability. Shoe rentals are $5.99 per person.
Bowlero Mar Vista
12125 Venice Blvd.
photo: Theresa L. via Yelp
Many of the bowling alleys on our list participate in the Kids Bowl Free program, so be sure to register for the 2016 season starting in March.
Where do you like to roll with your bowling crew? Share your favorite bowling alleys in the comments!
—written by Shahrzad Warkentin