With the Republican and Democratic National Conventions this summer and the election in November, there’s no better time to get your pint-sized politicos (who have probably heard you talking politics a lot this year) super excited about the political process.  Lucky for us, So Cal is chock full of funtastic opportunities to learn more about presidential history, city government and how rockstar campaigns are born.

IMG_7129photo: Jennifer O’Brien

LA City Hall
Home to the LA mayor’s office and the LA City Council’s meeting chambers, City Hall is constantly abuzz with the town’s biggest movers and shakers trying to make change happen. All that being said, the real draw for kiddos here is the 27th floor observation deck that offers some of the most breathtaking, unobstructed 360-degree views in town. Tots will love taking in the sights, but will also get an even bigger thrill visiting the Mayor Tom Bradley Room where they can take turns behind the podium and pose for photos. A little memento to look back on when they become Prez one day—eh, mom and dad?

IMG_3397photo: Jennifer O’Brien

Bonus: It’s right across the street from Grand Park so you can make a day of it, splashing in the fountain and playing at the playground.

Parking: It’s difficult to come by. For an easier visit, take the Metro Red Line to the Civic Center/Grand Park stop and stroll over from there. Enter City Hall from the Main Street side.

LA City Hall
200 N. Spring St.
Downtown
Phone: 213-485-2121
Online: lacity.org

1907368_10152495127462158_3774428760317124577_nphoto: The Getty House via Facebook

LA Mayor’s Official Residence – The Getty House
The beautiful, tudor style Getty House in the Windsor Square district of Hancock Park has served as the official residence of the LA Mayor since the late 70s. Almost every presiding mayor since that time with the exception of Mayor Richard Riordan and Mayor James Hahn have lived at this location and opened up their home to LA community for special events during their terms. Current LA Mayor Eric Garcetti presently resides at The Getty House with his wife and two kids. We can only wonder of the Garcetti clan strolls over to nearby Larchmont Village for Salt and Straw Ice Cream on the weekends.  Whether or not they do, you can, and then walk over to get a peek at the official residence of the highest ranking elected official in LA.

The Getty House
605 S. Irving Blvd.
Windsor Square Area of Hancock Park
Online: gettyhouse.org

10987508_10155362786155171_926773564092188643_nphoto: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum via Facebook

John F. Kennedy Speech at LA Memorial Coliseum
LA’s Memorial Coliseum has been home to so many important events throughout our city’s history, but one of the most notable took place in July 1960 when John F. Kennedy made his formal acceptance speech as the Democratic Presidential nominee in front of a crowd of 80,000 people, a speech that would come to be known as “The New Frontier.” There’s even a plaque erected to President Kennedy on the coliseum wall commemorating the historic occasion. To this day, it’s the only time LA has ever hosted a party convention.

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
3939 S. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles
213-747-7111
Online: lacoliseum.com

IMG_3004photo: Jennifer O’Brien

Bernie Sanders’s Campaign Headquarters & Coffee Shop
No matter which side of the bread your political views are buttered, seeing any young and passionate campaign office in action is always a thrill for kiddos. A grassroots Sander’s group known as Bernie’s Avengers has taken over iconic Johnie’s Coffee Shop on Fairfax and Wilshire to connect Sander’s activist groups in LA. But what makes this office especially unique are the incredible Bernie-themed art installations and murals covering the coffee shop’s exterior, courtesy of various LA street artists hoping to join in the revolution. Since we’ve come to the end of the road for Sanders, we’re not sure how long “Bernie’s” Coffee Shop will be around, but it’s worth stopping by while you still can for the impressive creativity alone.

Bernie’s Campaign Headquarters & Coffee Shop
6099 Wilshire Blvd. at Fairfax
Mid-City

313426_238125749575087_366450922_nphoto: Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation via Facebook

Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library
So Cal is the only place in the country with two presidential libraries. The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library is a thrilling look at history that even the tiniest tots will enjoy. The absolute must-see is Air Force One Pavilion where kiddos get to explore the same Air Force One that flew President Reagan 660,000 miles around the globe during his time office. Tykes can channel their inner Commander-in-Chief (and fuel parents’ dreams) with a fun photo op waving atop the infamous stairs that descend from the plane. Outside the aircraft is an exhibit on presidential motorcades that features impressive presidential limousines and secret service Suburbans. The library’s other interactive exhibits are designed to keep future office holders (or just voters!) engaged (read: meltdown-free) with an up close look at the Oval Office, a piece of the Berlin Wall, and the chance to act in a movie with the old Gipper himself.

Hours: Open daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Tickets: Adults are $29, kids (aged 11-17) are $19, kids (aged 3-10) are $16, and children 2 and under are free. All tickets include admission to museum’s special exhibits.

Parking: Like our democracy, totally free!

Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library
40 Presidential Drive
Simi Valley
805-577-4008
Online: reaganfoundation.org

 

10986843_809399189114404_302577250171641157_nphoto: Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation via Facebook

Ronald Reagan Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
And while we’re talking all things Ronald Reagan, if you find yourselves in Hollywood some afternoon, be sure to take the tots by the former President’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. See kids, even actors who star in Bedtime for Bonzo can make it all the way to the White House! As the only U.S. President to ever receive a star, this fun little pitstop makes for a swell family photo op and you can even drop off a bag of jelly beans as a sweet remembrance (or even better, just eat them yourself).

Ronald Reagan’s Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
6374 Hollywood Blvd.
Between Vine St. & Cahuenga Blvd.

ophoto: Tami D. via Yelp


Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

The Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda is currently undergoing a $15 million renovation with its permanent galleries scheduled to reopen to the public on October 14, 2016. Upon completion, it will become the newest presidential museum in the nation (until Obama’s is built!), featuring nearly 70 new major exhibits, including an exact replica of President Nixon’s Oval Office where guests will be able to step inside and even take a photos sitting behind the President’s desk. Hello, holiday card! There will also be an extensive exhibit on Nixon’s historic trip to China, 30 unique multi-media experiences, original films, custom digital interactive displays, curated archival film sequences, more than 600 photographs, 8,000 square feet of wall murals and more than 300 artifacts. Better plan on staying awhile.

In the meantime, visitors can take advantage of super discounted ticket prices and still check out some exhibits that remain open and are not part of the primary galleries, including the house in which President Nixon was born, the memorial sites for President and Mrs. Nixon, the First Lady’s Gardens, Army One (the Presidential helicopter), as well as the White House East Room.

Hours: Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sundays 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Temp Ticket Prices: Adults are $6, kids (ages 7-11) are $2.50 and tots (aged 6 and under) are free.

Parking: Free

18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard
Yorba Linda
714-983-9120
Online: nixonfoundation.org

What are some of your family’s fave political hotspots and historical sites around LA? Give us a shout in the comments section.

–Jennifer O’Brien