Go Play! 95 Must-Try Family Adventures in Greater Los Angeles
Think of this as the ultimate to-do list. We’ve carefully gathered 95 local adventures for greater Los Angeles families that are sure-things when it comes to fun times. Whether you’ve got itchy feet that can only be cured by a local getaway or want to know where to eat as a family and how to entertain the kiddos in a new and exciting way, we’ve got you covered. So start checking out the possibilities and checking off the tried-and-true adventures. Local fun awaits!
1. If your SoCal kid has never left the land of the sun, take them on a nearby snow trip that includes amazing views while riding an aerial tram.
2. Forget lights-camera-action…for an awesome entertainment experience, head to one of these kid-friendly live theater shows.
3. Stir up some fun and hone your kid’s culinary talents with a cooking class geared especially for little chefs.
4. Your little one is obsessed with dragons and princesses and magic spells? Thrill them with a visit to a fairy tale-inspired play place.
5. Put down the iPad and video game controllers. We’ve found amazingly scenic places to fly a kite for some good old fashioned fun.
6. Has Autumn rolled around? Celebrate the season by going apple-picking and enjoying a fun farm day.
7. Take care of your tootsies with a mommy and me nail salon experience. Think mani-pedis and bonding time wrapped up into one glorious day.
8. Looking for the best mac and cheese in town for your discerning little eater? Try the fare at Fat Cow, a family-friendly restaurant with lip-smacking food by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.
9. Take a spin on Santa Monica’s Pacific Wheel and enjoy views, sunshine, and your kiddo’s expression as you soar over the pier.
10. Savor the best treat on the Venice Boardwalk. (Psst, it’s also the best place in the area for a cup of joe…)
11. Whether you’re looking forward to a long weekend or just want to get out of the city for the day, take the family for a quick and easy day trip–the perfect mini-vacation.
12. Grab a paintbrush and get your creative juices flowing at this artistic Malibu hotspot.
13. Want a little entertainment with your dinner? We have the perfect spot for tasty food, a Little Italy atmosphere, and singing waiters straight from Broadway.
14. Go on a shopping spree at one of these awesome kids resell clothing stores. (And for an extra thrill, turn in some of your tot’s gently used clothing and gear for cash or trade!)
15. Okay, so your Date Night now includes some oh-so-adorable hangers-on. Fortunately, there are some great kid-friendly restaurants that you can enjoy as a couple, with a couple of kids in tow.
16. Observe sea life in its natural habitat at the Malibu Lagoon tide pools.
17. These century-old attractions are perennial faves of kids and adults alike. Here are six of our favorite local merry-go-rounds.
18. Drop everything and read! Little bookworms (and parents with bedtime story budgets…) will love these used bookstores that are perfect for building up your family book collection.
19. Roll out the yoga mat or grease up the baby jogger wheels–we’ve gathered up the best Mommy & Me workouts where you can have fun and feel the burn.
20. Does your little one love The Little Engine that Could and everything train? Go for a full day of exploration and excitement with these fun train rides for kids.
21. Has strawberry season rolled around again? Whether your kiddos like them in smoothies, jams, atop pancakes, sliding down shortcakes, or straight-up, here’s where you can pick your own strawberries for a sweet, healthy fix and a whole lot of fun.
22. Make some feathered friends–and even engage in a conversation or two–at the Serenity Park Parrot Sanctuary.
23. Kids love mini golf–must be something about feeling like giants next to a small-scale castle. Let them putt-putt their hearts out at one of our favorite mini-golf courses.
24. Maybe you’ve got a kiddo who needs to practice her backstroke, a daredevil who is just begging for a high dive, or a tadpole just learning to dog paddle. When your backyard splash pool just doesn’t cut it anymore, check out these clean, local, convenient community pools to take a plunge.
25. Kids love picnics. We bet you’ve been invited to half a dozen pretend picnics and tea parties on your living room floor this week alone. So, why not head scenic picnic spots to show your little ones what having a real-life picnic feels like?
26. Don’t hit the beach or park and leave your best furry buddy behind! Take the whole family–including the canine members–to these top-notch dog parks and beaches in the Los Angeles vicinity.
27. Thanks to the rotating gathering of gourmet food trucks in Santa Monica, you and the kids can enjoy tasty food, live music, and a little fresh air all at once.
28. If you’ve exhausted every water park and pool within driving distance, there’s still a few swimming spots in Los Angeles that will undoubtedly excite your little ones.
29. Treat your little nature lovers (and yourself) to an idyllic escape via a visit to the gorgeous Descanso Gardens.
30. From a path in Thousand Oaks that’s perfect for tykes on trikes to an activity-hopping path in Griffith Park, we’ve rounded up the best bike paths for little pedalers.
31. Tired of your go-to cafe? Check out our favorite buzz-worthy coffee shops that are perfect places to get a caffeine fix with a tiny entourage in tow.
32. With a cupcake shop on every corner, where can the discerning parent spend her calories wisely or find the perfect party treats? We’ve got the answer, with our list of 5 fab cupcakeries.
33. Let the kiddos enjoy a few hours of hands-on fun at a drop-in art class that will engage their imaginations and keep your own kitchen table clean.
34. Satisfy your grown-up craving for albacore while introducing the youngsters to these kid-friendly sushi spots.
35. If your kiddo loves everything under the sea but hates crowds, consider visiting one of these fun small-scale aquariums.
36. Raise a glass to these kid-friendly breweries where kids can eat a delectable meal for about the cost of a pint.
37. There’s so much more to Westwood than meets the eye–and we’ve rounded great things to see, do, and taste with the kids.
38. Is it always ‘hold the pickles’ and ‘sauce on the side’ when it comes to your kiddo’s eating habits? Never fear–we’ve gathered up the best restaurants for picky eaters, where kids can watch their food being made before their eyes.
39. For creepy-crawly fun, visit the Los Angeles Zoo’s critter-filled LAIR (Living Amphibians, Invertebrates, and Reptiles) facility.
40. If your youngster likes to boogie, go for a healthy dose of exercise and enroll her in a fun dance class.
41. Whether you have an aspiring pilot, conductor or Indy 500 driver on your hands, we’ve rounded-up the best places for your wee ones to oooh and aaah over planes, trains and cars.
42. We can’t think of kid friendlier fare than spice-infused Moroccan food. Head to one of these great Moroccan restaurants for a culinary adventure.
43. Tina Fanelli Moraccini, co-founder of Piccolo Chef in Culver City, shared with us all her favorite things about West Hollywood. Explore the neighborhood with this L.A. mama’s tips and secret spots.
44. Get outdoors and enjoy a magical Faery Hunt adventure with your little ones.
45. Once a Food Network award-winner, now a brick-and-mortar Westwood hotspot, TLT Food has found a special spot in our hearts and is definitely worth a family visit.
46. There are plenty of theaters in L.A. where babies and kiddos are welcome at special show times arranged just for moms and dads. Check out our list of family-friendly movie theaters.
47. Work in a workout and rest assured that your kids are happy, safe, and burning off energy of their own. We dug up 7 awesome local gyms with childcare.
48. Pinkies up! For a memorable and classic afternoon with the kids, try a special kid-oriented teatime.
49. Check out these great kid-friendly international markets that will help turn your little ones into intrepid explorers with adventurous palates
50. Bring a little do re mi into your wee one’s day. Here are our picks for the best music classes for L.A. kids.
51. Switch up your regular grocery shopping routine with a visit to an awesome farmers market. Stock up on fresh, locally grown produce, enjoy pony rides, listen to street musicians, and more!
52. and 53. Visit the most fun (and free!) hand-on museum in L.A. While you’re there, relive the excitement the whole city felt when a space shuttle flew overhead and take the kids to see the Endeavour up close and personal.
54. Get outside, get your blood flowing, and stroll the day away at one of our favorite stroller walks in the city.
55. For a warm weather town, we have an extraordinary love for hot cocoa. Here are our fave places to sip hot cocoa with the kids.
56. Shake up your usual playground or museum routine–try out our idea for a sweet playdate that involves good eats, hands-on fun, and a little shopping.
57. We’re loving this kid-friendly waffle food trend, so we’ve found the top kid-compatible waffle spots for you to get a sweet fix of this comfort food.
58. If you want to enroll your kid in a sport that’s not basketball, soccer, or tennis, let them work on flexibility and strike a pose with a yoga class.
59. There was a time when kids played with action figures and dolls, toys that had cranks to move and wheels to roll around. Honor the good old days by paying a visit to these fun old-fashioned toy stores.
60. Thrill your kiddo with a visit to this Paris-chic-meets-Tokyo-streets creperie. (They’ll love skipping the silverware in favor of biting into these tasty sweet and savory treats.)
61. Go for a perfect day trip to the “Danish capitol of America.” The quaint town of Solvang should be on the must-see list of every Angeleno.
62. From goats to sheep to chickens — get up close and personal with some barn yard animals and your kids will be singing Old Macdonald in no time.
63. If your regular park has become ho-hum, try one of our picks for coolest L.A. parks and playgrounds.
64. Are you dying to skip the pizza joint and go gourmand with the family? Here’s our list of the best places for fine dining with kids.
65. Take the kids to one of these nearby historical places to learn about the real roots of L.A’s storied past and see how families lived in the old town, way back when.
66. Chill out and enjoy a sno cone during all seasons at one of L.A.’s cool shave ice spots.
67. Blend everyone’s vacation demands into one fabulous family getaway at the Paradise Point Resort & Spa.
68. Appeal to the imagination of your budding fashionista with a visit to the “Costume Box” Museum.
69. Escape the city and wow your little nature lover by heading to the Huntington Botanical Gardens.
70. Whether you’ve got relatives in town or are just looking to cross some classic local outings off your to-do list, we’ve put together a list of “Only in L.A.” activities that you’ll want to keep handy.
71. Head to the Venice Canals for a family outing that has a scenic stroller walk, ducks, and pays homage beautiful Italy.
72. Let your kids go wild at a hands-on nature center.
73. We all scream for…gelato! We’ve rounded up some top-notch gelaterias, whose offerings include kid friendly flavors like chocolate and strawberry and flavors of the adult variety like wine and rum raisin.
74. Kids love exploration and we found a great day trip complete with sand, surf, and a charming beach town.
75. Bored with the same-old same-old of Santa Monica and Malibu? No worries–we’ve got just the beachside town for you to visit.
76. Escape the city’s constant hustle and bustle and this natural getaway that boasts plant collections, several historic buildings, a duck pond, a waterfall, and some pretty impressive bird watching.
77. Is it summertime in the city? We can’t think of a better way to enjoy the season and honor Tinsel Town than by taking in a kid-friendly outdoor movie.
78. On the other hand, if you’re currently experiencing L.A’s version of winter weather, try taking a spin around a fun ice-skating rink.
79. Spend some time at beachfront amusement park that’s a favorite springtime outing for many Angeleno families.
80. Nothing entices learning for a little one like interactive exhibits, cool experiments and plenty of wow factor. Check out our list of the best museums for kids in L.A.
81. Explore the vibrant, kid-friendly metropolis of downtown LA.
82. New Yorkers might think they’re tops when it comes to bagels, but we’ve got some amazing bagel shops right here in L.A. Grab the kids and the schmear and check them out!
83. No time to get away? Take advantage of these staycation ideas for day trips, overnights, and afternoons away from the home.
84. Let the kiddos taste-test the quintessential comfort food at these awesome L.A spots for grilled cheese.
84. When Spring is in the air, head out to one of these alluring family-friendly gardens that sport cool waterfalls, lakes, ponds, and even some secret tunnels.
86. Whether you’re looking for a buttery croissant, gluten-free eat, or fresh baked bread without the preservatives, we’ve picked out our fave bakeries to satisfy every craving.
87. Wrangle your herd to one of these Los Angeles-area farms to meet a goat or pick their own fruits and vegetables.
88. Sure, SoCal is known for its beaches, but it can be hard to decide where to go with the family. Cue our list of kid-friendly beaches that are sure to please.
89. If a beach trip is just too much hassle and you’re suffering from summer heat, splash around at one of these nearby water parks.
90. Kids have a hard time keeping their feet on the ground–it’s no wonder that they’re amazed by airplanes and just about everything that flies. For the height of all fun, find out where to take your plane-crazy kid.
91. Don’t be daunted by the crowds, the planning, or the lines–check out our guide to the Happiest Place on Earth.
92. Your kids will be dazzled by the very idea of this 24-hour cupcake ATM–it’s definitely worth a visit to see the robotic arm choose your cupcake, box up the delight, and deliver the mouth-watering treat.
93. Think Burning Man and youngsters don’t go together? Don’t miss our list of insider tips to make your Burning Man experience a fun-filled, kid-friendly success.
94. To your kids, it probably sounds foreign to snuggle up next to the driver’s seat and catch a flick. This summer, introduce them to the wonderful world of drive-in movies.
95. For your tot that loves to tumble, head on down to Bruin territory to watch the UCLA Women’s Gymnastics team in action.
— Abigail Matsumoto