Those lazy, hot summer days seem to stretch out forever.  How on earth will you fill them?  Once you get a gander at these 50 fabulous family outings and activities, you’ll realize that summer just isn’t long enough to fit in all that LA has to offer.


photo credit: Nicole Castanada

  1. LA has three fabulous new playgrounds already this year. We can’t decide if we like the zipline at Griffith Park Playground, the snake slide at York Park or the spinning apparatus at Roxbury best… Check them out and weigh in!
  1. Go swimming by the beach, not at the beach! Pick between a pool with history at the Annenberg Beach House or protected ocean water with slides at Seaside Lagoon.
  1. Take in a free show for kids at a local park. Culver City Public Theater is doing The Golden Bird and The Dancing Princesses, so we’ve circled July 18th (the first performance) on our calendar.

Churro Borough
photo credit: Churro Burough’s facebook page

  1. Ice cream now comes in all shapes and sizes: try LA’s newest ice cream taco, ice cream churro or ice cream donut!
  1. We’ve got playground suggestions for toddling tots you need to trap, or big kids who want to explore something new.
  1. Birds of a feather squawk together. This parrot sanctuary will leave you cawing for more.
  1. Speaking of birds, your kids will quack up when you take them to these ducky spots!
  1. Reach for the stars: you can see them from this favorite free spot.

Lake Casitas Water Adventure

photo credit: Erica Groten

  1. Nothing says summer like a water park. This one is a day trip that the whole family will adore.
  1. Your favorite faeries await you in the gardens—and they’ve added cowboy and mermaid tails, er, tales, to the mix.
  1. Take your monkeys to meet another wild member of our family tree.
  1. Unless you’ve got an African safari planned this summer, this is your big chance to lie down with lions.
  1. Riddle me this: what spot with a Ferris wheel, awesome food and cool rides just got even better with a Puzzle Adventure?

grand park tuva

photo credit: Sarah Bowles

  1. Who needs the pool, when the city is full of fountains fit for a splash?
  1. Be careful not to get sand in your popcorn when you catch a movie on the beach.
  1. Right about now, you’re missing your school’s art teacher a LOT; Martha Stewart you’re not. Let them get artsy and craftsy without the mess at home at one of our favorite drop-in art spots.
  1. The painted ponies go up and down at these perennial family favorite attractions.
  1. With such beautiful weather, there’s nothing like packing up a meal to go and heading outdoors for a family picnic. Try a new spot from our list of outdoors eating spots with spectacular scenery.

Vasquez Rocks Sun - Yelp -Pure G

photo credit: Pure G. via yelp

  1. Visit another world: Santa Clarita. No wait. That was supposed to read visit another world IN Santa Clarita.
  1. Toast marshmallows over a roaring campfire with the local rangers. There’s a local park that hosts stories and s’mores on Tuesday and a different one Thursday!
  1. Summer is perfect for enjoying America’s pastime—Dodger Dogs, anyone?
  1. Is a Dodger game getting too pricey? We’ve got a bargain of a baseball adventure.
  1. This Hollywood landmark has concerts under the stars the kids will enjoy (Sing Along Sound of Music, 4th of July Fireworks, Bugs Bunny at the Bowl, to name a few), or if you’re worried about bedtime, take them to a SummerSounds morning show.

The Zoo Without Animals

photo credit: RachelObscura via Creative Commons

  1. Shakespeare for you. Old zoo monkeying around for them. Picnics and playing for all. You’ve got to see a (free) production from the Independent Shakespeare Company LA this summer. (Much Ado About Nothing and Romeo and Juliet are on tap.)
  1. Nothing says summer like freshly picked, sun kissed berries. Are you in the mood for strawberries or blueberries today?
  1. Paddle around the lotus blossoms at this local lake that features a playground, gourmet goodies and green green grass.
  1. Take a family vacation where you can ride, fish, feed the chickens and get away from it all…
  1. Just because your little ones are too small to walk doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the outdoors, too.
  1. Even in the drought, we remain the nations veggie stand. So get those kids eating their fresh veg in the summer when everything is the freshest. Here are restaurants with vegetable dishes kids flip for (really!).


photo credit: Meghan Rose

  1. Sip some wine in the shadow of an architectural gem while the kids play, food trucks serve up dinner and a DJ spins.
  1. No sitter needed for a relaxing massage. Here’s a spa where you can bring the kids.
  1. Discover a new neighborhood! May we suggest a laid back beach town, an eastside happy spot, a sushi mecca, a retro pier, a boho corner or a trip to the east (via the west)?
  1. Set sail for Catalina. Our guide will give you the most gorgeous and also adventurous vacation you can imagine, all just an hours sail away.
  1. The Zoo has a new baby kangaroo, a growing baby hippo and a new tiger named C.J. Swing by and say hi!
  1. Visit the beautiful butterflies in Exposition Park (and catch an IMAX flick while you’re there – the new Humpback Whales in 3D opens on July 3).

Green Thumb Garden Classes in LA

photo credit: Little Saplings

  1. Even if your own little plot is too small, or your thumb is too black, there are spots in LA that will teach your family how to dig in the dirt and get things growing.
  1. Visit the Little House on the Prairie location, and watch the shows with the kids! (Or check out another famous TV landmark…)
  1. Central Park has nothing on our mid-city park! With ponies, museums, a zoo, trains, hiking, playgrounds, golf and more, you can explore Griffith for days.
  1. It’s too hot to cook! Food trucks by the beach keep you cool by letting you leave the stove off for an evening, and supplying the ocean breezes (and dinner!).
  1. Pick a pavilion, any pavilion. LevittLA and Levitt Pasadena have great (free) shows for kids all summer long.
  1. See a show at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, where Sunday is Funday with family shows weekly at 11 a.m.
  1. Take a hike in the moonlight with the Tree People.


photo credit: Meghan Rose

  1. Anyone for polo? You can take in a match at the Will Rodgers polo fields for free almost every weekend in the summer.
  1. Sailing, sailing, over the bounding main; you can head out on the ocean for a Pyrate Adventure, a Whale of a time or a simple sail all from this gorgeous spot.
  1. One of our favorite museums in town has free concerts on the grounds every Friday and Saturday night.  Bring a blanket, a picnic and a pillow for when the kids tire of running around the tar pits.

Golden Road Brewing2 via Facebook

photo credit: Golden Road Brewing via facebook

  1. Whew. Summer is exhausting. You’ve earned an icy brew —here are several spots where you can enjoy one and bring the kids along, too. Beer not your thing? How about a chilled margarita?
  1. Elementary, Watson! If your little one is constantly ferreting out secrets, this new exhibit is for you.
  1. Schools out, but we still love our books. Revel in the air-conditioned, book-filled splendor of these fabulous local libraries.
  1. Take time for a mommy & me mani-pedi and show off those slick tootsies in your summer sandals.
  1. Take the kids to bounce off that energy (in the AC).

What is on your summer bucket list?

—Meghan Rose