It may be getting dark early, but that doesn’t mean your day of play gets cut short. Short days and long nights means a chance to deviate from typical family activities and try new things. There’s so much to do come nightfall in LA, both indoors and out, that you may even be tempted to let the kids stay up late.
photo credit: Yani S. via yelp
Hit the Lanes
If you’ve got an older kiddo, you’re likely well versed in the phenomenon known as cosmic bowling. Trouble is littles aren’t always a fan of the blaring lights and loud music. If cosmic bowling isn’t your family’s thing be sure to call and head out on a night when the lights are on.
Night owlet tips: Some bowling allies, such as Jewel City Bowl, will allow you to make reservations and even order food online days in advance.
Jewel City Bowl
135 S Glendale Ave., Glendale
Go For A Hike
Get a glimpse of nature at night when you go for a hike lit by the moon’s glow! Tree People is known for their moonlight hikes – a fun way to experience Coldwater Canyon, and take in amazing views of the Valley, in a whole new (and dimmer) light. Dress in layers and bring water and a flashlight. And be sure to listen for the owls–hearing them is sure to be a hoot.
Night owlet tips: No need to worry about hiking with little ones; these hikes are designed for everyone in the family (well, almost everyone, as you’ll have to leave Fido at home) with the “short/youth” hike option that has lots of stops, as well as medium and long options.
12601 Mulholland Dr, Beverly Hills
photo credit: Rey L via yelp
Your living room couch isn’t the only place to enjoy family movie night. Visit the historic El Capitan Theater for a movie complete with pre-show entertainment. They also often have prop and costume exhibits to check out, too. But, if sitting in a theater doesn’t sound appealing there’s always your car. Vineland Drive-in and Swap Meet is proof that drive-in theaters do still exist. Pack up dinner or snacks (or opt to visit the concession stand), adjust your car stereo and let your kids see how movies were watched in the good old days.
Night owlet tips: Vineland Drive-In is known for their double features — two movies in one night?! A cinema loving kid’s dream come true.
El Capitan Theater
6838 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
Vineland Drive-in and Swap Meet
443 N. Vineland Ave., City of Industry
Laser tag is a fun activity for older kids but even some younger kids like joining in on the excitement. It’s sort of like playing hide and seek amidst fog and laser lights. While some places have a height requirement, others have an age requirement, so be sure to keep that in mind when selecting a place. Parents love Ultra Zone in Sherman Oaks for their great customer service and the arcade. Of course, being located on the boulevard next near tons of great eateries helps, too.
Night owlet tips: Given the fact that laser tag caters to kids of all ages (and adults) we recommend making it a family affair and joining in on the fun, especially if your kiddo hasn’t played before. Kids who are afraid of the dark may want to hang out in the arcade with mom or dad.
14622 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks
Play tourist for the evening and travel around the town by way of a double decker bus. Visit some of the landmarks the “City of Angels” is known for and after stop at a one of LA’s iconic eateries. Bonus: you don’t even have to walk, and if they get sleepy, they can snuggle and nap right on the bus. A night tour is a fun way to see the city in a different light.
6925 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
photo credit: Natsuko E. via yelp
Dine Al Fresco
Thanks to the great weather, many LA restaurants offer year round patio seating. Despite what television suggests, dinner under the stars isn’t just for romantics. Even kids will get a kick out of eating their favorite foods while people watching and star gazing. Don’t miss our favorite spots for dining al fresco with the kids.
See More Stars
Journey to the Griffith Observatory to get a view that is out of this world. Check out their website to find out what time the sun sets and get there early enough to witness it first hand. Then enjoy an evening filled with exhibit viewings and star gazing. You can also catch a show in the planetarium with older kids (littles are only allowed in the first show of the day).
Night owlet tips: At this place parking is free but finding a spot in the lot isn’t always easy. Be prepared to take a little trek up the hill.
2800 East Observatory Rd., Griffith Park
A Super Sleepover
The only thing more fun than a sleepover is one that takes place at the museum. A fun blend of education, fun and even lions, dinosaurs or sharks, these overnight outings often involve more excitement than sleep.
Night owlet tips: If you aren’t ready to send your precious tike off to a sleepover fret not! Parents are required at these family outings.
photo credit: Lori C. via yelp
Play at the Pier
The Santa Monica Pier is bustling at night and the Ferris wheel is even more fun when ridden against the backdrop of the ocean and city all aglow. Walk along the board walk enjoying games, rides and amusement park foods alongside the soundtrack of ocean waves and happy people.
Night owlet tips: It can get a little chilly at night especially alongside the ocean so be sure to dress the kiddos in layers.
Santa Monica Pier
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica
Zoom Around the Track
Indoor go-kart racetracks are a plentiful here in LA, and are a great outing for a kid who loves to live life in the fun lane. But outdoor racetracks with bright lights also abound here in So Cal, allowing them to get behind the wheels and feel the wind in their faces, even at night.
SpeedZone Los Angeles
17871 Castleton St., City of Industry
See A Show
Whether it’s a musical, play or concert there’s something special about seeing a live performance. Here in Los Angeles, a city steeped in the arts, there are a variety of shows that cater to various ages and artistic tastes. Check out our fave places to take the kiddos to have a live theater experience.
Want to know the latest events for kids happening here in Los Angeles (day and night)? Check out our Family Events Calender.