Looking for fun things to do with kids in LA? We’ve got you covered…for at least the next three years or so. Read on for our epic family-friendly activities in Los Angeles aka: the only family fun bucket list you’ll ever need. From unforgettable day trips to local hidden gems (as well as things to do in Los Angeles during COVID), here are 100 things to do in and around SoCal. Let the memory-making begin!

1. When looking for free things to do with kids near me, you can always head to the westside to discover the charm and magic of the Venice Canals.

2. Take your kids to the Santa Monica Pier during the week (when it's sure to be less crowded), and ride the iconic carousel and ferris wheel, play a game of skee-ball and more at Pacific Park.

3. Have a magical brunch at The Magic Castle—on weekends, the private club opens its doors to non-members.

4. Take a family bike ride around the Hollywood Reservoir

5. Sip a Shirley Temple in the lobby of the munchkin hotel (aka The Culver Hotel) in Culver City.

6. Swing by a farmer's market for fresh produce and maybe a celebrity sighting or two.


7. Cool off at these hotspots: There's a water-tastic splash pad in a neighborhood near you.

8. Looking for another way to escape the heat? Get lost in the stacks at the Central Library.

9. Soak up the art deco style at Union Station.

10. While you're downtown, visit Little Tokyo and hit up Insta-worthy ice cream at Bae.

11. Speaking of Instagram (and a very LA thing to do), take photos of your kids (and yourself) in front of all the cool walls located around LA. 

12. Stroll along the colorful Olvera St., the birthplace of Los Angeles, where kids will be drawn to the colorful guitars, marionettes and more.

13. Speaking of marionettes, book a private, COVID-compliant show from Highland Park's Bob Baker Marionette Theater

14. Re-opened as of May 26, go and see all the wonderful, modern art at The Broad where kids will go gaga over Jeff Koons, Alexander Calder and Roy Lichtenstein. 

15. Master the Courage Climber—a massive suspended rope structure at the Cayton Children's Museum

16. As of May 15, you can seek and find the end of the rainbow at the Rainbow Mist Arbor outside the Skirball Cultural Center. (And then, of course, check out award-winning Noah's Ark.) 

17. Touch a starfish at The California Science Center.

18. While we wait for the free tours to resume at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory you can check out their out-of-this-world space virtually

19. One of the best things to do in LA? Sign up for a free NexGen Membership at LACMA and visit as often as you can. 

20. Get muddy, wet and sandy at KidSpace Children's Museum. (Hint: Bring a change of clothes.)

21. Between Mar. and Sept., make a special stop at the Museum of Natural History and visit the Butterfly Pavilion.

22. Meet the peacocks at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens and keep an eye out for lizards and turtles.

23. The LA Zoo has reopened (with some modifications) and we couldn't be happier than a barrel full of monkeys.. 

24. Speaking of monkeys, why not hang around with some at the Gibbon Conservation Center?

25. Got older kids? Howl with the wolves during the Shadowland Foundation's 2-hour educational tour

26. Grab your two-wheelers and head to Frogtown to bike along the LA River where you can view art, and eat at yummy cafes with sweet treats. 

27. Need a nearby escape to beat the heat? Book one of these vacation homes with an epic pool.

28. Order a burger and pie a la mode at the counter of LA dining institution The Apple Pan.

29. Be serenaded over supper at Hollywood's oldest Italian restaurant, Miceli's.

30. Discover why spending the day in Malibu is always a good idea.

31. Go back in time at the Los Angeles Fire Department Museum.

32. Learn to pan for gold with a weekend trip to The Autry

33. Giddy-up and grab a horse ride at one of these equine-friendly spots.

34. Discover all the Jurassic attractions at Universal Studios

photo: Andie Huber

35. Get inspired by the awesome Watts Towers by Simon Rodia.

36. Explore what makes Studio City such a desirable neighborhood to live and play. 

37. Take a trip to SoCal's enchanted isle, where the buffalo roam and no cars are allowed: Catalina.

38. Teach kids the importance of giving back and take part in a local beach cleanup day.

39. Meet Thomas and Percy at the Southern California Railway Museum

40. Discover sensory-friendly Sat. at the Grammy Museum.

41. Go treasure hunting via LA's world-renowned vintage flea markets.

42. Drive to Palm Springs for date shakes, camel rides, hike through Joshua Tree and ride a tram ride up to the snow.

43. Thar’ she blows! It's officially whale-watching season Jan. through Apr. Go catch a boat and watch the migration route for whales who are heading south down the coast to Baja.

44. Say hi to the seals and sea lions at Long Beach's Aquarium of the Pacific.

45. Come spring, ride the Enchanted Railroad and see the cherry blossoms in full bloom at Descanso Gardens.

46. Pick strawberries and eat 'em at their freshest.

47. Hop over to the Bunny Museum—it's wild, wacky and exactly what you want from a bunny museum.

48. Root for the boys in blue! Tour the coolest mid-century baseball park in the country and stay to see the Dodgers play ball!

49. LA loves to read! Plan to stop by the LA Times Festival of Books, where you can find plenty of kids books and readings for little ones.

50. More fun for the bookish-set: When life returns to pre-pandemic normalcy, read to a pup at an LA public library

51. Make your way owntown and shop The Last Bookstore, a refurbished bank with books stacked in gravity-defying displays that will delight little ones.

52. See what's in bloom at the Children’s Garden at the Huntington Library and Gardens.

53. Come Nov., don't miss what might be the world’s wackiest parade: The annual Doo-Dah Parade.

54. Stop by Barnsdall Park where you'll find Frank Lloyd Wright’s historical Hollyhock house, free family art afternoons, a cutting-edge art gallery and more. 

55. Play tourist in your own town with a visit to the hand and footprints Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

56. Put your pinkies up for one of these splurge-worthy spots for high tea.

57. Take young court jesters and fair maidens to the Renaissance Faire.

58. Get the royal treatment at Medieval Times.

59. Visit the apple capital of SoCal to pick a bushel, press your own cider, churn butter and more. 

60. Experience autumn in LA with a trip to Lake Arrowhead. Crisp air and fall foliage, here you come! 

61. Speaking of fall, head to Moorpark for Underwood Farm's Fall Harvest Festival. Where else can kids cheer on a pig race, get lost in a corn maze, bottle-feed a baby goat and pick their own pumpkin!

62. Take the kids trick-or-treating in Toluca Lake, where homeowners go all out with over-the-top, spooky-fun decor.

63. Hit the hay at Cowboy Camp Rancho Grande where you can spend the night on a 200-acre farm. 

64. Make a resolution to try out all the new pizza spots that have opened in LA.

65. The best part of being in the know? Knowing when to see all the super blooms at the botanical gardens.

66. Sneak those veggies in and support a local farm with these mom-approved CSA boxes that deliver.

67. These close-to-LA destinations are fun to go to anytime of year.

68. Come winter, go ice skating at the Holiday Ice Rink in Pershing Square, open around mid-Nov.

69. Drive along Altadena's famous Christmas Tree Lane.

70. Who cares that we don’t have snow? Sled the LA way: At the beach's sand dunes.

71. Hop aboard the Christmas Train to chop down your own tree on the Fillmore & Western Railroad.

72. Don't miss the LA Zoo Lights during the holidays. 

73. See the tree lighting at The Americana at Brand in Glendale or one of our other favorite spots.

74. Make Los Angeles Ballet's The Nutcracker performance a holiday tradition.

75. Spend a weekend in one of the most Christmas-y towns in America, just 2-3 hours from LA.

76. Dine like Walt Disney once did at museum-cum-restaurant Clifton's Cafeteria.

77. Hike the otherworldly Vasquez Rocks in the Santa Clarita Valley.

78. BAM. POW! Make like Batman and visit the Bronson Caves.

79. For more Caped-Crusader fun, head to the Petersen Automotive Museum to see the Batmobile, plus Back to the Future's DeLorean and more iconic cars.

80. Swim in Malibu's lava lake.

81. Take a roll down the grassy hill at La Brea Tar Pits. (Oh, and check out the museum's exhibits, too.)

82. Go glamping in the middle of the city.

photo: Courtesy of Visit Newport Beach

83. Schedule a day trip to Newport Beach's Balboa Fun Zone, which just happens to be the birthplace of the frozen banana. 

84. Enjoy a cold one at our favorite kid-friendly breweries.

85. Splash in the tide pools at Leo Carillo State Park.

86. Take advantage of these fun, kid-friendly attractions at these LA malls.

87. Don't just visit Disneyland—visit like an insider with our top-secret tips.

88. Join the circus (sort of) with a lesson at Santa Monica's Trapeze School.

89. Chugga-chugga on over to the RailGiants Museum at Pomona's Fairplex, home to the LA County Fair.

90. Too hot (or cold, or rainy) to play outside? Check out these indoor play spaces.

91. Broaden kids' palates with the strange-yet-delicious ice cream flavors from Salt & Straw.

92. Ride a gondola in Long Beach.

93. Watch a polo match at Will Rogers State Park. Bonus tip: You can also tour Will’s house and stables and hike to a gorgeous view of the mountains and ocean.

94. LA has some of the best National Parks outside our doorstep: First up? Joshua Tree.

95. Kids that are loco for locomotives are in good company with these fun train museums and ride-alongs.

96. Have a mini stay-cation at one of these hotel pools offering family day passes. 

97. Cowabunga! Make like the Beach Boys and take a surfing lesson.

98. Spend the night in one of these only-in California treehouses.

99. Avoid the crowds and head to one of these only the locals know beach spots with your crew.

100. It's not movie magic—waterfalls do exist in LA and here are 5 that you can hike to with your kids.

feature image via Jenifer Scott

—Meghan Rose, Shannan Rouss & Andie Huber


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