With so many days of sun and warm weather, Los Angeles has a ton of family-friendly activities for kids (and adults) of all ages. Exploring the city with my daughter has helped me find things I love about our new home town, and we hear about new activities all the time. Activities here in LA abound: amusement parks, indoor playgrounds, delicious food, and family-friendly breweries. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
- Knott’s Berry Farm
Might as well start and end with some of the best amusement parks in the area. We love that Knott’s combines rides for all of your family members with some pretty delicious theme park food. What began as a farm stand has grown into one of the area’s best family-friendly attractions. For the youngest kids stick with the rides around Camp Snoopy, and the older ones (or you adults) will enjoy all the roller coasters. Don’t miss the fried chicken, and be sure to pick up some of their famous boysenberry jam and pie on your way out.
- Travel Town
Kids love trains, and Travel Town in Griffith Park does not disappoint. First of all, it’s free (hooray!), there is ample parking, and you can spend hours with your future conductor exploring the tracks and grounds.
- LA Zoo
Kids and animals—match made in heaven. No matter the season, the Los Angeles Zoo is always fun. We especially love the holiday LA Zoo Lights spectacular, and don’t miss the carousel. The other benefit is they have a petting zoo area, where you can brush goats and sheep, and you can usually find some shady spots to re-apply sunscreen.
- Kidspace Children’s Museum
Kidspace is great for kids of all ages. For infants and toddlers, they have a padded indoor play space with hourly activities like story time or music. For older kids, explore the outdoors. Make sure to bring an extra change of clothes, as kids can definitely get wet and muddy while they are having fun. No better way to learn science. Also worthwhile (though very busy) are their special events like rubber ducky races, snow day play, puppet shows, and more.
- Grand Park splash pad
When the days are hot, nothing beats playing in the water. Also a free (!) activity in downtown Los Angeles, playing in the fountain at Grand Park is fun for everyone. Water play for your kids, an on-site bathroom to change and there are tables with shade and a Starbucks for you. You may have to pay for parking unless you use public transport.
- Angels’ Flight
If you are finding yourself in downtown Los Angeles (which you should, it’s undergone quite the renaissance in the last few years), make sure to stop by the historic Angels’ Flight. It connects Hill Street to Grand Avenue on Bunket Hill, and if you have a TAP Metro card, it only costs $0.50. Funiculars are always fun, right? And afterwards you can indulge in a meal or snack from one of the vendors at Grand Central Market.
- Discovery Cube
With two locations around Los Angeles (one in Lakeview Terrace and one in Orange County), Discovery Cube is another family-friendly science museum for kids of all ages. We particularly love their rotating exhibits: Doc McStuffins, Eric Carle, and dinosaurs.
- Family-friendly breweries
No better way to spend a weekend morning in Los Angeles than to brunch al fresco while your kids get to play before their food arrives. Golden Road Brewery has a play area for your little ones outdoors. Grab a picnic table, order one of their delicious beers (I particularly like the Mango Cart and Downtown Brown), and let your kids run off some energy.
It’s difficult to come to California and not go to the beach. Unfortunately, a lot of the beaches have pretty rough surf, so can be more challenging for your younger kids. We love Marina Beach in Marina del Rey. It has more ample parking than the Mother’s Beach in Long Beach, is cleaner, and there are a ton of restaurants within walking distance. On the other hand, the Mother’s Beach has a better playground and more options for shade. Your kids will love both of them.
- Soup dumplings
One of the best things about Los Angeles is the diversity. Sure, we have fantastic authentic tacos, a healthy love of burgers, and an (some may say unnatural) obsession with avocadoes, but I think the real culinary star is the Asian cuisine. For my daughter, nothing beats a tray of xiao long bao (pork soup dumplings) from Din Tai Fung. She may only be 3, but she can eat an entire tray by herself.
- Griffith Park
You can hike, visit the Observatory, ride a carousel, or just set out a picnic under a shade tree. Parking on the weekends can be a bit of an issue but there is always a new area of the park to explore.
- Farmer’s Markets
I’ve found one of the best ways to get my daughter to try new fruits and vegetables is to let her choose them herself. You can go full pick-your-own at Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark, or indulge at one of the many local farmer’s markets. We live near Pasadena, so frequent the Saturday farmer’s market at Victory Park. Keep in mind that Grand Central Market in downtown LA, though it began as a fruit and vegetable market, only now has one or two stalls selling produce. You’re better off with the Farmer’s Market at 3rd and Fairfax, near the Grove shopping center, or one of the local markets.
- Mini Golf
For a more traditional take on mini golf minus the arcade and batting cages, check out Arroyo Seco Golf Course in South Pasadena. For those days when you really want some classic mini golf-kitsch, we love Castle Park in Sherman Oaks. Go early, as it gets busy (and more expensive) later in the afternoon.
- Cake Decorating
Do you have a future Food Network star on your hands? You can indulge your (and your kids’ of course) culinary aspirations at Duff’s Cakemix. It’s a DIY cake and cupcake decorating studio. You can pick out your cupcakes and some goodie bar scoops and go to town.
I probably don’t need to say much about Disneyland. If you want to save some money, try one of the hotel character breakfasts. You don’t get admission to the park, but your kids get to meet all of the characters, you can enjoy the Disney magic and you can save on some parking fees.
With so many fun activities in Los Angeles and great weather year-round, my 3-year-old would agree: kids love the City of Angels. I hope you do, too.