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, here are the best things to do in and around sunny, southern California.Less
In addition to being one of the best beaches in Los Angeles, Venice Beach packs quite the playful punch. From out-of-the-box street performers to skateparks set against a backdrop of the shimmering Pacific Ocean, Venice Beach has more than enough eccentric entertainment to make for a fun outing with your bohemian babes.
Make lasting memories with the family at Pacific Park at Santa Monica Pier. It’s worth fighting the hustle and bustle of this popular tourist destination for a ride on the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel. Don’t forget to stop by Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium for a chance to get up close and personal with over 100 marine life species.
Tucked into the Hollywood Hills (besides 3 million dollar homes) is the serene Hollywood Reservoir surrounded by a 3.5 mile walking and biking loop. Be sure to take a quick break at the Mulholland Dam as this is the ideal spot to snag a family selfie with the iconic Hollywood sign looming in the background!
Head downtown to visit one of the most amazing libraries in the country. First established in 1872, this book-topia is brimming with history, a great Children’s Room, activities and events. And don't forget to look around at the building—besides the gazillion mosaic pieces located in the grand hall outside Children’s Literature, mouths will drop when viewing the globe light fixture.
Across the street from Union Station is colorful and historic Olvera Street. It’s a short walk even little legs won’t mind and it’s an exciting place to explore. Wander through the outdoor marketplace filled with stands selling Mexican souvenirs like maracas, ponchos, embroidered clothing and big sombreros, and ceramic animals. There are also several great Mexican restaurants to stop and enjoy a churro (tastes like a donut) or horchata (a sweet creamy drink most kids love!).
The colorful and fun-filled 21,000-square-foot Cayton Children’s Museum opened on the third floor of Santa Monica Place in the summer of 2019. Kids can scramble their way through the Courage Climber, a mesh web of ropes suspended from the ceiling; jump into To the Rescue! (a ball pit with a recycled Coast Guard rescue boat in the middle); marvel at the Rube-Goldberg-inspired All Systems Go! Ball Machine, climb aboard a fire truck, get creative in the art studio and so much more.
Located in Downtown’s Exposition Park, this free museum has everything from a mini aquarium (where kids can touch a starfish!) to a tour of the Space Shuttle Endeavour. The three Discovery Rooms are perfect destinations for the 6 and under crowd—they are filled with tons of hands-on experiments like a construction zone, a kitchen, a garden and even a kid-sized TV studio complete with costumes. Older kids will enjoy the 7-story IMAC theater.
This grown-up, world-class art museum is a wonderful introduction to art for kids of all ages. Discover mummies and Egyptian art, and play “I Spy” in the Impressionist rooms. If you can, try to time your visit Metropolis II (a sculpture with moving parts made to look like a mini city) that only runs during select time Fri.-Sun. and certain holidays, like President's Day.
This indoor-outdoor space next to the Rose Bowl is filled with play-based activities and learning tools for kids. Highlights include the massive multi-story climbing towers, the Trike Tracks, an outdoor rope bridge, mini beach, stream and oh so much more. If you have crawlers, head to the Early Childhood Learning Center. This space is filled with age-appropriate games and climbers away from the onslaught of busy older kids!
Let’s have a show of hands—who has a kiddo who loves dinos? The Natural History Museum’s Dinosaur Hall is spectacular space, and the multi-media stations are informative and fun for all ages. You can also see animal dioramas from all over the world, and be sure to check out the Nature Gardens and Labs. Mark your calendars for the NHM's after-hours evenings; that just might be the best time to visit. And don't forget to visit the theater featuring Dinosaurs of Antarctica 3D.