Los Angeles – 15 Activities for Kids AND Parents

No, I’m not going to sit here and share advice on how to entertain nobody but your kids.

As you can imagine, L.A. is indeed home to plenty of trampoline parks and somewhat tacky indoor play centers, but we are strong advocates of the belief that happy parents = happy kids.

15 activities in L.A.

When putting together the following tips, we decided to focus on trips and locations that offer plenty of fun for both children and their parents. So here they are, in no particular order:

Activities with Kids in Los Angeles by www.anyworkingmom.com
Venice Beach Front Walk

#1 Venice Beach Front Walk

Venice Beach Front Walk, starting at approx. 30th Ave

For parents: Wander along the Front Walk, do some people watching (there’s certainly plenty to observe), be accosted by marijuana doctors (in California, you can get so-called “Medical Marijuana” by prescription), buy trashy T-shirts, be serenaded by a street musician, admire the six-packs on display on Muscle Beach or make the spontaneous decision to get your kid’s name tattooed on your biceps.

For kids: Everything is so colorful! No cars! Bubbles! Music! Cool and funny people!

For the vacation budget: ?

#2 Santa Monica Pier & Aquarium

1600 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Parking availableunder the pier. Be sure to note that the aquarium is closed on Mondays, Tue – Fri: 2:00pm – 5:00pm, Sat/Sun: 12:30pm – 5:00pm

For parents: Make the most of the great view of the city provided by the ferris wheel in the amusement park. Win yet another stuffed animal for your favorite person in a carnival shooting game. Eat some cotton candy. Learn something about the local fauna in the aquarium.

For kids: Bumper cars, cotton candy and a carousel – what more could you want? The little ones will love the colorful fish in the aquarium.

For the vacation budget: Aquarium: $5 per person aged 13+, pier: depends on how generous you’re feeling

Los Angeles with Kids - www.anyworkingmom.com
Venice Skate Park

#3 Rent a bike with a trailer and ride along the Bike Path to the Venice Skate Park

The Bike Path runs from Venice Beach Pier to the northern end of Navy Street.

For parents: A true hipster-like feeling of freedom as you speed along the beach on your beach cruisers, trying to avoid hitting any rollerbladers on the way. Hang out at the skate park and enjoy nostalgic memories of all the crazy skills you had back when you were 16.

For kids: Wooohooo! Let’s go for a bike ride! Your little ones might even doze off as you pedal along the coast. You can also treat them to a pit stop to fill up their tanks with a tasty ice cream. Kids are fascinated by the skaters in the park, especially if they can watch children of a similar age showing off their skills on the half pipe.

For the vacation bduget: Bike + trailer: approx. $30 per day. Can also be rented by the hour. A variety of bike and trailer rental companies can be found along Ocean Front Walk, for example: Ride Venice. Be sure to reserve your trailer in advance where possible as most companies only have a few.

#4 Griffith Park & Observatory

2800 E Observatory Rd, opening hours: Tue – Fri: 12:00pm – 10:00pm; Sat/Sun: 10:00am – 10:00pm; closed on Mondays

For parents: A stunning view, plenty to learn and interesting exhibitions in the observatory, as well as the chance to take a selfie with the James Dean statue on the upper terrace. Don’t forget to take a photo of the Hollywood Sign on your way home!

For kids: Ponies! The ultimate highlight is a park offering pony rides for kids aged 1 and up.

For the vacation budget: Access to the observatory is free of charge, while the additional show in the planetarium costs $7 for adults, $3 for kids aged 5 – 12 and is free for under-5s, although children aged under 5 are ONLY admitted to the first show each day. Pony rides: $3 per rider and ride

Activities with Kids in Los Angeles by www.anyworkingmom.com

IMG_6639

Activities with Kids in Los Angeles by www.anyworkingmom.com

#5 3rd Street Promenade

3rd Street Promenade

For parents: A pedestrian zone and shopping paradise full of (overpriced) cafés and restaurants Celebrity spotting. You can find out more about the stores in the article L.A. with Kids.

For kids: Watch street artists and discover cool sculptures

For the vacation budget: Throw $2 in the street artist’s hat or spend up to $2000 on your very own headgear: the choice is yours!

#6  California Science Center

700 Exposition Park Drive, open daily from 10am – 5pm

For parents: A great museum with an IMAX cinema. Exciting and interesting exhibitions, for example on the science behind Pixar or the real life-size Endeavour

For kids: A hands-on experience with plenty to explore and discover. Discovery Rooms for the little ones

For the vacation budget: Ticket prices range from $9.95 to $21.45 depending on the exhibition; free admission for children aged under 4.

Activities with Kids in Los Angeles by www.anyworkingmom.com
Getting the Endeavour to the center involved a long journey through the whole of L.A. You can view a video of this high-precision task here.

#7 Plagrounds

A multitude of different playgrounds are located all over the city and the Winnie Appis the ideal way to find them.

For parents: A free Spanish course thanks to the Mexican nannies moaning about the families that employ them while shoveling apple sauce into their kids’ mouths.

For kids: Fun, fun, fun! For example at my “home-base playground”: Linnie Park in the Venice Canals. Or at the big playground in the sand on Venice Beach. Slightly older kids will also find the “traveling rings” pretty cool. The ultimate playground to end all playgrounds is located in Griffith Park and even has its own website: Shane’s Inspiration.

For the vacation budget: ?

The place to be. #losangeles #travelwithkids #familiejansenreistrum

A photo posted by Andrea Jansen (@anyworkingmom) on

#8 Pay Nick Metropolis a visit

You gotta see this: 100 S. La Brea, Mon – Sat: 10.30am – 7:00pm; Sun: 11:00am – 7:00pm

For parents: A trip to the wackiest outdoor junk shop in the city, or maybe even the world! It literally has everything you could ever imagine, from HOLLYWOOD in fluorescent letters right through to a toilet seat straight from a film set. Just like his shop’s products, its owner Nick, who now has his very own TV show, is truly one of a kind. And just in case you were wondering, he can also ship goods to Switzerland, or so I’ve heard 😉

For kids: Loads of weird and wacky items to discover, many of which they can touch and try out for themselves. Huge dinosaurs, stuffed chimpanzees, antique tricycles…

For the vacation budget: That all depends on what, and how much, the parents like to collect.

#9 The beach

Discover a wide variety of beaches stretching right along the coast. You can find an overview of the beaches of L.A. here. My personal favorite: Zuma Beach, Malibu. A top tip for toddlers: Mother’s Beachin the harbor of Marina del Rey, which also contains a playground.

For parents: Sun, sunshine and Baywatch! It’s highly unlikely that you’ll see Shauni running along the beach with a flirtatious look on her face, but you will discover that the red bathing suits and buoys really do exist. What you’re much more likely to experience is a gruff lifeguard who is anything but flirtatious when informing you that swimmies and other inflatable swim aids are not allowed. Beer is banned too, so be sure to hide it away in a bag!

For kids: Sand! And plenty of sun, so be sure to take an umbrella with you. If you want to be the ultimate beach bum, grab yourself a beach chair, which comes with a cooler bag, a drink holder and an umbrella holder. And if you want to do EVEN better, why not book your very own Beach Butler (although I’m afraid I don’t have any personal experience to report on).

For the vacation budget: Between $15 and $45, depending on your chosen picnic and beach equipment

Activities with Kids in Los Angeles by www.anyworkingmom.com
Mother’s Beach

Activities with Kids in Los Angeles by www.anyworkingmom.com
Zuma Beach, Malibu

#10 The Grove

189 The Grove Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90036; opening hours: Mon – Thu: 10am – 9pm; Fri/Sat: 10am – 10pm; Sun: 10am – 8pm

For parents: A huge outdoor mall with great stores and pleasant restaurants. Full of celebrities. Enjoy a relaxing lunch at the “Farmers Market”

For kids: Plenty of space to run around. Go for a ride of the Grove Trolley. Pay Santa a visit in the winter season

For the vacation budget: A potential disaster

#11 LACMA – Los Angeles County Museum of Art

5905 Wilshire Boulevard, opening hours: Mon, Tue, Thu: 11am – 5pm; Fri: 11am – 8pm; Sat/Sun: 10am – 7pm

For parents: Art! 130,000 objects from ancient times right through to the present day. Temporary special exhibitions (some of which require you to reserve a space before you visit!)

For kids: A hands-on approach to art. With highlights such as a kids’ art gallery and Story Time sessions – be sure to check out the program for the day on the website before you visit

For the vacation budget: $15 for adults without any special exhibitions

#12 Santa Monica Farmers Market

Arizona Avenue, between 4th & Ocean, Wednesday: 8.30am – 1:30pm; Saturday: 8:00am – 1:00pm

For parents: You can find farmers markets all over the city, but this one is the best. Discover fresh local products ranging from milk right though to avocados. This market is a top shopping destination for chefs, celebrities and all health-conscious Angelenos.

For kids: Free samples at virtually every stand. A car-free zone

For the vacation budget: Depends on the food you need (or want!) to buy

Los Angeles with Kids - www.anyworkingmom.com
Open every Wednesday and Saturday: the Santa Monica Farmers Market

Los Angeles with Kids - www.anyworkingmom.com
This is our good friend Nate with the best salad in the city: from Maggie’s Farm. Say hi from us

#13 Universal Studios

100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608. Be sure to follow the directions and parking information provided. Opening hours: vary but generally approx. 9am – 7pm 

For parents: Hollywood! Film sets, action figures, roller coasters and so much junk food. Sometimes a potentially frustrating experience if your kids are still too young for the rides or you have to stand in line for two hours

For kids: Depends on how old they are. The studios are great fun for kids aged four and up. Younger kids will only really be able to enjoy the themed playgrounds.

For the vacation budget: Tough. Between $18 and $35 for parking; admission for visitors aged 10 and up: between $105 and $359 depending on the ticket, for visitors aged between 3 and 9: $99 each

#14 Venice Canals

Carroll Canal, Linnie Canal, Howland Canal and Sherman Canal

For parents: Go for a wonderful stroll across little bridges and past picturesque wooden houses. Each canal holds its own Rubber Ducky Race on Independence Day (July 4th).

For kids: Ducks. The Linnie Park playground is located right by the side of the canal (200 Linnie Canal).

For the vacation buget: ?

#15 …and finally a big DON’T: The Walk of Fame

7018 Hollywood Blvd

For parents: Slalom your way through street performers dressed up as KungFu Panda or Wolverine and buses full of Chinese tourists. After a few hundred stars on the floor, you’ll have a similar “aha” moment to visitors to the Zytglogge in Bern: Whaaat, was that it?

For kids: High “I’m-going-to-get-lost” and “I-waaaant-that-golden-statue…noooowwwww!” potential

For the vacation budget: Approx. $35 for a plastic Oscar and an I ❤️ L.A. T-shirt, made in China, of course

15 Activities with Kids in L.A. by www.anyworkingmom.com
Save it on Pinterest.

For more information on accommodation, shopping and other tips, take a look at my article on L.A. with Kids.

A huge thank you in advance for further input or ideas, especially for locations other than Venice & Santa Monica: THANKS!

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