15 Things to Do in LA With Kids
When you have kids in tow, finding things that will keep them occupied and you from losing your mind can be a bit stressful. Los Angeles is bursting with attractions, parks, playgrounds, art museums and other things to do with kids but you have to know where to look to find them.
The beautiful, sunny weather that LA is best known for makes it easy to get outdoors and let your kids burn off some energy while playing. Playing on the beaches of southern California's oceans is only one activity. With so many fun things to do in Los Angeles with kids, there is no way they can be bored.
Drop your bags at one of our Los Angeles luggage storage locations and check out these things to do in Los Angeles with kids. Many attractions offer great children’s programs that will teach them about history, science, or even math in a fun and exciting way. Your young ones will think they are just having a good time when really, they are learning new things. Remember, a hungry kid is a distracted kid. To keep your family fed and having fun, check out our guide to the best street food in LA!
Address: 4730 Crystal Springs Dr., Los Angeles
There is something for everyone here at Griffith Park near downtown Los Angeles. Take a hike towards the iconic Hollywood sign and take some silly family photos. Visit the Los Angeles Zoo and check out all the different animals, animal encounters and shows. Smaller kids will love going on a pony ride.
The botanical gardens are a good place to unwind and see the native flora of California and then head over and take a ride on the merry-go-round in Griffith Park. The Griffith Observatory is another favorite with many kids where they can check out the stars and learn about the other planets.
Address: 1418 Descanso Dr., La Cañada Flintridge
Located near the Chinatown park, kids will love staring into the various ponds filled with trees, lilies, roses, and other vegetation at these botanical gardens. Springtime is one of the best times to visit with many of the plants in full bloom. The Enchanted Railroad is a particular favorite with children.
During the summer months, you can come for storytimes that are held daily. There are also several concerts scheduled through the spring, summer, and fall. Check the gardens’ calendar of events for other amazing special events.
Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden
Address: 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia
Your kids will get a kick out of seeing all the peacocks strutting through the gardens; they are a beautiful sight. Take a short hike through the arboretum and learn about some of the amazing trees that are being grown here. It is only a short distance from Long Beach and Hollywood Hills.
Check out the kids’ camp during the summer that lasts a few weeks. There is also storytime for the younger kids during regular hours. The botanical garden hosts Family Adventure Night Hikes throughout the spring, summer, and fall. Bird walks are also available throughout the year, check their calendar for more details. It is one of the best things to do in LA with kids.
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument
Address: 125 Paseo De La Plaza, Los Angeles
This is more than just a boring monument that you go stare at and take pictures, instead, it can easily turn into a day-long adventure for the entire family. Check out the oldest house in LA, the Avila Adobe, and then spend some time exploring Union Station LA, filled with several activities for kids.
There is an outstanding outdoor space, then you and the kids can window shop at Union Station. Enjoy some of the interesting street art that is just around the corner from El Pueblo de Los Angeles.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Address: 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino
This 120-acre complex is a great place to hang out with the kids. The Huntington Library is home to some of the rarest books in the U.S. There are several art collections on display throughout the library as well as an art museum with contemporary art which probably is not interesting to young children.
The botanical garden, on the other hand, has outdoor spaces that will draw your kids in and teach them about the local flora of LA as well as manicured Japanese and Chinese gardens. The Peter Bing Children’s Garden is perfect for kids age 2-7 years with a prism tunnel, rainbow room, and fog grotto.
Kidspace Children’s Museum
Address: 480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena
Bring your kids to this interactive children’s museum filled with amazing exhibits spread out over 3.5 acres. Their imagination will spiral as they lose themselves in structured play designed to teach them about the environment and world around them while enjoying fun things that keep them busy.
Children love the imagination workshop that is indoors complete with an interactive greenhouse and large climbing structure. Storytime is held throughout the day for younger kids. There are several outdoor interactive exhibits for them to explore while at the museum, including an intriguing space shuttle.
Kids can learn all about the Space Shuttle Endeavour or take a virtual helicopter tour. There are so many fabulous things to see and do here, including the indoor imagination workshop.
Angels Flight Railway
350 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles
Take a ride on the shortest railroad in the world for a look into the amazing history of the railroad. This railroad goes from Hill Street to Grand Avenue and the Grand Central Market. The kids will love hopping aboard the railcar and feeling it rattle along the tracks.
The two railcars are over 100 years old and have been fully restored to their 1901 glory days. The railway is open every day including weekends and holidays. Be sure to snap some great photos of your kids on this iconic train and enjoy some of the fun activities.
La Brea Tar Pits & Museum
Address: 5801 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
The La Brea Tar Pits is best known for its ice-age fossils found in a large pit. Tourists and locals love visiting this museum and learning more about the fossils found here. Sign up for an excavator tour so they can see up-close how scientists and archeologists dig in the pits, which is an ice age fossil site.
The museum is part of the arts district and has a 3D movie that teaches about the fossils that have been found at the La Brea Tar Pits and the type of animals that lived prior to the ice age. The museum is dedicated to the ice age including pre-ice age flora and fauna in the area.
Los Angeles State Historic Park
Address: 1245 N. Spring St, Los Angeles
Stroll along the gravel and paved walkways, rent bikes for the whole family for an afternoon of fun, bring along a picnic and relax in one of the shaded picnic spots. The kids will love the fruit orchard and you will love bringing home some fresh seasonal fruit.
You and the kids will be thrilled to spend time exploring this amazing park on Spring St, Los Angeles. It is a great place for your children to run and play in the fresh air and sunshine. It is also near the Los Angeles Public Library.
Echo Park Time Travel Mart
Address: 1714 Sunset Boulevard, LA
This retail store is dedicated to time travelers from all time periods. It is also the headquarters for Barnacle & Barnacle Publishers, a publishing house for student-authored books. Kids adore exploring the interesting souvenirs that are all things time travel. It is the only one of its kind in Los Angeles.
Get in touch with your creative side and find some of the most unusual but totally cool items at this store. There is even a tutoring center where children struggling with traditional learning can come and experience a new way of learning that helps them understand the subject matter better.
Address: 200 N. Grand Ave, Los Angeles
This 12-acre park can be found between City Hall and the Music Center and has a lot of green space for children to run and play. The vibrant, pink benches will bring a smile to your face as you sit and watch one of the fountains and relax in the sun. Head over to Grand Ave, Los Angeles for a day in the park.
Your little ones will love exploring the playground and the splash pad that is operational during the summer. Families generally pack a picnic and spend an afternoon in the California sun soaking up the fantastic green space and expelling all that excess energy that kids seem to always have.
Echo Park Lake
751 Echo Park Ave., Los Angeles
Spending a day at the lake is the perfect family outing. Adults and kids will enjoy being near the water. Be sure to bring a picnic, you will be spending the entire day here with the kids. Rent a paddleboat and head out onto the water, you can paddle around the lake for an hour before returning the boat.
Bring along your fishing gear and see who can catch the biggest fish or just take a stroll along the lake and enjoy the fresh air and the Los Angeles sunshine. The younger kids can hang out at the playground while you relax in the shade for a bit.
Address: 12601 Mullholland Dr., Beverly Hills
TreePeople offers several programs aimed at educating kids about the environment in a fun and exciting way. There are several organized moonlight hikes as well as group dog walks and kids’ camps that are held throughout the year. There are even plenty of classes to learn more about the local plants.
TreePeople has free admission but some of the special events do charge fees to cover materials. Check their website for more details on the activities such as a scavenger hunt. TreePeople is only a short drive from downtown LA and is great family fun. You can even see the Hollywood sign in the distance.
El Capitan Theater
Address: 6838 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles
Operated by Disney, the theater was designed with families in mind and gives you a glimpse of Hollywood theaters in the 1920s. It is located near downtown LA. By playing Disney movies including fun sing-alongs, your kids will have a blast with all the fun activities offered.
Certain seats in the theater even have the pleasure of having confetti rain down on them throughout the show. If you have younger children, check out Tiny Tot Tuesdays for an experience tailored to younger kiddos with plenty of kids' activities. Visit the family room and gift shop for great souvenirs.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Address: 900 W. Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles (inside Exposition Park)
Spend a rainy day exploring all the Natural History Museum has to offer including dinosaur skeletons, science labs, a nature lab, and over 35 million artifacts and objects. Several of the amazing things on exhibit date back over 4 billion years. This Los Angeles county museum is a great place to visit.
The interactive nature lab will teach children about the importance of protecting our ecosystem and the hands-on science labs will have children excited to learn more about the fascinating world of science including chemistry and physics. The kids' activities are so much fun and most are free. And if free is your style, we've got an extensive list of fabulous free things to do in LA, too!
What Are the Best Family Activities in Los Angeles?
What are the best family activities in Los Angeles? For each family, this will be a different answer depending on the age of your children and their interests. Kids that love being out in the sunshine will not really enjoy being inside all day at art galleries or museums. Break up the type of activities you are doing by throwing in some LA hikes here and there, too.
Younger children will really enjoy listening to storytime in a quiet setting but older children would be bored. Here, you will find a list of some of the best family activities for younger children and older children as well as free things to do in Los Angeles with kids.
Best things to do with younger children:
KidSpace Children’s Museum
El Capitan Theater
Best things to do with older children:
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
Echo Park Lake
Los Angeles State Historic Park
Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens
Free things to do in Los Angeles with kids:
El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument
Hanging out with your kids in Los Angeles is easier than ever when you check out several of the activities listed. There is plenty to keep the kiddos busy, many of these activities also promote education by learning outside the box. With hands-on exhibits and activities, your kids won’t even realize they are learning like at the California Science Center and the USS Iowa Museum.
You don't have to head to the Santa Monica Pier to have fun, instead, stay close to downtown Los Angeles. While the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium is a great place for kids, it can be pricey and very crowded. Try another option and check out several of the other great things to do in Los Angeles with kids.
Whether it is raining or sunny, there is definitely something you and your kids can do to create memories and experience new things. Soak up the southern California sun while playing outdoors in some of the great parks or head indoors and check out several other great activities.