Family-Friendly Things to do with Kids in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is home to countless theme parks, museums, and other attractions that kids will love. Kids and parents can enjoy everything from rides and games to interactive art exhibits. Los Angeles has so much to offer for families traveling with their children. Here's our list of the best family-friendly things to do on your next trip to L.A.
Santa Monica State Beach
The beach of Santa Monica located around the pier and heading north is technically a state park area. Visitors and locals flock here for the gorgeous sand, fun waves, and sunshine. The beach itself is quite wide, with plenty of room for everyone. It's a family-friendly area and somewhat crowded in the warmer months. Naturally, the activities on the pier bring a crowd, too. While the beach is free, you might have to pay for parking. Along the beach and within the nearby blocks are bike paths (part of The Strand), shops, restaurants, and hotels.
Santa Monica, California, 90401
Many visitors enjoy staying in the beautiful Santa Monica area. This region has some of LA's best beaches, cooler summer temperatures, and an escape from the smog of the city. Many of the communities in the area are connected by a bike path. In the heart of Santa Monica, you'll find the Santa Monica pier as well as many oceanfront hotels. The community has a charming, artsy vibe and Santa Monica is famous for its shopping. Head to the Third Street Promenade to make the most of the experience. This a a pedestrian-only outdoor mall that is filled with shops and restaurants. Throughout Santa Monica you'll find a number of famous restaurants as well with each offering its own style and cuisine.
This beach, which has the same name as the town Redondo Beach, is a beautiful and popular stretch of coastline. It's popular for a number of reasons. The family-friendly beach and pier area has plenty of shopping and restaurant options at the north end of the beach. It's more of a wharf, marina, and shopping center than an actual pier, but there are plenty of activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, glass bottom boat tours, live music, dining out, ice cream, and more. The beach itself stretches to the south of the pier area, and it's a wide, sandy, clean stretch with comfortable waves all the way down (2.5 miles) to Torrance County Beach and Rat Beach. This stretch of beach is at the end of the Green Line of the metro, making it a popular spot for locals to get to easily. It's also popular with visitors, as plenty of affordable hotels are in the area, along with bike paths and kid-friendly activities.
Fisherman's Wharf, Redondo Beach, California, 90277
Playa Del Rey & Dockweiler Beach
This stretch of beach south of Santa Monica is a California State Park. As such, you'll find a nice stretch of sand with public restrooms, picnic areas, walking and running trails, an RV park area, parking, and more. It's a family-friendly spot with a nice outdoor feel without a lot of development. In the northern area around the town of Playa Del Rey are some cafes and restaurants, too.
7313 S Marine Ave, Playa Del Rey, California, 90293
Newport Beach & Balboa Beach
The town and beaches at Newport Beach is family-friendly, beautiful, and relaxed. In addition to the main stretch of beach around the Newport Beach Pier and Balboa Pier, the inlet and marina side of the water also has a few small beach areas if you want to swim in calmer waters. This is a great option for the little ones, as well as for anyone interested in kayaking or paddle boarding. With playgrounds, parking, public bathrooms, and plenty of shops and restaurants, this area offers plenty for visitors.
70 Newport Pier, Newport Beach, California, 92663
Centered around the Manhattan Beach Pier and the town of Manhattan Beach, this is a gorgeous stretch of wide sand with fun waves. The environment is clean and family-friendly, partially thanks to some high-end housing and hotel prices in the area, as well as a small aquarium at the pier. The Strand bike and walking path runs along the beach and is lined with some restaurants, shops, and hotels, and more can be found as you travel a few blocks back around the pier area. Lifeguard stands and public restrooms line the beach, too.
2 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, California, 90266
The town of Malibu lies on the coastline northwest of L.A. and Santa Monica, and here you'll find some gorgeous views along with some gorgeous stretches of beach. Some of the beach areas are not possible to get to, as they are blocked by private land, but other areas are easily accessible. A few of these beach areas are found in small coves where a set of stairs leads down from the surrounding cliffs. In other spots, you'll find longer and wider sections of beach, such as by the Malibu Pier by Malibu Lagoon State Beach. A number of restaurants and shops can be found in this area, too. Further west is Point Dume and its beaches (Dume, Zuma) surrounded by a few walking trails with nice views.
Laguna Beach is a high-end beach town in the southern area of the Los Angeles metropolitain region which features gorgeous beaches, nice homes, mountain views, hiking, family-friendly activities, water sports, and more. Visitors to this accessible town on the coast can shop at boutique stores and browse art galleries, dine at nice restaurants, enjoy boat rides into the Pacific Ocean, experience the nightlife, go surfing, and plenty more.
Greater Los Angeles, California
Huntington State Beach
Located on the southern end of the stretch of beach in Huntington Beach, this California State Park is a gorgeous stretch of sand and waves. It's not as developed as other beaches in the L.A. area, and it's popular with families, surfers, fishers, walkers, joggers, and pretty much everyone in the area. Along the beach, visitors can find fire-rings, lifeguards, beach volleyball courts, parking lots, and walking paths. At the very southern end is the start of the Santa Ana River Trail.
21601 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach, California, 92646
The beach at the town and the pier around Hermosa Beach is a fun, clean, and family-friendly place to enjoy the sand and waves. Like many of the other beaches in the area, the sand is wide and clean with lifeguard stands and various shops and restaurants nearby. The fishing pier is also a nice spot for a good view or to catch some fish. The blocks around the beach is also a popular nightlife spot.
Hermosa Beach, California
Bolsa Chica State Beach
This 3-mile long beach is a state park, and as such visitors will not only find a nice wide sandy beach with nice waves, but also plenty of natural areas. Lifeguards are on staff, and there are public bathrooms, and fire rings, too. Surfing, fishing, swimming, volleyball, birdwatching, and other activities are popular here. It's a fun, family-friendly spot to come to the beach right near L.A.
18000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Huntington Beach, California, 92648
Belmont Shore Beach
On the southeastern end of Long Beach, the Belmont Shore neighborhood is a family-friendly area. Here you'll find a nice beach with a nearby dog park, a public pool, public parking, bike and walking trails, public bathrooms, and more. In the Naples area where the inlet leads to the marina and the canals, visitors can also find docks for kayaks and paddle boarding, more beaches for swimming in the calm inlet waters, as well as a public playground and more bathroom facilities.
5411 E Ocean Blvd, Belmont Shores & Naples, Long Beach, California, 90803
Alamitos Beach, Junipero Beach, and Long Beach City Beach
In the city of Long Beach, visitors can find a very nice stretch of sand and waves that are very popular in the warmer months. Plenty of activities can be found at and near these beaches including the art museum and the Aquarium of the Pacific, as well as a pier. Lifeguard stands, public bathrooms, bike and walking paths, and plenty of shops and restaurants are either right on the beach or within a few blocks. Public parking is also available.
Long Beach, California
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Los Angeles State Historic Park
Located right next to Chinatown, this 32 acre park offers impressive views of Los Angeles's downtown. It regularly hosts festivals and events including craft fairs and music festivals making it the perfect place to take in the local culture. There's also a nice bridge with a scenic overlook, as well as an orange grove and landscaping that is designed to thrive in the desert environment. Head to the park to explore for a bit, then hit up one of the many restaurants nearby.
North Spring Street, Chinatown, LA, California, 90012
La Brea Tar Pits
Centered around pits that were bubbling up from an underground lake of oil, scientists discovered a number of fossils and animal remains here. Now it's a museum focusing on the fossils, bones, and the general topic of paleontology. Kids love it, adults enjoy it, and it's a terrific learning experience for everyone. The indoor section of the museum requires a ticket for admission, but the outdoor section of this museum is free, and is quite interesting to see.
Wilshire Boulevard, LA, California, 90036
Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
Kenneth Hahn is a beautiful and large nature reserve that is perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy L.A.'s great weather. The park has hiking trails (more than 7 miles!), a pond, a lake where you can fish, and a volleyball court. You can wander through the Baldwin Hills and enjoy the stunning view of the surrounding area. This is also the perfect place to go on a long run or wander at a leisurely pace.
South Cloverdale Avenue, Culver City, LA, California, 90008
Located just west of the Hollywood Sign, this is one of the highest peaks in the area. With spectacular 360-degree panoramic views, it's a popular spot for hikers and those looking for a great view on a clear day.
Mount Lee Drive, LA, California, 90068
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The UCLA Planetarium is open to the public and plenty of fun for kids and adults. Providing a variety of shows, visitors can learn about astronomy combined with geology as well as history. Some of their shows are even in Spanish. It's a small venue with 49 seats and a large dome, so the shows here are intimate and educational. There's also a 14-inch telescope on the roof that is also open to the public.
UCLA Mathematical Sciences Building, Los Angeles, California
Travel Town Museum
Travel Town is the perfect spot for kids who love trains. It's located in Griffith Park and explores the history of the railroad in Los Angeles. There are railroad passenger cars as well as a miniature train that you can ride for $2.75 a person. The museum is free of charge to explore.
5200 Zoo Drive, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA, 90027
Skirball Cultural Center
This Jewish cultural center is also a combination of an art museum, culture museum, children's museum, and public events and educational space. Fostering a sense of welcoming and inclusion within the community, the center showcases a number of events and exhibitions throughout the year. Some of the exhibitions focus on history and religion, while others center on pop culture, children's education, food and cuisine, and more. Normally an admission is charged, but it's free on Thursdays.
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd, Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California, 90049
Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, located at the Santa Monica Pier, is run by the nonprofit Heal the Bay. Kids under 12 are free. Visitors can see touch tanks and a variety of aquarium exhibits featuring the marine environments from the local ecosystems. Jellyfish, sharks, reef fish, and numerous other sea creatures are on display. It's a great place to visit for the whole family.
1600 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica, California, 90401
Pretend City Children's Museum
Pretend City pretty much sums up what this unique kid's museum offers. There are 17 interactive exhibits that let kids explore and learn about how the real world works. Popular areas include the art studio, a post office, a grocery store, and a cafe. This museum is sure to bring out any kid's imagination.
29 Hubble, Irvine, CA, 92618
Pacific Park is part of the Santa Monica Pier and includes a Ferris wheel, roller coaster, aquarium, and traditional fair games. You can grab some cotton candy and wander through the sights or try your hand at winning an oversized stuffed animal. The park can get crowded on weekends but it's a classic Santa Monica destination. Grab an unlimited wristband to make the most of your time here.
Santa Monica, California
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Boasting a huge collection that is second only to the Smithsonian, the Natural History Museum of LA Country will take you quite some time to explore every level. From dinosaurs to gems to animal skeletons to an outdoor natural area, kids and adults will love spending the day here learning about a variety of topics. Even the building itself is a bit of a masterpiece.
Adams Normandie Historic District, LA, California
Marina del Rey
To the south of Venice, Marina del Rey offers a quiet waterfront setting that's very family-friendly and perfect for anyone who enjoys being on the water. This is an upscale area with it's own man-made harbor and there's a very active sailing community. This is also the place to go to book fishing trips, boat tours, dinner cruises, or any kind of private charter.
Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Located in Griffith Park and featuring a wide variety of animal and plant exhibits, the L.A. Zoo is huge (and also entirely owned by the city). With a focus on preserving wildlife and educating the public about nature, animals, and the environment, the zoo is fun and interesting for everyone from kids to adults. See elephants, tigers, fish, exotic birds, primates, reptiles, snakes, and more. In the botanical gardens, visitors can also plants both native to southern California and more exotic areas of the world. Some exhibits also highlight endangered plants.
Zoo Drive North, LA, California, 91201
Kidspace Children’s Museum
The Kidspace Children’s Museum spans 3.5 acres and offers a number of kid-centric exhibits including the Robert and Mary Galvin Physics Forest, which is a fully outdoor play space that has hands-on exhibits and interactive area for kids of all ages.
480 N Arroyo Blvd, Brookside Park, Pasadena, CA, 91103
Hollywood Wax Museum
With a large number of was replicas of famous movie stars and characters, kids and adults alike will enjoy visiting this fun museum and experience where they can see all of their favorite movies and TV shows come to life before their eyes. Located in Hollywood along the walk of fame, it's fun for the whole family.
6767 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, LA, California, 90028
The Griffith Observatory lies on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park. With a gorgeous view of Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, this spot is a popular tourist attraction for a variety of reasons. From here you also have a great view of the Hollywood Sign, too. Inside, visitors can find a variety of space and science exhibits, as the building is a stellar observatory after all. Admission is free. A planetarium is on site with fun shows that educate the public about astronomy, too. (Planetarium tickets are not free.)
2800 East Observatory Road, LA, California, 90027
Echo Park Lake
This family-friendly park looks out on the Downtown Skyline. The park has beautiful fountains and the Lady of the Lake statue. Visitors can rent a paddle boat and float on the lake or simply take a walk along the footpath which explores the local plants of the area. You can also grab a casual bite to eat at Beacon Cafe.
751 Echo Park Ave, Echo Park, Los Angeles, CA, 90026
Located right outside of Los Angeles, for many families Disneyland offers the trip of a lifetime. It has been an iconic California destination since the 1950s and it is filled with thrilling rides, engaging shows, and attractions that appeal to people of all ages. In addition to rides and shows, Disneyland is the place to go to meet many of Disney's famed princesses. Characters wander the park or set up meet and greets in specific areas. The Disneyland Resort will thrill kids of all ages.
Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, CA, 92802
Discovery Cube Los Angeles
The Discovery Cube LA is a kids museum focused on STEM activities, environmental sciences, and healthy lifestyles. There are a number of kids activities that include a grocery store with a scavenger hunt and a simulated helicopter ride through California.
11800 Foothill Blvd, Sylmar, CA, 91342
Cayton Children’s Museum
The Cayton Children’s Museum educates kids on being global citizens of the world. It teaches about culture, self-expression, and art through interactive exhibits and hands on programming.
395 Santa Monica Pl Suite 374 Level 3, Santa Monica, CA, 90401
California Science Center
This is one of the largest science museums on the west coast, and it has an impressively large list of exhibits, many of which feature fun, hands-on experiences which are great for kids and adults alike. Visitors can also see an aquarium, various ecosystems featuring a variety of animals, plenty of air and space vehicles (some are outside), and even more rotating exhibits about biology, chemistry, physics, and more. On site is also an IMAX theater.
700 Exposition Park Drive, Adams Normandie Historic District, LA, California, 90037
Barnsdall Art Park & Hollyhock House Photograph
This historic park serves as a public art gallery, architectural exhibit, and entertainment venue. It was donated by Aline Barnsdall and today it remains a unique cultural park that hosts cinema nights, wine tastings, and a number of other events that bring together young adults, couples, and families in one unique setting.
4800 Hollywood Blvd, Los Feliz, Los Angeles, CA, 90027
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Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
With a focus on both oceanography and marine life, this terrific aquarium has been around for awhile. It's family-friendly and very popular with the local communities, as school trips come here frequently. Visitors can see large aquarium tanks featuring a variety of marine environments with sharks, fish, and a variety of other undersea creatures. Touch tanks are always a favorite with children and adults, too, and you'll find them here as well. The aquatic nursery is another fun spot, as visitors can see actual ongoing research about the local marine habitats right off shore.
3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro, California, 90731
Aquarium of the Pacific
Located in Long Beach, this fairly large aquarium has plenty of terrific exhibits that will entertain and educate adults and kids alike. From coral reefs to sharks, to sea otters to various marine ecosystems from around the world, the Aquarium of the Pacific offers a wide range of undersea creatures to learn about and observe. The sea turtles, jellyfish, and the penguins are just some of the favorites of visitors. The aquarium also hosts a number of events, too.
100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, California, 90802
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Santa Monica Pier
This large and vibrant pier is an iconic destination in Los Angeles. It's located at the foot of Colorado Avenue along a beautiful golden sand beach in Santa Monica. The pier is more than just a pier - there's a small amusement park, concession stands, and plenty of places to take in the views or enjoy some fishing. Perhaps the most notable attraction at the pier is the iconic Ferris wheel.
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California, 90401
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Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios is famous for its adrenaline-filled rides that are based on the theme of blockbuster movies. This is more than just an amusement park, it's also a working movie studio. Kids and adults of all ages can enjoy Universal Studios and for many people it's a must-see attraction in Los Angeles. Popular rides and attractions in the park include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, The Walking Dead, The Simpsons, Transformers, and Jurassic World - The Ride. Also affiliated with the park is CityWalk, which is a three block area that's filled with shopping, restaurants, and theaters.
100 James Stewart Avenue, Universal City, LA, California, 91608
Six Flags Magic Mountains
Six Flags is a famous amusement park brand that offers thrilling rides and adrenaline-filled activities. Most of the rides are designed for older kids and teenagers, but there are a few rides for the younger crowd as well. There are more than a dozen roller coasters of different sizes and plenty to keep the adventurous entertained.
26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy, Valencia, CA, 91355
Knott's Berry Farm
This nostalgic amusement park combines the taste of old-fashioned with thrilling rides. The park has maintained a few of the it's traditional rides, but added on with more compact roller coasters. The lines here are shorter than at the more popular parks and the price is cheaper, so if you're looking for an alternative to the bigger named parks, then this is a good option.
8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA, 90620
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