Best Los Angeles Itinerary with Kids

Los Angeles – the city of Angels and also the city with an endless amount of things to do with the kids.  There is so much to do in Los Angeles with kids that you could spend a month here and still likely not do everything.

However, no doubt you don’t have a month; perhaps you have a week, five days, maybe even less.  No matter how much time you have in town, this guide will help you put together the best Los Angeles itinerary with kids.

To help put you put together the best itinerary for Los Angeles, this guide will cover a range of suggestions for those visiting for 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7 days.  It will also help with tips on how to get between attractions and where to stay.

To be clear, this travel itinerary Los Angeles guide doesn’t include Disneyland.  Disneyland is not in Los Angeles; it’s in Orange County, so it’s recommended you stay in Anaheim while visiting Disneyland.  You can find out more about planning a trip to Disneyland here. However, we share some tips about visiting Disneyland at the end of this guide.

But anyway, let’s get into it and help you plan the best LA itinerary.

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Best Los Angeles Itinerary with Kids

Now there really is no one perfect Los Angeles trip itinerary – because we all have kids of different ages and with different interests.  Plus, some of us will prefer to spend ages at certain attractions while others will breeze through them.

So I recommend you start by reading our guide on all there is to do in Los Angeles with kids here and make a list of all the things your family is interested in.  Then read through the different days in the Los Angeles travel itinerary options below and try and find days that cover similar attractions your family wants to see.

Hollywood Sign - Free things to do in LA

You will, of course, need to swap out some attractions here and there, but it will hopefully get you closer to making the ideal LA trip itinerary for your family.

Los Angeles Itinerary – 2 Days

Ok, so this Los Angeles itinerary – 2 days option will assume you have a full 2 days to spend exploring.  So to complete this Los Angeles in 2 days itinerary, it’s probably best you spend at least 3 nights in town.

For your 2 days in Los Angeles itinerary, I’d recommend you stay in Hollywood (read our Hollywood hotel guide here) as you’ll find that most convenient for getting around to all the attractions.

I’d also recommend you consider getting a GO City LA Pass or an All Exclusive LA Pass, as many of the attractions recommended for this 2 day itinerary Los Angeles offers are covered by this pass.  You will save money with the pass instead of paying for each attraction individually.  If these passes cover an attraction mentioned below, I’ll let you know.

Day 1

It’s recommended that you spend the first full day of your Los Angeles 2 day itinerary exploring all that the centre of Hollywood offers (read our guide on things to do in Hollywood here). This is because all the Hollywood attractions are close together and it’s easy to walk between them.

Depending on where you’re staying, you may be able to walk to the attractions, take a bus or the subway (see more on getting around LA below).  If you are catching a bus, head towards the TCL Chinese Theatre, but get off a few blocks back so you can explore the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

As you’re exploring the Hollywood Walk of Fame, stop at the Celebrity Stars Tour stand and book the family into one of their tours (covered by LA Pass). These two hour tours run regularly throughout the day.  I’d recommend booking the last tour of the day, which is 4 pm, to give you plenty of time to visit the various attractions around Hollywood.

Now continue to make your way to the TCL Chinese Theatre.  Here book one of their 30 minute tours (covered by LA Pass).  Before or after your tour, find all your family’s favourite celebrities’ hands and footprints outside the theatre.

Next, walk to the Dolby Theatre (in the same centre as the TCL Chinese Theatre) – the home of the Academy Awards.  Book into one of their 30 minute tours (covered by the LA Pass) and experience all the glitz and glamour as the Hollywood stars do.

Now, as you’ve got limited time on this 2 day Los Angeles itinerary – I recommend you take this time to see the Hollywood sign here– even though it will be a bit far away.  So head to the second or third floor of the Hollywood and Highland Shopping Centre, right next to the Dolby Theatre, where you’ll be able to see the iconic Hollywood sign.

The location is fairly easy to find.  Simply head to the outdoor area, and there is a little open area facing out towards the hills – usually, there will be plenty of tourists here taking photos of the sign – so you can’t miss it.

This is probably a good time to break for lunch as there are plenty of family friendly places to eat within Hollywood and Highland.

Next up, spend an hour or so exploring the Hollywood Musuem (covered by the all exclusive LA Pass) (closed Mondays and Tuesdays).  Then head to the Funko Store (closed Mondays and Tuesdays), where the kids can take some great photos surrounded by their favourite characters and design and make their own Pop People.

Depending on whether you booked in for the Celebrity Stars Tour – you may have time to visit Madam Tussauds (covered by LA Pass) first.  This is a fun place for the kids (and parents) to take photos with their idols.

It’s probably now time for your Celebrity Stars Tour.  Afterwards, you might want to grab a bite to eat for dinner.

For older kids with energy still to burn, you can visit Ripley’s Beleive It or Not or the Guinness World Book of Records, as both are open late.

By now, you’re all probably exhausted, so either walk, take the bus or train or an Uber back to your hotel.

Alternative Option: If you don’t want to spend so much time on your 2 days Los Angeles itinerary in Hollywood, skip some of the attractions mentioned above and take the full loop on the Hop On Hop Off Bus (covered by LA Pass).  This goes around all the most popular attractions in Los Angeles, including Santa Monica Pier.

For larger groups or families, you may even consider renting a charter bus for this day.

Day 2

The second day of your 2 days in LA itinerary is pretty simple because you’re off to a fun filled day at Universal Studios (covered by all exclusive LA Pass).

If you don’t have your own car with you, I recommend taking the train or an Uber to Universal Studios and getting there reasonably early to ensure you make the most of your day.  The theme park is only about a 10 minute drive from Hollywood or about 20 minutes on the train.  From the train station, walk across the road where you can catch the free shuttle to Universal Studios.

If it’s a busy time when visiting Universal Studios, I’d recommend considering the Express Passes – this means you get to skip the lines.  They are expensive though, so I recommend you can read our guide on how to decide if the Express Passes are worth it here.  We bought them for our recent trip and found it super helpful to get on all the rides quickly.  Although if you’re prepared to be there from opening to closing time, you don’t really need these.

Los Angeles Itinerary – 3 Days

For those able to extend their time, this Los Angeles itinerary 3 days option is for you.  For the first two days of your itinerary, simply follow the previous 2 day itinerary.

For your Los Angeles 3 day itinerary, I recommend you split your final day between the Warner Bros Studio Tour and Santa Monica.

Book in advance into one of the first Warner Bros Studio Tours (covered by standard LA Pass).  They usually start early from around 8 am and are scheduled every 30 minutes from there.  These tours go for about 3 hours, including a 1 hour guided tour and about a 2 hour self guided tour.

It’s about a 15 minute drive to the Warner Bros Studio Tour from Hollywood or about 30 minutes by public transport.

After your Warner Bro Studios Tour, on your 3 day itinerary for Los Angeles, I recommend you spend the afternoon in Santa Monica.  It’s best to drive here or take an Uber (about 30 minutes) because otherwise, it’s about 2 hours by public transport.

There is plenty to do in and around Santa Monica (read our guide here on things to do in Santa Monica).  Depending on your children’s age, you might like to walk or rent some bikes and go down the boardwalk to Venice Beach.  If it’s warm, you can take the kids for a swim or simply stop at one of the various parks along the way.

Most kids want to spend some time at the Santa Monica Pier.  Here you can enjoy some of the rides at Pacific Park, visit the Heal the Bay Aquarium (covered by all exclusive LA Pass) or play games at the Playland Arcade.

Just a short walk from Santa Monica Pier is downtown, where there is great shopping and places to take the kids for something to eat.  It’s the perfect way to finish your 3 days in Los Angeles itinerary.

From Santa Monica, it’s about 30 minutes by car back to Hollywood or 1 hour and 15 minutes by public transport.

And that brings us to the end of your 3-day Los Angeles itinerary.

Los Angeles Itinerary – 4 Days

Griffith Observatory - Things to do in Los Angeles with Kids

If you have time in your schedule, a Los Angeles itinerary 4 days option is when you get to really sink your teeth in some of the city’s less touristy attractions.  For the first 3 days of your itinerary, simply follow the previous 3 day itinerary.

Given that we all have different interests, I’d recommend reading through the rest of this guide and picking a day for your 4 day Los Angeles itinerary that suits your family – not necessarily the one I’ll outline below.

However, for those doing a longer trip, such as the Los Angeles itinerary 7 days option, you may wish to simply follow this day.

For movie buff families with children 10+, I recommend starting with another movie studio tour on the last day of your Los Angeles 4 day itinerary.  This time the Paramount Pictures Studio Tour.  These two hour tours are scheduled throughout the day, with the first starting at around 9 am.

If you’re staying in Hollywood, it’s relatively easy to take public transport to the Studio – it takes around 30 minutes.  Otherwise, it’s about 10 minutes by car.

After your tour, head down Melrose Avenue for some lunch and look out for some of the street art for some cool Instagram worthy photos. 

For families with kids younger than 10, I recommend spending this day of your 4 day LA itinerary in and around the Griffith Observatory.  For the families heading to the Paramount Movie tour, head to the Griffith Observatory afterwards.

For families heading straight to the Griffith Observatory from their Hollywood accommodation, it’s about a 20 minute drive or 40 minutes by public transport.  For the families heading there from the Paramount Studios, it’s about a 20 minute drive or 40 minutes by public transport.

Of course, at the Griffith Observatory, you’ve got the planetarium with a range of great shows for the kids.  But there is also the opportunity for the kids to look at the sun through a telescope, listen to educational talks, see the Hollywood sign and go on some lovely hikes.

For the families spending the day around the Griffith Observatory, there is also the Old Los Angeles Zoo (covered by the LA Pass), a vintage carousel, steam powered trains and a museum.

This brings us to the end of your 4 day itinerary Los Angeles offers.

As with day one, for larger groups or families, you may even consider renting a charter bus for this day.

Los Angeles Itinerary – 5 Days

For the first 4 days of your itinerary, simply follow the previous 4 day itinerary.

Now for families with older teens, how about starting your Los Angeles itinerary 5 days option with a tour of the colourful streets of South Central.  The LA Hood Life Tours takes you to some famous movie locations and landmarks.  These tours leave from central Hollywood and tours are 3.5 hours.

After your tour, grab some lunch, and then it’s time to check out one of the famous Los Angeles museums we’ve listed below for those on the 7 day Los Angeles itinerary.  Simply choose one or two that interest your family.  

For families with younger children for your 5 day Los Angeles itinerary, skip the LA Hood Life tour and spend more time at the museums or add an extra museum into your day.

Most museums around Los Angeles can easily be accessed via public transport or an Uber may be easy for families with younger children.

If you’re a family who loves movies, another option for your 5 days in Los Angeles itinerary is to take an afternoon tour of the Sony Studios.  The last tour of the day is at 2.30 pm, so provided you jump in an Uber after your LA Hood Life Tour finishes, you’ll have plenty of time.  Keep in mind though, that kids must be 12+ to do the Sony Studio Tour.

If you decide to do the Sony Studios tour – it’s about 1.25 hours back to Hollywood by public transport or a 40 minute drive.

That brings us to the end of your 5 days Los Angeles itinerary.

Los Angeles Itinerary – 7 Days

For the first 5 days of your itinerary, simply follow the previous 5 day itinerary.

For those planning a 7 days in Los Angeles itinerary – you’re going to really get a great taste of what the city offers families.  The remainder of your 1 week itinerary Los Angeles offers will be spent exploring the city’s great museums.

Now, of course, you don’t have to follow this 1 week Los Angeles itinerary in the order I’ve listed.  It may be best to split your museum days up across the week.  I’ve simply listed it in this order so that people on shorter trips, say a Los Angeles 3 days itinerary or a Los Angeles weekend itinerary, get the best of what the city offers into their trip.

I’ve also grouped attractions that are in reasonably close proximity to each other, so you’re not wasting time going from one end of the city to the other unnecessarily.

Ok, let’s get on with your final 2 days of your Los Angeles 1 week itinerary.

Day 6

I recommend spending day 6 of your 1 week in Los Angeles itinerary at the Academy Musuem of Motion Pictures, the La Brea Tar Pits (covered by standard LA Pass) and the Peterson Automotive Musuem.  You could also visit the Los Angeles County Musuem of Art if you have time.

These museums are within a short 5 minute walk, making it the perfect day.

Now all these museums in one day may be a bit too much for some families, so start with the ones you most want to see.  That way, if you get time or are inclined to do so, you can add other museums to your day, depending on how you feel.

The museums are a 20 minute drive from Hollywood or about 30 minutes by bus.

Day 7

For the very last day of your Los Angeles one week itinerary, it’s once again time to check out some of the city’s awesome museums.  Today I recommend you consider visiting the Grammy Musuem (covered by LA Pass), The Broad, The California Science Centre (covered by the LA Pass) and the Natural History Musuem (covered by LA Pass).

Now depending on your family’s interest might depend on whereabouts you start. First, however, I will say this – there is about a 25 minute walk between the Grammy Musuem and The Broad, while the California Science Centre and the Natural History Musuem are both located in Exposition Park, about a 20 minute bus ride away from the other two attractions.  

For families with young kids, you could even spend your entire day at Exposition Park exploring the Science Centre and Natural Musuem.  While families with older children will no doubt enjoy the Grammy Musuem and may have the stamina to do all four attractions in a single day.

Whatever attractions you choose and whichever order you choose to visit them, you can easily get to them by subway from Hollywood with it being about a 40 minute journey from Exposition Park and 25 minutes journey from the Broad.

And that completes your one week Los Angeles itinerary.

Getting Around Los Angeles

Throughout the suggested itinerary for Los Angeles, I mention Uber times as well as using public transport.  I recommend you use a combination of both during your stay in Los Angeles.  In some cases, public transportation is relatively easy to catch between the attractions, but other times the time to travel via bus and train is not worth it and you’re better off getting an Uber.

Don’t be afraid to catch the trains around Los Angeles; unlike other big cities like London or New York, where multiple platforms and trains go in every which direction – in Los Angeles, there is only one platform, and trains go in two directions only.  So as you can see in the photo above, you simply go to the one platform and decide if you’re heading to North Hollywood or Union Station – that’s it!.  

I also found buses really easy to catch too.  Just put your trip into Google Maps and choose the public transport option and it will tell you where you need to be, at what time to catch what bus – it’s actually very easy.   

To ride the train, you’ll need a TAP card, which can be purchased for $2 USD from vending machines at the station. You can also download the TAP LA app and purchase cards there.  The vending machines are super easy to use; just follow the instructions on the screens.  You will need to buy one card at a time though.  As a family, I found it easier to buy cards, so each person has their own card rather than messing with Apps.

A standard fare is $1.75 USD per 1 way trip on a bus and train with multiple transfers within 2 hours.  Alternatively, $7 USD will get you a one day pass or a 7 day pass is $25.   So consider how often you’ll use public transport and decide whether to pay as you or a pass will work out better for you.  We found it super easy to use public transport in LA and highly recommend it for those tight on a budget.

To plan all your journeys using Uber or public transport, I recommend using Google Maps.

Where to Stay in Los Angeles

For this trip to Los Angeles itinerary, I recommend staying in Hollywood and have provided basic travel times from the various attractions to and from Hollywood.  While Hollywood isn’t the most glamorous part of Los Angeles, it is the most convenient for getting around to the various attractions.

If you’re interested in staying in Hollywood, I recommend reading our guide here on the best family hotels in Hollywood.

If you really don’t want to stay in Hollywood, then you can read our guide on where to stay in Los Angeles here or our guide on the best family hotels in Santa Monica here.

Why Isn’t Disneyland on this Itinerary?

Now I know most families coming to Los Angeles will no doubt want to visit Disneyland – so why haven’t I included it in this LA travel itinerary?  The reason is Disneyland is in Anaheim, which is quite a distance from Los Angeles and all its attractions.

Most families plan on spending at least a few days visiting Disneyland and California Adventure Park and therefore, it is best to stay in Anaheim during this part of your trip.  If, however you just want to visit Disneyland for one day, then it would make sense to stay in Hollywood for the entire trip and travel to Disneyland there and back in one day.  It will be a big day though.

For help planning the Disneyland part of your trip, I recommend looking at our guide on the best family hotels near Disneyland and our guide on other things to do in Anaheim.


I hope you found this guide on planning your LA itinerary helpful.  We also have guides on things to do in California with kids, things to do in San Francisco with kids and things to do in San Diego with kids

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