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Things to do in LA with family

With so many awesome things to do with kids in LA, you could easily spend a few weeks here and still not tick off all the family activities in LA.  When it comes to what to do with kids in LA, sure there are plenty of activities centred around the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and movie stars. Still, there are plenty of other LA attractions for families, such as art galleries, museums, great hiking trails, and lovely beaches.

If you have a family trip to Los Angeles with kids coming up, you will love this LA with kids guide.  This guide covers all the best things to do with kids in Los Angeles, including the free things to do LA offers and things to do near Los Angeles (including Disneyland!).  Other tips include where to stay in Los Angeles with kids, how to get from the airport to Hollywood and how to get around to the various LA attractions.

No matter the age of your kids, whether you are looking for things to do in Los Angeles with toddlers or things to do in Los Angeles with a teenager, in this guide you will find plenty of things to do for kids in LA.

Talk to other families about their tips on visiting LA and join our Thrifty Family Travel Facebook Group or get inspired via our Instagram.

This post may contain compensated links.  Please refer to my disclaimer here for more information.

Page Contents

The Best Things to do with Kids in LA 

Before we get started, to help you decide what order to do all the things to do and see in LA, I’ve provided this handy map below, which shows you where all the different attractions are located. Zoom in and out for a better view.

 

What to do with Kids in LA

Throughout this section, I have provided a comprehensive guide to all the best things to do with kids in LA. In addition, I’ve provided details to make your planning easier, such as attraction locations, opening hours and ticket prices.  All pricing is in USD.

You will note that for many of the top things to do with kids in LA, I often recommend you purchase your tickets in advance from Klook.  Yes, I will receive a small commission if you purchase from Klook – but as you will see in most cases, you will save yourself a stack of cash if you book through them.  Haven’t heard of Klook?  Find out more here.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

What to do in LA with kids which is free? First, let them find their favourite movie star’s plaque on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Possibly one of the most popular Los Angeles tourist spots, this famous stretch of Hollywood Boulevard comprises more than 2,700 brass stars embedded in the sidewalks. These stars contain a mixture of famous people’s names, marking their achievements in the entertainment industry.

Many people don’t know that this ‘Walk of Fame’ is quite a walk – over 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, to be precise. However, I found most of the “bigger” stars around the area where all the main Hollywood Tourist Attractions are.  To find out a particular celebrity’s star check out the star search on the official website; this will save you heaps of time.

Kids will love finding some of their favourite characters, from Shrek to Mickey Mouse to Tinker Bell, while adults can spot plaques for their favourite actors or directors. Such a fun activity for everyone! We recommend this as one of the top 10 things to do in Los Angeles for families.

If this is your first time in Hollywood – you have to take the kids to the Hollywood Walk of Fame – it’s one of the best things to do in LA with kids or without.

Location:  N Highland Ave and Hollywood Blvd
Opening Hours:  Anytime
Price:  Free

Funko Store Hollywood

One of the top things to do Hollywood has on offer for all pop culture fans out there is a visit to the Funko Hollywood Store!

This Hollywood store is the second Funko bricks-and-mortar location, located on Hollywood Blvd around a 20 minute walk from Hollywood/Highland.

The store is filled with immersive sets and larger than life photo opportunities – all inspired by characters from movies and TV shows.  The themed zones make the 40,000 square feet of store fun easy to navigate. Just head straight to whichever zone you want your photo opp; Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Marvel, Disney and more!

And one of the best things… this is one of the free things in Los Angeles! (if you don’t purchase any of the items for sale!)

Location: 6201 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles

Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 12 pm to 6 pm | Saturday & Sundays 10 am – 6 pm

Price: Entry is free

Dolby Theatre Guided Tour 

Visiting LA after the infamous Oscars ‘slap’ and want to see where it all happened? Head to the Dolby Theatre for a guided tour. While it might not be one of the most interesting things to do in LA for kids on the younger side, parents and celebrity obsessed teenagers will no doubt enjoy walking through the Dolby Theatre.

Here you can take a 30 minute tour through one of the world’s biggest entertainment venues. You’ll see this huge 3,400-seat theatre in all its glory as you walk through listening to interesting and entertaining facts and stories from your engaging tour guides.

As the theatre is used for productions, the guided tours are on days when no shows are scheduled.

Location:  N Highland Ave and Hollywood Blvd – adjacent to the world-famous TCL Chinese Theatre.
Opening Hours:  Varies check the website for the schedule
Price: $25 per adult | $17 per child | Under 3s are free – Click here to buy discounted tickets online.

TCL Chinese Theatre Tour

 

One of the top things to do with kids in Los Angeles is to visit the famed forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theatre, where you can see the hand and footprints of all the family’s favourite stars!

To learn more about the theatre, you can join a guided tour.  On this tour, you will learn the history of this cinema palace from inside and out and discover stories and amazing facts past and present.

This is one of the great family friendly things to do in LA, kids will love placing their hands and feet in the celeb imprints and parents will get a kick from hearing stories about Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Location:  6925 Hollywood Blvd – on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Opening Hours:  Daily excluding special events
Price: $16 per adult| $8 per child (3-12) | Kids under 3 are free – Click here to buy discounted tickets online.

Hollywood Museum

This museum is housed in the historic Max Factor Building and is home to a collection of memorabilia from the history of American motion pictures and television. The most extensive collection of authentic Hollywood memorabilia in the world is on display here, over four floors of magnificent exhibits. With more than 10,000 authentic treasures from favourite movies and TV shows, the whole family will be entertained.

This is one of the things to do in Los Angeles that the whole family will love! There are costumes from Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Beyoncé, and Leonardo DiCaprio – a level devoted to cult horror films plus loads of props, scripts and more!

Location:  1660 N Highland Ave. on Hollywood Boulevard
Opening Hours:  Wednesday to Sunday 10 am to 5 pm.
Price:  $15 per adult | $5 per child (5 and under)

Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Sign - Free things to do in LA

When it comes to things to do in Los Angeles with kids, you can’t leave town without at least a glimpse of the Hollywood sign.   A trip to LA would not be complete without a photo with the famed Hollywood Sign. Though it is visible from all over the city from its high up position on Mt. Lee, it can be hard to get a good angled and un-obstructed shot.

Below I have listed the best vantage points to take your perfect selfie with these iconic 45 feet tall letters… and the great thing is, you don’t even need an LA tour guide, you can do it yourselves!

From the Hollywood and Highland Shopping Mall: From the corner of Hollywood Boulevard, walk north onto Highland Avenue and take the first left hand turn. This is the entrance to the driveway of the shopping centre car park – labelled “Johnny Grant Way” Turn left into Johnny Grant and then an immediate left up the stairs to the patio level above.

From the Griffith Observatory: This is by far the easiest and highest vantage point to take a photo of the Hollywood sign.  There is plenty of other top LA attractions here too – see below for more details.

From Mulholland Drive: the ‘Hollywood Bowl Overlook’- this place offers a wonderful view of the Hollywood Sign complete with a historical placard.

Whilst hiking: You can hike to the Hollywood sign too.  In fact, there are various hikes around and behind the sign on Mount Lee, and if you’re visiting Los Angeles hoping to do some star spotting – this is just where you might find some of them!

Guinness World Records Museum

When it comes to what to do in Los Angeles with kids who love their facts and perhaps even a bit of a challenge themselves – a visit to the Guinness World Records Museum is highly recommended.  The kids will love attempting records of their own and comparing themselves against the world’s tallest man or perhaps their weight against the world’s heaviest person.

So if you’re after Los Angeles kid’s activities that are both interactive and educational, the Guinness World Records Museum is just the place!

Location:  6764 Hollywood Blvd
Opening Hours: Daily 9 am to 12 am
Price:  $34.99 per adult | $19.99 per child (4-11) | Kids under 3 free

Madame Tussauds

If you’re looking for fun things to do in LA that the whole family will love, check out Madame Tussauds and get your picture taken with your favourite celebrity.  The kids will love walking around and taking selfies and marvelling at the meticulous, realistic work on display, meeting over 125 incredibly life-like figures from the celebrity worlds of film, television and more! 

They’ve really done a fabulous job here; the celebrities look sooo much like the actual person it’s crazy!  Plus I just love how they have so many great photo opportunities set up for you.  Like this one above with ET, not only is there a bike for you to ride but they even have a red jumper for you to wear.  So do allow at least an hour or two so everyone can get their share of photos.

While you could get lucky and spot a celebrity when out and about from afar, if the kids want to get up close and personal with a celeb, Madam Tussauds in Los Angeles for kids is the best place!

Location:  6933 Hollywood Blvd – right next door to the TCL Chinese Theatre on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Opening Hours:  Monday to Wednesday 11 am to 6 pm | Thursday to Sunday 11 am to 8 pm
Price:  $34.99 per person| Kids under 2 years free – Click here to buy discounted tickets online.

Sunset Strip

This one is for the Mums and Dads who are interested in some of the film and music history of Hollywood.  Stroll down the Sunset Strip and see where some of Hollywood’s greats wined and dined, performed, stayed, lived and in some cases died.

The Sunset Strip is the section between Havenhurst Drive and Doheny Drive, it has been the place for many historic events, such as the counterculture protests in the 1960s and the Rock and Roll decadence in the ‘70s and ‘80s. More recently it has undergone a chic revival, with luxury hotel towers and fine restaurants.

If you are looking for free things to do in Los Angeles, take a DIY tour to photograph some of the iconic Hollywood landmarks along the famous Boulevard.  Most venues aren’t child friendly so grab a photo from the outside and keep on walking. Check out:

Number 8221 – Chateau Marmont: A castle-like luxury establishment that has housed its share of Hollywood gossip. This is where comedian John Belushi died from a heroin overdose.

Number 8358 – Sunset Tower Hotel: This historic Art Deco hotel achieved landmark status from the moment it opened in 1929. This lavish hotel attracted famous residents such as Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne and Elizabeth Taylor to name but a few, with its advanced technology, décor and location.  Sunset Tower Hotel has appeared in many famous films over the years giving the hotel its star status. A quick photo stop with this iconic landmark is a must for the holiday album.

Number 8433 – The Comedy Store:  Many famous comedians have been featured at this venue at one time or another.

Number 8852 – The Viper Room: Once owned by Johnny Deep, you may recall this nightclub being most famous for the place where actor River Phoneix died in 1993 from a drug overdose. **In 2023 construction will begin on a 12-storey high-rise**

Number 8901 – Whisky A Go Go:  A famous music venue where many bands got a start – bands such as The Doors, The Who, The Kinks, The Byrds, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix once played here.

Number 9015 – Rainbow Bar:  Back in the day this is where Marilyn Monroe went on her first date with Joe DiMaggio and where Vince Minnelli proposed to Judy Garland.

So, while not the greatest thing to do in LA for kids, it will expel some of their energy as you explore on foot and give the whole family a chance to do some star spotting along this celeb frequented strip.

Warner Brothers Studio Tour

 

On this guided tour you not only get to see where some of your favourite movies and TV shows were made but also learn all about just how they are made.

I’m not a huge TV and film buff, but I was just enthralled learning about all the behind the scenes stuff.  And I must admit it was super cool to see where some of my favourite shows and movies were made such as ER, Annie, Friends, The Greatest Showman, Minority Report, the Cable Guy, Ellen and loads more.

The tour involves a look at some of the backlots, as well as a look inside some real life working sets.  There are also a few stops where you can see some costumes, various bat mobiles, and an excellent museum at the end.  You’ll also get to see sets from popular sitcoms such as The Big Bang Theory and Friends.

I’ve been on the Warner Brothers Studio Tour a few times now and what I love is how different each tour has been.  So you can come back again and again and you will see something different each time. 

If you’re considering taking the family, keep in mind though that the tour does not allow kids under 5.  However, if your kids are over 5, honestly this would be one of the best family things to do in Los Angeles.

Location: 3400 Warner Blvd, Burbank
Opening Hours: Thursday to Monday 9 am to 3.30 pm
Price: $69 per adult | $59 per child (5-10yrs) – Click here to buy discounted tickets online.

See a Live Talk Show or Sitcom

Attending a free TV show taping in LA, is a great opportunity to see your favourite television stars live and in person and is no doubt one of the best free things to do in LA.  There are many online audience service companies that offer these free tickets.

As tickets are usually released 30 days in advance with popular sitcoms and talk shows booking out the day they are released, I recommend planning this in advance before you commence your family holiday. Just double check the minimum age requirement before booking to ensure the whole family can attend – while most are around 14 or 16, there are some as young as 8. 

On Camera Audiences is one of the best places to go for tickets as they cover family friendly reality shows such as American’s Got Talent, America’s Got Talent, So You Think You Can Dance, or sitcoms like That 90’s Show.  Provided your kids meet the age requirements, a live show is one of the fun things for families to do in Los Angeles together.

Griffith Park and the Griffith Observatory

Easily one of the top 10 things to do in Los Angeles with kids is a visit to Griffith Park.  This park is over 4000 acres of a natural landscape covered with California oak trees, among other diverse flora and fauna. Being the largest public park in the USA, it is not only a gorgeous setting for hiking and picnics, but it also has tons of LA attractions for kids.  

One of the best things to do with kids in Griffith Park is to visit the Griffith Observatory.  Here you can see space related exhibits and star shows in the planetarium. The Observatory also has great views of downtown LA and the Hollywood sign. The best way to see and hear all about the Observatory is to book a guided tour, see below.

Location:  2800 East Observatory Rd
Opening Hours:  Friday 12 pm to 10 pm | Saturday & Sunday 10 am to 10 pm | Monday to Thursday Closed
Price:  Entry to the Observatory is free, but you must buy tickets to the planetarium show (only purchased at the observatory).  If you would like a guided tour of the Observatory – Click here to buy tickets online.

Shane’s Inspiration Playground 

Sitting on 2 acres in Griffith Park, this playground features several fantastic play elements and is designed to be accessible to kids of all abilities.  

If you’re visiting Griffith Park, we highly recommend stopping in at Shane’s Inspiration for a play with the kids. Los Angeles was honoured to have this first Universally Accessible Playground in the Western USA, which has inspired the creation of more inclusive and accessible playgrounds throughout California and beyond. Be part of history!

Location:  4730 Crystal Springs Road (mid park)
Opening Hours:  Daily 5 am to 10.30 pm
Price:  Free

Los Angeles Zoo 

This zoo stretches over 113 acres and is home to more than 1,100 birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles representing more than 250 different species including 29 endangered ones. This zoo is also well-known for its exciting special exhibits, events and evening programs that are ever changing throughout the seasons.

Whilst you can visit a zoo in your home country, there’s always something different when exploring a zoo in another country, plus it is a relatively inexpensive attraction when in LA, kids will love it!

Location: 5333 Zoo Drive (across from the Autry Museum of Western Heritage)
Opening Hours: Daily 10 am to 5 pm
Price: $22 per adult | $17 per child | Kids under 2 free

Travel Town Museum 

Travel Town Museum is a railway museum where kids can explore various travel-themed experiences, like the popular miniature train ride. They have regular events and workshops throughout the year like passenger car tours and engineer playdays. Check out their events calendar to find out more.

As one of the few free family activities in Los Angeles, if you’re trying to stretch your budget whilst keeping the kids entertained, this could be well worth adding to the itinerary.

Location:  5200 Zoo Dr (North West corner of Griffith Park)
Opening Hours:  Daily 10 am to 5 pm | Closed Wednesdays
Price:  Free entry. Train Rides are $3.50 per adult | $3.00 per child 

Melrose Avenue 

If you’re looking for trendy LA tourist spots, take a stroll down Melrose Avenue.  Melrose Avenue is lined with fun boutiques and is one of the places to visit in Los Angeles if you love to shop. This shopping, dining and entertainment destination would be a hit with teenagers that love fashion.

Also if you’re like me and love exploring a cities street art, here you will find quite a few:

  • Made in LA Wall: 8025 Melrose Avenue
  • The Pink Wall, which is the creative façade on the Paul smith store: 8221 Melrose Avenue
  • Paul McCartney Wall: Corner of Melrose and La Jolla

These are the perfect spots to get an insta selfie, so if you have a sulky teen and are looking for things to do in Los Angeles with teenager aged kids.. this could very well be it!

Paramount Studios 

During a tour at Paramount Studios, you will get to explore and see the sets where many well-known movies and TV shows are made. You will get an insight into Hollywood history and insider knowledge from your tour guide. As one of the longest operating and only remaining major studio in Hollywood, Paramount Pictures is definitely one of the top 10 things to do in Hollywood, Los Angeles – where you can help celebrate 100 years of history!

Location:  5515 Melrose Ave, at the corner of Melrose Ave and Plymouth Blvd.
Opening Hours: 9.00 am to 3.30 pm – tours are 2 hours long
Price: $63 per person

The Original Farmers Market & The Grove

LA tourist Spots

Blend tradition with modern shopping, the farmers market maintains a strong connection to its past with many Hollywood locals still buying meats and produce here, yet it’s always full of tourists visiting the trendy restaurants and shops that face the central park area of The Grove.  The Grove is a massive outdoor shopping mall with all your favourite stores.

Whilst you might not think the farmer’s markets is one of the exciting places to visit in LA with kids – they will love the free food samples on offer, and you might just spot a celeb or two picking up fresh produce!

Location:  6333 W 3rd St, Los Angeles
Opening Hours:  Sunday to Thursday 10 am to 8 pm | Friday & Saturday 10 am to 9 pm
Price:  Free

Rodeo Drive – Beverly Hills

Los Angeles Tourist Attractions

For all my Pretty Woman fans out there – where to go in Los Angeles for clothes?  Rodeo Drive Baby!  Well that would be window shopping if you have the same bank balance as I do.  Famous for its fancy upscale boutiques and expensive cars such as Lamborghini’s, Rolls Royce’s, and Bentley’s parked out the front – Rodeo Drive tends to be one of the must see LA tourist spots, particularly for Pretty Woman fans.   

Don’t forget to check out the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel where both Julia Roberts and Richard Gere’s characters spend the week.

Location:  Rodeo Drive, Beverley Hills
Opening Hours:  Individual store/restaurant opening times may vary.
Price:  Window Shopping = Free.

Santa Monica Pier and Pacific Park 

Santa Monica Pier - Family things to do in Los Angeles

One of the best family things to do in LA would have to be a visit to Santa Monica Pier.  This landmark is very popular with locals and tourists alike and is home to Pacific Park amusement park. This iconic amusement park is not a big, extravagant theme park like LA’s more renowned attractions; it only has 13 rides including a ferris wheel, roller coaster, and some tamer rides for the little ones.

With a beach, ice-cream and rides all in one place, you don’t get more kid friendly places in LA than at Santa Monica Pier.

Read our full guide on things to do in Santa Monica here.

Location:  380 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica
Opening Hours:  Check Park’s scheduled operating hours here
Price:  Entry to Santa Monica Pier and Pacific fair is free; rides are $6-$11 each, or unlimited ride passes are $25 for kids 7 years and under or $45 for everyone else.

Venice Beach

Venice Beach - Places to visit in Los Angeles

For more family fun in Los Angeles, head down to Venice Beach.  This quirky funky beach, along with its iconic beachfront boardwalk, hosts street entertainers and vendors that the entire family will love. Remember if you take a snap of a street performer it is polite to tip them, make sure to have some change on you.

I recommend you start your visit at one of the roof top restaurants / bars for this fantastic view!  Yes, they are a little more expensive than one of the street cafes, but you can just purchase a drink if you want to save. 

Then take a stroll from here along the boardwalk all the way up to Santa Monica beach, stopping at the various stalls or watching the buskers along the way.  Without stopping (hardly possible with so much to gawk at), the walk will take around 30 minutes.

You also might like to take a detour inland to see the Venice canals and street art – this is one of the really cool things to do, Los Angeles is not super well known for, but it is becoming more popular, so jump on the bandwagon early!

The last time I was at Venice Beach, I actually saw Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling filing the new Barbie movie!!  So cool!

Location:  Venice Boulevard
Opening Hours:  Always open. Individual vendors will have different opening and closing times.
Price:  Free

LA County Museum of Art 

LACMA - Places to go in LA

If your family are lovers of art, then places to go in Los Angeles include a visit to the LA County Museum of Art.  Here you will find a huge volume and diversity of art with collections ranging from pre-history to contemporary art.  With continuously changing exhibitions stretched across more than 20 acres of land, I would recommend checking out the museum’s event calendar before you go.

Even if you don’t have time to go inside and explore the museum, check the Urban Light display out the front.  Kids will love running through the different size lamp posts and the display makes for some awesome photographs. 

Location:  5905 Wilshire Boulevard
Opening Hours: I recommend you click here for opening hours as they tend to vary.
Price:  $25 per adult | $10 per child | Kids under 2 free

Grammy Museum 

Grammy Museum - Kids Museum Los Angeles

The Grammy Museum is a great kid’s museum Los Angeles has.  Here you can explore the history and cultural significance of American music and see some amazing artifacts from music history such as precious manuscripts, costumes, ornaments, and commemorative short films, at this iconic museum.

There is plenty of interactive exhibits for the kids, including the opportunity to play a range of musical instruments and record your own music.  For Mum and Dad there is a huge range of music exhibits, from rock and hip-hop to country, classical, Latin, R&B, and jazz.

I really enjoyed the Grammy Museum and spent around 90 minutes here.  However I was on my own, I think for a family you could spend 2 hours or more, particularly if you had a go at the various interactive exhibits.

Note with the exhibits; they do put on ‘special exhibits throughout the year, so check the Grammy Museum website before you go as there could be one on when you’re in Los Angeles, kids will love!

Location:  800 W. Olympic Blvd, (on the corner on W. Olympic Blvd. and Figueroa St).
Opening Hours:  Sunday to Friday 11 am to 5 pm | Saturday 10 am to 6 pm | Closed Tuesdays
Price:  $18 per adult | $12 per child | Kids under 4 free

Broad Museum 

If your kids love bright big objects they will love the Broad Art Museum.  Myself, I’m not a huge art lover, but I really enjoyed the various pieces on display here. Although keep in mind that exhibits change regularly so when considering what to do with kids in Los Angeles, check before you go as to what’s on and see if you think there is anything of interest for your family.

At the time of publishing, Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored room was on display, which I’ve seen and I think kids will just love.  Here you experience a beautiful, multi-coloured light display that seems to go on forever – although you must reserve a free timed ticket, you can do so here.

It’s worth noting that only single strollers are permitted inside the museum; if you have a jogging or double stroller, I recommend wearing a baby carrier if possible or holding your baby / infant.

Location:  Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles at 221 S Grand Ave
Opening Hours:  Wednesday – Friday 11 am to 5 pm | Saturday & Sunday 10 am to 5 pm | Closed Mondays & Tuesdays
Price:  Free, however you must reserve your ticket online here

Disney Concert Hall 

Disney Concert Hall - Places to see in Los Angeles

Even if you don’t go to see a show at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, I highly recommend you stop by to check out this magnificent building!  It’s only a short walk from the Broad – and you won’t miss it!  The Hall’s exterior is an architectural masterpiece and you will be in awe of the metallic curves of the building.

Self-guided audio tours and guided tours of Walt Disney Concert Hall are offered by the Music Centre most days.  All tours are an hour long and begin in the Grand Avenue Lobby of Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Perhaps not one of the absolute best things to do in LA for kids, but it’s free and they’ll learn something in a fun way!

Location:  111 South Grand Avenue in downtown Los Angeles.
Opening Hours:  Click here for The Music Centre Tour Schedule
Price:  Free

Natural History Museum of LA County 

This museum is the largest natural and historical museum in the western United States, home to over 35 million specimens that go back billions of years. In the Dinosaur exhibit, the kids will love seeing fascinating pre-historic creatures and checking out the T. Rex Growth Series inside the Dino lab where they can see paleontologists work behind the scenes. 

This is one of the things to do with kids LA has on offer that is reasonably priced; they will love it and if it’s raining the bonus is – it’s indoors!

Location:  900 Exposition Blvd. in Exposition Park, between Vermont Avenue and Figueroa Street
Opening Hours:  Daily 9.30 am to 5 pm | Closed Tuesdays
Price:  $15 per adult | $7 per child (3-12) | Kids under 3 free – Click here to buy discounted tickets online.

Day Trips from LA

Of course, there are some world famous theme parks in and around Los Angeles which is often the main reason for a family holiday here.  Below I have listed some of the places to go for the best kids’ activities Los Angeles has for families.  As well as where to get discounted tickets.

Disneyland

Fun activities in Los Angeles don’t get much better than this!  There’s not much  I can say that you don’t already know about the most famous theme park in the world… except to say it is pretty much one of the best things to do in Los Angeles with kids!

Full of the traditional Disney charm and attention to detail, your visit here will create memories to last a lifetime! Especially with the help of the obsessively perfect Disney cast and staff who make sure your visit runs smoothly.  Disneyland is about experiencing the fairytale and watching the famous cartoon characters of Walt Disney come to life.

The child in you will enjoy this place as much as your children. Disneyland is more about family fun than motion sickness fast rides, however, a section of the park – Tomorrowland has a few rides for the thrill seekers.

Many people spend multiple days at Disneyland, although one day per park is more than enough for those short on time.  We recently visited during the peak season and still found this plenty of time, particularly when using the Genie Plus.  You can also buy park hopper tickets to jump between parks within the one day if you prefer.

It is better to stay in Anaheim near the park for the few days you intend to explore Disneyland.  Click here for family accommodation near Disneyland. 

Location: 1313 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim

Opening Hours: Daily, with hours being seasonal, check their website for more accurate times when you visit.

Price: From $104 per day, children under 3 are free – Click here to book discounted tickets online and look at alternate combo passes

California Advenutre Park

Kids activities Los Angeles - Disneyland

Just across from Disneyland, you also have California Adventure Park where the kids will just love the 8 exciting lands that bring Disney, Pixar and superhero stories to life.  You’ll have the chance to meet all your favourite Disney characters at both parks, in addition to rides, experiences, and attractions from Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar Animation, and more!

Buckle up on the Incredicoaster – an exhilarating ride around Pixar Pier (and our absolute favourite ride in the park), or visit Ariel as you journey under the sea without ever getting wet. Ever wanted to fly? Join Goofy’s Sky School for a lesson like no other. 

Whether you have tiny tots or teenagers, there are rides to cater for absolutely everyone here!  The rides at California Adventure Park are just next level – easily one of the best theme parks I’ve visited anywhere in the world!

And after dark, the entertainment soars to life with a spectacular water and light show as scenes from beloved Disney and Pixar films are projected onto a grand fountain. But what happens if you also want to catch the Disneyland Park fireworks? No worries, if you have the Park Hopper Ticket, you can run between parks and watch both stunning shows!  Although you can easily see the fireworks from anywhere in the surrounding area.

Location:  1313 Disneyland Drive, Anaheim

Opening Hours: Daily, with hours being seasonal, check their website for more accurate times when you visit.

Price: From $104 per day, children under 3 are free – Click here to book discounted tickets online and look at alternate combo passes

Universal Studios Hollywood

Another one of the great things to do with family in Los Angeles is a day trip to Universal Studios. There are many movie rides here to give you an adrenaline rush, from Revenge of the Mummy to Jurassic park and Transformers to name few.  From cartoon characters to studio tours, there are also other things to see and do if the fast-paced thrill-seeking rides don’t appeal to you.

Also, if you have teens and are looking for Los Angeles things to do that are age appropriate, they’ll enjoy the ‘cooler’ feel of Universal Studios compared with Disneyland.

I’ve visited Universal Studios multiple times over the years and love it!  It’s a great day for the entire family and has a range of rides and shows suitable for the entire family.  I personally think 1 day at the park is plenty.

Location: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City

Opening Hours:  Open every day of the year. With seasonal opening hours, check their website for accurate times when you visit.

Price: From $189 per person – Kids under 3 FREE  – Click here to buy discounted tickets online.

Knotts Berry Farm 

In addition to the well-known Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood, you have the family-friendly Knott’s Berry Farm. This Snoopy inspired theme park has a nice mixture of rides for younger kids, and high thrill roller-coasters and other fast exhilarating rides to keep the big kids entertained. The original Ghost Town hosts various live interactions with colourful historic characters, which is expanded in summer.

Location:  8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, which is near Anaheim.
Opening Hours:  Check out the website for seasonal operating hours.
Price:  From $99 per person, click here to buy online and see different ticket types.

Knott’s Soak City

This seasonal waterpark is LA’s largest water park boasting a total of 22 speed, tube and body slides plus a giant wave pool, lazy river and interactive kid’s area. You can hire cabanas for the day also to have some time out and there are also a few dining options on sight. You will love spending a family day out here- weather permitting of course.

Location:  Knotts Soak City is next to Knott’s Berry Farm.
Opening Hours:  Park hours are seasonal check out their website for exact hours for when you plan to visit.
Price:  From $70 per person.  Click here for more information and to get your tickets online.

Six Flags Magic Mountain 

Six Flags Magic Mountain is a 262-acre amusement park in Valencia that is more suited for courageous teens who love extremely fast rides. Due to the number of thrill rides here, it is LA’s most extreme amusement park and it’s no wonder why fans of fast scary rides flock here.

Location:   26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, in Santa Clarita.
Opening Hours: Open daily, but times are seasonal check out the website for exact times.
Price:  From $84 per person. Click here for more information and to get your tickets online.

Sea World San Diego 

Sea World - Los Angeles with Kids

Have a family day out visiting this famous wildlife park and its massive array of marine animals including seals, sea lions, polar bears, whales, penguins, bottlenose dolphins and more. Sea World is all about the animals and offers many live shows such as Turtle reef and the Shark encounter. And to change it up a bit or in between show times hop on the theme park rides and experience thrilling attractions such as the double-launch roller coaster Manta.

It is around a 2-hour drive and one of the best day trips from Los Angeles. Tickets to Sea World are either general admission or include all-day food. Click on the link below for more info and pricing.

Location:  500 Sea World Dr, San Diego
Opening Hours:  Park hours and show schedules are updated periodically. Check out their calendar on SeaWorld’s official website for accurate information.
Price: $99.99 per adult | $59.99 per child – Click here to buy discounted tickets online.

Legoland Legoland - things for kids to do in LA

I haven’t been myself, but I have heard from others that Legoland is fantastic if you’re looking for fun things to do with kids in Los Angeles. 

Marvel at everything constructed from LEGO bricks. Highlights include feeling like giant’s when walking through Miniland USA with miniature recreations of Washington D.C., New York, and San Francisco and more in addition to checking out the recreated scenes from the Star Wars movies. The park has more than 60 rides, shows, and attractions that both kids and adults will enjoy, from rollercoasters, live shows, and even meet-and-greets!

With Lego seeing a resurgence in popularity of late, with TV shows featuring Lego buildings, supermarkets giving away Lego and themed Lego bricks available to purchase – this is one of the Los Angeles things to do with family members of all ages!

Location:  1 Legoland Drive, Carlsbad
Opening Hours:  Daily 10 am to 6 pm but park hours are updated periodically, and some days in certain seasons are closed. Click here to view the calendar.
Price:  $114.99 per adult | $108.99 per child (3-12)| Kids under 3 FREE – Click here to buy discounted tickets online.

Aquarium of the Pacific 

The aquarium has over 11,000 animal exhibits and numerous opportunities for up-close encounters with marine life from all over the world including penguins, sharks and more! This is an interactive aquarium and kids will love dipping their hands in the tidal pools filled with marine life such as starfish, small sharks, sea cucumbers and more.

From watching penguins waddling on land and swimming underwater, peering through the floor to ceiling windows at the vast underwater ecosystem, going on Harbor Tours, watching a 4D film, and participating in a variety of children’s educational programs – there’s so much to see and do that will entertain the entire family, definitely one of the kid friendly things to do in LA!

Location:  100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach
Opening Hours:  Daily 9 am to 6 pm
Price:  $36.95 per adult | $26.95 per child (3-11) | Kids under 3 FREE – Click here to buy discounted tickets online.

Battleship USS IOWA Museum 

Experience an American adventure and walk the passageways and compartments where 3,000 sailors fought America’s wars on this self-guided tour. I recommend you download the interactive tour app of the USS Iowa whilst on this journey; via the app you’ll watch videos about the war, hear crew member stories, fun facts, ship service records, and view videos of the USS Iowa in action, whilst exploring this large vessel. Click here to download the app.

Location:  Port of Los Angeles, 250 S. Harbor Blvd, San Pedro.
Opening Hours:  Daily 10 am to 4 pm
Price:  $23.95 per adult| $15.95 per child (3-11) | Kids under 2 FREE – Click here to book your discounted tickets online.

Tours

If you prefer someone else to take care of transport, here are some of the more popular group tours your family can join.

LA City Full Day Tour

With so much to see and do in LA, you might want to opt for this organised 7.5 hour tour of the city with a professional tour guide who will fill you in on the amusing history and diverse culture of the ‘City of Angels’. Discover the iconic landmarks, famous neighbourhoods, architectural wonders, and film locations within Hollywood, Griffith Park, the Sunset Strip, Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach and more!

For lunch enjoy a delicious meal at the Farmers Market & The Grove or The Original Farmers Market. This tour is perfect for families who want to fit all the iconic and famous sights into a day whilst in LA! The tour price includes bottled water, driver/guide and a/c tour transportation with pickup and drop off from most hotels.

Location: This tour departs and returns from most hotels – click on ticket link below to see if your hotel is included.
Opening Hours: Pick up time and drop off times will be pending what hotel you are staying at – click on ticket link below to get an approx. time.
Price: Pricing can vary pending hotel location, from $129 per adult | $109 per child (4-12) | Kids under 4 FREE – Click here to buy tickets online.

Hollywood Celebrity Homes Tour 

On this tour, you can see the homes of all your favourite Hollywood celebrities.  This 2 hour bus tour takes you down the iconic Rodeo Drive, Bel Air, and Sunset Strip where celebrities frequently visit to shop and eat.

Drive by the mansions and homes of celebs past and present while hearing facts and insider gossip from your professional tour guide. Take selfies and family photos with the iconic Beverly Hills and Hollywood signs. Drive by the major Hollywood attractions and see some historic studios and film locations. 

Location:  The departure and return point for this tour is at the Starline Kiosk office, click here to see map and directions. 
Opening Hours:  Tours depart regularly throughout the day – click on the ticket link below for timings.
Price:  $59 per adult | $49 per child (3-11) | Kids under 3 free- Click here to buy discounted tickets online.

Los Angeles Big Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

If you want a convenient way to get around all the iconic sights, landmarks and attractions in LA… look no further than the Hop-On and Off Big Bus Tours. It will take the guesswork out of public transport and save you from navigating in your own car and managing parking / backseat drivers / screaming kids etc.

Simply select from one of the landmarks on offer, jump on at one of the many convenient stops and sit back and enjoy the ride as you tune in to pre-recorded audio commentary available in 9 languages. So if you’re not sure what to do, Los Angeles will reveal itself and all on offer on this tour.

Location: Numerous – click here to see routes and stops
Opening Hours:  Download the free app with real-time bus tracking
Price: $52 per adult | $42 per child (3-12) | Kids under 3 FREE – Click here to buy discounted tickets online.

Attraction Cards / Passes

It’s most likely that you will be visiting many of the best attractions in Los Angels during your trip and so the below cards might help you save money as these cards combine multiple attractions.  Be sure to do your own maths though!

Go Los Angeles Card 

With the GO Los Angels Card you can choose from between 1 to 7 Day cards and pick from over 35 attractions to visit such as Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags, Knott’s Berry Farm, and many more – you can find the full list here. This card also gives you discounts on other activities, shops, or dining experiences for 14 days starting from the card activation date.

Obviously, the saving would differ depending on what you wanted to go to over how many days, but I would recommend working out your options as I guarantee this card will save you money.

1 day cards are $99 for adults and $76 for kids (3-12); prices then increase per day. 3 day passes are $239 for adults and $219 for kids, and 7 day passes are $374 for adults and $332 for kids.  Keep reading below to see how you can get these passes for even cheaper!!!

Prices appear expensive but the cards can help you save a stack as opposed to purchasing individual attraction tickets.  For example, over 3 days if you go to:  Six Flags Magic Mountain (Adult general admission $89.99), Legoland (Adult general admission $108.28) and Knots Soak city and Berry farm (Adult combined general admission $99) that’s a total of $297.27. Whereas the Go Los Angeles Card for a 3 day adult pass to visit all of the above attractions is $239 – SAVING you $58.27 – just under $60 bucks!

Click here to buy the discounted passes online.

Alternatively, if you have a few attractions you want to visit and really take your time at each place… Go City have passes offering between 3 – 7 choices to over 30 attractions and tours… again, offering BIG savings, with pricing for the 3 Choice Pass at $103 per adult and $88 per child (3-12) – Click here to buy tickets online.

Klook Los Angeles Pass

Another option for those after a pass to see attractions is the Klook Los Angeles Pass.  This pass allows you to choose either 2, 3 or 4 attractions with your pass.  There is also the option of a 2 attraction pass plus a Warner Brother Studio Pass.  

There aren’t a huge amount of attractions to choose from, but some of the more popular attractions are included such as Madam Tussauds, the Big Bus Hop On Hop Off Tour, Hollywood Sign tour, Griffith Observatory tour and more.

One advantage of the Klook Pass compared to others is you have 60 days to use the pass from when it’s first activated.  So there’s no need to see the attractions back to back.  The pass can also be cancelled and fully refunded at anytime prior to first using the pass.

Passes start at $65 for adults for the 2 attraction pass, right up to $119 for the 2 attraction pass plus the Warner Bros Studio tour.  Unfortunately, there is no children’s pricing.  Obviously, the savings will vary depending on what attractions you plan to see.  But a quick example is if you were to visit Madam Tussauds ($29.99) and take the Big Bus Hop On and Hop Off tour (normally $52 ) you will have saved $16.99.  The more attractions you visit the better the saving is.

Click here for more information about the passes and to buy online.

LA & Hollywood City Sightseeing Bus Pass 

If you like the sound of going on an open-top tour bus listening to the interesting facts from a recorded tour guide whilst seeing the Hollywood sights – but don’t want to navigate your way around the LA public transport system – then this LA & Hollywood City Sightseeing Bus Pass may be perfect for you. Hop on and hop off open top deck tour buses every 30 to 60 minutes depending on the 2 predetermined tour routes.

Routes are the Red Route (Hollywood & Beverly Hills), Yellow Route (West Hollywood & Santa Monica). Click here for complete routes and information.

You can choose 3 configurations of passes from 24 hour, 48 hour or 72 hour.  At the time of publishing, pricing is as follows:

24 hour City Tour Bus Pass: Adults $49 | Kids (3-11) $35 | Family (2A+3C) $148 – Kids under 3 FREE
48 hour City Tour Bus Pass: Adults $64 | Kids (3-11) $45 | Family (2A+3C) $195 – Kids under 3 FREE
72 hour City Tour Bus Pass: Adults $79 | Kids(3-11)  $55 | Family (2A+3C) $239 – Kids under 3 FREE

Click here to buy discounted tickets online.

Where to Stay in Los Angeles with Kids

Los Angeles is really spread out and there is no one central location to stay. 

I’d recommend that if you are planning on visiting Disneyland for a few days as well as seeing some of the attractions around the centre of LA that you in fact split your time into two different locations.  Stay a few days close to Disneyland and a few days in LA.  I’d consider you look at areas like Santa Monica or for more budget options, Hollywood. 

I’ve recommended a family friendly hotel for each area below, however if you want to check out all the options click the relevant link: Anaheim, Santa Monica or Hollywood.

Click here for a full detailed guide on where to stay in Los Angeles with kids.

Disneyland (Anaheim): Del Sol Inn

 

If you’re heading to Disneyland, you want to stay close by, and the Del Sol Inn is across the road from the world’s happiest place… you can’t get more convenient than that!

Rooms cater to families, with configurations including 2 double beds sleeping up to 4, or for the larger families, there are the 2 double beds plus bunks sleeping up to 6 guests – with a rollaway available. All rooms come with fridges and microwaves meaning simple meal prep is possible after a long day at the Parks.

Onsite there is an outdoor swimming pool for a refreshing dip and also a 24-hour Denny’s serving up breakfast favourites, burgers and salads – all reasonably priced.

For the convenience of being located right across the road from Disneyland, we would recommend staying at Del Sol Inn. You’ll get maximum Park time and can always duck back to the hotel throughout the day for kids rest times (or if the adults need a break too)!

Click here for more information.

Santa Monica: Rest Haven Motel

 

For clean, basic accommodation, the Rest Haven Motel will tick the box. Located a 5-minute drive to the eclectic Venice Beach and 20-minute walk to the Santa Monica Pier – you are close enough to the main attractions without being smack bang in the tourist district.

Family rooms can accommodate up to 4 guests in 2 double beds and are simply furnished. The room has a fridge and onsite is a tranquil garden area to sit back and chill.

Located nearby are local restaurants for meals, and the nearest bus stop is 200 metres away, however if you have a car, free parking is offered onsite.

So, for simple accommodation that won’t break the bank, check out Rest Haven Motel.

Click here for more information.

Hollywood: Motel 6 Hollywood

If you’ve come to experience Hollywood and want to be in the thick of it, then check out Motel 6 Hollywood! Located in the heart of Hollywood city centre, a 5-minute walk from loads of famous Hollywood tourist attractions and the Hollywood/Highland underground station.

Rooms will accommodate up to 4 guests in 2 double beds and are comfortably furnished and include free WiFi.

If you get caught up in the buzz of Hollywood and arrive home late, not to worry, there is a 24-hour reception available. And to get you going the next morning there is free coffee in the lobby for ultimate caffeination for another day of sightseeing.

Don’t expect luxury, but for modern, comfortable accommodation, centrally located – you can’t go past Motel 6 Hollywood!

Click here for more information.

Getting to / from LAX Airport to Hollywood

Depending on the time of your arrival in LAX and how many there are in your group will determine which is the best way to get from LAX to Hollywood.  

Public Transport

It is possible to take public transport, but if you’re travelling with a few kids and have luggage with you – it isn’t worth the hassle just to save a few dollars.

If you’re set on public transport – the quickest way is to take the LAX FlyAway bus from LAX to Union Station.  After exiting the airport, look for the blue FlyAway signs on the lower arrival level islands outside each terminal.  The blue signs are super easy to spot – you can’t miss them.

The buses leave LAX every 30 minutes from 5.40 am with the last bus leaving at 1.10 am.  From Union Station to LAX, the buses leave hourly from 3 am, then every 30 minutes from 5 am with the last bus leaving at 11.30 pm.

The bus fare is $9.75 each way, with children under 5 free.  You can’t book or buy tickets in advance, just pay by card as you board the bus.

From Union Station you can then take a train into Hollywood or wherever you’re going.  More about catching trains in LA below.

Click here for information about getting to Disneyland from LAX via public transport.

Rideshare or Taxi

For families of 4 or fewer, in most cases, your best option will be Lyft or Uber.  

Most rideshares (see more on the exceptions below) and taxis pick up passengers from the LAX-it lot, which is next to Terminal 1.  Depending on the terminal you arrive at, you may walk to Terminal 1 or take the free LAX-it shuttles. 

We decided to walk rather than wait for the shuttle – it did take about 15 minutes to walk there, and we did see a few of the shuttles go past, so if you have little kids or lots of luggage, it might be just as easy to wait for the shuttle – they do come by fairly frequently.   

If you decide to walk, there are plenty of signs like the one below to ensure you’re walking in the right direction.  All I’d say is that LAX is like a long oval shape and so if you do decide to walk, take the time to note what terminal you’re at to begin with and determine what direction to walk. 

We were a little flustered to start and just began walking in one direction and eventually realised it would have been much quicker to walk the other way.  But we go there, in the end, all the same.

You’ll find the shuttle stops outside the baggage terminals – just go outside and look for the green LAX-it signs – you can’t miss them; everything is very well colour coded.  The shuttle comes every 7 minutes or so and runs 24 hours a day.

Once you arrive at the LAX-it lot (pictured below) – note that the different rideshares pick up from different areas.  Again everything is very well signposted and there is staff on hand to ask any questions. 

I’d recommend finding the right rideshare location before ordering your car, as even among the rideshares, there are different locations to wait – like Uber section A, Uber section B etc.  So it’s best to know what section you’re in before ordering your car, as most are hovering around the airport somewhere anyway and may only be 5 minutes or so away.

If you just want to be picked up from outside the terminal you arrive at – you’ll need to pay quite a lot extra and book either LYFT LUX BLACK, LYFT LUX BLACK XL, UBER BLACK or UBER BLACK SUV.  Maybe check the price before leaving the terminal (more on how to do this below) and decide whether saving the cash is worth it.

The price for a standard Uber or Lyft to Hollywood can vary depending on the time of day and demand, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $70 USD.  You can always check the price before booking once you’re at LAX.  To do this, just put in your details as if you were making a booking – but don’t finalise the booking.  The estimated fee will be shown.

If the price seems too high – take the kids for a drink and grab a coffee.  Once the demand drops off a bit, the price will drop back down.  

Also, yes the same Uber account you use in whatever country you live in will work the same here.

Rent a Car

Your other option is to rent a car from the airport.  If you are planning on renting a car anyway – you might as well do it from LAX and save yourself the money or time using any of the above options.   Everyone drives in LA, which means traffic is pretty full on, but it also means that hotels are well set up with car parks, as are most attractions.

Now while I didn’t drive in Los Angeles myself, I did drive from Denver Airport in Colorado, and while it was a bit daunting at first, I got the hang of it very quickly.  So for Aussies concerned about driving in LA, in particular about driving on the right side of the road – I wouldn’t be. 

Just set your Google maps up for the GPS and follow every other car on the road and you’ll be fine.  Remember, in the USA, the right hand side is the slow lane. So if I can do this – you can do this!

Getting Around LA 

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 trains or buses, 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.

Now in terms of fares.  The standard fare is $1.75 USD per 1 way trip on a bus and train with multiple transfers within 2 hours.  Given this trip will take you more than 2 hours, you’ll need to pay $3.50 USD. 

Alternatively, $7 USD will get you a one day pass – which may be the cheaper option if you have any other trips that day.  If you’re in town for a few days the week pass is $25 per person.  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.

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I hope you enjoyed this guide on all the best things to do in LA with kids.  We also have guides on where to stay in LA with kids, how to plan your LA itinerary and a more general guide on things to do in California with kids.  Plus if you decide to head North and explore San Francisco, check out 12 of the Best Things to do in San Francisco with Kids. Alternatively, if you decide to head South, here is 10 Fun Things to do in San Diego with Kids

Heading to California?  Below are some more helpful guides for planning your trip:

 

 

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