Los Angeles with kids

Los Angeles with kids: 21 top family activities!

You can spend a few days in Los Angeles with kids just fine. Especially if you like amusement parks then Los Angeles will definitely get you there. For many Dutch families, Los Angeles is the starting point of a beautiful round trip along the west coast of the United States. We ourselves also started in Los Angeles and did a round trip through all kinds of national parks and San Francisco and ended in Los Angeles again. We list all the fun activities in Los Angeles with kids below.

Los Angeles with kids
Los Angeles with kids

Los Angeles with kids: family-friendly neighborhoods

Los Angeles has very many neighborhoods, but there are some that are definitely worth visiting with kids. We briefly list below the neighborhoods that are fun to visit in Los Angeles with kids.

#1 Downtown LA: This neighborhood in Los Angeles may have a bad name because of the many bums that roam this area, but this section also has some fun things for kids. For example, Perishing Square has two fun colorful playgrounds for kids. One playground is for kids under five and the other playground is for kids ages 5 to 12. From this plaza you can walk in about 15 minutes to Grand Park, where there is also plenty of fun to play.

On your route from Perishing Square to Grand Park, you’ll also come across the old streetcar Angels Flight, which you can take for a spin. Then also walk right in at Grand Central Market, where you can go for a nice bite to eat and a drink. In addition, the Walt Disney Concert Hall located near Grand Park is also a very special building to take a look at from the outside.

#2 Beverly Hills: This is one of the more expensive neighborhoods in Los Angeles. We had a rental car at our disposal and drove around the large villas that are in this neighborhood. One of Los Angeles’ most famous and expensive malls is also located here: Rodeo Drive. We did enjoy walking around here. This activity takes about an hour.

#3 Santa Monica: If you’re visiting Los Angeles with kids, then of course you have to spend a day or afternoon at the beach. One of the most family-friendly beaches in Los Angeles is Santa Monica. Santa Monica Pier is very famous and a tour of the pier is great fun with kids. You have many stores, restaurants and attractions here, as well as many buskers.

The main attraction in Santa Monica is amusement park Pacific Park. This amusement park is not super big, but it has a roller coaster, an aquarium, a merry-go-round, a Ferris wheel, arcades and several restaurants. Just keep in mind that the attractions are quite pricey. Of course, it is also possible to go to the beach in Santa Monica with the kids.

We rented a bike in Santa Monica with our daughter and biked from Santa Monica to Venice Beach. We found this a really fun route to bike (it’s only a 20-minute bike ride to Venice Beach) and you see plenty along the way. Downtown Santa Monica is also fun to walk through, but there are a fair number of hobos. By the way, it seems like this is the case in almost every place in Los Angeles these days.

Los Angeles with kids
Los Angeles with kids

#4 Venice Beach: This is another neighborhood worth visiting with kids. Again, the beach plays a crucial role in the district. Again, we found that there was a nice atmosphere. A little more alternative, though. It’s pretty see and be seen here, which is why it’s fun just to people watch here.

So we biked from Santa Monica to Venice Beach and also had a nice lunch at a restaurant there. Along the way we had a drink on the beach at a joint with lovely beach chairs. The skating rink is fun to check out. Our daughter was impressed by all the people here showing off their tricks with a skateboard.

#5 Hollywood boulevard: you can also visit this area with kids, but we found it a letdown. The Walk of Fame is arguably the most famous landmark here with all the stars in the ground. There are many vagrants and addicts walking around here, which is why we didn’t think it was actually worth visiting. It’s a shame, though, because it is one of the most famous tourist spots in Los Angeles.

You can also visit the Guiness World Records museum in this district, where you can see all kinds of weird records in the interactive museum. You also have here the crazy museum Ripleys Believe it or Not, of which you also have a branch in Amsterdam. Here, too, all sorts of oddities take center stage. You will also find the Hollywood Museum, which is dedicated to Hollywood’s film industry.

Los Angeles with kids
Los Angeles with kids

Los Angeles with kids: family-friendly museums

You can also visit a number of family-friendly museums in Los Angeles with kids. We list the nicest ones briefly below.

#6 Discovery Cube Los Angeles: located north of Los Angeles, this museum is a 25-minute drive from downtown and there is plenty to do here for kids. The entire museum is set up for kids There is a large dino exhibit that is interactive and there are also several places where kids can play in, for example, a store or helicopter. Kids can also do all kinds of experiments where they can find out how tornadoes work, how clouds work and how science looks at Ice Hockey.

#7 Getty Center: this art museum is located just outside the city a twenty-minute drive from downtown. It is an art museum and may not be the most appropriate museum in Los Angeles with kids, but it does have great views and for kids it is fun that you can take the museum streetcar up the mountain. In the museum itself, they also have family room, where kids can get creative with all kinds of materials.

#8 Kidspace Children’s museum: this museum is located in the north of the city fifteen minutes away by car. This museum is suitable for the youngest children and there is a good mix of nature, science, art and just plain play for the kids. It is also possible for kids to play with water at the museum, so on a hot day, bring swimwear and a towel for the kids. You can have a great time here for a few hours at this Los Angeles museum with kids.

Los Angeles with kids
Los Angeles with kids

#9 California Science Center: you can also visit a science museum in Los Angeles with kids. The California Science Center is located downtown and is free to visit. One of the museum’s centerpieces is the space shuttle Endeavour on display there (they do charge a small fee of a few dollars for this).

You also have a science section here where kids are allowed to touch everything and try things. Through simple experiments, kids can learn things about complicated laws of physics here. In addition, the museum also has an aquarium section where the kids get plenty of explanations about the fish and their habitats.

#10 Aquarium of the pacific: This museum is located in the south of the city and is near the Long Beach beach. As the name suggests, everything here revolves around the animals that live in the sea and it is somewhat similar to the famous establishments of Sea World. You will find many tropical and colorful fish, as well as seals, sharks, rays, jellyfish, penguins and turtles. You can have a great time at this Los Angeles museum with kids for a few hours.

#11 National History Museum of Los Angeles: this museum is also in the middle of downtown and you will find replicas of large dinosaurs in this museum, but there is also a whole butterfly garden where you can walk around with your kids. Especially if your kids love dinosaurs then this museum is a fun option!

Los Angeles with kids
Los Angeles with kids

Los Angeles with kids: amusement parks and zoos

You can go to several amusement parks in Los Angeles with kids. In terms of amusement parks, you can easily entertain yourself here for a whole week. We list the best amusement parks (and zoo) below.

#12 Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Garden: you can also go to the zoo in Los Angeles with kids. The Los Angeles Zoo is medium-sized, and you will soon spend at least half a day here to admire all the animals. The zoo has many of the well-known African animals such as the lion, elephant, giraffe, zebra, hippo and several species of monkeys, including the gorilla. You can park your car at the zoo for free and keep in mind that not everything is easy to walk with a baby carriage because it is hilly.

#13 Disneyland Los Angeles: Disney’s very first theme park opened here and today it is possible to visit two of Disney’s parks in Los Angeles with kids. And then you also have Downtown Disney with all kinds of restaurants and stores that you can visit. Disneyland’s park is the main park and in that respect can be compared to the amusement parks in Paris and Orlando. Here, many of the same worlds and attractions return to the park.

The second Disney theme park located next to Disneyland is called California Adventure and is something of a tribute to California. The park’s designers want you to experience all the state’s highlights in one day. So this theme park is a lot different from Disney’s other parks.

You do need at least one day per park if you want to visit both parks to see everything properly and if you have never been to another park of Disney then three days in total is not an unnecessary luxury either. We visited both parks and wrote the blog Disneyland Los Angeles about it.

#14 Knott’s Berry Farm: despite being a lot less well known than Disney’s parks, this amusement park is still one of the best visited amusement parks in the United States. The park is quite compact and has both quiet and spectacular attractions for kids. The amusement park has about 10 different types of roller coasters.

The amusement park also often works with reasonable discount offers, so before visiting this Los Angeles amusement park with kids, search online to see if you can find a particular discount offer. We visited the amusement park and found it to be a fun park for a day of entertainment. You must be of roller coasters then. We wrote the blog Knott’s Berry Farm with kids about this amusement park.

Disneyland Los Angeles
Disney Los Angeles amusement park

#15 Six Flags: if you are going to Los Angeles with kids who are a little older, this amusement park might be the most suitable. This amusement park is located north of Los Angeles and by car you can get there in just over half an hour from downtown. Six Flags has 20 different types of roller coasters and even has the world’s first 4d roller coaster. So keep in mind that in many of the roller coasters, small kids are not allowed in because of height restrictions. So check the Six Flags website in advance to see exactly where your kids are allowed in.

In addition to the amusement park, Six Flags also has a water park located. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor has several spectacular slides as well as water playgrounds for the kids, but online reviews of this water park are very poor. This is partly due to the long queues at the slides and at the food (which apparently is also of poor quality).

#16 Universal studios of Hollywood: At this theme park, the attractions are centered on the various Hollywood movies released in recent years. So you have attractions from Harry Potter, the Simpsons, the Transformers, Kingkong, The Fast and the Furious, Jurassic Parc and Kung Fu Panda. In addition to a dozen or so attractions, of course, this park also has several shows you can go to with the family.

One of the most popular attractions is the Studio Tour, where you take a train to the film studios to get a behind-the-scenes look. So you end up on the set of famous movies and series, where they are shot. Tickets to this Los Angeles amusement park are not cheap, so a day at the amusement park can quickly cost quite a bit of money.

#17 Raging Waters: this water park is the largest water park you can visit in Los Angeles with kids. The water park is only open during the summer months and has quite a few spectacular slides. However, it is very crowded and you almost have to buy some kind of fast pass for the slides. You also need a strap for a band to use on certain slides. This water park can also cost quite a bit with a family. Therefore, we hesitated to include this water park in the list, but so make up your own mind if it’s all worth it.

Santa Monica with kids
Venice Beach with kids

Los Angeles with kids: Other activities

There are a number of other activities you can do in Los Angeles with kids. We list the best ones below. 

#18 Griffith Observatory: this is an observatory on Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park and from here you have a great view of the city of Los Angeles with kids. You can also get a good look at Hollywood’s signs and take pictures here. You can visit Griffith Observatory for free, but you do pay a small fee for the planetarium, but then you get a lot of information about the universe, for example. This is one of the best vantage points to view the city and therefore very popular among tourists. 

#19 Whale watching: you can spot these animals year-round in Los Angeles, but there are different species to spot in every season of the year. Most Dutch families visit Los Angeles in the summer months, when you can spot humpback and blue whales here. It’s also a lot more pleasant on board then, of course, than in the winter months (especially with kids). You leave by boat from Long Beach or Newport Beach and most tours take about 2.5 hours. 

Ocean Drive with kids
Ocean Drive with kids

#20 Baja Bikes: you can also explore the city by bike in Los Angeles with kids. The Dutch organization Baja Bikes organizes several bike tours of the city. On these bike tours, you will go to various sights in the city under the guidance of an English-speaking guide. We ourselves have done this bike tour once in Paris and it gives a good first impression of the city. Most tours last a few hours and they also have children’s bikes and child seats, making it easy for kids to join these tours as well.

#21 Baseball game LA Dodgers: in the United States, one of the most popular sports is baseball and you can easily go to a baseball game in Los Angeles with kids. When we visited, we were able to get tickets fairly easily. Interestingly, many Americans do not arrive at the stadium until the game has long since begun. However, a baseball game is quite a long sit and sometimes it may not be entirely clear how the scoring is now, but we certainly found it a fun experience to experience once.

Los Angeles with kids
Los Angeles with kids

Los Angeles with kids: rental car

If you are going to do the activities described above in Los Angeles with kids, then a car does come in handy. Basically, there is public transportation in the city, but we still really like having our own car. We actually find the cars from Sunny Cars are always top notch! We rented a car here for eight days to explore the city. Because the distances in the city are great, a car is actually a must. We had a very nice car for a not too high price.

You actually have all costs included in the price here and are insured for most things (including your deductible). We have had problems with this in the past, because all kinds of costs are added at the destination. With Sunny Cars, you know that’s not the case and that’s a nice feeling. You can additionally cancel the car 1 hour before your reservation free of charge. You can also rent a car in Los Angeles with kids from Sunny Cars.

Check out the different rental cars here.

Los Angeles with kids: staying overnight

You can stay in Los Angeles with kids just fine, but if you want some fine accommodation it will cost money. In general, room rates are on the high side and especially if you want to be in a well-reviewed hotel. We were at the Crystal hotel Los Angeles, but we didn’t think that was a good hotel and we didn’t choose it well.  

 We have therefore listed a number of other options below in the different price ranges. Click on the blue link for more information!

Budget accommodations:

Tuscan Garden Inn
Travelodge by Wyndham Culver City

Mid-range accommodations:

Best Western Plus Commerce Hotel
Dunes Inn – Sunset

Luxury accommodations: 

AC Hotel by Marriott Los Angeles South Bay
Four Points by Sheraton Los Angeles Westside
For a list of all accommodations in Los Angeles with kids, take a look here

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