7 of the best things to do in Los Angeles when traveling with kids

The City of Angels may be known for its glitz and glamour.

But it’s also the home to many attractions and activities that cater to all ages and interests. Plan your family visit to Los Angeles with this guide to the city’s best kid-friendly experiences.

Is Los Angeles good for kids?

While the weather is predominantly great, it’s important to note that traveling through Los Angeles with kids does pose some challenges and is not all sunshine.

One big issue is the sprawling nature of the city. It’s a common misconception that many areas can be tackled in one day. Mix in heavy traffic and frequent congestion, especially when moving around with kids, and it can be a recipe for disaster. While the obvious answer would be to skip the car and use public transport, unfortunately, many areas lack efficient transport systems.

There is a solution – proper planning and a well-thought-out itinerary. Prior organization can minimize these challenges and ensure you’re not spending the majority of your trip stuck in traffic and working out how to get between places. Once a plan is in action, your family is guaranteed to leave with memories that will last forever. Narrow down your hit list with these top places to visit with kids.

Parents stand either side of a child laughing at a fun fair
Let those smiles shine when you take the family to explore Los Angeles © Ryan J Lane / Getty Images

Best things to do in Los Angeles with babies and toddlers

Get hands-on at Cayton Children’s Museum, Santa Monica 

If you’re looking for an activity that caters to even the youngest members of your family, the Cayton Children’s Museum is a great place to visit. With science exhibits, a real-life helicopter, a theater and a large art room, the downtown Santa Monica space excels in providing a range of different educational and interactive experiences to spark kids’ creativity and imagination. Little tots even have dedicated play areas to crawl and explore freely, with visitors up to 8 years old likely to have the most fun.

Planning tip: Family rest areas can be found throughout to recoup between play, and nursing and changing rooms are available.

Watch a puppet show at Bob Baker Marionette Theater, Highland Park 

The Bob Baker Marionette Theater was founded back in 1963 and is the oldest children’s theater company in Los Angeles. The historic theater is known for its 100 beautifully designed and handcrafted marionettes, brought to life by puppeteers through colorful and choreographed displays and real-life charm.

The interactive one-hour shows keep little ones captivated. Audiences are encouraged to participate through clapping, singing and dancing, and some kids may even find a puppet on their shoulder mid-show. The free ice cream afterward also makes it a winner.

A child riding a train points excitedly at the passing landscape as his mother looks on
Griffith Park has a plethora of things to entertain, and it’s a fun place to hike to as well © Ray Kachatorian / Getty Images

Play is for everyone at Shane’s Inspiration Playground, Griffith Park 

Griffith Park may be known for the Los Angeles Zoo and some of the city’s best hikes, but it’s also home to Shane’s Inspiration, an accessible playground designed for children of all abilities. Parents Scott and Catherine Williams launched the playground in honor of their son Shane, who passed away at only a few weeks of age due to a degenerative spinal condition. Knowing that their son would have needed a playspace that was wheelchair accessible, they created the first accessible playground on the West Coast. 

Shane’s Inspiration Playground features two acres of play structures like traditional yet accessible-friendly swings and slides with other interactive and sensory features, too. The founders also wanted to ensure they were creating a judgment-free environment that encouraged social inclusion, regardless of background and ability. This park is not only a great place to let the kids burn off some extra energy; it’s a friendly place to mix and meet other families, too.

Best things to do in Los Angeles with school-age kids

Connect with nature at Underwood Family Farms, Moorpark

If you’re looking for a quick and easy city escape, a day at Underwood Family Farms is a great option. The working farm in Moorpark hosts activities like fruit picking that encourage kids to connect with nature and learn about agriculture.

Beyond the fresh produce, Underwood hosts farm tours and tractor rides and has an animal center where kids can pat and feed baby goats, sheep, pigs, alpacas and rabbits. It’s a wholesome dose of fun for the entire family. 

Learn about cars at Petersen Auto Museum, Mid Wilshire  

If your child is a car enthusiast, take them to Petersen Auto Museum for an unforgettable experience. The Los Angeles expo boasts a diverse collection of over 300 different vehicles – including rare and custom cars – and does a great job at detailing the evolution and history of auto vehicles through the eras.

Activities and workshops are available for car buffs as young as three, and exhibitions are frequently rotated. Following your visit, head across the street to see the fossils and other discoveries at La Brea Tar Pits and LACMA’s art installation Urban Lights

Kids cycling and scooting on a boardwalk in front of a beach at sunset
If the kids get tired of sightseeing, there is plenty of outdoor entertainment to keep them busy in LA © Anna Bryukhanova / Getty Images

Best things to do in Los Angeles with tweens and teenagers 

Linger with a great read at The Last Bookstore, Downtown

Bookworms unite at The Last Bookstore. Known for being California’s largest indie new and used bookstore, this spot is both a reader’s haven and a one-of-a-kind immersive experience. Books aren’t just placed on a traditional shelf, they’ve been transformed into arch displays and sculptures – making it a popular spot for teens in search of great photo backdrops.

When you’re done at the bookstore, visit the Natural History Museum – home to nearly 35 million artifacts – and take a ride on Angel’s Flight, the shortest railway in the world. 

Explore the exhibits at the California Science Center, Exposition Park

Even if your teen is not a science lover, the hands-on exhibitions at the California Science Center have something for everyone. The center offers ample free exhibits: World of Life, Creative World, Ecosystems and the famed Air and Space, which includes Endeavour, the actual shuttle that traveled to space and back 25 times. If the four free displays aren’t enough, there are also other rotated exhibits and IMAX screenings for an admission fee.

Right outside of the California Science Center is the gorgeous and charming Rose Garden. Stop and smell the roses while you relax in the serenity and enjoy a bite outside.

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