Los Angeles is the second-largest urban region in the country, and this means there are many adventures for people of all ages. I’m a Southern California native that has been visiting regularly for years. Families often ask about fun things to do in Los Angeles with kids, so I’ve compiled this list of over 30 kid-friendly attractions spread across L.A. County.
Movies and world-class theme parks, like Universal Studios Hollywood, draw families to the area. However, I think you’ll find there is more to explore whether your family loves enjoying the outdoors, prefers the treasures of a museum, or is looking to do a little people watching while taking in the sights.
The hard part won’t be deciding what to do in Los Angeles for kids, but rather making the right choice from the many excellent options below.
1. Universal Studios Hollywood
Address: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608
At Universal Studios Hollywood, your family’s favorite movies come to life, and you get put directly into the action. Between the World-Famous Studio Tour and thrilling rides, there is something for movie lovers of all ages.
Pro tip: If The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is important to you, get to the park when it opens and rush to that area first. It gets busy quickly. Also, don’t forget that you can buy Universal Studios Hollywood discount tickets. The best options are usually through Go Los Angeles sightseeing passes or to save on park-only tickets that you can print and go straight to the gate.
Plan to spend some time at the beach during your trip to Los Angeles. Along the coast, you will find everything from rocky beaches to white-sand beaches.
If you want a traditional beach setting, visit Zuma Beach Country Park in Malibu, which has three-miles of lifeguard-protected beach lined with volleyball courts and playgrounds.
To explore a beach that has been the subject of many movies, head to Paradise Cove Beach. For a more rugged, natural beach experience, consider Abalone Cove Shoreline Park. And there is always the beach in Santa Monica near the pier or eclectic Venice Beach and its boardwalk for older kids.
Pro tip: Zuma Beach is considered one of the top beaches for families and even has boogie boards available for families to use.
3. Griffith Park
Address: 4730 Crystal Springs Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90027
If you want to see the Hollywood Sign up close, head to Griffith Park where several hiking trails lead you to it. The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, the Griffith Observatory with its Planetarium, and three separate train rides for little ones are also located here.
Griffith Park Pony Rides is a highlight for many families visiting this area. For $5, your child can ride a pony. This attraction has varying speeds of ponies available for those who want to go just a little more quickly.
Pro tip: You may need more than one day at Griffith Park if you want to experience all that it offers. Also, take a look at the variety of Griffith Park tours.
4. La Brea Tar Pits
Address: 5801 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Located in the Miracle Mile District, the La Brea Tar Pits may be the most famous fossil site in the country. I loved visiting as a kid and my daughter enjoys touring the tar pits and watching the paleontologists work inside the museum’s Fossil Lab. Here, you’ll also learn more about who roamed the area in the time of the dinosaurs through hands-on exhibits.
Pro tip: Hancock Park surrounds the museum and its picnic areas make a great location for an affordable lunch. Buy tickets with a low price guarantee.
5. Day Trip to Nearby Theme Parks & Attractions
Several world-class attractions sit within a less-than-an-hour drive of Los Angeles (depending on traffic and what part of the county you’re in). Be sure to plan your day around rush hour.
If you have a Mickey Mouse or Elsa fan in the family, consider a day at Disneyland Resort. Remember that there are two parks: Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. Spending the night makes it easier to see both.
See also: How to Buy Discount Disneyland Tickets
Knott’s Berry Farm
Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park is America’s very first theme park. Here, you’ll find a diverse range of fun for all ages from Camp Snoopy for small kids to thrilling roller coasters. Don’t forget to sample some boysenberry pie — the hybrid berry was developed here.
Aquarium of the Pacific
If you have aspiring marine biologists or sea life lovers in the group, Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific is worth the drive to see their over 11,000 exhibits, some of which are hands-on.
6. Natural History Museum
Address: 900 W. Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County displays over 35 million objects. Massive dinosaurs and sparkling gemstones are just some examples of what your family can explore here. The Nature Lab is a favorite with kids because it offers hands-on, touchable experiences including live animal encounters.
Pro tip: If you have a museum membership at a local science museum or children’s museum, it may be reciprocal. Otherwise, it’s part of Go Los Angeles.
7. California Science Center
Address: 700 Exposition Park Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90037
Do your kids ever ask things like, “How does an astronaut use the bathroom without gravity?” A trip to the California Science Center will answer this and more.
A highlight of a visit is the chance to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour, which took people into space 25 different times before retiring in 2011. My daughter loves this fantastic Los Angeles museum. You can spend an entire day here between its special exhibits, IMAX theater, and more.
Pro tip: If you’re visiting on the weekend, you will need a timed reservation to see Endeavour.
8. Warner Bros. Studio Hollywood
Address: 3400 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505
Movies are made every day in Hollywood, and the Warner Bros. Studio Tour gives you the chance to see where it happens. Visit working soundstages, see memorabilia from your favorite films, and take photos on the set of your favorite TV shows.
Kids will love this tour because it visits DC Universe: The Exhibit and Harry Potter-related memorabilia, while also teaching them how movies are made from script to screen.
Pro tip: Plan three hours for the tour, including two hours of guided tour and one hour of self-guided time.
9. Santa Monica Pier
Address: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Whether you ride the vintage carousel, take in the latest art installation, revel in the performance of street artists, or simply take in the view of the ocean, a visit to Santa Monica Pier will not be soon forgotten. Include the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium so that your kids learn about local aquatic life through interactive exhibits.
Pro tip: The Pier Shop at the bottom of the ramp houses a small visitor’s center where you pick up more information to help plan your visit.
While not a specific attraction, for teens and tweens, shopping is an important part of a family vacation to Los Angeles.
The top shopping destinations in the city include Melrose Avenue, Rodeo Drive, and Hollywood & Highland. The Melrose Trading Post, open every Sunday, gives you an outdoor shopping experience for hidden treasures and vintage clothes. The Glossier cosmetics store (arrive when it opens to avoid a service queue inside) is a destination for this age group, too.
Another fun family activity for shoppers includes a stroll down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, if anything to say that you’ve experienced it.
Pro tip: Do some window shopping at these high-end stores, then visit a local boutique or thrift store for bargain prices.
Address: 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is much more than just an art museum. Here, kids explore their own creative side which is why it’s considered the best art museum for kids in the area.
While you’re there, check out the Boone Children’s Gallery for hands-on activities or the Sculpture Garden for the opportunity to climb and explore outdoors.
On Fridays in the spring, summer, and fall, head to LACMA for live outdoor Jazz performances. Bring your own picnic, let the kids run around, and enjoy free live music on the grounds. Performances typically run Fridays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. through the end of November. Jazz at LACMA is popular, so arrive early to find a good spot.
Pro tip: LACMA is adjacent to the La Brea Tar Pits so you can easily enjoy both in the same day.
12. Little Tokyo
Address: Downtown Los Angeles, SE of Civic Center
Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles makes you feel as if you briefly stepped into Japan. In this 135-year-old community, you can try Japanese food from ramen to ice cream. I highly recommend the Japanese American National Museum which does a fantastic job of showcasing life in internment camps during World War II.
Your kids may enjoy exploring the various shops with their Japanese souvenirs, desserts, and snacks.
Pro tip: Give the kids a taste of another culture with snacks from little Tokyo’s Nijiya Market.
13. Olvera Street
Address: 845 N Alameda Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Olvera Street is the “birthplace” of the great city of Los Angeles, and it strives to show what the city was like before it became a major metropolis. Old buildings and painted stalls that house street vendors line this Mexican marketplace.
Many of today’s vendors descend from those who worked Olvera Street in the 1930s. If you’re visiting Olvera Street, come hungry, because you’ll find everything from taco trucks to churro stands to enjoy.
Pro tip: A free guided walking tour of El Pueblo de Los Angeles happens every Tuesday through Saturday, at 10, 11, and 12 in the morning.
14. Grand Park
Address: 200 N. Grand Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90012
Grand Park is a perfect example of an urban city park. It has plenty of open places, a wading pool for hot Los Angeles summers, and a playground. The park benches, which are bright pink, add a pop of welcome color to the city landscape. The usually-present food trucks make it easy to grab a picnic lunch during your visit.
Pro tip: Check out the online calendar to learn about upcoming events and curricular experiences at the park.
15. Los Angeles Zoo
Address: 5333 Zoo Drive Los Angeles, CA 90027
Take a walk on the wild side at the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, located in the Griffith Park Zoo. This historic zoo has been operating at its current site since 1966 with over 1,400 animals spanning over 270 different species.
It also houses a beautiful botanic garden with over 800 species of plants. Your kids will love getting close to animals in beautiful habitats during a visit to the zoo.
Pro tip: Plan to add a special experience to your visit, such as giraffe feedings or the zoo’s flamingo mingle experience.
16. OUE Skyspace
Address: 633 West 5th St., Los Angeles, CA 90071
See Los Angeles from a bird’s-eye view at OUE Skyspace. This open-air observation deck is the tallest of its kind in the state of California. From the observation terraces, you can see Dodger Stadium, Capitol Records, the Hollywood Sign, and even Catalina Island. Consider taking the Skyslide, a 45-foot glass slide that sends you soaring through new heights.
Pro tip: Before your visit, download the OUE Skyspace app to access augmented reality experiences while you are there. You can buy discounted OUS Skyspace tickets.
17. Duff’s Cakemix
Address: 165 S. De Lacey Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105
Pastry Chef and Food Network star Duff Goldman opened Cakemix in LA, a hands-on cake decorating experience that my daughter and her friends love.
This DIY cake decorating studio provides step-by-step instructions to help your family create beautiful cake creations. You will have all the tools the pros use to craft a beautiful confection. Do make a reservation.
Pro tip: Duff’s Cakemix also offers both vegan and gluten-free cake options.
18. American Girl Place
Address: 189 The Grove Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90036
One of the popular things to do in Los Angeles with kids who are American Girl fans is to visit American Girl Place and its cafe. This restaurant serves brunch, lunch, and tea. Dolls sit with their owners in high chairs secured to the tables. We’ve eaten in the cafe multiple times. I find the food surprisingly good — especially the birthday cake if you’re celebrating a special occasion.
American Girl is located in The Grove shopping mall. Make a reservation before your visit as it is typically full every day.
Pro tip: If your child does not bring a doll, they can borrow one for their visit. Only genuine American Girl dolls are allowed in the restaurant.
19. Six Flags Magic Mountain
Address: 26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy, Valencia, CA 91355
Home to 18 thrill rides and several tamer attractions, Six Flags Magic Mountain pleases families with kids of varying ages. Rides and attractions feature favorite Marvel superheroes and Looney Tunes characters.
Pro tip: Pay less for tickets by purchasing them online ahead of your visit. You can save on general admission significantly and go straight to the gate.
20. Professional Sports
Eleven major league professional teams call the greater Los Angeles area home. These include the Anaheim Ducks and L.A. Kings hockey teams, the Angels and Dodgers baseball teams, the Chargers and Rams football teams, the Clippers and Lakers basketball teams, the FC and L.A. Galaxy soccer teams, and the Sparks women’s basketball team. This means there is a professional sporting event for most sports fans.
Pro tip: Time your trip around your preferred sports season.
21. Kidspace Children’s Museum
Address: 480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91103
Kidspace is the premier children’s museum in the greater Los Angeles area. It features both indoor and outdoor exhibits that are hands-on and kid-friendly. The outdoor Arroyo Adventure area encourages kids to play in the mud or build a giant bird’s nest.
Pro tip: Play at this location can be messy, so pack a change of clothes and water-friendly shoes.
22. Descanso Gardens
Address: 1418 Descanso Drive, La Canada Flintridge, CA 91011
Just 20 minutes from downtown L.A., Descanso Gardens houses a stunning collection of botanical plants. Go to see the largest collection of camellias in the Western Hemisphere and an impressive rose garden.
This experience makes it on my list of things to do in Los Angeles with kids also because of the Enchanted Railroad, a 1/8th scale train that takes families through the garden.
Pro tip: The train only runs on Tuesdays and Friday mornings as well as over the weekend. Check the schedule to be sure it’s operating during your visit.
23. Echo Park Lake
Address: 751 Echo Park Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90026
Echo Park Lake sits in the center of Los Angeles, providing excellent views of the downtown area. Families are regularly seen enjoying a walk or a picnic around the lake. For just $6 per kid and $11 per adult in your group, you can rent a paddleboat to enjoy the view from the water.
Pro tip: Paddleboats are weather permitting, but do run daily. Check the park website for the current hours.
24. El Capitan Theatre
Address: 6838 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028
If your visit happens to bring a rainy day, head to the historic El Capitan Theatre to catch a movie. Built in the 1920s, it’s also home to the Mighty Wurlitzer, a historic pipe organ. The Disney-owned theater shows Disney movies and classic films from bygone eras that the whole family will love.
Pro tip: Visit on Tuesdays for Tiny Tot Tuesdays, which often brings favorite Disney characters to the stage in addition to the film.
25. Visit The Last Bookstore
Address: 453 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013
Housed inside what was once a bank, complete with high ceilings and marble pillars, the Last Bookstore feels like something out of Harry Potter. Here you can browse vintage books and reasonably priced used book options, not to mention the latest releases.
You’ll also find artwork sculpted from some overstocked and damaged book copies, with hidden areas to explore. Spend some time upstairs, where every book costs just $1.
Pro tip: Check the website before your visit, as The Last Bookstore is often used as a film set and may be closed.
26. Rose Bowl Flea Market
Address: 1001 Rose Bowl Dr., Pasadena, CA 91103
Visit the Rose Bowl stadium on the second Sunday of the month for the Rose Bowl Flea Market. This large, famous outdoor market offers something for everyone with its 2,500 vendors who showcase wares every month. Kids 12 and under enter the flea market for free. It’s one of the things to do in Los Angeles with kids who like vintage shopping or hunting for cool finds.
Pro tip: Arrive early for a special admission at 7 a.m. for an additional cost, but keep in mind that all vendors may not be in place until 9 a.m.
27. Travel Town Museum
Address: 5200 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Travel Town Museum in Griffith Park celebrates the history of the railroad, with vintage locomotives and engines to explore. The lack of admission fee makes it a fun free thing to do in L.A. for children. Kids love the museum’s miniature train that they can ride for just a few dollars.
Pro tip: On the second Saturday of the month you can enjoy a free docent tour of the museum.
28. Hike up Runyon Canyon
Address: 2000 N. Fuller Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046
Listed as one of the best hikes in Los Angeles, Runyon Canyon is a great option for families with tweens and teens. On this hike, you have a great vantage point for celebrity sightings, as well as views of the Hollywood Sign and the Los Angeles basin. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the Santa Monica Mountains.
Pro tip: This hike is not for small children, and it is not paved to accommodate strollers. It also has no restroom facilities.
29. Tour UCLA
Address: 1147 Murphy Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Older children who are nearing college age will appreciate the chance to see the beautiful campus of UCLA. You can take a free tour to see the facilities for yourself, sit in on a class, and enjoy the beautiful architecture of the campus. Younger kids may feel inspired by the grandeur of this prestigious university and, you never know, a visit may motivate them to apply in the future.
Pro tip: Choose a tour based on your needs, whether you have an undergraduate student considering the school, have a younger student who just wants to see the campus, or are a graduate of the college. Also, you can take a self-guided tour.
Address: 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038
Catch movies under the stars on the Fairbanks Lawn of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Bring your own blanket and pillows to enjoy the movie. As the sun sets, a live DJ will entertain with music, then after the sun goes down you can enjoy a movie screening. You can bring your own food as well. Children three and under are free, but everyone else needs a ticket.
Pro tip: This is a rain-or-shine event, but will be rescheduled if storms make the event unsafe. Tickets are nonrefundable.
31. Getty Villa
Address: 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Take a step back into Ancient Greece with a trip to the Getty Villa. This idea may not thrill young children, but it will inspire older kids and teenagers. The grounds resemble an ancient Roman country house, and inside the walls, you can explore ancient artwork from the Stone Age through the Roman Empire. You’ll also enjoy the view of the Pacific Palisades during your visit.
Pro tip: Admission to the Villa is free, but you will need a timed-entry ticket and pay $20 to park.
32. Huntington Library
Address: 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108
If you’re willing to make the drive to the Pasadena area, the Huntington Library is worth the visit. Here, you can stroll through a mansion filled with over 40,000 works of art, or see over 11 million library items, including over 400,000 rare books, on display. Stunning grounds give families the chance to explore different varieties of gardens. Middle school children can learn about botany in the conservatory, while the Children’s Garden with its splash fountains and play areas is attractive to younger kids.
Pro tip: Check out drop-in family activities and children’s workshops destined to make the Huntington Library engaging for kids of all ages.
What are your favorite fun things to do in Los Angeles with kids?