This post contains details about the most popular things to do with your family in Los Angeles, including free things to do, nighttime activities and popular attractions.
- Top 10 Things to Do
- Free Things to Do
- Things to Do at Night
- Museums and Attractions
- Restaurants and Food
- By Month
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS IN LOS ANGELES
The following section will cover the best ideas for things to do with your kids in Los Angeles, covering whether an activity is free or available at night.
For more ideas on top popular attractions, check out our comparison post on tourist discount passes, which could help you save money on admission and which also offers family-friendly itineraries.
You’ll also find several family-friendly activities on our list of the top things to do in Los Angeles.
1. Sightseeing Tours
All of our pay-what-you-wish walking tours are designed with families in mind and thus welcome kids of all ages. We offer the Downtown Los Angeles Walking Tour and the Hollywood Walking Tour.
All our tours are about 2 hours long, perfect for easily tired feed and short attention spans.
If our schedule of walking tours doesn't fit into yours, we do have self-guided and GPS enabled audio tours available.
If you're worried about walking, Los Angeles offers bus tours to explore the city while sitting down.
2. Visit a Museum
Los Angeles has a number of museums, something for everyone! We have a list of all the best museums for kids below, but two of the most popular are:
Grammy Museum- Opened in 2008, the Grammy Museum features a number of interactive and hands-on exhibits that explore the art in music recording, the history of the awards show, and so much more.
Natural History of Los Angeles - Kids love this museum that's all about the natural sciences! Learn about dinosaurs in the Dinosaur Hall, see gems and minerals, and so much more! Learn more here.
For a list of all family-friendly museums in Los Angeles, read our section below.
3. Cheer on a Sports Team!
LA has a number of major league sports teams to cheer on, so you can most likely catch a game anytime you're in town. These are great to attend with the whole family!
Baseball fans can root for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Angels.
Hockey lovers can cheer on the Anaheim Ducks and LA Kings.
For basketball, there's the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, and the Sparks all of which play at the Staples Center.
Football fans can come out and see the Chargers and the Rams.
Last but not least you can go see the LA Galaxy and LA Football Club soccer teams play.
If you're already at the Staples Center for a basketball game, check out LA Live an entertainment epicenter located adjacent to the Staples Center.
4. Consider a Tourist Pass
Each Los Angeles Tourist Discount Pass includes a variety of fun family-friendly activities and attractions.
Here are just a few examples of locations you can visit either for free or at a discount with one of these tourist passes.
- Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
- Warner Bros. Studio Tour
- Celebrity Homes Tour
- Aquarium of the Pacific
- TCL Chinese Theater Tour
5. Angels Flight Railway
To get the most thrills in the least about of time, check out the Angels Flight Railway. The two train cars of this tiny railway are over 100 years old and climb up and down Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles.
It's cheap, too! The short ride costs $1 each way; 50 cents with a TAP card. This is a great thing to do while visiting Grand Central Market, which we mention in our free section below.
6. Play outside
Los Angeles has great weather most of the year, so be sure to enjoy it outside! There are a number of places to enjoy the outdoors with kids:
Visit Grand Park
This 12-acre park is free to enjoy for all ages! This park features four distinct areas; the wade-able membrane pool, an intimate performance lawn, a community terrace featuring local plant species, and a grand event lawn.
This place is great to burn off some excess energy or also to just sit and relax. It's also free! Check out our free section below for more free things to do in LA with kids.
Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden
This is a 127-acre land of natural landscapes, incredible gardens, and historic structures. This arboretum also does learning programs to get all ages involved in the environment. They also have a number of cool programs year-round to get little ones involved!
Aidan's Place has one of the city's most accessible playgrounds. This playground caters to children of all abilities, where they can play with a whole variety of structures like the zip line and pretend airplane cockpit.
7. Enjoy the View from an Observation Deck
Take it all in from California’s highest observation deck, the OUE Skyspace! Head up to the observation deck for a panorama view of everything that makes LA special–the ocean, Hollywood sign, and mountains.
Once there, enjoy the interactive technology to learn more about the skyline in front of you. Adventurers can ride the Skyslide, a 45-foot glass-encased slide that lands on the exterior of the US Bank building–not for the faint at heart!
8. El Capitan Theater
The El Captain Theater is a beautiful theater that opened in 1926 on Hollywood Boulevard. On Tuesdays, they host "Tiny Tot Tuesdays" for parents and toddlers to enjoy special screenings of movies.
Lights are dimmed and sound reduced for a more enjoyable experience for the young audience members.
9. Visit a Theme Park
Just outside of LA is one of the most magical places on earth- Disneyland! Going here is most kids' dream come true, and something the entire family will enjoy! See all the beloved characters, enjoy the rides, and stroll through the enchanted park.
We also recommend visiting Universal Studios Hollywood while you're in Los Angeles. It is one of the oldest and most famous movie studios still in use. It's a great place to spend a day!
Tip: You can save on admission with the LA City Pass.
10. Visit the LA Zoo
With over 250 species to visit, the LA Zoo is a great place to spend the day in LA with kids. They also have a beautiful botanical garden to enjoy!
You can get up close to some of these animals with experiences like giraffe feedings and mingling flamingos!
Tie pass into it: Learn more about saving on admission to the LA Zoo with the LA Discount Pass.
Honorable Mention: Take a Food Tour
If you're looking for some food your kids will enjoy, there are Secret Food Tours in Los Angeles which include a lot of kid-friendly dishes.
Their Venice Beach food tour is great for a taste of enchiladas, tacos, chicken sausage and churronuts (churro donuts).
With an excellent variety of foods, chances are your children will find at least a few dishes that they enjoy!
FREE THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS
In this section, we will provide several different ideas for free things to do in Los Angeles. These are in addition to the several items listed above that cost nothing.
Of course, one of the best ways to save money in Los Angeles is to get a discount pass. If you want to learn more about everything included with these services, make sure to check our section covering family-friendly things you can do with a tourist pass.
For more attractions and locations that are completely free, read our post about free things to do in Los Angeles.
Walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Find your favorite celebrity star on the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame! Kids will love recognizing the names of their beloved TV stars and actors, and you can always turn it into a game!
What began in 1958 with just eight honorees has evolved into thousands of stars within a few city blocks.
Check out Grand Central Market
Opened in 1917, Grand Central Market has really come alive in the last few years! What was once full of produce stalls is now home to a large variety of food stalls, coffee shops, and a brewery.
As you stroll through the bustling market, keep an eye out for the candies, nuts, and dried fruit available at La Huerta or indulge in the kid-friendly (it’s peanut butter and jelly after all!) yet exotic offerings at PBJ.LA.
For more kid-friendly breweries, check out our section below.
We've mentioned outdoor activities above but want to highlight the free outdoor spaces you can enjoy with kids when visiting Los Angeles.
Los Angeles State Historic Park
This cool park is tucked away in the Chinatown district of Los Angeles. Often referred to as the "Central Park of Los Angeles" this park prides itself on being built by the people. This is a great way to escape the city bustle and relax for a bit.
Go play on the shore at Venice Beach! This unique neighborhood boasts the Venice Boardwalk with its funky shops, street performers, and colorful murals. On Abbot Kinney Boulevard there are coffee shops and food spots to dine at. There's also a skate park!
Visit the MOCA on Thursday
It's never too early to get kids excited and learning about art! The main branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art is located on Grand Avenue downtown and focuses on European and American contemporary art created after 1940.
This collection includes paintings, sculptures, drawings, and photography, and more! The best part is that they offer free admission from 5 pm-8 pm every Thursday!
Los Angeles Public Library
A great place to spend the day is the Los Angeles Public Library. It's a great place to get kids reading and they host a variety of programs for kids of all ages.
If you're visiting and can't borrow books from the library, we recommend checking out Children's Book World to take books home. They have a vast collection of books to peruse and purchase. Books are a great thing to have on a flight (or car drive!) home!
THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT
In this section, we will provide several different ideas for things to do at night with kids in Los Angeles. If you're not tuckered out by night, there are lots of ways to still explore the city after sunset. Many of the free events listed above are great fun for kids.
For a comprehensive list of things to do at night, visit our main post.
See a Show
If live performances are your preference, you’ll find a few great venues in DTLA.
Aside from a number of bars that feature live music, you can take in a concert at The Regent or see a performance by the world-renowned LA Philharmonic at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
If you’d rather see what blockbuster film is showing, LA Live has a 14 screen Regal Movie Theater.
Universal City Walk
Universal City Walk is just outside of Universal Studios Hollywood and doesn't require a ticket to the theme park to explore.
As you explore this walkway you will find places to shop, eat, and grab desserts.
There are also incredible neon signs to see and take pictures of! It is open until 9 pm Monday-Thursday, 11 pm Friday-Saturday, and until 10 pm on Sunday.
Take a Night Tour!
We love a free walking tour during the day, but there's still so much more to see after dark! Seeing the city come alive is an exciting experience, and depending on your child, there are some cool night tours to take in LA:
- Neon Cruise- These are hosted by MONA and begin in the Historic Corridor of Downtown. On this tour you will drive through the city in a convertible British bus and learn all about the history and signage of LA, from the theater district to Chinatown.
- Ghost Tour- Some kids love a spooky tour, and LA has plenty of them! There are the Haunted Hollywood Bus Tour and the San Gabriel Ghost Seekers for those who want to hunt for ghosts. There are a number of others, but these were suggested for all ages, and generally, the others are recommended for children 12+.
The "Urban Light" installation is 202 street lamps set up at the entrance of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and has been around for a decade. It's fun to wander through them, take pictures, and especially see them all lit up at night!
Watch a Drive-In Movie
Drive-in movies are a fun thing to do after dark! Drive up, bring snacks, and enjoy the show! There are a number of them around Los Angeles. There's the Electric Dusk Drive-In and Paramount Drive-in Theaters. Check out the showings for kid-friendly movies!
BEST MUSEUMS & ATTRACTIONS FOR KIDS IN LOS ANGELES
Most of Los Angeles's biggest museums and attractions are geared towards families so it won't be hard to find a number of things to do with kids. Many of the sections above cover some of our favorite museums for kids. Read on for more information about museums, best sightseeing tours for kids and family-friendly restaurants, and things to do with teenagers.
Guinness World Records Museum
This museum is fun and interactive, making it great for families. You will learn all about the record-holders all around the world, including some pretty weird world records!
Kids will also be able to attempt their own records, like the world's long jump record, and size themselves up to the tallest and heaviest people in the world.
Aquarium of the Pacific
With over 50 exhibits boasting more than 11,000 animals, the Aquarium of the Pacific is a great place to spend the day with kids.
There are also interactive parts of the aquarium, like the Shark Lagoon where they can touch over 150 sharks! To check hours and pricing click here.
California Science Center
The California Science Center is located next to the Natural History Museum and gets kids learning about science in interactive ways.
Exhibits teach kids about human inventions, the life process of living, and so much more.
hey also have special exhibits, like the one about Lego brick building! To learn more and plan your trip, click here.
The Griffith Observatory is a great place for kids who love space! The exhibits teach kids about planets, stars, and space. You can also explore the park around it at night to see an incredible view of the skies away from the bustle of the city. To learn more, click here.
Visiting the Griffith Observatory is also free! For more free things to do in LA, check out our free section above.
Museum at El Pueblo
A cultural hub of downtown LA, El Pueblo is where it all began–the birthplace of Los Angeles! The city has done an excellent job keeping buildings preserved and offering free museums and interpretive centers for visitors.
Check out museums like the Adobe Avila (the oldest structure in LA), the Chinese American Museum, the Sepulveda House, and the Plaza Firehouse among many others. All are free to enter!
Ripley's Believe it or Not!
For those interested in the curious and bizarre, Ripley’s Believe It or Not is the place to explore. This home is full of oddities that will have you and your kids fascinated. The museum is also open late, so for those looking for something to do at night, this is a great place to go.
For more things to do at night in LA with kids, check out our nighttime section above.
FAMILY FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS IN LOS ANGELES
One of the best ways to explore a new city is to taste test your way.
A great place to enjoy the LA weather is a brewery! Finding places the whole family can enjoy can be challenging, but we found a few that are family-inclusive that everyone will enjoy. Some of these will have kids menu and kids play places.
- Golden Road is right next to the train tracks so kids can watch trains zoom by. They also have cornhole for everyone to play!
- Boomtown Brewery not only has plenty of non-alcoholic drinks for everyone to enjoy, but they also host a number of family-friendly events that include bounce houses and more!
- Rock and Brews El Segundo not only has over 30 beers on tap but also a toddler jungle gym with an attendant!
Piencone Pizzeria Creamery & Pub- This place has craft beer for the parents and a kid-friendly back patio for the little ones!
Button Mash- This restaurant features old-school arcade games to keep kids entertained while you wait for meals to arrive.
La Serenata- On Mondays, they offer a free kids meal with the purchase of an adult meal + two drinks.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY SIGHTSEEING TOURS
This section will provide information about the different types of sightseeing tours you can take with your family in Los Angeles. While some of these services are free, you can usually get tickets either for free or at a discount with Los Angeles tourist passes.
We offer two different pay-what-you-like walking tours in Los Angeles which are both family-friendly. These outings are perfect for visitors both young and old.
- Downtown Los Angeles Walking Tour
- Hollywood Walking Tour
Bus tours are great when traveling with kids because the little ones will have a chance to rest up a bit during a day of sightseeing.
Since hop-on-hop-off bus tours usually stop at the most popular attractions, you can use the bus to get from one attraction to the next with some entertainment in between.
Our post The Best Los Angeles Bus Tours can help you decide which is best for you and your child.
THINGS TO DO WITH TEENAGERS IN LOS ANGELES
Most of the options we detail on this page are geared towards older kids, but teens can be hard to please. We work with a lot of school groups in Chicago and have narrowed down a list of what always ends up as a favorite activity.
- Walking Tours - any of our walking tours would be a great option and since we work with school groups often we know how to keep it fun!
- Sporting Event -
- See the Lakers play at the Staples Center.
- Cheer on the Los Angeles Kings hockey team.
- Root for the home team at a Los Angeles Angels or Dodgers baseball game.
- Best Museums for Teens
- For the art lover, The Broad has amazing contemporary art.
- The Petersen Automotive Museum has the largest sci-fi vehicle exhibit in the world!
- Learn about the American West at the Autry Museum.
- For a variety of art and something free to do, we recommend the Getty Center.
There is something to do in Los Angeles for every interest and with the wide variety of museums and exhibits, you'll find something that will suit interest or be relevant to a topic being studied in school. It might be easier for us to tell you what we don't recommend for teenagers!
THINGS TO DO IN LOS ANGELES WITH KIDS BY MONTH
Each of our detailed monthly top things to do posts have a whole section on the best thing to do with kids at that time of year. Click on a month below.