Family Fun in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Family Fun Attractions

Traveling to LA with your family is a fun adventure as there is so much to see and do here. We often get asked for suggestions for places to go while here. Here are some of our favorite recommendations for families visiting Los Angeles. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Landmarks in Los Angeles

LA has a variety of landmarks that tell the story of its history. Probably the most requested landmark we get, and is a must-see on your visit here, is probably THE most iconic landmark in Los Angeles – The Hollywood Sign. This beacon of the entertainment industry has been around since the 1920s. It wasn’t, however, supposed to denote anything about entertainment.

The original sign was actually an advertisement for the housing development squares, each of the 13 letters was 30 feet wide and approximately 43 feet tall and lit up at night. While the housing development eventually failed due to the Great Depression, the sign still stayed and the city eventually removed the “land” from the title to create the now-famous sign, “Hollywood”. Now the sign is over 90 years old and it just goes to show, you never know when a star will be born or how long it will last in Hollywood.

  • Olvera Street: Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, Olvera Street is known as the birthplace of the city and offers a glimpse into its Mexican heritage. Kids can explore the historic buildings, shops, and street vendors.
  • Mission San Gabriel Arcángel: This historic mission, founded in 1771, is one of the oldest buildings in Southern California. It offers a chance to learn about the history of the California missions.
  • Los Angeles Union Station: The beautifully restored Union Station is not only a transportation hub but also an architectural gem. Kids can admire the stunning Art Deco design and the large waiting hall.
  • Watts Towers: Created by artist Simon Rodia, these unique towers are a testament to creativity and imagination. Kids can appreciate the intricate mosaic and steel structures.
  • Fort MacArthur Museum: Located in San Pedro, this museum explores the history of the U.S. Army in the Los Angeles area. Kids can see military equipment and learn about the defense of the West Coast.
  • Heritage Square Museum: This living history museum in Montecito Heights features restored Victorian-era homes and buildings. It offers guided tours that can provide insights into life in the late 19th century.
  • Angel’s Flight Railway: This historic funicular railway in downtown LA offers a short but fun ride up Bunker Hill. Kids will enjoy the novelty of this iconic landmark.
  • Avila Adobe: Located on Olvera Street, Avila Adobe is the oldest standing residence in Los Angeles. Kids can explore the historic rooms and see how people lived in the early 19th century.
  • Queen Mary: Docked in Long Beach, the Queen Mary is a historic ocean liner that offers tours. Kids can learn about the ship’s history, including its service during World War II.
  • Point Fermin Lighthouse: This Victorian-era lighthouse in San Pedro offers tours where children can learn about the history of maritime navigation.

Los Angeles Amusements

If you have kids, then Disneyland is a must-stop on any vacation to L.A. About an hour and a half outside of the city of Anaheim, Disneyland is a great day trip for families. Walt Disney’s original park, Disneyland opened in 1955. This year, they are celebrating their 60th anniversary and they are pulling out all of the stops for this diamond-themed celebration (you can even win diamonds if you are lucky!).

Disneyland Anaheim

From Toon Town to the teacups to Mr. Toad’s wild ride, visiting Disneyland is truly a magical place for kids. You can also hop over to California Adventure where they have awesome rides and great food options. Your little ones will never forget it and it is a fantastic kick-off to a family vacation.

  • Disneyland Park: Located in Anaheim, Disneyland is the iconic theme park where kids can meet Disney characters, enjoy thrilling rides, and explore various themed lands like Fantasyland and Adventureland.
  • Disney California Adventure Park: Also in Anaheim and adjacent to Disneyland, this park features attractions inspired by California’s history and culture, as well as popular Disney characters.
  • Universal Studios Hollywood: This film studio and theme park in Universal City offers thrilling rides and attractions based on popular movies and TV shows. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a must-visit for fans.
  • Knott’s Berry Farm: Located in Buena Park, Knott’s Berry Farm is known for its roller coasters, water rides, and Camp Snoopy, an area dedicated to younger children with gentle rides and character interactions.
  • Six Flags Magic Mountain: Located in Valencia, this park is known for its high-speed roller coasters and thrill rides. Older kids and teenagers will particularly enjoy the adrenaline-pumping experiences.
  • Legoland California Resort: Located in Carlsbad, just north of San Diego, Legoland is a theme park designed for kids aged 2 to 12, featuring rides, attractions, and Lego-themed experiences.
  • Pacific Park: Located on the Santa Monica Pier, Pacific Park offers a small but fun selection of rides, including a Ferris wheel with ocean views and a roller coaster.
  • Adventure City: Located in Anaheim, Adventure City is a smaller amusement park designed for families with younger kids. It has a variety of rides and attractions suitable for all ages.
  • Castle Park: Located in Riverside, Castle Park features mini-golf, arcade games, and a variety of rides, including a log flume and a dragon-themed roller coaster.
  • Malibu Pier and Amusement Park: While smaller in scale, this historic pier in Malibu offers simple amusements, a carousel, and beautiful ocean views.

Los Angeles Studio Tours

While we think all the Hollywood studio tours are fun and interesting, we definitely think you should check out Warner Bros. Studio Tour. Founded in 1923 by Albert, Harry, Sam & Jack Warner, Warner Bros Studio was put on the map by a dog. You read that right… a dog. Warner Bros was the first studio to sign a contract with Rin Tin Tin. All barking aside, Warner Bros has been a leader in producing entertainment on the big and small screen.

The Joker masks and costumes (Heath Ledger), The Joker costume (Heath Ledger), Batman costume (Christian Bale), Rachel Dawws costume (Maggie Gyllenhaal), The Joker Nurse costume (Heath Ledger) - The Batman Exhibition - Warner Bros. Studio VIP Tour - Burba
The Joker masks and costumes – The Batman Exhibition – Warner Bros. Studio VIP Tour – Burba” by Glen Bowman

They were one of the first movie houses to produce original films with sound, known as “Talkies” with its release of the groundbreaking film “The Jazz Singer” starring Al Jolson. In the 1990s Warner Bros branched into television with the WB TV Network which has produced several popular TV shows. But their biggest box office hit is undoubtedly The Harry Potter movie which is the highest-grossing film series of all time. You can take a tour of the Warner Bros Studios 110-acre lot and check out sets, backlot streets, sound prods, craft shops, and more for an insider’s look into the studio!

  • Universal Studios Hollywood Tour: Universal Studios offers a behind-the-scenes studio tour that includes visits to movie sets, special effects demonstrations, and encounters with favorite movie characters. The Studio Tour is included with admission to the theme park.
  • Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood: This tour takes visitors through the working studio lot where many famous films and TV shows have been produced. Kids can see iconic sets, props, and costumes, including those from the Harry Potter films.
  • Sony Pictures Studio Tour: Located in Culver City, this tour offers a glimpse into a working movie and television studio. Visitors can explore soundstages, walk through the backlot, and see iconic movie props.
  • Paramount Pictures Studio Tour: The Paramount Studio Tour takes you through the historic studio lot, showcasing the history of Hollywood and the making of movies and TV shows. The tour may include visits to soundstages and backlots.
  • CBS Television City: This studio is home to many popular TV shows, and visitors can take guided tours to see sets, and soundstages, and possibly watch a live taping of a TV show.
  • Hollywood Center Studios Tour: While not as extensive as some other studio tours, this tour provides insight into the television production process. Kids may enjoy seeing TV sets and learning about the entertainment industry.
  • The Jim Henson Company Lot Tour: The Jim Henson Company offers occasional tours of its lot in Hollywood. Kids can learn about the creation of beloved characters like the Muppets.
  • Red Studios Hollywood: This studio offers tours that include soundstages, the famous “Black Carpet,” and behind-the-scenes insights into film and TV production.

Beaches in Los Angeles

We have a ton of beaches to choose from, but we know that you are looking for more with your family. That’s why we love the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica.
What used to be the playground of the rich and famous at the mansion that belonged to silent film star Marion Davies and newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, is now a community playground in Santa Monica.

Annenberg Community Beach House
Annenberg Community Beach House, Santa Monica by andysternberg

While the original 110-room mansion and most of the guest houses that were on the property are no longer there, you can still enjoy this fantastic piece of real estate. Opened in 2009, the Annenberg Community Beach House is located along 5 acres of beach. It has volleyball courts, a swimming pool (the original one from the 1920s that has been refurbished), and a children’s water play area called the “splash pad”. What’s more, you can also tour one of the last remaining structures on the original property. It is a ton of fun for the whole family.

  • Santa Monica Beach: Santa Monica Beach is one of the most iconic beaches in Los Angeles. It features a beautiful pier with an amusement park, dining options, and shops. The wide sandy shore and gentle waves make it ideal for families.
  • Venice Beach: Just south of Santa Monica, Venice Beach has a lively and eclectic atmosphere. Families can enjoy the Venice Beach Boardwalk, street performers, and the Venice Skatepark.
  • Manhattan Beach: Known for its picturesque setting and clean, sandy shores, Manhattan Beach is a great spot for families. There are picnic areas, volleyball courts, and a playground at the nearby Polliwog Park.
  • Hermosa Beach: Hermosa Beach is another charming beach community with a family-friendly atmosphere. The Strand, a pedestrian and bike path, makes it easy for families to explore the area.
  • Redondo Beach: Redondo Beach offers a tranquil, family-friendly environment with a pier, shops, restaurants, and the Seaside Lagoon, a saltwater swimming pool with sandy shores.
  • Zuma Beach: Located in Malibu, Zuma Beach is known for its long, wide sandy shoreline and good swimming conditions. It’s less crowded than some other beaches in the area and has ample parking.
  • Leo Carrillo State Beach: This beach, located north of Malibu, is popular for tidepool exploration and picnicking. It also has a campground if you want to stay overnight.
  • Paradise Cove Beach: Paradise Cove in Malibu is a family-friendly private beach with a restaurant, water sports rentals, and tide pools to explore.
  • Dockweiler State Beach: Located near Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Dockweiler is known for its fire pits, making it a great spot for family bonfires and cookouts.
  • Will Rogers State Beach: This beach offers a quieter, more relaxed atmosphere with a playground, picnic areas, and excellent opportunities for beachcombing.
  • Cabrillo Beach: Cabrillo Beach, in San Pedro, is a family-friendly beach with calm waters and a nearby aquarium, the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, which kids will enjoy.
  • Malibu Lagoon State Beach: This beach is near the Malibu Pier and the Adamson House and Gardens, offering opportunities for both beach fun and educational experiences.

Los Angeles Museums

We have a variety of museums to choose from here in LA, but the one that is requested by families most often is The California Science Center. Did you ever want to be an astronaut or do you have kids who love everything to do with space? Then the California Science Center is the place to go. Admission is free, which is great for the pocketbook. While there you can view The Space Shuttle Endeavour up close and see the images and artifacts associated with this incredible space shuttle.

California Science Center
California Science Center by themickeyd

You can also check out The World of Life and examine how people, plants, animals, and the tiniest living cells all perform the same life processes to survive. Then of course there are the jets. Parents will have a tough time keeping the “Top Gun” theme song from running through their heads while viewing one of the military jets on display including the SR-71 Blackbird and F-4. But that’s not all, parents won’t mind reaching into their wallet to pay for an experience in the 3D IMAX theater, which plays movies with a scientific or natural bent.

  • Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County: This museum has a fantastic dinosaur exhibit, a butterfly pavilion, and hands-on interactive displays that make learning about science and nature fun for kids.
  • California Science Center: The Science Center features interactive exhibits on topics like space exploration, ecosystems, and technology. The highlight for many kids is the Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibit.
  • Griffith Observatory: While not a traditional museum, the Griffith Observatory offers engaging exhibits on astronomy and space, including a variety of telescopes for stargazing.
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA): LACMA has a dedicated family-friendly program called “NexGen LACMA” that provides activities and tours designed for kids and families. They also have a special outdoor installation called “Urban Light” that’s great for kids to explore.
  • The Getty Center: The Getty Center offers beautiful art collections and stunning gardens. While it may not be a typical children’s museum, kids can enjoy exploring the gardens and learning about art through various programs and family guides.
  • Kidspace Children’s Museum: Located in nearby Pasadena, Kidspace is designed specifically for children. It features hands-on exhibits, outdoor play areas, and interactive programs that encourage learning through play.
  • The Zimmer Children’s Museum: This museum, now part of the Cayton Children’s Museum, focuses on cultural diversity, community, and social responsibility. It offers interactive exhibits and workshops for kids.
  • Petersen Automotive Museum: If your kids are interested in cars, the Petersen Automotive Museum has a fascinating collection of historic and futuristic vehicles.
  • Discovery Cube Los Angeles: Located in the San Fernando Valley, Discovery Cube is an interactive science museum with exhibits on topics like ecosystems, physics, and engineering.
  • The Autry Museum of the American West: Kids can explore the history and culture of the American West through engaging exhibits and special family programs.
  • Travel Town Museum: Located in Griffith Park, this open-air museum features a collection of historic trains and has a small train ride for kids.
  • La Brea Tar Pits and Museum: Kids can see actual fossil excavation sites and learn about prehistoric creatures that lived in the Los Angeles area thousands of years ago.

Top 10 Kid-friendly Attractions in Los Angeles

Los Angeles offers a wide range of attractions that kids are sure to love. Here are some of the top kid-friendly attractions in Los Angeles:

  1. Disneyland: Disneyland in Anaheim is a world-famous theme park where kids can meet beloved Disney characters, enjoy thrilling rides, and explore themed lands like Fantasyland, Adventureland, and Tomorrowland.
  2. Universal Studios Hollywood: This film studio and theme park in Universal City offers exciting rides and attractions based on popular movies and TV shows. Kids will enjoy experiences like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
  3. Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens: The LA Zoo features a diverse range of animals from around the world, as well as beautiful gardens and interactive exhibits that engage and educate young visitors.
  4. California Science Center: Located in Exposition Park, this hands-on science museum features interactive exhibits on topics like space exploration, ecosystems, and technology. The Space Shuttle Endeavour exhibit is a highlight.
  5. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County: Kids can explore the museum’s dinosaur exhibit, butterfly pavilion, and interactive displays that make learning about science and nature fun and engaging.
  6. Griffith Observatory: In addition to its educational value, the Griffith Observatory offers panoramic views of Los Angeles and a chance to explore exhibits about astronomy and space.
  7. Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden: Located in Arcadia, this beautiful garden offers a peaceful environment for kids to explore and learn about various plant species.
  8. Kidspace Children’s Museum: Located in Pasadena, Kidspace is designed specifically for children. It features hands-on exhibits, outdoor play areas, and interactive programs that encourage learning through play.
  9. Griffith Park: Beyond the observatory, Griffith Park has hiking trails, the Griffith Park and Southern Railroad, the Los Angeles Zoo, and pony rides that are perfect for family outings.
  10. Santa Monica Pier: The Santa Monica Pier features an amusement park with a Ferris wheel, roller coaster, and carnival games, along with street performers and a sandy beach for playing.

These attractions offer a mix of entertainment, education, and outdoor fun, making them ideal destinations for families with kids visiting Los Angeles. Be sure to check each attraction’s website for current hours of operation and any special events or promotions.

Final Word

From theme parks to studio tours, Los Angeles has something for everyone when it comes to family fun. It is a city filled with captivating attractions that are sure to bring joy and delight to families from all walks of life. No matter where your interests may lie – from the history of Los Angeles to the natural beauty of the beaches – there is something special in store for you in this amazing, vibrant city. So come explore Los Angeles today and discover what will make your family’s next vacation unforgettable!

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