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Are you planning to visit Los Angeles soon? Los Angeles is the second biggest city in the USA and it has a lot of fun things to do with kids.

You are just as bored as I am at seeing all these lists of things to do in a city that only has children's museums and playground. There are so many more fun things for the family to do to get to know the city better.

Kid friendly LA - Manhattan Beach
Manhattan Beach – kid friendly place in LA

We create guides that are fun for parents and kids. Don't let the only memory your kids have of a travel be an aquarium or museum that is generic and boring.

Below are our top tips on what to do in Los Angeles with kids, plus where to eat, where to stay, how to save money, and much more.

All of this is based on personal experiences.

We have been to Los Angeles many times. We have been together as a couple and recently with our two daughters.

LA has taken a long time to grow on us, and we weren't initially big fans.

Sometimes you have to visit a place a second or third time before you can appreciate it, especially one with a wide variety of things to see.

Why visit LA with Kids?

Rodeo Drive - family shopping
What do do in Los Angeles with kids – Rodeo Drive

I know you are wondering if LA is a good place for kids.

Our opinion of Los Angeles was that it was not worth the time, and the main reason to visit would be for a theme park trip to Disneyland.

It was one big sprawl of a city with horrible traffic, average weather, expensive, and no real community or soul.

We couldn't understand why people would choose to live there.

On our recent visit to the USA, we discovered that people find Los Angeles attractive and that we have finally discovered an appreciation for the city.

There is a vibrant and relaxed beach culture, outstanding natural beauty, unique and fun attractions, fantastic street art, lots of glamour and sparkle, different neighborhoods with distinct personalities, and an incredible diversity of food.

What is there to do in LA for families?

Things to do in Los Angeles with kids

There is an attraction for your child in LA.

Kalyra has acting dreams so it was exciting to help fuel them. Our girls love theme parks, so we included them in our visits to LA.

You can get your roller coaster at Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Universal Studios.

We got some great tips from locals that live with kids in Los Angeles and from other family travelers who have traveled to the city.

We loved visiting LA with the girls for the first time and exploring the world of Hollywood with them.

The trip to LA felt different. We had more time, which gave us more time to explore LA at a slower pace, which is always better for kids in a city of this size, as sightseeing in LA can be overwhelming.

Warner Bros Studio Tour

Warner Bros World - LA attraction
Harry Potter fans will love it

Kalyra was treated to a Warner Bros Studios tour and a fun place for kids in Los Angeles.

It was fascinating to see how TV and movies are made.

It's all fake! We traveled through New York, Chicago, France and Connecticut. It's amazing how they can recreate any place.

Highlights of Warner Bros Studio Tour

  • Wearing the sorting hat in the Harry Potter archive section. Kalyra and Savannah got Gryffindor, I was Hufflepuff, and Craig was Slytherin.
  • Holding a real OSCAR and sitting on the Friends couch (which was filmed here and not in New York City)! And Savannah got to stand on the steps of her favorite TV show house, the Fuller House.
  • Visiting the archive rooms to see costumes and props from Harry Potter and Batman films.
  • Ellen is also filmed out here and The Big Bang Theory is in its last season. And even parts of Jurassic Park were filmed here.

The studio tour is an LA attraction for older kids that costs more.

This tour is worth it if you are interested in the movie industry. I would skip it if you were tight on budget.

Universal Studios Hollywood LA

Universal Studios Hollywood - one of the most fun things to do in LA with kids
Wave those wands

We were excited to see what Universal Studios Hollywood was like since we all loved visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

It's easy to do in a day because the Hollywood park isn't as big.

Universal Studios is just north of Hollywood and is one of the top LA tourist attractions.

You will appreciate the views over the valley from here.

The backlot tour takes you behind the scenes and the Mummy ride is fun.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is one of the best things to do in LA with family for Harry Potter fans.

The butterbeer and the Forbidden Journey ride were our favorite things to do. One of the most well known kid friendly activities in Los Angeles is this.

We ate dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe when we were at Universal City Walk.

You can get your Universal tickets here.

Melrose Ave Walking Tour

Melrose Avenue Walking Tour in LA
Melrose Ave Mural Selfie tour

Our girls took creative photos while on the mural tour of Melrose Ave. This is an LA attraction you can do on each visit.

One of the most fun things to do in LA with kids is a walking tour. We loved having a guide to take us to the best spots and help us create cool poses.

Melrose Ave in LA is a great place to shop and hang out. You can take selfies with the painted walls in the stores.

The tour began with a cup of coffee and a visit to the murals on Melrose Ave.

You can keep coming back because the murals are changing all the time. You can check out the REEL here.

Isn't this better than your standard children's museums? There is no need to stifle yawns here.

Go On An Urban Hike in Griffith Park

Griffith Park, LA - family things to do in los angeles with kids
Griffith Park, LA family activity

One of the largest urban wilderness municipal parks in the US is located in Los Angeles, and it is a great place to escape the city. There are over 400 acres of natural beauty.

It is located in the Santa Monica mountain range and is approximately a 20-minute drive north-west of Downtown.

I would be hiking here all the time if I lived in LA, because it is one of the free things to do in LA with kids.

The Mt Hollywood Summit is a 4 mile loop trail that offers amazing views of Downtown LA, the Hollywood sign, and the observatory.

We didn't make it to the sign, so we're going to Los Angeles for family activities next time.

If you don't want to do it yourself, the LA Sightseeing Pass has guided hikes in the park. It is safe and enjoyable to do it alone as a family activity in LA.

The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens is one of my favorites. I'm sure your teenagers would love to see a concert here.

There is a video of a few LA hikes.

Griffith Observatory

griffith observatory with downtown LA skyline
Griffith Observatory with Downtown LA skyline / Source: Deposit Photos

The observatory sits on a hilltop below the Hollywood Sign.

During our hike here, we had great views of this and then walked around the perimeter. We visited on President's Day and it was closed.

We would like to go back to the observatory at night and see the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, which has public telescopes and star parties.

This is a fun family thing to do in LA at night. This is a great way to get your science education in with your kids, without visiting a generic science museum.

Slide Down California’s Tallest Building

SkySpace LA
SkySpace – thrilling family-friendly LA attraction

Is it possible for your family to slide from the 70th floor to the 60th floor of California's tallest building on a glass slide?

The slide is over and you are held up by a piece of glass on the side of a building. I promise it is not that frightening.

It is a little pricey.

The Oue Skyspace in Downtown LA is worth a visit if your budget allows. It has interactive artwork and displays that offer interesting and fun views of LA. It is high screaming family fun in LA.

We had the Skyspace to ourselves. If it was in Chicago or New York, you would be waiting for hours.

Put this on your list of the best things to do in Los Angeles with kids if you find yourself in downtown LA. There is fun in this reel.

It is included in the Los Angeles Sightseeing Pass.

The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore
The Last Bookstore

One of the cool things to do in downtown LA is visit The Last Bookstore, if you and your family are book lovers.

It is a cool place to browse, read, buy books, check out quirky book sculptures, and get some fun photos. Admission is free.

Ride Angels Flight Railway

Angels Flight
Riding the Angel’s Flight

Across the road from Grand Central Markets is a bright orange archway that leads to the world's shortest railway of .

The Angels Flight Railway was built in a nearby location to carry residents of Bunker Hill to their jobs in downtown.

If your kids like train rides, they will enjoy this family friendly LA attraction.

It only costs $1 each way to visit. There you go! The thrill rides of Disneyland are much more expensive.

Runyon Canyon Hike

Runyon Canyon Hike, LA
Runyon Canyon

We went to Runyon Canyon for more hiking adventures. It's one of the most accessible hikes in LA as it backs onto Mulholland Drive on one end and West Hollywood on the other.

It is one of the busiest since it is a small hiking area and popular with locals.

There are many paved trails that lead to the hills filled with runners, walkers and dogs.

The short hike gave a better view of the Hollywood Hills and Downtown LA. It is an easy Los Angeles activity.

The Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Los Angeles are great for short hikes, gardens and picnic areas.

There is an interactive railroad for younger kids in the Descanso Gardens.

Hike Malibu Creek State Park

Malibu Creek State Park California
Beautiful Malibu State Park

Malibu Creek State Park is a hidden gem in Los Angeles and California. There were only two people there when we visited. It is like wondering into the wilderness of Southeast Asia. There were scenes filmed here.

The park was once owned by 20th Century Fox Studios and has been seen all over the world in movies and television shows.

There are over 8,000 acres of rolling tall grass plains, oak savannah and opportunities for mountain biking, fishing, rock climbing and horseback riding.

We took a coastal drive from Malibu to Santa Monica, which is part of the Pacific Coast Highway. Many say that Malibu Beach is one of the top beaches in California, but I don't think so.

Getty Museum

Getty Museum Los Angeles
Amazing views from the Getty Museum

One of the most popular free things to do with kids in Los Angeles is at the Getty Museum.

We are not big art or museum people, so we found this a little boring, but most art lovers will like it.

There is a three car cable pulled tram that goes from the bottom car park to the top of the hill.

The architecture of the building, the views and the gardens surrounding the museum were more interesting to us than the artworks.

It is worth a visit if you are not a big art lover like us. If kids love art, it's a great LA museum.

For other museums, look at Exposition Park. For arts centers, consider Watts Towers.

You can see ice age fossils uncovered during an LA subway dig at the La Brea Tar Pits on Wilshire Blvd, as well as visit the lab to see what happens after. The LA attraction is very cool.

The Los Angeles County Community of Art is said to be a great place for kids to play.

Bike from Santa Monica to Venice Beach

Venice Beach, California
Santa Monica to Venice Bike Ride – fun LA activity with kids

If you want to do fun things with kids in LA, the biking beach promenade from Santa Monica to Venice Beach is a must.

You can rent bikes at Santa Monica beach for $7 an hour or $20 a day. Rent a bike for $45 a day to explore all of LA. We had our own while we were on a 1 year USA road trip.

It is an easy 3 mile cycle along the boardwalk that is filled with other cyclists, walkers, runners, and roller skaters.

This is a unique way to experience LA and the kids will be exploring outside.

Explore Venice Beach

Venice Beach, California
Venice Beach – fun place for kids in LA

One of the things to do in Los Angeles for first time visitors is Venice Beach.

We liked watching the skateboarders, basketball games, gymnasts, buskers and people.

Our kids loved watching the young skateboarder carve up the skate ramp when we last visited the skate park.

If you have children who love skating, you should give them time here.

Venice is cool and colorful. We like it because it is trapped in the hippie free love movement of the sixties.

Venice Beach is the place for colorful LA experiences.

There is a nice boardwalk filled with shops, restaurants, and colorful murals.

It's legal in California and the homeless, so be prepared for the whiffs of marijuana along the walkway. It can get very busy.

Venice is one of the places to experience at least once when you visit Los Angeles with your kids.

Discover Manhattan and Hermosa Beaches

Manhattan Beach, California - places for kids in Los Angeles
South Bay Beaches in LA are the best!

We tell all of our readers to go to the South Bay beaches of Manhattan and Hermosa, which are not far from the airport.

Santa Monica and Venice are two of the best places in Los Angeles to visit, but these beach towns offer a local vibe and feel.

If you enjoy beach volleyball, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa are the best places to go to play in Los Angeles. They call Manhattan Beach the Volleyball Capital of the World.

We like to ride along the beach promenade between Manhattan Pier and Hermosa Pier. It is one of our favorite family activities in Los Angeles.

LA sunset with ice cream

28 of the best hotels in LA
Sunset at Manhattan Beach

sunsets are one thing California does well.

Watching the sun dip below the ocean horizon is a gentle way to end a day.

We enjoyed our sunset bike ride from El Segundo to Manhattan.

The sunsets on the beaches are worth the trip alone.

There are many beer gardens along the promenade. You should grab some ice cream for the kids.

LA Beaches Video:

In our video, you can see more of the South Bay Beaches, Palos Verdes Drive and Venice Beach.

Hollywood – Behind the Scenes Walking Tour

hollywood walking tour
Behind the scenes of Hollywood

If you're looking for more things to do with kids in Hollywood, consider doing this 75 minute behind the scenes walking tour.

Family experiences can be had on walking tours. It captures your children's attention as you learn about cool stories and the history of the area.

The LA walking tour changed our opinion. It would have just been a few stars with names on the sidewalk and hand prints in the cement without it.

We learned of the traditions behind the stars and how the whole celebrity stardom thing happened, with one man's dream to change the opinion of the local Hollywood residents.

Our guide was local and kept our kids entertained. It is a fun thing for kids to do in LA.

The El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard is a great place for families to see a movie.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hollywood Walk of Fame - tips on what to do in LA with kids
Family things for kids to do in LA

Kalyra was looking forward to going to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in LA, one of the most popular things to do in LA with kids.

She was excited to take a photo with her idols stars in the sidewalks along Hollywood Boulevard.

We visited a few days before the OSCARS Academy Awards show so there was a lot of setting up going on with scaffolding for lighting and TV equipment which covered up a large section of the pavement.

Kalyra didn't get to see her favorite star, Daniel Radcliffe.

There are people trying to sell you things, but they have cleaned this up since we last were here many years ago.

If you and your kids are into movies and Hollywood, you should go here once.

This is a public sidewalk that is open 24 hours a day.

TLC Chinese Theatre

TLC Chinese Mann Theatre family actiivitys LA
What to do in LA with kids – TCL Chinese Theatre handprints

The TCL Chinese Theatre is one of the top tourist attractions in LA.

The front of the theatre is where Hollywood's biggest stars come to watch their movie premiers.

If one of their films has been shown at the theater, stars receive this special accolade. Each star will leave behind a signature, whether it is a saying or a particular imprint.

The Harry Potter crew left marks on their wand.

Kalyra got to see her favorite Harry Potter stars when the OSCAR construction crew didn't cover up the area.

Madame Tussauds Hollywood

Taylor Swift at Madame Tussauds Hollywood - family things to do in la
Madame Tussaud another – fun family things to do in LA

We have never been to a Madame Tussauds, can you believe it?

It was a silly idea and a waste of money. We went as our kids begged us because we had an attraction spare.

The thing to do in LA was surprisingly fun. We liked how you could interact with the wax figures. The girls took selfies with their favorites.

These wax versions are life-like and realistic.

Eat On The Carneys Train

Carneys Restaurant - family activities in LA
Fun family activities in LA

One of the fun things to do in Los Angeles with kids is eat at the Carneys Restaurant, which is a train carriage and is located on Sunset Blvd.

This is a landmark in Los Angeles and a family owned business that serves some of the best hamburgers and hot dogs in the area.

The kids had fun eating their burger and hot dog, and don't leave out the chili fries.

Walk Rodeo Drive

Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California Los Angeles
Kid friendly thing sto do in LA – Rodeo Drive

Kalyra really wanted to go to Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, but it was more suitable for teenagers.

She follows a few people who frequent this street and wanted to see all the glamour.

Unless you have the means to spend like $750,000 for a designer suit at House of Bijan, it's best to leave your credit cards at home when you visit LA.

Some of the most expensive clothes were in Gucci. I guess you have to stay cool when you have a lot of money.

Our girls were pretending to be rich and famous.

There is a sticky beak at the Beverly Wiltshire Four Seasons. We would have liked to have sat at the bar and had a drink, but we weren't sure how kid-friendly it was.

Movie Stars Homes Tour

Movie Star Homes Tour - family tours
Celebrity Homes Tour, LA

We had a great time on the family friendly Los Angeles tour. I don't remember seeing a lot of high gates when we did it a few years ago. This one was more interesting to me.

Kalyra was excited to see the homes of Beyonc and Bruno Mars.

There were a lot of high gates, but we still got a few properties with good views, like the one that was kicked out of the pop star's friend's party.

It was nice sitting back of the open top van listening to the stories and taking in the beautiful views of the Hollywood Hills.

Kalyra's dream of owning a house like Jay Z's $80 million dollar home was helped by us when we went into the exclusive neighborhood of Bel Air.

We looked out over the valleys and Beverly Hills gated communities when we drove along Mulholland Drive.

It made us appreciate LA more and made us want to live in this city.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles -
Popular family things to do in LA – Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier is one of the most popular attractions for children in Los Angeles.

We have never been huge fans of Santa Monica Pier or the Third Street Promenade, and our recent visit hasn't changed our minds.

The pier is too busy and tacky. Universal, Six Flags, or Disneyland are good places to go for rides.

Many people have told us how disappointing it was.

If it's your first time visiting LA with kids, you should go see it once and decide for yourself.

On our next visit, we would like to explore the more local flavor of Santa Monica, but we ran out of time with our bike ride to Venice Beach.

How To Save Money On Los Angeles Attractions With Kids

Downtown Los Angeles
The Gorgeous Ace Hotel Downtown LA

Purchase a Sightseeing Pass if you are going to do a few attractions in LA with kids.

It is a city discount card which will save you money on a number of big name attractions.

We use them in all major cities we visit, and they gave us LA passes.

Save up to 50% off retail prices on admission to over 30 top attractions and tours with the Go Los Angeles Attraction Card.

If you are visiting multiple cities in the USA, a USA Sightseeing Pass may be better for you.

Getting To and Around LA

Parking in LA

I was expecting a lot of parking in LA, but it wasn't as bad as I thought. The US will charge more.

  • Down on the beach in Santa Monica down you can find parking in their beach lots for $7- 10 a day.
  • Hollywood & Highland shopping center on Hollywood Blvd offers $3 for two hours if you get the ticket validated at a store inside. (Tip: the Visitor Center can validate it!)
  • Melrose Ave side streets were only $1 an hour in the meters
  • Malibu has free parking everywhere

Metro light rail and bus lines

You can take the metro to most places in LA.

It is possible to make connections that will take you to Santa Barbara and San Diego with traffic.

The transit-fare card can be used at 26 LA transit agencies, making it easy to ride Metro alternatives. It can be purchased at Metro stations and local vendors.

Metro's itinerary planner can help you map your routes.

We did not go to the metro on our last trip, but we have been to it before.

Bike Sharing in LA

There are bike shares all over the city. It costs $1.75 per 30 minutes.

You can buy a day pass for unlimited trips and free trips for 30 minutes or less. You have to check your bike in and swap it out every 30 minutes.

You can go over the 30 minute free trip limit.

You can rent bikes at Santa Monica beach for $7 an hour or $20 a day. You can rent a bike for $45 a day to explore all of LA.

Scooter sharing programs can be found all over the city.

Maybe a bike tour is more your style.

Flights to LA

  • Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, book directly through the airline (no extra fees).
  • Finding cheap deals on flights is easy with Scott’s Cheap Flights

Car Rental in LA

  • is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar. You may want to rent a car if you want to visit beyond Los Angeles, like the scenic coastal drive to San Pedro, or as far as San Diego.
Related Post – 28 of the best hotels in LA

More Things to Do in LA With Kids

There are more places to go in LA and family things to do.

  • 20 things to do in Downtown LA  
  • 8 Non-touristy things to do in LA

There are a few other kid friendly activities in Los Angeles.

  • California Science Center (See the Space Shuttle Endeavour at  Samuel Oschin Pavilion)
  • Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
  • La Brea Tar Pits
  • Los Angeles Zoo
  • Long Beach
  • Aquarium of the Pacific and their shark lagoon
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • Kidspace Children’s Museum for younger kids)

Things to Do in California With Kids

You can post on other things to do in California with kids with the links below.

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20 fun and interesting things to do in Los Angeles with kids. Tips on visiting Hollywood, Universal Studios, Santa Monica, Warner Bros Studios tour and much more. Plus get tips on where to stay in LA, hotels, how to save money on Los Angeles attractions, and how to get around LA.. See blog post now for all the LA travel tips for your family vacation. #LosAngeles #California #LA #familytravel #travelwithkids #vacation #familyvacation #latravel #losangelestravel
20 fun and interesting things to do in Los Angeles with kids. Tips on visiting Hollywood, Universal Studios, Santa Monica, Warner Bros Studios tour and much more. Plus get tips on where to stay in LA, hotels, how to save money on Los Angeles attractions, and how to get around LA.. See blog post now for all the LA travel tips for your family vacation. #LosAngeles #California #LA #familytravel #travelwithkids #vacation #familyvacation #latravel #losangelestravel

We hope this helped you with your Los Angeles family vacation plans. If you have any questions or tips on what to do in Los Angeles or Southern California with kids, please share in the comments below.

20 fun and interesting things to do in Los Angeles with kids. Tips on visiting Hollywood, Universal Studios, Santa Monica, Warner Bros Studios tour and much more. Plus get tips on where to stay in LA, hotels, how to save money on Los Angeles attractions, and how to get around LA.. See blog post now for all the LA travel tips for your family vacation. #LosAngeles #California #LA #familytravel #travelwithkids #vacation #familyvacation #latravel #losangelestravel Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest