20 Fun Things to Do with Kids in Los Angeles

Family-friendly activities for babies, toddlers, tweens and up

TOP Things To Do With Kids In Los Angeles
SoCal Museums

So you want to explore Los Angeles but you’ve got one or more kids in tow, which—let’s be honest—limits your options quite a bit (no happy hours or romantic hotels for you, womp). But don’t despair because we’ve got you covered. The activities on this list are like a Pixar movie—made for kids but thoroughly enjoyable for adults as well. Whether you’re looking for learning experiences at a museum, outdoor activities in the nearly perfect weather, or a sweet treat for the entire fam, these fun things to do with kids in Los Angeles will keep the whole brood happy.

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Take a Ride on a Train at Travel Town and Griffith Park Southern Railroad Kids Los Angeles
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1. Take a Ride on a Train at Travel Town and Griffith Park & Southern Railroad

All aboard the historic Southern Railroad! Go back in time as your kids ride through forests, over a bridge, and past the historic Old Western Town on this mile-long ride. There are five different operating trains that run on this track, which is sure to excite any fans of Thomas the Tank Engine. On the other side of Griffith Park is Travel Town anchored by the Travel Museum, where kids can explore dozens of antique locomotives and cars. There is also a miniature train that runs twice around the perimeter of the museum.

Get Great Views at Griffith Observatory
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2. Get Great Views at Griffith Observatory

A trip to L.A. is not complete without a visit to the iconic Griffith Observatory. If you have slightly older kids, or a baby carrier and some muscle power, you can hike up to the Observatory on the two-mile West Observatory Trail. If you have younger kids in tow, drive directly up and park at the front. Once there, take in the gorgeous views of Hollywood and beyond, look through the many free telescopes, or see a live show at the Samuel Oschin Planetarium (additional fees apply). Note: The Observatory is closed on Mondays.

Hang with an Orangutan at the L.A. Zoo
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3. Hang with an Orangutan at the L.A. Zoo

Located at the northeast corner of Griffith Park, roaming around the L.A. Zoo is a great way to spend your day. Kids will be in awe of the many animals they’ve likely never heard of (like the addax, babirusa and binturong) and be excited to see some more familiar friends like elephants, snakes and frogs. The Campo Gorilla Reserve is also a must-see while there.

Ride the Ferris Wheel at Santa Monica Pier Kids Los Angeles 1
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4. Ride the Ferris Wheel at Santa Monica Pier

The Santa Monica Pier is a National Historic Landmark and has been around since 1909. Experience the salty ocean air and wholesome feels as you play carnival games with your kids, take them to Pacific Park for a ride on the Pacific Wheel (rides range from $5 to $12 per person), and indulge in larger-than-their-head cotton candy. 

Play Away at Cayton’s Children Museum
SoCal Museums

5. Play Away at Cayton’s Children Museum

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Santa Monica Place shopping center is this children’s museum that is all about play. The 21,000-square foot space has tons of discovery-based exhibits and immersive experiences. The youngest of visitors will be captivated by the many mobiles and flying shapes in Skyscape while toddlers will get their energy out while jumping in the ball pit at To The Rescue! where the balls are made from recycled Coast Guard rescue boats. (Note: The museum is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.)

Explore Film & TV History on The Warner Bros. Studio Tour
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6. Explore Film & TV History on The Warner Bros. Studio Tour

Explore the Warner Bros. studio lot where tons of classic film and television shows get made. Learn the secrets of Hollywood production, step onto the sets of some of your favorite shows (you’ll explain to your kids the significance of the orange couch), and maybe even spot a celebrity at work on this hour-long guided tour. There are even interactive exhibits like Harry Potter and Fantastic Beast, and DC SuperHeroes and Super Villians, where you can see set pieces from those famous films.

7. Swing Golf Balls at Angry Birds at Top Golf

El Segundo’s Top Golf has made the sport of golf accessible to those of all ages and skill levels. In your own private bay (which we recommend reserving in advance) you’ll get setup with the help of a Bayhost, who will show you how to choose from the many games available. While looking at a big screen, kids can take aim at giant outfield targets, which correlate to the animated games on the screen (Angry Birds is a firm favorite). All that exertion swinging will likely work up an appetite—fortunately, food and drinks (adult beverages for the parents) are readily available and can be delivered right to your bay.

Ignite Curiosity at the Discovery Cube LA
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8. Ignite Curiosity at the Discovery Cube LA

  • Neighborhood: Sylmar 
  • Price: $16 to $18 per person (children under 2 are free) 
  • Where to Stay: LA Cottage (from $125/night, sleeps 4); Best 2 Bedroom (from $175/night, sleeps 5); Luxury Little Italy (from $289/night, sleeps 8) 

Science is made cool at this museum which boasts tons of hands-on exhibits and interactive experiences for children of all ages, like a “helicopter” tour where kids can hop into a helicopter-shaped theater and watching aerial footage of L.A (cool, right?). From tornado exhibits to The Science of Hockey—where kids can see the nutrition science that fuels the L.A. Kings—there’s a wide-range of science-based programming to keep little minds engaged. 

Give a Big Applause at a Live Show Taping
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9. Give a Big Applause at a Live Show Taping

  • Neighborhood: varies 
  • Price: free 

L.A. is the mecca of TV and there are tons of shows that tape in front of a live studio audience. Visit On Camera Audiences to search their available shows—current ones include American Idol, American Ninja Warrior and The Masked Singer. Grab a pair of tickets and get ready to see how these shows work behind the scenes. Your kids will be thrilled to tell their friends at home that they were (maybe) on TV!

Explore the Ice Age at La Brea Tar Pits & Museum
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10. Explore the Ice Age at La Brea Tar Pits & Museum

For little fans of the Ice Age franchise, visiting the La Brea Tar Pits will surely pique their interest. This is the only active excavation site in any large city, and kids can watch as paleontologists actually carve out fossils from the asphalt. Inside the museum (known as the George C. Page Museum) kids can see replicas of saber-toothed cats, mammoths, dire wolves, and mastodons, as well as many of the excavated fossils. Psst: Don’t be surprised if you notice a funky smell—that’s the hydrogen sulfide from the still active bubbling pits.

Meet the Minions at Universal Studios Hollywood and Sip Milkshakes at CityWalk
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11. Meet the Minions at Universal Studios Hollywood and Sip Milkshakes at CityWalk

There is so much happening at Universal Studios for kids (and adults) of all ages, and you never know what characters they might meet. There are tons of immersive rides like the newest one on the scene, Mario Kart: Bowser’s Challenge. Similarly, kids can enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Springfield USA (home of The Simpsons), and go on an adventure with The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash. You can also spend ample time at Universal CityWalk, the bustling shopping and dining mall adjacent to the theme park. If you’re looking to win the best mom of the year award, brace yourself for sugar crazies, and get your kids one of Jacques' Specialty Milkshakes from The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen.

Splash and Play at Mother’s Beach Kids Los Angeles
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12. Splash and Play at Mother’s Beach

There are tons of beaches in L.A, but “Mother’s” is great for well, mothers, and young children, because it’s actually a lagoon with water that is protected from the motion of the open ocean. Calm, flat water allows kids to frolic and moms to avoid being helicopter parents. There are also sheltered picnic tables for family lunches, easy access to restrooms for peace of mind, and a beach playground for when your little one needs a break from the water.

13. California Science Center

For those young, curious minds, there are lots of exhibits to explore at the California Science Center and most of them are free, including the famous space shuttle Endeavour (on display until December 31, 2023). Going from the sky to the sea, there’s the underwater kelp forest tunnel which is also a must-visit for little explorers. And don’t miss the IMAX theater if you want to sit for a bit and enjoy a 3D movie (tickets cost $7 to $10 per person).

14. See a Play at The Pantages

Young theatergoers will delight in the top-notch productions and overall excitement that can be felt while watching a Broadway show at The Pantages. This historic theater constantly has Broadway hits grace its stage— it’s currently running Les Misérables until September 10th, suitable for kids 10 years old and up, and then comes Aladdin from September 12 to 23, where kids as young as 6 years old will be sure to enjoy the show.

Go Into the Cockpit at the Museum of Flying
Museum of Flying

15. Go Into the Cockpit at the Museum of Flying

If you’ve got a kiddo who’s into airplanes, they’ll love this small, laid-back museum at the north side of the Santa Monica Airport. Kids can see airplanes that are way different than the ones they took to see Nana last year—here you’ll find several vintage aircraft including many fighter ones from WWII. There are real-sized cockpits kids can go into as well as model aircrafts on display. Note: The museum is only open Thursday through Sunday.

Bike Along the Venice Beach Path

16. Bike Along the Venice Beach Path

There’s always something that will catch your kid’s eye on the Venice Boardwalk but we recommend hopping on a bike and continuing on the path south, past the bustle and through to calmer towns like Marina Del Rey, Playa Del Rey and Manhattan Beach. At Venice Bike Rental you can get great quality bike cruisers for both adults and children. Got a real little one with you? For an additional fee you can rent a child seat or a child wagon to attach to your bike.

Shop Away and Play at The Grove
The Grove LA

17. Shop Away and Play at The Grove

This iconic shopping destination in the Fairfax District of L.A. has things to do for the whole family. The outdoor mall features several high-end designer shops, but what keeps the kids entertained are things like The Kids Club, which happens every Thursday on the center green and includes performances by bands, storytellers, puppeteers and more (going on now through October). There’s also a trolley that runs throughout The Grove and connects to The Original Farmer’s Market, where you can grab a quick treat for the kids and get them those souvenirs you promised.

18. Play Mini Golf or Hit the Arcarde at Sherman Oaks Castle Park

For a wholesome family outing (the place reminds us of somewhere you’d see in an ‘80s rom-com), head to Castle Park. The mini golf course is pretty adorable as you make your way over bridges, hitting balls through windmills, barns and more. Within the castle is the arcade, where you can challenge your kids to a game of air hockey, show them your ski-ball skills, or let them run wild trying to win prizes. If you’ve got a little slugger on your hands, head to the batting cages to hit some balls.

Eat Some Epic Cake and Bake Your Own at The Milk Bar Melrose Flagship
Milk Bar

19. Eat Some Epic Cake and Bake Your Own at The Milk Bar Melrose Flagship

Little foodies will delight in famed pastry chef Christina Tosi’s flagship store of The Milk Bar (originally from NYC). The Cake Truffles, Cereal Milk Soft Serve and a slice of their vanilla funfetti Birthday Cake are worth a visit alone but for a more interactive experience, try one of the kid-friendly baking classes. Book through reservation site Resy and make one of their famed layer cakes or an XL cookie pie alongside your kids (and don’t worry that this may be a bit too advanced—some of the courses, like the Birthday Cake one, are assembly only).

Ride a Horse to the Hollywood Sign
Sunset Ranch

20. Ride a Horse to the Hollywood Sign

For a picture-perfect experience, head to Sunset Ranch in the Hollywood Hills for three different horseback ride experiences that all include sweeping views of Los Angeles as well as the famed Hollywood sign. No skills necessary—the staff there will take good care to get you and your kids onto their well-behaved horses. Take the one-hour Mulholland Trail tour, or the two-hour Mt. Hollywood one, which is offered both day and night. Just know that the minimum age is 8 years old, so leave the toddlers behind.

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