Continuing with our Summer City Guide series, we’re heading out to California to cover 10 awesome things to do in Los Angeles with kids! With it’s amazing beaches, swaying palm trees and perfect weather- Los Angeles is a fantastic summer destination for families. It’s important to note that many of the thing people think of as quintessentially Los Angeles aren’t in downtown Los Angeles and instead, are spread out over neighboring cities. Being that many of the things people want to do are so spread out, renting a car is the best way to see Los Angeles. Here are our top 10 things to do in Los Angeles with kids this summer!
1. Stargaze at the Griffith Park Observatory
The Griffith Observatory sits high atop Griffith Park in Los Angeles and it’s a great place to visit for a lot of reasons! Most people make the drive up for the amazing views. You can see the Hollywood sign as well as most all of Los Angeles from up here! The city views are especially beautiful at night- plus you can use the giant telescopes to look up at the night sky. The Observatory itself is a fantastic little museum where you can learn all about the stars with lots of hands-on exhibits. Be sure to catch a show at the Planetarium too!
2. Visit the Santa Monica Pier
Despite it being just outside of Los Angeles proper, the Santa Monica Pier is a highlight for anyone visiting Los Angeles. When you see a California beach picture with a giant Ferris Wheel in the background- chances are that’s the Santa Monica Pier. The pier is home to the Heal the Bay Aquarium, a historic merry-go-round, a few beach themed shops, and the Pacific Park amusement park. Kids will love the roller coaster, Ferris wheel, various rides and arcade games!
3. Drive the PCH to Malibu
While this is another activity that will take you outside of Los Angeles proper, there’s nothing more quintessentially Los Angeles than driving along the ocean on the Pacific Coast Highway! Start down in Santa Monica and drive all the way up to Malibu for a beach day! Malibu has some of LA’s best beaches so not only is the drive amazing, but you’ll have your choice of gorgeous places to plant your beach towel!
4. Spend a Day at Universal Studios Hollywood
Many people plan their trip to LA around a visit to Universal Studios Hollywood. The rides and entertainment are top notch, with the Universal Studios Tour and Wizarding World of Harry Potter being hugely popular. If you don’t want to pay to spend a whole day in the park, you can visit the Universal City Walk for an evening where you’ll find lots of dining, shopping an entertainment options!
5. Explore the California Science Center
There are a lot of fantastic exhibits at the California Science Center, but the real highlight here is the Endeavor Space Shuttle. Kids will love getting to see the shuttle up close and the Endeavor Together: Parts & People exhibition highlights the Endeavor, the space shuttle program, and the people in the program who made it possible. This summer the science center is also home to The Art of the Brick exhibit, which is the world’s largest display of Lego art!
6. Go Back in Time at the La Brea Tar Pits
Located in the La Brea neighborhood of Los Angeles, the La Brea Tar Pits are 38,000 years old and the only actively excavated Ice Age fossil site found in an urban location anywhere in the world. Natural asphalt has seeped up through the ground here for tens of thousands of years, trapping plants and animals. The tar preserved many of the bones and dozens of mammals, birds and other animals have been excavated from the pits and put on display in the museum. Tickets are $15 for adults (plus an extra $6 if you want to see the 3D movie on Ice Age Titans!) and allow access to the museum and the tar pits on the grounds!
7. Window Shop Rodeo Drive
Most people can’t afford to actually shop on Rodeo Drive, one of the most exclusive luxury shopping destinations in the US, but it sure is fun to window shop! The people watching is great too- and if anyone is into luxury cars, you’ll see plenty here!
8. Explore the Third Street Promenade
The Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica is jam packed with shopping and dining, including lots of beachy-vibe boutiques and California themed shops. You’ll find all sorts of restaurants here, so it’s a great place to hang out for an evening if everyone wants something different for dinner!
9. See a Concert at the Hollywood Bowl
From pop concerts to classical music and movies in concert and musical sing-a-longs, there’s always something going on at the famed Hollywood Bowl! Check out their summer schedule to see if you can see a show at this popular LA concert venue while you’re on town!
10. Visit the Los Angeles Zoo
The Los Angeles Zoo is home to more than 58 endangered species, and over 270 species total. The zoo’s mission is to protect and preserve wildlife and wild spaces for future generations and kids will love seeing the well designed animal exhibits. The Elephants of Asia is a popular exhibit aimed at educating visitors on the various challenges Asian elephants face in their natural habitat and the zoo has also done extensive conservation work to aid in the recovery of the California Condor. While many skip the LA Zoo in favor of the more popular San Diego Zoo about two hours south, the LA Zoo definitely deserves it’s own visit!
Which of these awesome things to do in Los Angeles with kids tops your list? Let us know in the comments!
Also be sure to check out the other destinations in our Summer City Guide series:
- Summer City Guides: 10 Things to to in Chicago with Kids
- Summer City Guides: 10 Things to to in New York City with Kids
- Summer City Guides: 10 Things to to in Atlanta with Kids