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Guide to Los Angeles for Families

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There's nothing like LA for a family trip. From cooling your heels in the hotel pool to grabbing dino-shaped chicken nuggets at the Rainforest Cafe to visiting the illustrious House of Mouse, there's really no end to kid-friendly activities - whatever age your children are. And come on, let's admit it, parents: You're going to have a great time too. Maybe even a better time than the kids (but shh, don't tell them that.)

Good for
  • Family
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Foodie
  • Beach Goer
  • Trendsetter

10 Places

3 City Tips

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Map

10 Places

Universal Studios Hollywood

Theme Parks

Disneyland Park

Disney Parks & Activities, Theme Parks

Knott's Berry Farm

Theme Parks

Marina Beach

Beaches

Medieval Times Buena Park

Dinner Theatres

Kidspace Children's Museum

Children's Museums

Aquarium of the Pacific

Aquariums

The Original Philippe

Restaurants

Catalina Island

Destinations

Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens

Gardens, Zoos

Madison S's City Tips

  • For a family, a rental car might be the best way to get around LA, depending on size and stroller count of your group.
  • Buy a TAP card if you intend to use the Metro.
  • In LA, tips for taxi drivers, bartenders, concierges, bellboys, and delivery men are commonly a couple of bucks. It is considered discourteous to ignore this tipping culture.
  • Universal Studios Hollywood
    Theme Parks
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Universal Studios Hollywood is one part theme park, one part film studio. It's also one of the oldest such lots still in use. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the movie studios and film-making process with a guided tour, and play on the many rides and water-themed attractions. When it's time to eat, head out to the Universal CityWalk Hollywood, where the iconic Hard Rock Cafe and myriad other eateries await.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Family
    Tips
    • Skip the line by visiting the online Universal Studios Ticket Guide to buy your tickets in advance.
    • Many attractions have a water element to them, so wear fast-drying clothes and take swimsuits and towels if you plan to visit Super Silly Funland with your kids.
    • Universal offers a 'rain check' - if there is more than 1/8th of an inch of rain before 2:00pm, head to Guest Relations and receive a free entry voucher good for the next 30 days.
    • The park is accessible by the Metro Red line at Universal City Station, as well as by various bus routes.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 553 things to do in Los Angeles
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Awesome 16/11/2018
    • Expensive but good time 16/11/2018
    • Universal Studios Hollywood
    Address:
    100 Universal City Plaza
    Los Angeles, CA 91608-1002
    Phone:
    +1 800-864-8377
    Other:
  • Disneyland Park
    Disney Parks & Activities, Theme Parks
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    The Happiest Place on Earth is a playground for young and old alike, resplendent with shops, entertainment, shows, characters, and rides. From friendly staff and delicious food to nostalgic movie recreations and exciting rides, Disneyland really goes the full mile towards making everyone's visit magic and memorable.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Family
    • Trendsetter
    Tips
    • If you want a picture-perfect day, grab a free Disney Photo Pass, which lets you review and order the photos taken by Disney photographers after your trip.
    • California Adventure, right next door, has bigger rides, newer interactive games, and smaller crowds. Grab a Park Hopper ticket to check out both amusement parks.
    • Rather than wait two hours to secure a spot to see the Fantasmic! show, grab dinner at River Belle Terrace and sit near Rivers of America. You'll have a good view, and a real seat!
    • Main Street opens before the park does - you can grab photos and autographs from Disney characters early, so you're not on a manhunt during park hours.
    • Beside the Cone Shop on Main Street, Disney has a charge station where you can rent a socket to charge phones and cameras - handy!
    • The parking lot is HUGE, so write down or take a photo of where you've parked. It might sound silly, but it'll avoid a nightmare later when you're too tired to tell up from down.
    • To minimize on lines, grab a free FASTPASS at the busiest rides early in the day, and use the Disney mobile app to check line wait times around the park.
    • Downtown Disney, nearby, is free and offers plenty of places to eat and shop. It's a great place for dinner, a stroll, or for adults to take a break.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 127 things to do in Anaheim
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Halloween 2018 16/11/2018
    • Disappointment ! Not suited for adults 16/11/2018
    • Disneyland Park
    Address:
    1313 Disneyland Dr
    Anaheim, CA 92803
    Phone:
    +1 714-781-4565
    Hours:
    Mon
    09:00 - 22:00
    Tue
    09:00 - 23:00
    Wed - Thu
    10:00 - 20:00
    Fri - Sun
    09:00 - 00:00
    Other:
  • Knott's Berry Farm
    Theme Parks
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Knott's Berry Farm may be America's first theme park, but it has the diversity of four or five different amusement parks melded into one. Thrill rides, old school locomotives, easy-going children's attractions, a splash park, and a full boardwalk make Knott's a great place for families - catering to everyone's interests (and center of gravity) at a fraction of the price of other locations.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Family
    Tips
    • Late September-October 31st, the park becomes 'Knott's Scary Farm' for Halloween, with added shows and mazes. Purchase tickets in advance, as it's hugely popular. (Wed.-Sat. only.)
    • Drinks are especially expensive on-site, but any drink stand will be happy to give you ice water for free upon request, to prevent dehydration.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 16 things to do in Buena Park
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • great little park 16/11/2018
    • Always having a great time🎡😊🎢 15/11/2018
    • Knott's Berry Farm
    Address:
    8039 Beach Blvd
    Buena Park, CA 90620-3225
    Phone:
    +1 714-220-5200
    Other:
  • Marina Beach
    Beaches
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Marina Beach is perfect for families, especially those with little swimmers - the beach is artificial and protected by a harbor basin, meaning there are no waves and the water is quite mild. There's space for BBQs and picnics, as well as a children's park to make for a pleasant day.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • A beach wheelchair, built for use over sand, is available for free - simply ask an on duty lifeguard for assistance in obtaining one to keep yours sand-free.
    • On Thursdays, there is a morning Farmer's Market with flowers, crafts, and produce on tap. In the evening, "Beach Eats" food trucks gather, and you can select from a range of fare.
    • In the summer, a Marina del Rey WaterBus goes directly to the beachfront - it sure beats finding parking.
    • A lifeguard is generally on duty.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 12 things to do in Marina del Rey
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Sort of a private beach for smaller crowds... But it won't steal your breath away 11/11/2018
    • Nice clean small beach 15/10/2018
    • Marina Beach
    Address:
    4101 Admiralty Way
    Marina del Rey, CA 90292
  • Medieval Times Buena Park
    Dinner Theatres
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Go back in time for a joust and a show, where you can eat with your hands (just like you've always wanted!) and catch roses from handsome and brave knights as they protect their King. Assigned one of six knights upon entry, you and your family sit down to dinner and a live show of horsemanship and sword-fighting. Cheer your knight on to victory, while slamming back some 'Dragon Soup!' And don't forget to explore the castle itself - visit the dungeons and even get knighted (for a little extra charge).

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Family
    Tips
    • Having a birthday, or there for an anniversary? Call ahead to have your special day remembered by the King's Herald, live during the show.
    • If you're vegetarian, just let your server know - there is no additional charge for a vegetarian meal, though your server may forget to mention that it is an option.
    • Go early. The castle opens 90 minutes before showtime, which gives you plenty of time to grab a drink, interact with characters, or visit the horses and 'torture chamber' museum.
    • When they call your color for seating, try to get to the front of the crowd. You will be assigned a row, but not a seat - middle of the row has some of the best views.
    • If your tot is tiny, request a booster seat. They have them on hand for little lords and ladies.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 16 things to do in Buena Park
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Marvelous Entertainment 15/11/2018
    • So much fun 14/11/2018
    • Medieval Times Buena Park
    Address:
    7662 Beach Blvd
    Buena Park, CA 90620-1838
    Phone:
    +1 888-935-6878
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 23:00
    Other:
  • Kidspace Children's Museum
    Children's Museums
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    With hands-on exhibits and spaces for children as young as toddlers, the Kidspace Children's Museum provides kids with an opportunity to have endless fun examining bugs, sharpening motor skills, climbing webs like a spider, or spending time in the Imagination Workshop. The space is completely designed to combine education with a good time, and it encourages children to explore science and nature.

    Good for
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • The museum is closed during UCLA game days - check the website to avoid disappointment.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #10 of 52 things to do in Pasadena
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great place to take kids but really crowded during free time on Tuesdays 12/08/2018
    • It's always packed on "free day" 25/06/2018
    • Kidspace Children's Museum
    Address:
    480 N Arroyo Blvd
    Brookside Park
    Pasadena, CA 91103-3269
    Phone:
    +1 626-449-9144
    Hours:
    Tue - Fri
    09:30 - 17:00
    Sat - Sun
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Aquarium of the Pacific
    Aquariums
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    With numerous petting pools and more than 500 different species of under-water life, the Aquarium of the Pacific will impress any aquatic lover. Its biggest tank holds 350,000 gallons of water, and its massive exhibits paint a portrait of the Pacific Ocean both far and wide. It even has an outdoor area, Explorer's Cove, where you can find the Shark Lagoon and Lorikeet Forest aviary.

    Good for
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Try to plan your visit for after 2:00pm on weekdays, to avoid field trip crowds from local schools.
    • Given the opportunities to touch the sea creatures, please save using hand sanitizer and moisturizers until after you've said hello - healthier for both you and the sting rays!
    • If you're planning a trip to the LA Zoo sometime during your stay, buy a combo ticket and save 15% on the price of both locations.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 54 things to do in Long Beach
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Disappointing experience! 15/11/2018
    • Worth a visit! 12/11/2018
    • Aquarium of the Pacific
    Address:
    100 Aquarium Way
    Long Beach, CA 90802-8126
    Phone:
    +1 562-590-3100
    Price range:
    US$30 - US$30
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 18:00
    Other:
  • The Original Philippe
    Restaurants (American, Soups, Deli)
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Opened in 1908 (though originally in a different location, LA's historic 'Frenchtown'), Philippe's is renowned for having invented the French-Dipped Sandwich. The eatery is simply furnished with family-style tables, and it serves old-style filling food that keeps locals coming back and visitors filling in the gaps.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Try to avoid going during lunch hours - lines can sometimes be out the door.
    • It's worth trying some of the menu's famed foods: purple pickled eggs, pig's feet, and of course, the french dip!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #25 of 7 262 restaurants in Los Angeles
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • We loved this place not only because of the food 17/11/2018
    • This is a must go! 09/11/2018
    • The Original Philippe
    Address:
    1001 N Alameda St
    Los Angeles, CA 90012-1803
    Phone:
    +1 213-617-3781
    Price range:
    US$0 - US$20
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    06:00 - 22:00
    Other:
  • Catalina Island
    Destinations
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Catalina Island makes a great day trip from LA - complete with gourmet dining on the beach, lovely waterscapes where you can hang out in the sun and sand (or swim with the dolphins), luxury shopping, and even skyline adventures (zip lining or sky diving - take your pick!). So whether you want a day out hiking or a day poolside relaxing, Catalina has it all covered.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Like a Local
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The Catalina Express is the fastest and most reliable ferry service to and from the island, but it does sometimes get very rocky - beware if you get sea sick, and plan accordingly.
    • For something off the beaten trail, try out the Zip Line Eco Tour. You'll be able to take in Descanso Canyon from 300 feet above sea level, at 40 MPH!
    • Since the town itself is very small in size, taking a walking tour right off the boat will get you acquainted with the array of activities available. There are loads!
    • Take the ferry at Long Beach, San Pedro or Dana Point to reach the island.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    • Catalina Island
  • Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens
    Gardens, Zoos
    See more photos
    Madison S Says:

    Built on 133 acres, the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens play host to over 800 species of plants and numerous exotic animals and amphibians. Its Gorilla reserve and Elephant habitat are especially eye-catching, and the zoo puts on a number of shows and activities for children daily. The staff genuinely cares about the animals in their care, and the zoo is a constant work in progress as it improves facilities and helps endangered species, like the condor and mountain tapir.

    Good for
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • If walking gets to be too much, there is a paid-for zoo tour shuttle that will take you around the park.
    • Zoo food is expensive, so planning a picnic in the nearby Griffith park for before or after your visit isn't a bad idea.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #77 of 553 things to do in Los Angeles
    • Zoo is not a BOO..... 24/10/2018
    • Boo At The Zoo Experience 20/10/2018
    • Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens
    Address:
    5333 Zoo Dr
    Los Angeles, CA 90027-1451
    Phone:
    +1 323-644-4200
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
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