100 Things To Do in LA with Kids Before They Grow Up

A bucket list for Los Angeles parents - things to do with LA kids

Kids. We can't stop them from growing up so fast, but we can try not to miss any of the best, most memorable things to do in their home town. Mommy Poppins LA treats you to our top 100 nifty, thrifty, and most heart-warming family bonding activities in LA. Being phenomenal Southern California parents, you've certainly already done several of these; but of the 100 not-to-be-missed, family-fun things to do we came up with around Los Angeles (in no particular order), there are likely a few you haven't yet scheduled. Why not start this weekend?

If you're in the mood for a more local itinerary, check out one of our neighborhood bucket lists. And finally a tip: Check our list of ages that kids get in free at SoCal attractions as you make your plan!

  1. Go to any of the events around the Rose Parade
  2. Go to the Pasadena Doo Dah Parade
  3. Have brunch and hit the beach at Paradise Cove
  4. Sled the Venice sand berms
  5. Star-gaze at Griffith Observatory
  6. Pick your own veggies at Underwood Farms
  7. Tour the STAR Eco Station
  8. See an IMAX movie at the California Science Center
  9. Visit Kidspace Children’s Museum
  10. See a play at Topanga's Theatricum Botanicum
  11. Finagle a guest pass to kids brunch at the Magic Castle
  12. See a big Disney movie at El Capitan
  13. Ride the Santa Monica Pier Ferris wheel at sunset
  14. Ride the Orange County Great Park helium balloon
  15. Go to a Native American event at the Autry National Center
  16. Camp in Malibu Creek State Park
  17. Do an LA Conservancy Family Walking Tour
  18. Go rollerblading along Venice Beach
  19. Head south to swim with the belugas or dolphins at SeaWorld
  20. Go to a Medieval Times dinner tournament
  21. See EquestFest over winter break
  22. Play at Noah’s Ark at the Skirball
  23. Build a campfire and cook dinner at Dockweiller Beach
  24. Do a Sunset Ranch Hollywood sign trail ride
  25. Ride a Fillmore & Western train
  26. Take a whale watching trip
  27. Skydive on Universal Citywalk at iFly Hollywood
  28. Try the Muscle Beach Travelling Rings
  29. Ride the trains at LA Live Steamers in Griffith Park
  30. Go on a Faery Hunt
  31. Browse the Rose Bowl Flea Market
  32. Hike to the Bat Cave at Griffith Park
  33. Celebrate a traditional Mexican festival at Olvera Street  
  34. Register with to be extras in a movie
  35. Watch a taping of a live kids’ show
  36. Take a surfing lesson
  37. Rent (or bring) a bike to ride the beach bike path
  38. Ice skate in short sleeves at one of the seasonal outdoor ice rinks
  39. See a show at Bob Baker Marionette Theater
  40. Go for a walk through the Venice Canals
  41. Take a day out of school to go to Disneyland when it's not busy
  42. See the buffalo on Catalina Island
  43. Check out Watts Towers
  44. Visit the Flower Mart downtown
  45. See the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano
  46. Spend a summer evening at the Pageant of the Masters
  47. See one of the Christmas Boat Parades
  48. Go watch some old TV shows at the Paley Center
  49. Ski or sled at a local ski resort, then have dinner by the beach
  50. Go to a Presidential Library - Reagan or Nixon
  51. Buy a season pass to one of the big parks (Disneyland, Universal, Knotts) so that you can drop in any time, even if only for a couple of rides
  52. Ride the high-wire bicycle at the California Science Center
  53. Watch a horse show at the LA Equestrian Center
  54. Wander The Huntington Gardens
  55. Attend a hand print or a star laying ceremony on Hollywood Blvd.
  56. Go to an open rehearsal at the Hollywood Bowl
  57. Join LACMA Nexgen, and go to a Family Sunday
  58. Attend an event at the Central Library (story hour, author event, etc..)
  59. Do a sleepover at either the Tar Pits or Natural History Museum
  60. Go to the Chinese New Year Parade in Chinatown
  61. Do a beach clean-up
  62. Wander the Camellia Festival at either Descanso or Huntington Gardens
  63. Take part in a Dia de los Muertos Festival at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
  64. Drop in on Los Encinos Living History Day
  65. Explore the Natural History Museum's seasonal Butterfly Pavilion
  66. Explore the Natural History Museum's seasonal Spider Pavilion
  67. Visit the Moorpark Teaching Zoo
  68. Do a Kids Run the Bases day at Dodger Stadium
  69. Go to a Family Festival at the Getty Center
  70. Tour (or stay at) the Queen Mary
  71. Spend a day at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire
  72. Go to the Los Angeles County Fair
  73. Attend the Hollywood Christmas Parade
  74. Wander the LA Times Festival of Books
  75. Ride the Marina del Rey Water Bus to a waterside concert
  76. Bake cookies, bring them to your local fire station, and get a tour of the station and engines
  77. Take a Beverly Hills Trolley Tour
  78. Attend a Saturday Scene family show at the Geffen Playhouse
  79. Go sea kayaking
  80. Have dinner at the Santa Monica Food Trucks, with a table (and grown-up drinks) at The Victorian
  81. Experience the famous Festival of Lights at Riverside's Mission Inn
  82. Celebrate Mardi Gras at the Farmers Market
  83. Get in the Halloween spirit at Knotts Scary Farm
  84. Sign up for a free Apple Camp at the Apple Store
  85. See the Space Shuttle Endeavour at the Samuel Oschin Pavilion
  86. Take a trapeze lesson
  87. Volunteer to work on a Rose Parade float and/or view the floats up close after the parade
  88. Check out the Heritage Square Museum
  89. Catch a Sunday shark feeding at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
  90. Enjoy a Sunday morning concert at McCabe’s and try out all the guitars afterward
  91. Experience a Toyota Symphony for Youth at Disney Concert Hall
  92. Create a recycled masterpiece at ReDiscover
  93. Take a Warner Brothers Studio Tour
  94. See the Avila Adobe – LA’s oldest house
  95. Go for Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues
  96. Catch some live music at Amoeba Records and show kids what records are
  97. Attend the annual Jet Propulsion Laboratory Open House
  98. Catch the Tall Ships Festival
  99. Rent a family bicycle surrey at Lake Balboa
  100. Go on a Grunion Run

And, in honor of everyone's favorite freeway (the 101), we can't resist adding one more:

   101. Dress up & belt out the songs at the Hollywood Bowl Sound of Music Sing-Along

Looking for something more local? We have neighborhood suggestions, too - like 25 things to do without leaving AnaheimBurbankHollywoodSanta MonicaDowntown LA, Los FelizPasadena, Studio CityRedondo BeachLaguna BeachMarina del ReyWestchesterThousand Oaks, or Culver City!


Originally published January 6, 2012