100 Things To Do in Los Angeles Before Kids Grow Up

Visit LACMA's Levitated Mass. Photo by Joey Zanetti
Visit LACMA's Levitated Mass. Photo by Joey Zanetti
7/16/23 - By Roberta B

Check out these iconic things to do in Los Angeles with kids—including attractions, events, activities, museums, and more—that every native Angeleno really must experience!

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 hometown. Los Angeles is the best city in the country for raising kids, and that means there are so many things to do before little chickens spring the coop. 

Being phenomenal LA parents, you've certainly already done several of these; but which of these 100 not-to-be-missed, family-fun outings have you not yet done? There's always this weekend!


Exploring Los Angeles’ Neighborhoods

If you're in the mood for a more local itinerary, check out one of our neighborhood bucket lists. From Santa Monica to Pasadena and Sherman Oaks to Long Beach, we’ve got ideas for exploring every nook and neighborhood in this city. 

Money Saving Tips For Exploring LA

Keep an eye on our list of ages that kids get in free at SoCal attractions as you make your plans. You’ll find this and more free ideas and activities in our Guide To Free Things To Do in LA With Kids.

If you have plans to visit a bunch of these Los Angeles spots in a short period of time (we’re looking at you visitors to LA, Angelenos with visiting relatives you’ll be squiring around town, and even locals who want to explore the city during summer vacation!), it’s worth it to look into a Go City - Los Angeles card which includes entry to Universal Studios, Warner Bros., the San Diego Zoo, the LA Zoo, and so much more. 

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Top Things To Do In Los Angeles for Visitors

While our list was written with kids growing up in LA in mind, it’s also a great list for families visiting Los Angeles, since it’s packed with iconic things to do in LA with kids. Here are more helpful roundups for anyone visiting Los Angeles:

Best Things To Do In LA with Kids By Age

And Now...

100 Top Things To Do in Los Angeles With Kids

1. Rose Parade — Pasadena

Get up early and watch these flowered floats parade about in person. Not a morning person? Another option is Floatfest, a Pasadena tradition where kids can see the floats up close and parked following the parade. 

2. Santa Monica Pier — Santa Monica

Pacific Park is always a crowd pleaser, with classic carnival food, the classic seaside coaster, and the iconic Santa Monica Ferris Wheel. 

3. Griffith Observatory Star Party — Griffith Park

Be sure to see a show at the Leonard Nimoy Planetarium and then stay for an evening event where you can look through the telescopes. Visiting the Griffith Observatory in itself is a must-do for any Angeleno. 

RELATED: Griffith Observatory: 10 Reasons to Visit Real Stars in LA

100 Things To Do in Los Angeles Before Kids Grow Up: Ride in the sky at the Science Center
Ride in the sky at the California Science Center​. Photo by Roberta Brown

4. California Science Center — Exposition Park

Ride the high-wire bicycle, see an IMAX movie, and check out the Space Shuttle Endeavor.

5. Underwood Family Farms— Moorpark

Save this one for the fall! Underwood Family Farms has the best pumpkin patch around. It's worth returning for other seasonal favorites like Christmas on the Farm and the Springtime Easter Festival

6. Los Angeles Zoo — Griffith Park

Admire the giraffes, the elephants, ride the carousel, and let the kids run wild in the play area. Don't forget to say hi to Reggie, the alligator.  

7. Aquarium of the Pacific — Long Beach

Get up and close with sea creatures that roam the ocean floors with an impressive underwater tank tunnel, touch tanks, and even the rare sight of puffins.  

8. Kidspace Children’s Museum — Pasadena

With indoor and outdoor exhibits, water features, special events, and festivals for kids year-round, this is one of the best children's museums in Los Angeles.

9. Six Flags Magic Mountain — Santa Clarita

 Enjoy a thrilling family adventure in Santa Clarita, from the magical carousel to heart-pumping roller coasters. There's an attraction for kids of all ages. 

RELATED: SoCal Theme and Water Parks Guide

100 Things To Do in Los Angeles Before Kids Grow Up: Warner Brothers Studio Tour
Ride a broomstick through Hogwarts. Photo courtesy of Warner Brothers Studio Tour

10. Warner Brothers Studio Tour — Burbank

This is a real deal, theme-park-free studio tour. Perfect for fans of Harry Potter and Friends

11. Magic Castle — Hollywood

Finagle a guest pass to kids' brunch. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who can get you passes!

12. El Capitan Theatre — Hollywood

Sit in the balcony and sing along with the addicting Disney songs played on the Wurlitzer organ before a Disney movie in this beautiful Disney-owned theater on Hollywood Boulevard

13. Sherman Oaks Castle Park — Sherman Oaks

Three mini-golf courses, an arcade, and batting cages make up this beloved Sherman Oaks locale. It's one of the best mini-golf spots in Los Angeles

14. The Autry Museum — Griffith Park

Learn about the history of the Wild West and its first inhabitants. Don't let younger cowboys and cowgirls miss out on the family play space

15. LA Restaurants — Various LA Locations

Make stops in Koreatown, Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Little Armenia, Artesia (for Indian food), and more. LA has some of the most delicious, authentic, and diverse cuisine in the world. Speaking of which, eat some street tacos; this is LA! Don't forget to try Smorgasborg, a weekly gathering of the best bites in the city. 

16. LA Conservancy Family Walking Tour — Various LA Locations

We know LA is a city of cars, but you really learn the streets by walking them on these docent-led tours.

17. The Strand — Various LA Locations

More popularly known as "The Strand", the Marvin Braude Bike Trail spans 22 miles along the beach from Pacific Palisades to Torrance. Rollerblade, bike, or simply stroll the scenic beach path.  

18. Broad Museum — DTLA

From the building itself to the playful artwork, it’s a great introduction to contemporary art for kids. Don’t miss Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Room, which is a huge kid-pleaser. 

RELATED: Free Museum Days for Kids in Los Angeles 

100 Things To Do in Los Angeles Before Kids Grow Up: Medieval Times

Visit a Medieval Times dinner tournament with your young royalty. Photo by Meghan Rose

19. Medieval Times — Buena Park

Root for your knight champion and eat with your hands!

20. Petersen Museum — Miracle Mile

Speed over to this auto museum, whose exterior facade is just as eye-catching as the classic and rare cars inside. 

21. Noah’s Ark at the Skirball — Brentwood 

Search for the rainbow, care for "baby animals", and send creatures into Noah's Ark two by two at this wildly creative and interactive children's exhibit. 

22. Dockweiler Beach — Playa Del Rey

It's one of the only spots in LA where a fire on the beach is allowed, so bring some s'mores fixings, and a guitar for a dreamy night under the stars. 

23. Cayton Children’s Museum — Santa Monica

An animal hospital, Courage Climber, and padded space for babies two and under are just some of the highlights of this Santa Monica children's museum. 

24. Whale watching — Various LA Locations

LA is right along the migratory path of roughly 20,000 Pacific gray whales!

25. Sunset Ranch — Hollywood 

Head through the Hollywood hills on horseback. Or, hike up for a close-up view. It's touristy, but it's one of the most iconic sites in the world. 

RELATED: Hollywood with Kids: Things To Do in Hollywood

100 Things To Do in Los Angeles Before Kids Grow Up: Walk of Fame on Hollywood Blvd
Checking out Emma Watson's handprints.  Photo by Jeff Christiansen/CC BY 2.0

26. Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremonies — Hollywood 

Everyone has to show up in person at their ceremony so kids can see their favorite celebrities. 

27. Crypto.com Arena — DTLA

With the Lakers, Sparks, Clippers, and Kings all in one place, Crypto.com is a beacon of sports history right in the center of the city. Make sure to stop by LA Live afterward for a bite to eat, and admire the sports legend statues outside the arena. 

28. Dolby Theatre — Hollywood

The night before the Oscars, news outlets from around the world are setting up their shots outside the Dolby Theatre. Visit Hollywood Boulevard and check out what happens behind the scenes.

29. Griffith Park train rides — Griffith Park

These darling little locomotives chug through Griffith Park, and even have a Holiday Light Festival Train. And while you're here, visit Travel Town!

30. Rose Bowl Flea Market — Pasadena

It takes place on the second Sunday of each month, and is filled with treasures galore. 

31. Paradise Cove — Malibu

This private beach in Malibu is worth the hefty parking fee (which is cut drastically if you order food, like the giant chocolate cake!).

RELATED: Best Outdoor Dining in Los Angeles at Family-Friendly Restaurants

100 Things To Do in Los Angeles Before Kids Grow Up: Bat Cave in Griffith Park

Visit the Bat Cave! Photo by Meghan Rose

32. Bronson Canyon — Griffith Park

It's known as the "bat cave," and you can almost hear the BIF! BAM! POW! as you approach the entrance.

33. Olvera Street — DTLA

Stroll down this famous pedestrian Mexican market, eat taquitos and churros, and celebrate a traditional Mexican festival. Our favorites include Blessing of the Animals, Cinco de Mayo, Fiestas Patrias, Dia de los Muertos, and Las Posadas.

34. Moonlight Rollerway — Glendale

Glide into retro skate nights at this iconic skating rink from the 1950s. 

35. Take a hike — Various LA Locations

With perfect weather year-round, you've got your pick of hikes on the coast or in the mountains. Choose waterfall hikes, wildlife hikes, and stroller-friendly hikes

36. Surfing lesson — Various LA Locations

It's one swell of a time. In fact, parents who didn't grow up in SoCal should do this alongside their kids!

37. Museum of Flying — Santa Monica

Plane-obsessed kiddos will want to ascend to this often-overlooked museum to admire impressive aircraft.  

38. Outdoor ice rinks — Various LA Locations

Where else can you ice skate in short sleeves? 

39. Bob Baker Marionette Theater — Highland Park

See a puppet show at the oldest children's theater company in Los Angeles. 

40. Venice Canals — Venice Beach

Pretend you jet-set to Venice, Italy, as you stroll the scenic canals in the middle of Venice Beach

41. Catalina Island — Catalina Island

The island itself is chock full of seaside adventures, but a bison expedition is a must-do. The herd was left here by a movie crew in the 1920s and has flourished ever since!

42. Disneyland — Anaheim

Whether a special occasion like a birthday or just a random day, you'll have to deal with the crowds and take the kiddos to "The Most Magical Place on Earth." 

RELATED: Things To Do with Los Angeles Babies Before They Turn 1

100 Things To Do in Los Angeles Before Kids Grow Up: Faery Hunt
The woods are alive with faeries at the Faery Hunt. Photo by Christi Anna

43. Faery Hunt — Various LA Locations 

These funny fairies (and gnomes!) visit parks all over the city. 

44. Watts Towers — Watts

Explore these towering sculptures and help your kiddo get the perfect photo for Instagram or TikTok. 

45. Will Rogers State Historic Park — Pacific Palisades

Will Rogers was a cowboy, actor, humorist, and more. You can tour his home, hike, and catch a polo match (for free) at the Will Rogers State Park.

46. San Juan Capistrano Swallows — San Juan Capistrano

Mark your calendars, this takes place every year, around mid-March. 

47. Legoland — Carlsbad

From crowd-pleasing rides for all ages, multiple playgrounds, build-your-own LEGO sites, carnival games, and movie theaters, LEGO fans will find themselves creatively entertained all day at this Carlsbad amusement park. 

48. Christmas Boat Parades — Various LA Locations 

We may not get snow on Christmas, but we can deck the decks.

49. Walt Disney's Barn — Griffith Park

Walt Disney's Barn is chock full of history about the "man behind the mouse" and is open to the public on the third Sunday of each month. 

50. Mountains and beach on the same day — Various Locations 

The fable of skiing in the snow and enjoying the beach on the same day if you live in LA is true. Ski, sled, or snowshoe at a local ski resort, then have dinner by the beach. 

51. Universal Studios Hollywood — Universal City

Immerse yourself in movie magic by way of thrills and perhaps the most popular movie studio tour in LA. 

RELATED: Adventure City: A Theme Park for Little Kids in the Heart of Anaheim

100 Things to Do in LA: LACMA Lamps

Hanging out at the LACMA lamps. Photo by Mommy Poppins

52. LACMA — Miracle Mile

Drop by LACMA and join LACMA Nexgen. Take photos at the lampposts, spend hours watching Metropolis II, and get a picture with the giant Levitated Mass. 

53. Shadowland Foundation — Lake Hughes

Meet the wolves of California—you can pet and feed wolves from your hand (or mouth!). The Shadowland Foundation only books private tours. 

54. The Huntington Gardens — San Marino

See the Blue Boy, get wet in the Children's Garden, and try to time your visit so you can get a whiff of the stinky (and rare) corpse flower. 

55. Hollywood Bowl — Hollywood

Enjoy a free rehearsal at the Hollywood Bowl. When the LA Philharmonic is playing at night, they rehearse in the morning, and anyone can attend for a free preview performance. 

56. Chinese New Year Parade — Chinatown

It's the culmination of the Chinese New Year Festival, which is the perfect time to explore historic Chinatown and get some dim sum.

57. Naples Island — Long Beach

Go for a gondola ride, kayak, and feel the festive spirit when the houses get dressed up for the December holidays. 

58. Bookstores — Various LA Locations

Enjoy free children's storytimes and musical performances, and shop for LA-specific board books at some of our favorite local bookstores like The Last Bookstore, Village Well, Children's Book World, and Vroman's

59. La Brea Tar Pits — Miracle Mile

There's just as much fun discovery outside as there is inside at this historic Ice Age excavation site. 

RELATED: Best Children's Museums in Los Angeles and Orange County

best 100 things to do in Los Angeles: sand sledding the Venice sand berms
Sand sledding is an LA rite of passage. Photo via Bigstock

60. Venice sand berms — Venice Beach

We might not have snow, but going sledding down the seasonal Venice sand berms is an LA rite of passage. 

61. Martial Arts History Museum — Burbank

Action movie fans will appreciate this pop culture phenomenon of a museum. 

62. Hollywood Forever Cemetery — Hollywood

Seeing an outdoor movie under the stars amongst the final resting place of Hollywood movie stars is one of those must things to do in Los Angeles. 

63. The Gentle Barn — Santa Clarita

It's all about kindness and compassion here. Once-a-week tours let children have gentle and unforgettable animal encounters. 

64. Natural History Museum — Exposition Park

Explore the Natural History Museum's seasonal insect pavilions like the Butterfly Pavilion or Spider Pavilion

65. Angel's Flight — DTLA

This funicular is called "The World's Shortest Railway" and is across the street from Grand Central Market

66. Grammy Museum — DTLA

The museum has exhibits, interactive touchscreens, videos, recording booths, and music artifacts, including costumes, instruments, hand-written lyrics, records, and more.

67. Dodger Stadium — Elysian Park

Do a Kids Run the Bases Day. Or Star Wars Day. Or go for a Fireworks Friday. Plus, there's always a Dodger Stadium tour. Basically, sport your Dodger blue and see the Dodgers!

68. The Getty Center — Brentwood

Go to a family festival (and ride the monorail up the hill), hunt for clues with an art detective card, and catch a concert in the gardens at the Getty Center.

69. Renaissance Pleasure Faire — Irwindale

Where else can you see a joust, wear chain mail armor, dip candles, and eat ye olde faire food?

70. Los Angeles County Fair — Pomona

Fried food and the Ferris wheel await. 

71. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium — San Pedro

An Immersive tidepool habitat and small aquarium make a splash at this seaside experience. 

72. Joshua Tree National Park — Joshua Tree

The otherworldly beauty is best to visit in the cooler months, and you can even plan your adventure on a fee-free day

RELATED: United States National Parks Family Travel Guide 

100 best things to do in Los Angeles: LA Times Festival of Books

Thumb through the LA Times Festival of Books. Photo by Meghan Rose

73. LA Times Festival of Books — Exposition Park

Be sure to check the Children's Stage, where you can see favorite authors and celebrities.

74. Lake Arrowhead — Lake Arrowhead

Our closest big mountains are Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear Lake, and no matter the season, these mountain resort towns are gorgeous.

75. Local fire stations — Various LA Locations

Bake cookies and bring them to your local firefighter heroes. They love to give local kids a tour of the station and engines.

76. Beverly Hills — Beverly Hills

Sure, there's Rodeo Drive. But there's also the Beverly Hills Library, which has an impressive outdoor year-round storytime, Edelweiss Chocolates, and the Beverly Hills Trolley. If you hop on the trolley during the holidays, Mrs. Claus often hops aboard. 

77. Channel Islands National Park — Ventura

Sea kayaking and hiking are the things to do at this often-overlooked national park. There's a good chance you might spot a whale or dolphin on the vessel to the islands, too. 

78. Apple picking — Oak Glen

You'll have to head to spots like Willbrook or Stone Soup for the actual apple picking, but the mini cider donuts at Snow-Line Orchard should also be on your fall itinerary. 

RELATED: Find Fall Foliage near Los Angeles: Pretty Drives To See Fall Leaves

100 best things to do in Los Angeles: Lake Balboa
Ride around Lake Balboa. Photo courtesy of Wheel Fun Rentals

79. Lake Balboa — San Fernando Valley

Rent a family bicycle surrey and pedal around the lake or directly on it in a swan boat. In cooler months, this is one of the best parks in LA to have a birthday party!

80. Irvine Park Railroad — Orange

Climb aboard this family-favorite train fit for all the holidays, like Pumpkin Patch and the Christmas Train

81. Playgrounds — Various LA Locations

There are just too many to list, but with nearly perfect weather all year, kids could go to a playground every day, all over LA. 

82. Knott's Berry Farm — Buena Park

Known for its addictive seasonal festivals like the Boysenberry Festival, PEANUTS celebration, Spooky Farm, and Merry Farm, there's something for everyone at this beloved theme park. 

83. Pretend City — Irvine

Exactly as it sounds, this little pretend city is perfect for younger kiddos to start exploring before they take on their bigger city of Los Angeles by storm. 

84. Original Farmers Market — Fairfax 

With food stalls and sweet shops galore, it's a taste of LA's diverse dining scene. 

85. Swan boats — Echo Park

Say, "swan boat," and a mental image of Echo Park Lake will automatically materialize. Pedal around a swan rental at this favorite eastside locale.  

86. Westfield Century City — Century City

There's just no mall like this one with the swankiest family bathrooms we've ever seen to the fun experiences for kids (and adults, for that matter) like the LEGO and American Girl stores. 

87. Heritage Square Museum — Montecito Heights

See what life was like for 19th century Angelenos, or come during Octover when the museum gets a spooky makeover. 

88. Annenberg Beach House — Santa Monica

A pool, playground, splash pad, and annual events like the Cardboard Yacht Regatta, make this a worthy westside (and public) destination. 

RELATED: Best Swimming Pools in Los Angeles: From Public Pools to Hotels with Day Passes

100 best things to do in Los Angeles: Antelope Poppy Reserve
Fields of golden Poppies at Antelope Poppy Reserve. Photo courtesy of Gina Ragland

89. Antelope Poppy Reserve — Lancaster

Soak in fields of gold and orange via wildflower hikes, and admire our state flower in full bloom. 

90. Walt Disney Concert Hall — DTLA

Experience a Symphonies for Youth concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall. These short concerts are a wonderful introduction to classical music—and a great reason to step inside an architectural marvel. 

91. Adventure Playground — Huntington Beach

Mudslides, forts to climb, and a small pond to paddle a raft—there are just no places like it. 

92. Two Bit Circus — DTLA

Virtual reality experiences, escape rooms, reimagined carnival games, and an arcade make this a tech-forward amusement park of sorts. 

93. Academy Museum of Motion Pictures — Miracle Mile

Growing up in Los Angeles means that entertainment will be outside your door. See the best of the best under one stunning glass dome roof—and do go up on the roof.

94. Beach camping (or glamping) — Various LA Locations

With over 800 miles of beachfront and inviting sandy shores, our state has some of the best beach camping in the world.

95. Jet Propulsion Laboratory Open House — Pasadena

Attend the annual space exploration event and see things that are out of this world. 

96. STAR Eco Station — Culver City

Smack in the middle of Culver City there lies an environmental museum and exotic wildlife rescue facility that's home to over 200 exotic animals. 

97. Discovery Cube — Sylmar & Santa Ana

Immersive science-based exhibits provide hours of informative entertainment. 

98. Malibu Creek State Park — Calabasas

Hike to the MASH film site to see relics from the television show in the middle of the park. Adventure awaits. 

99. Cerritos Library — Cerritos

It's not a surprise that this was named one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. With a fish tank, dinosaur, space shuttle, and a delightful children's section, it's essentially a mini museum. 

100. The Beach — Various LA Locations

Living in LA means we sometimes take it for granted, but days at the beach are a must for any kids growing up in Southern California. 

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

101. Hollywood Bowl Sound of Music Sing-Along — Hollywood

Dress up and belt out popular melodies from this beloved musical. Because high on a hill was a lonely goatherd: "Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo!"

Top photo shot at LACMA's Levitated Mass by Joey Zanetti/CC BY 2.0

Post originally published January 6, 2012, updated regularly since

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