Mid-Wilshire

18 Restaurants Open on Christmas Day in Los Angeles and Orange Country

The tree is trimmed, the presents wrapped, and the cookies baked and boxed. Hmm. Now, what to make for Christmas dinner. Our suggestion? Reservations. That’s right. Many Southland restaurants are open and happy to serve you on Christmas Day. You’ve already done so much to get ready for the holidays—instead of holing up in the kitchen, pile your family and out-of-town guests into the car and give yourself the gift of dining out. That way you all get to enjoy the day!

Zimmer Children's Museum Gets a New Name and a New Home in the New Year

The Zimmer Children's Museum, the hugely popular Miracle Mile hub for the preschool set, is making a break for the beach, picking up more space and a new name along the way. Soon to be known as the Cayton Children's Museum, it will create a whole new reason to go to Santa Monica Place, that mall with the ocean view at the end of the Third Street Promenade—giving families one more reason to spend a day in the seaside suburb

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Boo at the Zoo, Coast Open Streets, and Mark in the Park

It's beginning to look a lot like pumpkins, everywhere I go. And so it begins! The Harvest. The Corn Mazes. The Hatchimals  (not sure what that has to do with the season, but just go with it). We are on a crazed, giddy run to the end of the month.

But don't get spooked! Yes, there are scary things afoot. Yes, you can choose the dark and shadowy path. But you can also choose to welcome the season with laughs (and science!). You can fear the night or you can get in on the fun. Halloween is what you make it, and LA makes it easy to choose family-friendly. Or not.

Public service announcement for purists who wait to celebrate Halloween until, well, Halloween. There's still lots to do! This weekend sees festivals Greek and Korean, Manhattan Beachian and Encinoish. You can buy a ticket to the 20s, catch a plane, train, or (very small) automobileThis land is both your land and my land, and Children's Book World is 32. (Um, me too. More or less.) The streets of Santa Monica are open wide, and you can make your mark in Grand Park. So go out there and scare up some fun.

Keep reading for our favorite treats for this weekend, no trick!

Free Admission Days at 20+ Museums in Los Angeles and Orange County

Love museums, but the prices make you think twice? If you have a large family, those tickets add up fast—which is particularly frustrating if you then need to beat a hasty retreat to avoid a meltdown. SoCal has some great museums that have free general admission every day of the year, including The Getty, California Science Center, and The Broad. As for the rest of them (once kids are old enough to have to pay), many LA and OC museums have monthly or even weekly free days or evenings, and we have collected a list for easy reference. Go ahead, bring the extended family, meet friends, or check out a place you have never been before—all for just the price of parking or Metro tickets. And if there's a meltdown? At least it's free. 

Indie Toy Stores: LA's Best Spots To Shop for Toys

Toys. Kids love ‘em; parents wish they would put them away. But in this the age of electronics, we can all agree that a good old-fashioned manipulative beats a device with a screen any day. With even big toy store chains like FAO Schwartz and Toys 'R' Us closing shop, it's time for us to rally and support the local toy stores we love if we want them to be here next year—particularly the ones where you find an unusual gift just when you need it.

Spring Break Camps: 14 Kinds of Vacation Fun for LA Kids

Spring Break around Los Angeles is a moving feast; some districts have one week, and some have two. Some take vacation in March, and some in April. Add to the mix the complications of Easter, Passover, and parent work schedules, and Spring Break camp can be a tough knot to untie. Whether your family needs two weeks full time or a day here and there, we've chosen a few of our favorites that run the gamut. From the Valley to the sea, surfing to soccer, we think you'll find something worthy of a few days away from school among the camps below.

And if you're so on the ball that spring is already covered and you've moved on to summer, check out some of our favorite art, cooking, horse, and classic outdoorsy camps in our Summer and Vacation Camp Guide!

What's Purim and Why All these Carnivals and Festivals?

Not too sure what Purim is? Imagine something between Hebrew Halloween and Middle Eastern Mardi Gras, and you'll more or less have it. Jewish families know Purim as a time of uncharacteristically raucous rabbinical revelry, marked by costumes, noisemakers, interactive storytelling, triangular pastries, and enough drink (for the grown-ups) to muddy the lines between good and evil. Gentile families generally don't know it at all. But Purim is worth knowing. Its story has all the best elements: a party-hearty king, a beautiful and courageous queen, a resourceful good guy, and a bad guy so hateful that everyone drowns out his name with noisemakers at carnivals all over town. Check out one of the events below for classic Purim carnival activities, costume parades, and boisterous retellings of the Purim story.

And if you know of a celebration we've missed, please let us know!

Sidewalk Speedsters: The Grown-up World of Children’s Cars at the Petersen Automotive Museum

Miracle Mile is home to a variety of cultural excursions for the whole family, from storytime at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to the Page Museum and more. But there’s no place like the Petersen Automotive Museum for pint-sized car lovers—and the museum's latest, kid-friendly exhibit is more than enough fun to grab the interest of any visitor, car enthusiast or not.

The Cronut Arrives in LA—and Your Kids Are Gonna Want One

It’s no coincidence that a French pastry chef came up with what has become an enduring pastry trend. In 2013, Dominique Ansel created the cronut, a pastry that puts a twist on the American donut by combining a donut and croissant in a pastry filled with a slow-cooked jam and creamy ganache. The creation took New York by storm—and has finally hit the LA food scene.

A Wand Goes Out in LA: Whimsic Alley To Close Soon

We're sorry to hear that Whimsic Alley, the we're-not-supposed-to-say-Harry-Potter style fan store and party space on the Miracle Mile, is closing later this month. That means no more birthday parties, costume balls, and High Teas set in the faux Hogwarts Great Hall, no more SciFi fan weekends, and no more summers spent at "The Camp that Lived." After several years of having this underground Potter fix at our fingertips, Los Angeles is to become a one-Hogwarts town, with Universal's Wizarding World as the only quidditch game in town.

There is, at least, one silver lining.

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