El Segundo

The Ultimate Roundup of Free LA Holiday Events for Families

The Holidays have arrived, despite what the palm trees outside your window might be telling you. With a Santa in every mall, and a shopping list as long as your arm, it’s time to ring in the most magical time of year. But if you need a little help finding some cost-cutting events to share with the whole family, look no further. From boat parades to menorah lightings, there’s plenty of free fun to be had this Holiday season.

10 Ways To Take Photos with Santa Claus Like an Angeleno

Mall Santas have a special place in many of our hearts (and in most Southland shopping centers), and the holidays really aren't complete without a round of Miracle on 34th Street. Still, we're not raising little Manhattanites; we're raising Southern California babies, and that calls for an outside-the-box kind of Santa Claus photo. If you're in search of quantity, Santa can be found in every mall, at every Christmas tree lighting, and at any number of holiday shopping events. But for some real Angeleno quality, snap a photo with Santa at one of these fun, funky, and totally LA Father Christmas experiences.

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!

Where Kids Eat Free: 20 Restaurants that Treat Los Angeles Families Right

Ah, those three little words: kids eat free. Even if we suspect that a box of mac and cheese and a couple of chicken fingers have lured us into buying a $10 margarita, we don't regret the margarita for a moment if the kids ate free.

We’ve put together a list of restaurants throughout the Los Angeles area that offer free kids' meals at least one night a week (and up to four!). The restaurants vary from local joints to national chains, from the Valleys to the beaches, from Italian to Hawaiian, and from seafood to steakhouses—enough to satisfy picky and non-picky eaters.

Also check out our lists of birthday freebies with free meals for kids (and adults!), and, of course, kid-friendly happy hours on the Westside, in Silver Lake and Los Feliz, and in Orange County.

Mommy Freebies! Free Stuff for Los Angeles Moms on Mother's Day

Hopefully someone is making brunch reservations for you this Mother's Day—but what to do with the rest of the day? Well, there's nothing like feeling appreciated, and what says, "We appreciate you, Mom!" better than free admission (or a free meal, free champagne, or free joust)? Check out these places around town where the free carpet is rolled out just for mamas on Mother's Day.

Free, Kid Friendly Workouts for Mom or Dad at the Mall

The first time you throw your little ones in the backseat of the car and take them to the mall, it’s a magical, low-cost experience for all: Ice cream! Merry-go-round! Free air conditioning! A few hours later, you’ve got yourself a happy, tired family. The twentieth time? Not so much.

But don’t give up! Malls want you to come, and they’re willing to do you a favor or two to get you there. It may seem counterintuitive to head to the mall in search of free stuff, but, in the spirit of reeling us in, many malls offer kid-friendly, free workouts for moms. In other words, the mall is one of very few places where you can exercise without dropping a wad of cash on an expensive class and/or babysitter. I can’t promise that you won’t end up splurging on lunch or a new pair of skinny jeans (that’s the whole point of the free workout, isn’t it?), but the sweat sessions listed below are free to anyone with an iron will.

8 Small & Low-Cost Museums for LA Kids

Los Angeles is full of museums, including some well-known free ones—The Getty, The California Science Center, and LACMA (free through their NexGen kids program). These free museums are also all huge and often very crowded with summer camps, field trips, and members. Free museum days offer access to many other large museums, and MOTA Day is a free day for several in the Pasadena area. But if you are looking for something a bit smaller, less crowded, or just for something new-to-you, on a day you choose, you still have options. These eight museums, all located in Los Angeles County, are all either free or donation-based - meaning you can get a family of four in for twenty dollars or less. Some may only take an hour to visit, but you may want to spend the whole day at others.

5 Little Known Museums in and around Los Angeles

"Been there, done that," you're thinking, but not in a ho-hum kind of way. You dig LA's flagship museums (LACMA, The Natural History Museum, The Getty, to name a few), but sometimes you crave some off-the-beaten-path cultural destinations to add to your repertoire. We hear ya! So allow us to provide some inspiration. Ta da! Five lesser-known local gems we hope you'll get to know.

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