Ventura

4th of July Fireworks Cruises and Boat Rides for Families in LA and OC

We landlubbers love our fireworks, don't we? Well, if you think the view from the shore is stunning, try witnessing the pyrotechnics spectacle from a boat. That's a holiday memory your kiddos won't soon forget. Several small cruise boats and ships set sail this Independence Day, with 2-3 hour tours to delight you and your first mates. Snuggle on deck under a blanket and watch the sky come alive as the water sparkles below. Read on to find a boat leaving a port near you.

27 Festivals and Fairs: Must-Do Fun for Summer in LA and Orange County

What's summer without a good festival? And what's LA without at least 25 of them? We've pulled together more than 25 of the best summer festivals in Los Angeles and Orange County, from June through September. Whether it's celebrating community or something more specific—like salsa or lobster!—fairs and festivals are an essential part of a Southern California summer. Here's our guide to help your family make summer plans to bond over fried food, carnival rides, art, boats, and lots of outdoor music

Free in March: 25 Things To Do that Won't Cost a Thing

Spring may not have sprung quite yet, but it promises to at any moment. So get ready, because when the temps start to spike, there's loads of free fun to be had. Whether you’re looking for a lucky Leprechaun, or some Seussical silliness, Los Angeles has got it going on. With migrating whales and incoming swallows, you aren’t going to have any trouble keeping the family busy all month long; and if you want to do it all without spending a cent, we've got your back with the 25 free outings below!

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.

LA's Christmas Boat Parades: Newport Beach, the Marina, and 9 More

Unlike certain other parts of the country that shall remain nameless (no need to go rubbing it in the noses of cities like, say, Boston), LA is all about outdoor activities at Christmastime - and nothing says "This is why I moved to Southern California" quite like a Christmas boat parade. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, boat owners gussy up their crafts and parade them up and down waterways for applauding spectators, who line the harbors and marinas from Dana Point to Ventura. Driving around looking at holiday lights is great; letting them float by you is even better...

Kid-friendly St. Patrick's Day Celebrations: Parades, Parties, and Leprechauns in LA

Here comes Saint Patrick's Day; time to brush up the Irish brogue for the one time per year (unless you're really Irish) that you use it. The holiday falls on a Saturday this year, which makes for a weekend of celebrating with paradesfestivals, and corned beef. So top o' the marnin' to ye; Erin Go Bragh; that shade of green looks bonny on you, and let's go find that pot o' gold!

Weekday Picks: Ice Skating, Circus, Cirque, and a Parade, Nov. 7-11

If the cold never bothered you or your kids anyway, you are in luck: ice skating rinks are starting to pop up ahead of the holiday season.

ICE at Santa Monica holds its official grand opening this week; Olympian Randy Gardner choreographs a performance by elite skaters and is available to meet and greet after the show. The Holiday Ice Rink at Pershing Square in Downtown Los Angeles also opens with an "ice breaker" celebration. Skaters glide in the shadow of skyscrapers at the area's largest outdoor rink.

After all that exercise, you can take in a couple of eye-catching performances. Circus Vargas finishes its run of iLUMINOUS at Santa Clarita, and Cirque du Soleil brings its Avatar-inspired TORUK – The First Flight to Staples Center.

Friday is Veterans Day—you can treat the kids with a parade on their day off school—and of course Tuesday is Election Day. Please make time in your day to vote, with or without kids in tow!

Weekday Picks: Horses, Puppets, Stars, and Holiday Festivals, Sept. 26-Sept. 30

As September comes to a close, horse jumping comes to Long Beach, and holiday festivals come to Costa Mesa and Ventura.

The Longines Masters makes its one stop in the US as part of the Grand Slam Indoor of Show Jumping in Long Beach beginning Thursday. Organizers say it's the first prominent event in the international equestrian scene to take place in the Los Angeles area since the 1984 Summer Olympics. Beyond the competitions, the event includes a Kids Corner with educational and fun activities, to draw in a new generation to the world of show jumping.

For those wanting to get a jump on their fall and winter holiday shopping, the Sugar Plum Arts & Craft Festival at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa and the Harvest Festival Original Art & Craft Show in Ventura both open their doors at the end of the week. Kids are likely to appreciate the crafting demonstrations, including woodworking and glass blowing. Meanwhile, smaller local events include a Puppet Musical: Jack and the Beanstalk in Marina del Rey and Garvey Nights, a night of astronomy and star-gazing in Monterey Park.

For more ideas, visit the Mommy Poppins Event Calendar, as well as our picks for the month in our September GoList. Our favorite outings this week follow...

Christmas at the Missions: Holiday History for LA and SoCal Kids

California is home to several historical and architectural gifts, in the form of the Spanish Missions of California. Built in a period ranging from the mid 1700s through the mid 1800s, the Missions are a part of local history we can claim as our own and share with our children. Though the Missions host events throughout the year, Christmas offerings at these historic sites are sure to take your family's SoCal holiday activities to the next level; as nice as your neighborhood's holiday lights and nativity scenes are, it's tough to beat a 200 year-old setting.

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