Westside

Eataly LA: A Taste of Italy without the Airfare

For those who pine for fresh pasta, Neopolitan pizzas, and every Italian delicacy that never pops up at Trader Joe's, there's good news. Eataly L.A., the latest outpost of what has been called the Disneyland for Italian food (and has become a New York institution), opened its first North American location west of Chicago last week in the newly redone Westfield Century City shopping center. Eataly now has 39 locations throughout Italy and around the world, and just five of those can be found in the US. Eataly L.A. has three floors (the third is an as-yet unopened restaurant) and offers a little bit of everything: a grocery store, sit-down restaurants, prepared food counters, cafes, and fresh food for home preparation. There's even a cooking school (La Scuola), and foodies who don't want to cook for themselves can watch fresh food being made as well as sample olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and pestos.

So what should kids try? Even picky eaters who hesitate to try Italy's more adventurous fare will be able to find some satisfying pizza and gelato to excite their palates, whether you want to eat in-house, grab a quick bite, or purchase food to make at home.

The Nutcracker: Holiday Performances of the Classic Ballet for LA & OC Kids this Christmas

Most of the year, most of us parents don't attempt to take our children to full-length ballet productions, but Christmas just doesn't feel like Christmas without one good Nutcracker. And if one good Nutcracker begins to make it feel a lot like Christmas, then LA, Orange, and Ventura counties are evidently hitting Uber-Christmas in the coming weeks with more than two dozen professional Nutcracker productions.

Incidentally, we've got answers to the two questions posed most often by LA parents in search of a Nutcracker Ballet for their families: Yes, there is a condensed version staged specifically for kids, offered by the Pacific Ballet down in Costa Mesa or Classical Ballet Theater in Palos Verdes; and yes, there are local productions performed with full orchestra - at the Long Beach Terrace Theater, the Broad Stage, the Dolby Theatre, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and the Anaheim Ballet. There is even the odd Nutcracker Tea or two—in case you were wondering.

10 Fun Things To Do with Preschoolers and Toddlers This Week

As the unstoppable force of the holiday season picks up pace, it's a good time to enjoy the expert ability of toddlers and preschoolers to be in the moment—and enjoy some free and affordable events together.  From indoor play spaces to outdoor playgrounds, from a day in the Science Center to a day out in DTLA, we know some exceptional things to do for not-quite-school-age kiddos and their parents this week and beyond. Many of the great exhibits that began this summer come to an end in the next month or two, including the Spider Pavilion which wraps up its webs this month, so catch them now before the crowds take away your moment of Zen.

Sand Sledding: Winter Fun on the Sand Berms at Venice Beach

The berms are back!

Rumor has it that in some parts of the country sledding involves getting cold and wet. How very... un-Californian. Oh, sure, there are places near LA to go sledding on snow if that's your thing, but we're raising California kids—and that means beach sledding. Every winter a few Los Angeles area beaches get their annual sand berms—intended as protection against winter storms and violent surf. Or so they say. The real purpose is clearly to lay the groundwork for the ultimate SoCal winter sport.

November GoList: Best Things To Do with LA and OC Kids This Month

When Halloween is over, that can only mean one thing: time for Santa. You get a couple of days to donate or cash in all of that Halloween candy before the advent calendars, candy canes, and Hanukkah gelt start arriving. Rip down the Halloween decorations, quick, because some of your neighbors are already prepping their amazing holiday light displays. Yes, November is the sandwich month, and we're not just talking turkey. Read on for our top November things to do in LA, Ventura, and OC. We'll keep adding to our calendar daily and sending our weekly newsletter in time for each weekend, too; with so much going on, we'll have to!

LA's Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks Pop up from Downtown to the Valleys to the Beach

One thing Angelenos love doing during the winter months is pretending that it’s winter, and the most fun way we do it is by turning parking lots and other open spaces into outdoor skating rinks for the holidays. Whether your family is trying skating for the first time, or you've got budding athletes looking for a change of scenery from indoor skating lessons, nothing says Southern California quite like the sight of kids and families in tank tops and mittens gliding merrily in the sunshine.

10 Free Things To Do Halloween Week, Beyond Trick-or-Treating

A week that brings not one but two holidays is full of options, and our favorite way to narrow those down is to focus on what's free. You don't need us to tell you that Halloween is this week, but you might appreciate knowing some free ways of celebrating beyond trick-or-treating. You probably also know that Day of the Dead (aka Día de los Muertos) is this week, but you might not know how many of those parties are free. Then again, maybe you'd just like to find some quiet fun that gives your weary wallet a break; we know a few free ways to do that this week, too. Check out our 10 free weekday picks below.

Things To Do Halloween Weekend with LA Kids: Oct 28 - 29

Our calendar, just like a treat bag, is overflowing this weekend. With tons of carnivals and festivals and parades and celebrations, LA is aquiver with the pumpkin-mania that is Halloween. Find the fun at parksparks, and parks; at zooszoos, and zoos; and at theme parkstheme parks, and theme parks... you get the picture. There's no way we can fit them all here, so this weekend more than ever I encourage you to check out our full listings.

As if our schedule weren't full enough, there's another major holiday nipping at Halloween's heels. Many Día de los Muertos events are this weekend, and there's no better place than LA to rejoice in the memory of our departed loved ones. There are even a few events with no holiday affiliation this weekend, though it's not hard to see the synergism between Halloween and, say, Stan Lee's Los Angeles Comic Con or the Spider Pavilion.

Whatever your plans, I advise you to conserve your strength: Tuesday is coming. (Don't worry, you'll get yours; it is a perfectly acceptable parenting technique to keep any trick-or-treat candy you deem bad for your kids' teeth.)

Keep reading for our trickiest treats for this weekend...

Safe, Organized, and Indoor Trick-or-Treat Options for LA Kids on Halloween Night

We may have grown up cruising the streets unchaperoned eating loosely wrapped candy on Halloween night, but we’d no sooner let our own children do that than bounce around the back of a station wagon without a car seat. And while some of us are fortunate enough to have friendly, festive neighborhoods to walk our Moanas and Elsas through, many parents prefer the safety and self-contained nature of a mall, museum, or other organized trick-or-treat event.

Keep an eye on our events calendar and Halloween Fun Guide for complete listings; some venues hold their Halloween celebrations before Saturday, to maximize the weekend. October 31, of course, is the night for ringing doorbells, but for those who prefer to collect their candy in a confined space, we have more than 20 local options below.

13 Free Día de los Muertos Celebrations around Los Angeles

Here in Los Angeles, the skeletons of Halloween dance straight into the calacas of Day of the Dead / Día de los Muertos. Traditional events featuring music, dancing, and ceremonial altars honoring loved ones spring up all over town. Whether the holiday is a familiar part of your culture or something you'd like to experience for the first time, free events welcome visitors of all ages with beautiful artwork and haunting imagery. Check out one of these dozen free events in LA and Orange County (including the haunting novenarios downtown).

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