Westside

Cooking Out: Barbecue Grills and Pits in Parks around Los Angeles

Nothing says “summer” like barbecue. Many of our local parks are standing by with grills and pits to satisfy that craving for charred food. And the beauty of life in Southern California is that "summer" can be practically any time of year; the 15 parks below have year-round, mostly free barbecue facilities, ready for birthday parties, holiday celebrations, spontaneous picnics, or family dinners al fresco.

Kids Bowl Free: Truly Free and Cheap Bowling for Kids All Over LA

My son went to a bowling party recently that sparked an obsession with the game. Ever the supportive parent, I soon found myself at bowling outings all around town on behalf of his newfound interest. And I realized something: bowling is a really great sport for kids. The ingrained turn-taking structure, team camaraderie, and relaxed competitiveness offer kiddos a dose of sportsmanship at a fun pace. Accommodations like gutter bumpers and starting ramps guarantee success for even the youngest bowlers. Seriously, bowling is like the unsung hero of children's athletics. And it must have been this idea that fueled the creation of Kids Bowl Free, a fantastic nationwide program designed to give youth a constructive way to beat the heat. Read on to find out how your kids can bowl free every day this summer.

Kids Kayak the Marina for Free All Summer with Kayaks 4 Kidz

They say there's no such thing as a free lunch, but what about a free kayak lesson? I've wondered for years about that free kayaking class for kids in the Marina, which we shout out on our list of 50 Free Things for Kids To Do in LA this Summer. It seems so unlikely—like there must be some catch. Does someone actually offer kids a chance to spend a couple of hours kayaking the Marina for free on alternate Sundays all summer long? Has this program really existed for 15 years, teaching hundreds of kids to kayak, without most Angelenos even noticing it's there?

Free Admission for Active Duty Military Families with Blue Star Museums

Free museum admission is not just for kids in the summer months. More than 2000 museums across the country have joined the Blue Star initiative, offering free admission to active military personnel and their families* all summer long, from Memorial Day (Monday May 29 through Labor Day (Monday September 4). Spread the word; if you don't have active military in your own family, let your friends know that from the Automobile Driving Museum to the Santa Monica Aquarium and a whole slew in between, the men and women who protect all of our families can treat their families this summer.

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

We landlubbers love our fireworks, don't we? Whether we're in a back yard lawn chair, or pushing the kids up a ladder to the roof, or being wowed by a sky full of flare and color at the local pier, we don't want to miss this very American 4th of July custom. Well, if you think the view from the shore is stunning, try witnessing the spectacle from a boat. That's a holiday memory your kiddos won't soon forget! Several small cruise boats 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.

Free Summer Concerts and Outdoor Concert Series in LA and OC

Check back often; we continue adding concerts throughout the season!

If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Or better yet, get out of the house. Summer in the Southland means outdoor concerts galore (and many are free!) at a host of local parks, museums, and public spaces from the coast to the hills to the Valleys. Go on, get out. Throw down a blanket, spread out the snacks, uncork the wine, and watch the kids boogie under the evening stars as you sway to some cool and breezy melodies. Below are some of our favorite free concert series that return every year; check our daily calendar to find dozens more!

Fireworks! 45 Different 4th of July Displays in Los Angeles & Orange County

Who's ready for some rockets' red glare? LA and Orange County's many communities compete for sky space on July 4th, launching fireworks willy-nilly at the stroke of 9pm. From the mountains, to the valleys, to the ocean, Angelenos have plenty of directions to look on Independence Day. Whether your plan is to book a fireworks cruise, to lay a blanket in a park, or to close all the windows and try not to wake the baby, it helps to know where those firecrackers are being aimed. Below is a list of locations lighting up the night sky on the 4th of July (plus one on June 24). We'll keep adding more right up to the day!

50 FREE Things Kids Can Do in LA this Summer

Summer's great, isn't it? So much time, so much to do. All the things that can't be squeezed into the cursedly short time between school, homework, and dinner can be enjoyed at leisure, without stress of school night bedtimes. Summer means not a care in the world—except how to pay for all this frivolity, right? 'Cause we sure aren't getting a whole lot of work done! The answer? Summer freebies. Become an expert on how long your kids can get in free to Southland activities. Hit all the free museum days. And then start working your way down this list of totally free things to do with LA kids over the summer!

Freebies & Free Stuff for Dad on Father's Day in Los Angeles

There are lots of ways to celebrate Father's Day. You can do a special-occasion meal among sharks, presidents, or the night market masses. You can brunch among vintage airplanes. We've got Father's Day adventures to recommend for every kind of dad. But most of these ideas require parting with a little of that Tooth Fairy cash. Wouldn't Dad prefer something more, well, FREE? Sure he would! Dad loves a freebie as much as the next guy. So check out these free offers just for dads, and just on Father's Day.

15 Parent and Me Swim Classes To Keep LA & OC Babies and Toddlers Afloat

I wasn't born in water like some babies are, but I certainly could have lived in it when I was young. It's no wonder, because kids dig water, and the younger we start them in it, the earlier they build the skills needed to swim confidently and safely. Mommy and Me – or Daddy and Me – classes are a fun and bonding introduction to a lifelong love of swimming. And lucky for us and our tots, there are classes galore all around the Southland. We know some Great Private Swim Classes for LA Kids, but the classes below are all about taking the plunge alongside your wee one. Dive into our extensive list of area Mommy or Daddy and Me classes.

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