Westside

15 Best Indoor Birthday Party Ideas for LA Kids

There is a special kind of stress—both emotional and financial—that planning a birthday party can cause if you have kids born between the months of November and March. Oh sure, everyone struggles with the great birthday party question, but those moms who gave birth in LA in August are pretty safe claiming a corner of a public park or throwing down some blankets on the beach. If you have a December baby, you may have tried that, but at some point probably cried "Never again!" LA might not have a proper winter, but it has a proper Indoor Birthday Party season, if only for the sanity of the parents. Allow us to share some of our favorite options for entertaining the masses without stressing about the weather.

The Paley Center for Media: A Fun Trip Down TV & Radio's Memory Lane

Does having kids bring back memories of TV shows, cartoons, and jingles from your own childhood? Wouldn't it be cool if there were a place where you could watch them? Enter The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. Whether you're making peace with some weekend screen time, or you've simply exhausted the other great LA museum and library options, this place is worth checking out. With an archive of more than 160,000 radio and television programs, this small but mighty museum offers a fun (and free!) way to connect with the family over TV past and present. 

10 LA Libraries with Great Play Spaces You Have To Try

The Southland's rainy season may be short lived, but even if we're thrust into blazing heat again next week, either way having fun, free, indoor options for the kiddos is a must. You probably already know some local storytimes at LA libraries. Maybe you've checked out a few of our drive-worthy special libraries or any number of the awesome free perks your library card offers. But do you know the libraries where you can get a great book and engage your little one in some good old-fashioned indoor fun? You're in luck; here are our picks for LA's 10 best libraries with play spaces where you can do just that. 

10 Traditional Outdoor Summer Camps for LA Kids

Los Angeles is blessed with a whole bunch of summer camps (just check our camp guide and directory). Parents with kids who are driven to spend their summers focusing on their music, their art, their particular sport, science, or even cooking have all the options they could wish.

But sometimes summer needs to be about good old-fashioned swing-on-a-rope, splash-in-a-pool type fun. Sometimes what our kids really need is to spend a couple of weeks in the fresh air doing things that won't necessarily fill a college application, but sure will fill a memory book. For those types of summers, we offer 10 great summer day camps in the Los Angeles area that are all about playing outdoors.

Free in February: 24 Things To Do that Don't Cost a Thing

Yes, it's the month with Valentine's Day smack in the middle, but that doesn't mean every day has to be strictly focused on hearts and flowers (unless you and your little ones want it to be). In a month full of eclectic holidays, it isn't hard to find some free fun for the whole family. From Chinese New Year to Black History Month, President’s Day to Groundhog Day and Mardi Gras, LA is hopping in February, and joining in doesn't have to cost a thing. So put down the box of chocolates (momentarily) and enjoy all that the city has to offer.

The Best Los Angeles Area Hiking Trails for Families

We've all found ourselves—on long weekends, spring breaks, sick days, you name it—feeling like we might be ready to climb the walls. If that's not an option, maybe it's just time to take a hike

We've compiled a list of some of LA's best hiking destinations for you and your little cherubs (though if you're pushing someone up that mountain, you may want the stroller-friendly hikes). Each of the self-led hikes below is an LA classic. Of course, if you like to add a goal to hike toward, you might try this list of hikes with waterfalls, or maybe even do a little geocaching along the way.

Where To See Whales in LA: Whale Watching Cruises, Festivals, and Viewpoints

Winter is prime whale watching season in Southern California, and there are several ways to spy on the giant mammals as they pass through on their 6,000-mile quest for Mexican romance. Each year, between December and April, roughly 20,000 Pacific gray whales migrate past our beaches, and March brings particularly high traffic because that's when the underwater procession starts to turn around. Pregnant, south-bound she-whales still trying to make it to Baja before the contractions start are blasted past by upwardly mobile young he-whales, finished with romance and headed for an appointment in the Arctic Circle. All that toing and froing is the inspiration for many a whale cruise and festival. With a little luck and clear skies, even a hike or sand sledding can turn into a whale watching activity.

10 Acting Summer Camps in LA and OC

This is LA, so of course there are summer acting camps! And since there are different types of acting - stage acting (classical and modern), film acting, comedic acting, improv - there are also different types of acting camp. Acting camps are not just for children who want to study theater, though; they also increase public speaking skills and build self-confidence. If your child is new to the world of drama, a camp that covers many different topics can offer a solid foundation and allow your child to discovers strengths and interests. Other camps offer focused concentration on Shakespeare or acting for film, for example.

Though many of these camps offer some instruction in singing and dancing, be sure to see our Musical Theatre Camp Round-Up for those kids who enjoy Broadway-style performance. And for your other kid - the non-dramatic one - we have a bunch of other summer camps to suggest, too!

17 Free Indoor Activities for a Rainy Day in LA

There is no limit to what a family can do outdoors in Los Angeles, and our clichéd weather makes enjoying these activities possible most days of the year. But on the occasional day when the mercury drops below 50 degrees—or when water falls perplexingly from the sky—we need a back-up plan. Indoor activities are sprinkled throughout our bucket list of 100 Things To Do with LA Kids Before They Grow Up, but wouldn't it be handy to have one list of totally free things to do with kids indoors? We thought so, too!

Great Summer Art Camps for Los Angeles Kids

Camp and art go together like, well, crayons and coloring books. But sometimes our LA kids are hankering after a little more than just a coloring sheet or a pile of popsicle sticks and glitter glue. If your family's goals for summer involve more artistic education than LAUSD is able to muster up these days, then one of the LA art camps below is probably for you.

If, on the other hand, you had your heart set on sending the kids outside for a summer full of fresh air, be sure to check our suggestions for classic outdoor LA summer camps and horse riding camps, too—or check our whole Los Angeles Summer Guide! Find a full listing of local summer camps in our Directory of Camps, too. Search by your kids' ages, interests, or location.

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