Los Angeles

25 Things To Do in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa with Kids

Newport Beach may be synonymous with surf, sun, and sand, but there's plenty more to do in this scenic community beyond lying on the (admittedly inviting) beach. From sports fishing to skate parks and petting zoos, there are countless kid-friendly activities to engage a family in the heart of Newport Beach—plus a wide variety of enriching options in adjoining Costa Mesa as well. And when SoCal's version of winter rolls around, some of the season's most memorable events take place in these two communities, including one of the oldest holiday traditions in the country.

Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Mirrors at The Broad—Is It Worth the Wait for Kids?

When tickets for the Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Mirrors exhibit at the Broad Museum went on sale, they sold out almost immediately. It's no surprise, given how many people have lined up for hours at the popular downtown museum, to spend less than a minute inside its Infinity Mirrored Room (and then share the photos on Facebook). The famous room is part of the museum's permanent collection, but the temporary Infinite Mirrors exhibit by the same artist is only open through the end of 2017. Chances are, if you haven't already booked your tickets, you're probably not going. That said, there are daily stand-by tickets, so if you're wondering whether to succumb to the hype and queue up for a chance to pose your kids in the infinitely Instagrammed exhibit, we've got some insights to help you decide.

The Annenberg PetSpace: LA's New Spot To Play with Puppies and Kitties

Interested in getting a pet—or just spending time with one? The new Wallis Annenberg PetSpace in Playa Vista is all about building bonds between people and pets. While there are dogs, cats, and rabbits available for adoption, no pressure: this is also a family-friendly space to learn about pets and people, and maybe even get a little cuddle time if a pet isn't possible in your home.

Where To Donate Toys for the Holidays: Toys for Tots, Spark of Love, and More

The holidays can be a particularly rough time to be in need, and this year's terrible fire season has put far more families in this position than usual. Showing our kids how the community rallies is important. We can make time to volunteer with our kids—a great holiday tradition—and kids can also experience the joy of giving by passing along some of last year's gifts, sharing the old with someone new before finding out what Santa delivers this season. When we pursue the parental thrill of buying super-cool toys, wrapping them, and making our kids' day on Christmas or Hanukkah, maybe we could add just one more for a child in need. We know of some great places to bring both kinds of toy donations—new and gently used—to spread around some of that holiday joy.

Family Skiing and Ski Lessons for Kids near Los Angeles

On a clear day, as you head east in Los Angeles, you see them beckoning: those glorious snow-capped mountains. If we had bionic vision, we could watch skiers sashaying down the hills—the resorts are that close. And whether you're new to skiing or snowboarding, or you'd just prefer that someone else teaches your kids, you'll be happy to know how easy it is to arrange lessons.

So if you're ready for winter activities beyond skating and sledding, check out this list of area slopes that offer classes for kids and adults, from beginners to advanced. Plan it right, and you could be on the slope two hours after packing the car—because the mountains are even closer than they look.

18 Hanukkah Celebrations for Kids in LA and Orange County

However you spell it—Hanukkah, Hanukka, Hannukah, Chanukah, or Channuka—SoCal is a great place to be for the Festival of Lights. Home to a Jewish population larger than that of Jerusalem, Los Angeles is all about "lighting candles, wearing sandals, by the sea" (at least, that's why Tom Leher spent Hanukkah in Santa Monica). Giant menorahs light up open spaces from The OC to the Valley. Two of the season's biggest events are at the Skirball Center and the Shalom Institute, but these major festivals are just the tip of the dreidel; local events and candle lightings burn the sunset oil all week long...

25 Top Palm Springs Resorts, Attractions , & Things To Do for Families

No matter the season, you can always count on Palm Springs and the surrounding Coachella Valley for balmy weather and lots of fun in the sun. In fact, this glamorous resort area, only a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, is blessed with an average of 350 days of sunshine each year and is the ideal playground for countless family activities. Here are a few ideas on how to make the most of a vacation in the desert.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Winter Festivals, Hanukkah Fun, Boat Parades

It's a bit hard to know what to tell you about this weekend.

On the one hand, the most wonderful time of the year is settling into the region. Santa sightings and reindeer rompstwinkling lights and festive music are planned in every corner of the Southland this weekend. On the other hand, there is no one untouched by the fires; many families have had kids home for much of the week, and still others have had to flee their homes. Our hearts are with the families in the path of fire, and with the fire fighters working round the clock to keep us all safe.

We hope that the events listed below, many of which have been planned all year, will be able to go forward, and everyone will get to enjoy some holiday cheer. Currently these events are proceeding as planned; we will update our event calendar if we get new information, but we also recommend checking with the venues on the day, since conditions can change rapidly.

Winter festivals this weekend feature ice skating at Pershing Square and sledding at Burton Chace Park. Some celebrate Hanukkah, while others prep little ones for Christmas, offering breakfast or dinner with Santa.

But nothing screams holidays for Angelenos more than a boat parade. Boats at Huntington Harbor, Marina del Rey, Dana Wharf, Marine Emporium Landing, King Harbor, and Naples Island are strung with lights and set to glide along the waterways for all to see. On the other hand, if trains are your preferred method of transportation, check out Griffith Park and Southern Railroad's Holiday Light Festival Train RideIrvine Park Railroad Christmas Train, or the Orange Empire Train to Santa's Workshop.

Still looking for more ideas on how to spend this December weekend? Read on for our top picks.

10 Reasons to Explore La Crescenta and La Cañada Flintridge

Most LA parents know that Pasadena has loads to offer families, but far fewer have discovered nearby La Crescenta and La Cañada Flintridge. These quiet suburban enclaves remain two of the San Gabriel Valley's best-kept secrets, boasting an outdoorsy, family-friendly appeal, with bucolic highlights like Descanso Gardens and its unique Enchanted Forest of Light. These communities are just a short drive up the 2 freeway yet feel like a world away from Los Angeles' big-city bustle.

The Heart of Robin Hood: A Swinging Family Show at the Wallis

If you've had your fill of Nutcrackers and Scrooges and were hoping to branch out a bit theatrically this holiday season, there's a branch well worth seeing in Beverly Hills: it's the one Robin Hood swings and leaps from in the Wallis' production of The Heart of Robin Hood. Not a traditional Christmas play by any means (in fact, the holiday is barely mentioned at all), but the adventure, exuberance, excitement, and spectacle of this retelling of the old tale make it an event worth squeezing into your busy holiday schedule. I brought a tween and a teen (no easy audience), and they were delighted—particularly by one unexpected feature. 

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