Los Angeles

Adventure Playground: Orange County's Park for Free-range Kids

I had been hearing rave reviews about Orange County’s Adventure Playground—the so-called free-range playground—ever since I first moved to the area. The hype around this place makes it sound something like a time machine, throwing back to a day of mud puddles in the vacant lot. I finally loaded two kids, a bag of snacks, extra clothes, and beach towels into my car and headed to Irvine to see what the fuss was all about.

Weekend Fun for LA Kids: Oshogatsu, Reptiles, 3 Kings, and Goodbye to Favorites

Feel that? It's 2018, baby, coming on strong. It's going to be a Dog of a Year (and we mean that in the most endearing, man's best friend sort of way).

But 2017 is hanging on for one last gasp, so if there were any seasonal favorites you hadn't gotten around to seeing, get out there and see them now. This weekend we say goodbye to twinkly lights, romping reindeer, and marionette merrymaking. We bid adieu to winter, which apparently is a real thing in some places. Goodbye thrills, goodbye Chill, goodbye children sledding down the hill.

And this is the final weekend for the Autry's superfun Play exhibit,  where kids can become culturally enriched by learning about the kinds of toys you played with when you were a kid. (Sadly, I am no better at Pong than I was lo those many years ago.)

Out with the old, in with the January, and on with the reading, for our top picks for this utterly new weekend:

How To Recycle Your Christmas Tree in LA

On the 12th day of Christmas my city gave to me - a chance to recycle my Christmas tree!

Whether from a lot at the corner or a cut-your-own farm in LA's outer regions, we lug those lovely-smelling, triangular chunks of evergreen wonder home on top of our cars each December amid singing, warm drinks, and family bonding. Thoughts of what will become of them a few weeks later are pushed to the outer regions of our To Do Lists. Well, the 12th day of Christmas is fast upon us, and our To Do Lists have come home to roost. Exhausting as it may sound after all the revelry, recycling a Christmas tree does not have to be difficult to arrange; all you need is a little information - which we've taken the time to assemble here!

Vienna with Kids: 33 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do In Austria's Capital

Exploring the great cities of Europe with children in tow may sound more complicated than it's worth—except that it's really worth it. And speaking of great cities of Europe, there is none greater than Vienna. Once the seat of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the Central European capital packs in museums, palaces, and epic landmarks the way Mary Poppins packs surprises in her carpetbag. Vienna is a feast for the eyes, with a feast for the belly waiting at every corner, too. I'll take Vienna over Paris every time.

But kids? What's there for them, amidst all of these old buildings? If you dread dragging little ones on cultural tours, but long for a bit of culture yourself, check out Vienna. In summer, the city has an astonishing number of kids' activities, well organized in the city's Ferienspiel plan listing free and cheap kids' activities all over town. In winter, holiday themed activities turn Vienna into a twinkling, often snowy, wonderland.

Coding for Kids: Free Websites That Teach Kids Programming

As technology dominates our lives, learning basic computer programming isn't just a smart idea, it's an essential skill for grown-ups and children alike.

Learning how to build simple websites and games helps kids refine their design, logic, and problem-solving abilities. It also allows them to express ideas and creativity in unique ways. There are a number of FREE websites that teach children how to play around with code. We've rounded up a dozen of our favorites. 

Sign up for our FREE newsletters to get posts like this delivered to your inbox, and find even more educational tech posts for kids in our Geek Guide.

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

Phew. Is it over? So much planning goes into December that it's a little hard to believe when it turns up in our rear view mirror; but the calendar page has flipped, and it's all eyes on 2018. Luckily we don't have to wait too long until the next holiday weekend (complete with a few parades), and of course January is the perfect time to enjoy a day of skiing or sledding. We've got 12 don't-miss events to recommend in January; so recycle that tree and fasten your seatbelts for another year of fabulous ways to enjoy being a family in LA!

Our Best Family Travel Destinations of 2017: Beaches, Resorts, Attractions

Family destinations really upped their game in 2017. We saw amazing new attractions at some of our favorite amusement parks, the opening of the largest indoor water park in the US, and the opening of the brand new Dr. Seuss Museum. LEGOLAND's new Beach Resort is so awesome it went right into our list of mind-blowing kid-friendly hotels, and technology brought us a whole new way to go camping. Our writers have been busy checking them all out and sharing insider tips. Speaking of insiders, our new Disney experts gave us the scoop on visiting California's Disneyland with a baby or without

Read on for our top travel reviews of family-friendly resorts and beaches, great citiestheme parks, and attractions of 2017. Want more family travel inspiration? Read our top travel spots of 2014 and 2015 or check out our Family Travel Guide

A Day at the Races: Is Santa Anita Park a Place To Bring Kids?

Kids love horses; this we know. We can indulge their fascination with a quick round on the ponies at Griffith Park or a stint at horse camp—or we can think outside the box and remember there are more ways to appreciate horses than sitting on one. How about cheering them on as they run? If hanging out at the track is not part of your world, you may not think horse racing sounds like a family activity, but guess what? It absolutely can be. Not only that, it can be totally free.

New Year's Eve Weekend: Best Things To Do with LA Kids this Weekend

Get yer 2017 fun before it’s gone! Get yer Nutcracker and yer Panto and yer holiday trains, yer adventures in the snow and in the culinary sciences. Get ready to ring in the New Year with some distinctly kidfriendly and totally SoCal soirees

I have it on good authority that 2018 is going to be awesome. (Because, seriously, how could life with kids in LA be anything but?)  We have a lot to look forward to, starting with our own Rose Parade and continuing with an out of this world Girl of the Yearthe year of the Dog, and maybe a visit to a galaxy far, far away for those of us who haven't made it there yet. So take the plunge and dive in for what is bound to be our best year yet.

Grab your party hats and keep reading for some of our most forward looking picks for the coming year...

New Year's Day in Los Angeles: 17 Fun Things To Do with Kids

The last holiday of winter break or the first holiday of the new year—however you look at it, New Year is a day for family time; and if you opt for a kid-friendly New Year's Eve activity, you could even have the energy for an early start. You might just choose an outing from our list of 47 Things To Do While Everyone Else Is Out of Town, but how to know if it's an option on the holiday? All of the outings below are great choices for a New Year's Day activity—in fact some of them can only be enjoyed on January 1st. Happy New Year!


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