If your idea of a fun Thanksgiving dinner is enjoying family and friends while someone else cooks, then you'll need a list of kid-friendly Thanksgiving Day restaurants! Because, let's face it: sometimes, an ideal Thanksgiving does not involve hours of shopping, prepping, cooking, and cleaning while the TV is blaring football. So, have your feast and eat it, too, while enjoying conversation with family and friends. You might even have time for some Thanksgiving family activities, since someone else will be cleaning the dishes.
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What's better than a day at a museum? A FREE day at a museum! If you have a large family, museum tickets can add up fast—which gets particularly frustrating if you then need to beat a hasty retreat to avoid a meltdown. SoCal has some great museums that have free general admission every day of the year, including The Getty, California Science Center, and The Broad. As for the rest of them (once kids are old enough to have to pay), many LA and OC museums have monthly or even weekly free days or evenings, and we have collected a list for easy reference. Go ahead, bring the extended family, meet friends, or check out a place you have never been before—all for just the price of parking or Metro tickets. And if there's a meltdown? At least it's free.
Corn mazes are created by a tractor in a growing field of corn—usually following a fairly intricate design. For large mazes, GPS is often used to create a picture that can be seen from the air. A mature corn maze is a true adventure, with walls of corn that are taller than most adults; children (and adults) can for sure lose their way! Most operators recommend kids be at least 5-8 years old before going in alone; use your judgment, of course. Closed-toe shoes are recommended for comfort (sneakers are best), as corn mazes involve walking on uneven ground amid broken cornstalks. And if you head into the maze at dusk, be sure to bring a flashlight!
How about a drive-in movie tonight? Remember double features, staying up late watching movies in your jammies under the stars, tubs of popcorn from the snack bar, and, as the night wore on, crawling into the pile of blankets mom brought? Today's kids don't need to miss out on this American institution; though not as popular as they once were, several area drive-ins are still operating, plus LA has a pop-up drive-in, too. Drive-ins are generally cheaper than movie theaters, often show double features, and let you bring your own food. We're fortunate in the Southland to have oodles of free outdoor movies in summer, but there is something uniquely magical about the drive-in. bucket list worthy
At some point, just about every boy and girl will want to try fishing. Whether you plan to eat your haul or catch and release, fishing is a time-honored, relaxing way for kids and parents or grandparents to spend quality quiet time together—and it's a classic summer activity. Why not start with a free wharf fishing clinic, to learn fishing basics or ocean fishing, then head out to one of the spots below on your own!
Nothing is more fun on a too-hot day than some water play—just ask a kid. If you want to give the kids a welcome surprise on a summer day, take them to a water theme park. There are several water parks in Southern California, with large scale splash parks to please every kid from toddler to teen. Of course, if you're looking for something smaller, closer, or more low-key, you can always check out our list of water play features at city parks; but if you're looking to make a big splash, check out one of the SoCal parks below.
If you're raising a kid who loves a good rush of adrenaline, maybe it's time for a family outing in the treetops. Ziplining is a thrilling, exciting, and safe activity that is great for adventurous kids—and their daring parents. We've pulled together several zipline locations below that make great day trips or weekend trips from LA.
Hollywood is full of things to do with kids—we have collected 25 of them—and you can easily spend the entire day. Which means you will need food! Hollywood is also full of restaurants. But once you weed out the fast food chains and big tourist chains, there are still plenty of kid-friendly local chains and independent restaurants, and we have selected 10 options. There is something for you if you want something quick, something historic or old-timey, or something new and fun. And even if your kids are picky eaters or have food allergies, they will enjoy something from this list!