Audrey M

Audrey Morris

Latest posts by Audrey

Eataly LA: A Taste of Italy without the Airfare

For those who pine for fresh pasta, Neopolitan pizzas, and every Italian delicacy that never pops up at Trader Joe's, there's good news. Eataly L.A., the latest outpost of what has been called the Disneyland for Italian food (and has become a New York institution), opened its first North American location west of Chicago last week in the newly redone Westfield Century City shopping center. Eataly now has 39 locations throughout Italy and around the world, and just five of those can be found in the US. Eataly L.A. has three floors (the third is an as-yet unopened restaurant) and offers a little bit of everything: a grocery store, sit-down restaurants, prepared food counters, cafes, and fresh food for home preparation. There's even a cooking school (La Scuola), and foodies who don't want to cook for themselves can watch fresh food being made as well as sample olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and pestos.

So what should kids try? Even picky eaters who hesitate to try Italy's more adventurous fare will be able to find some satisfying pizza and gelato to excite their palates, whether you want to eat in-house, grab a quick bite, or purchase food to make at home.

Restaurants Serving Thanksgiving Dinner: Turkey Day the Easy Way

Picture your ideal Thanksgiving. Are you imagining a delicious multi-course meal shared with family and friends? Or are you imagining hours of shopping, prepping, cooking, cleaning, TV blaring football, and not enough time spent talking with people you don't see often enough? Perhaps you struggle because your space is too small for all the family you want to see? This could be a good year to try something new: Go out for Thanksgiving dinner—have your feast and eat it, too, while enjoying conversation with family and friends. And best of all, someone else cleans up afterward!

Corn Mazes and Haunted Mazes for LA and Orange County Kids

As kids are mostly settled into the new school year, and local orchards are open for apple picking, the next sign of autumn is the corn maze.

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 and broken cornstalks. And if you head into the maze at dusk, be sure to bring a flashlight!

Free Admission Days at 23 Museums in Los Angeles and Orange County

Love museums, but the prices make you think twice? If you have a large family, those tickets add up fast—which is 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. Also, active-duty military personnel can take advantage of the Blue Star Program at many LA and OC museums in summertime. 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 below for easy reference. These times offer a great chance to 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.

Gold Rush, Native American, and Movie History in this Free LA Park

Get ready to check off a bunch of boxes in one outing: outdoor time, local history, exercise, easy drive, and totally FREE—right down to the parking. This little known canyon in the Santa Clarita Valley offers hiking through a special piece of California's past, pulling together Native American history, Hollywood movie locations, and the site of the very first discovery of gold in California. All of this is set amidst a variety of native flora and fauna, with guided ranger activities and a nature center, making Placerita Canyon a great choice for a day's excursion.

Drive-In Movie Theaters near LA for a Classic Family Movie Night

Looking for something different to do with the kids? Something bucket list worthy? How about the drive-in? Remember the 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.

(Be sure to check out our movie reviews before you go.)

Trash and Recycling Events: Sanitation Yard Open Houses for Kids Who Love Garbage Trucks

Vroom Vroom! Does the sound of the garbage truck coming down the street send your kids running to watch? Would they love to sit in the trucks and maybe even take a ride? Do they know all the different types of trucks and haulers? Earth Day inaugurates the season of city yard open houses and recycling fairs, and—if you haven't heard—these events register high on the LA insider scale. More than 6,000 residents attend an open house in an average year.

Birthday Freebies: How Kids Get Free Stuff and Eat Free in LA and OC

Who doesn't love receiving gifts on birthdays? Rhetorical question: obviously kids love gifts, and parents love free gifts. That's why it's worth knowing about the many SoCal businesses that offer birthday clubs, treats, and freebies for kids on their big day. As the parent, you will need to register the birthday kids—and oftentimes yourself, too, before adding your children as family members. Check the age ranges on the offers below, as they vary. Go ahead and sign up now, and the coupons and emails will start rolling in while you are busy planning a birthday party.

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