What’s Open in LA for Kids Right Now
With the latest round of stay-at-home orders lifted at the end of January and numbers declining daily, the city just might be turning the corner. Playgrounds have reopened. Outdoor dining is now allowed. Family favorites with outdoor spaces are slowly opening their doors—like aquariums, zoos, mini golf courses, go kart tracks, and more. Add those to the list of gardens, parks, drive-ins, carhops, hikes, water sports … well, there are actually a lot of things that are open in LA right now.
Combine the newly allowed openings with the wealth of outdoor activities available to Angelenos, and you can almost feel the city start to hum back to life. (You can definitely see the freeways filling up!) Here we are tracking every single thing that is open for kids and families in Los Angeles. Bookmark this page; we'll update it frequently as more spots announce their reopening plans.
While we are trying to promote safer activities that occur outdoors or with social distancing guidelines in place, please keep your family and others safe by always wearing a mask and maintaining appropriate distance. If you arrive at an event that appears too crowded try using the “nearby” search feature on our event calendar to find something else to do.
Electric Mile Drive-thru is a dance music fest in your car. Photo courtesy of Insomniac
Drive-Thru Experiences in Los Angeles
- Stranger Things Drive-Into
A drive-into experience based on the hit Netflix series? Stranger Things have happened! Currently, tickets are available through March 28.
- Drive-thru Cruis'n the Park Car Show at Magic Mountain
Guests cruise through the park from the comfort and safety of their own cars for a drive-thru auto show experience featuring more than 100 automotive displays, presented by world-famous West Coast Customs, tickets are available through March 14.
- Drive-thru Fair Foodie Fest
The drive-thru Fair Foodie Fest is at the Rose Bowl weekends through March 14 for drive-thru fair food from the car.
Don't look down! Photo courtesy of the Museum of Illusion
Museums in Los Angeles That Are Open
- Donut Life Museum
This new OC popup is a selfie sweet-tooth dream and is open Thursday-Sunday through April 1.
- Battleship Iowa
The San Pedro floating monument is open for self-guided tours of the outdoor spaces, using the free mobile app.
- The Museum of Illusions
Hollywood's photo-op destination is open at 10% capacity, with masks and social distancing in place.
- The Museum of Dream Space
Another Hollywood photo-op destination is open at reduced capacity, with masks and social distancing in place. These rooms and experiences are inspired by the work of Yayoi Kusama, so for families missing the Infinity Mirror Room at the Broad Museum, here's your chance to recreate a little of that digital art magic.
- Noah's Ark
The Skirball found a way to bring back the beloved Noah’s Ark—by moving it outside. This outdoor exhibit had to close over the holidays, but with the stay-at-home order lifted, the museum plans to open the exhibit again soon (for members only!).
- The Heritage Museum
This DTLA gem is now open for self-guided tours of the grounds.
- Pretend City
While closed to the general public, small groups can rent out a freshly sanitized museum to play with peace of mind for two hours. Perfect for birthday parties, or small pod outings.
- Southern California Railway Museum
The museum has reopened its campus and outdoor exhibits for visitors, while indoor exhibits and car barns remain closed. Train and trolley rides resume February 6.
Meet friendly lorikeets at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Photo by cruz__26/Instagram
Places in LA Where Kids Can Visit Animals
- The Los Angeles Zoo
Hooray! The LA Zoo is now open, offering a modified zoo experience with limited capacity, and advance, timed-entry reservations are required. But the zoo is back.
- The Aquarium of the Pacific
The Aquarium has reopened its outdoor areas including the Shark Lagoon, Lorikeet Forest, June Keyes Penguin Habitat, Seals and Sea Lions, and the ray, moon jelly, sharks, and horseshoe crab touch areas.
- America's Teaching Zoo
This Moorpark zoo is now open to visitors.
- The OC Zoo
The OC Zoo, home to animals and plants native to the southwestern United States, reopened on February 3.
- San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld San Diego
The world-famous San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park are now open, and SeaWorld San Diego is reopening on February 6, so it’s the perfect time for a little San Diego vacation.
- The Santa Barbara Zoo
The zoo in Santa Barbara is open again, and a visit is a perfect excuse for a day trip up the coast.
Kids can see animals in person again at favorite local zoos. Photo courtesy of Santa Barbara Zoo
- The CatCafe Lounge
Now open for kids needing kitten cuddles.
- The Ocean Institute
This Dana Point marine center is open weekends for outdoor excursions.
- Wildlife Learning Center
The center is open for two different private tours, both of which include animal meet and greets. (Perfect for birthday parties…)
- The Shadowland Foundation
While the foundation has suspended Saturday visits with wolves, families or small groups can still book a private experience to meet (and feed) wolves in person.
- The Gibbon Conservation Center
The Gibbon Conservation Center, the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to gibbons, offers tours to visit the rarest group of apes in the western hemisphere. Private tours can be booked for families in February, but starting in March, book tickets to a public tour.
- The Living Desert
The desert zoo is open, and a trek to Palm Springs rewards visitors with a chance to get up close and personal with bighorn sheep, mountain lions, desert tortoises, and countless other animals.
- Oasis Camel Dairy
While currently only offering private tours, this is an experience no one can forget: a visit to Oasis Camel Dairy, just north of San Diego. Tours can include feeding and taking rides on the camels.
What’s Open at Theme Parks
- CityWalk at Universal Studios
While Universal Studios is closed, CityWalk is open, and right now is the first (and perhaps only) time Harry Potter fans can try Butterbeer without purchasing tickets to Universal Studios. Get it while you can. Outdoor dining and shops are also open. Opening on March 12 is Taste of Universal, where guests can roam the lot and sample tasty foods from across the park.
- Downtown Disney District
Disneyland might be closed, and passports gone, but for kids, yearning for a Mickey fix the Downtown Disney District is open. Shops are open at 20% capacity and some restaurants are open for takeout and outside dining. Also open: a new (and bigger) Star Wars Trading Post. A Touch of Disney opens at California Adventures Park on March 18!
- Legoland California's The Big Shop
Legoland California will be open on select dates, starting March 5, for Build N' Play days, where little builders can play outside, build with Legos, hear music, dine outdoors, and see the sights. Also, the Legoland Castle Hotel is now open and hotel guests receive FREE access to Miniland U.S.A. and The BIG Shop while staying.
- Great Wolf Lodge
Great Wolf Lodge is now accepting reservations for guests starting on May 22, so get a jump on booking your next family getaway now.
Shane's Inspiration at Griffith Park is open. Photo courtesy of Landscape Structures
Parks and Playgrounds Are All Open in LA
Playgrounds all over LA County have reopened. These are our very favorites, and worth the drive from anywhere in LA.
- Malibu Creek State Park
While camping is still on hold, the park is open for hikes and picnics (and even swimming, when it’s warm enough!).
- La Brea Tar Pits Park
The museum is closed, but the park at La Brea Tar Pits is currently open, and families can see paleontologists working at the excavation site. Kids can even poke sticks in pockets of bubbling tar (wear old clothes, tar does NOT wash out).
- Griffith Park
This park at the center of the city is vast, varied, and not to be forgotten. While some activities remain closed (Travel Town and the Carousel, for example) other aspects, like Shane’s Inspiration, Griffith Park Pony Rides, the Old Zoo area, and more are waiting for you.
- Orange County Great Park
While attractions (like the balloon ride and carousel) are still closed, outdoor park spaces and playgrounds (including the Farm + Food Lab) are open at Orange County Great Park.
Sand sledding! Do it while you can...
Beaches and Piers in Los Angeles—What’s Open?
Whether you want one of the most popular beaches for families, a hidden gem, or a spot where the waves are toddler-sized, we know where you should go.
- Sand Sledding
Sled the Venice sand berms while they are still around.
- Grunion Runs
Open season starts in March, and you can track when the grunion will be at which beaches on this website and plan your own family grunion run.
- Santa Monica Pier
The pier is now open daily again, after briefly being closed on weekends, to reduce crowds. While rides are closed, restaurants are open for takeout, and you can still take lessons at the trapeze school, do the Secret Story Tour, rent bikes, and go fishing.
- Redondo Beach Pier
This pier in the South Bay is also open for shopping, takeout, and boat or SUP rentals.
- Venice Beach Boardwalk
Go rollerblading along Venice Beach because the boardwalk is open!
Entertainment and Stores Now Open in LA
- Apple Stores
Apple Stores across the Southland are now open for Genius Bar and shopping appointments. So if you've been the sole tech support for your family, in-person help is now available.
- Mini Golf
Mini golfing is now allowed and our favorite spots are open or opening soon.
- Drive-in Movies
Drive-ins are popping up all over town! (We’re adding new venues all the time.)
- Go Karts
Go karts with outdoor tracks are now allowed to operate, which means K1 Speed in Anaheim is now racing, as is Go Kart World in Carson, and Boomers in Irvine (which also has mini golf and batting cages).
- Build-A-Bear Workshop
These shops are open at greatly reduced capacity, keeping it safe for kids who really need a new lovey.
- Irvine Park Railroad
Choo-choo, this track is running its open-air train daily. Pony rides and paddleboat rentals are also available at Irvine Park. Bring a picnic and make a day of it!
- Open Air Malls
The Grove, The Americana, and Palisades Village, (and others) are all open with outdoor dining and shops limiting the customers allowed in each store.
Take a ride under the Hollywood sign. Photo courtesy of Sunset Ranch
Outdoor Sports & Activities for Families in Los Angeles
- Horseback Riding Stables
Horseback riding is allowed, and all our favorite spots are open!
- Winter Sports Resorts
Ski or shred at a local ski resort; they’re all open this winter with social distancing guidelines in place.
- Batting Cages
If your little slugger is missing Little League, batting cages are allowed to reopen. (Call before visiting one, as only outdoor cages are open and reservations may be required.)
- Snow Tubing
While the snow lasts, snow tubing spots are all open, too!
- Water Sports Rental and Lesson
With ocean breezes clearing the air and longboards and boats enforcing social distancing, SUP, kayak, surf, and other water sports rental shops and lesson providers are all open for business.
- Beach Bike Rentals
Rent (or bring) a bike to ride the beach bike path, bike rental shops and beach biking paths are open.
- Swan Pedal Boats
Rent a swan boat at Lake Balboa or Echo Park Lake.
We mentioned that fishing is allowed off the Santa Monica Pier now, but you can also go fishing (and rent gear) at these local lakes.
- Hot Air Balloon Rides
And now for something completely different: go up, up, and away in a hot air balloon. Temecula has several companies offering balloon rides over the vineyards.
- Waterski and More
Take a day trip to Lake Elsinore, where kids as young as 5 years old can learn to wakeboard, wakesurf, waterski, and more at LA Wake.
- Long Beach Waterbikes
Maybe you can’t walk on water, but the whole family can bike on water, day or night, at Long Beach Waterbikes.
- Golf and Tennis in LA County
Golf courses and tennis courts are open. LA City Golf has a few par-3 courses that are inexpensive and great for kids who are just learning. And the LA Department of Recreation and Parks has several parks that reserve courts by the hour online (and are also very inexpensive).
- Gondola Rides
There are two spots now open in Southern California where the whole family can take a gondola ride: Long Beach and Oxnard. (Funny, no gondolas in Venice!)
Farm Fresh Outings for Families in Los Angeles
- Farmers Markets
Farmers markets all over LA County are open, and while samples and pony rides are currently on hold, visiting your local farmers market is a great way to support local farms who have been hit hard this year.
- Tanaka Farms
Guests can take a wagon ride around the farm and pick some veggies.
- Underwood Farms
The Underwood Farms Moorpark location is also open daily for pick your own visits to the field, as well as saying hi to the animals at the animal center.
- The Original Farmers Market
This open-air market makes for a nice change from the grocery store for stir-crazy kids. Also now open: outdoor dining! So get groceries for the week, and enjoy a meal (or ice cream, or donuts) today.
Something is always blooming at Descanso. Photo courtesy of Descanso Gardens
Gardens That Are Currently Open In LA (All of Them!)
- Gardens in Los Angeles Are Open
Wander one of LA's iconic gardens, like The Huntington, Descanso Gardens, or the Arboretum; they have been open and giving our kids places to run and play since the pandemic started.
- Hollywood Forever Cemetery
The grounds at Hollywood Forever Cemetery are open—bring the kids to walk the beautiful grounds, enjoy the peacocks and swans, and look for famous graves.
- Botanic Gardens
South Coast Botanic Gardens and the California Botanic Garden are both open and have art installations throughout the gardens.
- Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden
This beautiful spot is never crowded because guests have to register for 2-hour visits on weekends only.
- Malibu Legacy Park
This coastal park is part outdoor classroom, part living learning center, and all fun nature walk filled with giant tile animals to climb on.
- Exposition Park Rose Garden
The Rose Garden is now open daily until dusk and is a beautiful spot for a picnic.
- Southern California Missions and Gardens
Mission San Juan Capistrano and Gardens open on February 4. (And parents of 4th graders thought they might not get to visit a mission this year!) The San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura is also open.
Exploring the gorgeous Vasquez Rocks. Photo by Meghan Rose
The Best Hiking Trails in Los Angeles for Kids Are Open
- Los Angeles City Hiking Trails
Most of the city hiking trails have been open for months and saving parents' sanity. Don’t know where to start? Try one of our favorite hikes in the city, one of these best hikes for toddlers, a hike that is stroller-friendly, a wildflower hike, or a hike to a waterfall!
- The Batcave
Hike to the Batcave in Griffith Park, as trails are open. However, this popular hike can get crowded, so families may wish to visit on weekdays or early morning.
- Eaton Canyon Natural Area
While the nature center at Eaton Canyon is closed, the trails remain open and are perfect for cautious families. They never get crowded, because free reservations are required to access these trails.
- Vasquez Rocks
At Vasquez Rocks, the nature center is also closed, but the nature preserve is open, and winter is a beautiful time for an otherworldly hike here.
- Malibu Wine Hikes
Malibu Wine is open and leading hikes that never get crowded, because they’re on private property. It’s the only way to see the vineyards of Saddlerock Ranch and the Chumash Native American cave paintings on this property. (Yes, there is a fee, but you also go home with wine-and support a local business!)
- Visit Griffith Observatory
The Observatory is closed, but you can still visit the landmark spot, hike, and take in the views of the city, Hollywood sign, and even the ocean.
Toodle around Griffith Park in a mini car. Photo courtesy of Sunny Day Scoot
Outings & Adventures for Families in Southern California
- Fillmore & Western Train Rides
With reduced capacity and masks, families can take a Saturday scenic ride on a Fillmore & Western train beginning February 6.
- Whale Watching Cruises
Take a whale-watching trip at the height of whale migration season; boats are running from several harbors.
- Long Beach Glass Bottom Boat
Take a harbor tour on a glass-bottom boat, day or night, in Long Beach on the weekend.
- Sunny Day Scoot
These thrilling tiny, open-air cars are still available to rent to toodle around Griffith Park.
Take a day trip to one of these spots where the whole family can soar through the air.
Where Families Can Dine Outdoors in Los Angeles
- Outdoor Dining
As of January 29, outdoor dining could resume in LA County at reduced capacity. These are a few of our favorite places to dine outdoors, with kids.
- Paradise Cove
Get food to go and hit the beach at Paradise Cove (serving Wednesday-Sunday from 11am-5pm).
- Carhops and Drive-Ins
Carhops and drive-ins make for a retro outdoor dining experience!
- Cupcake ATMS
You can always grab a cupcake and go from one of the Cupcake ATMs in town.
See wild bison in Catalina. Photo courtesy of Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau
Daytrips & Staycations That Families Can Take in LA
- Palm Springs
As of February 18, the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway has reopened and is taking trips up to the snow. Swimming in the desert, sledding on the mountain!
- Catalina Island
See the buffalo on Catalina Island; boats are running at reduced capacity and times to the island.
- Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree is now open for hiking and exploring.
- Channel Islands
Island Packers started running trips to the Channel Islands again at the end of January—now is a beautiful time to go visit the island dwarf fox or take a kayak around one of the islands.
- Calico Ghost Town
The old mining town is a great historical exploration spot.
- Terranea Resort
For a weekend getaway without even leaving the county, Terranea opened again the last weekend of January.