Top Family Friendly Things to Do in Los Angeles

Quadair Multiplayer Air Hockey at Two Bit Circus | Photo: Two Bit Circus, Facebook

Whether you’re looking for educational activities, entertainment ideas, or merely want to enjoy the outdoors, LA has it all - and it’s at your fingertips all year long. Here’s a look at top family-friendly and exceedingly fun things to do in the City of Angels.

Arcades & Games

From vintage arcade games to Virtual Reality games, in Los Angeles, you’ll find opportunities to play everything from skee ball at the Playland Arcade at the Santa Monica Pier, to classic arcade and Virtual Reality games and sports and more at Two Bit Circus, the micro-amusement park in the Downtown LA Arts District.

Bikes and Hikes LA

Photo: Bikes and Hikes LA, Facebook

LA’s perfect year-round climate lends itself well to a fun-filled day of biking for families.

Biking

If you’re looking for a coastal biking trip, head to The Strand for miles of beautiful Pacific Coastline. Inland, cycle around the Loop Hollywood Reservoir or Silver Lake Reservoir for scenic views. Or, arrange for a custom bike tour through Bikes and Hikes to see Los Angeles landmarks, beaches, and hidden gems throughout the city.

For more info about The Strand, read our two-part guide, which follows the 22-mile bike trail from its northern end at Will Rogers State Beach south to Torrance Beach.

Sunset Ranch Hollywood

Sunset Ranch Hollywood

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Four-Legged Fun

Animal lovers in your family will find more than 1,400 furry, scaly, and winged friends waiting to meet you at the Los Angeles Zoo. Or, if you’re on the Westside on Saturday or Sunday, sign up for a guided tour at the STAR Eco Station in Culver City, where you can also meet more than 200 rescued exotic wildlife. If you want to get even closer to four-legged friends, consider a horseback ride at Sunset Ranch Hollywood for families with children age 8+.

Live Shows

Family friendly live performances are available in abundance all year long throughout Los Angeles. For young music lovers, take in one of the LA Phil’s Toyota Symphonies for Youth (January-April), to celebrate music with hands-on workshops for kids ages 5-11.

For springtime performances, you won’t want to miss the 2019 Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival held March 5-7 at The Music Center at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, or Charlie and The Chocolate Factory at the Pantages Theatre March 27-April 14. In the summer, Ford Theatres hosts numerous family events, including Big World Fun, held every Saturday morning in July and August in the beautiful shady, outdoor amphitheater. And this fall, the Pantages will host the Official North American Tour Opening of Disney’s Frozen.

TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX | Photo: TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX

TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX | Photo: TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX

Los Angeles is the entertainment capital of the world, so it’s no surprise that LA theatres are often as impressive as the movie itself.

Movies & Cinema

Kids and adults alike will love taking in a flick at the iconic Cinerama Dome (AKA “The Dome”) on Sunset & Vine, which is the first and only theatre like it in the world. Likewise, the IMAX 4D at Regal Cinemas at L.A. LIVE in Downtown LA - the first 4DX theatre in the country - offers motion seats, and immersive special effects including scents, fog, rain, mist and more. Or, visit the legendary TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, and peruse your favorite star’s personalized messages and handprints in the famous Forecourt of the Stars.

Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center

The Space Shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Museums

If you’re looking for opportunities to learn while having fun as a family, you can’t go wrong with a visit to any number of museums. Noah’s Ark at the Skirball boasts a gigantic ark, wooden animals, building blocks, sculptures, and an outdoor play and strolling area. Admission to Noah’s Ark is included with a museum admission ticket, as are numerous other family programs at the museum, including family art studios and archaeology digs.

The Autry Museum of the American West also offers a variety of family-friendly educational entertainment, including panning for gold and guided tours. Several family favorites with an emphasis on learning can be found at Exposition Park, including family programs at the California African American Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the extraordinary California Science Center.

For younger children and toddlers, Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena will provide an entire day’s worth of entertainment, education, and activity-based programs.

Origami Workshop at Descanso Gardens

Origami Workshop | Photo: Descanso Gardens, Facebook

Parks & Gardens

If you’re craving a bit of outdoor beauty, take an enchanted train ride at Descanso Gardens; enjoy kids classes, workshops and kid-friendly dining at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens; sign up for a family-friendly class at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden; or learn about LA’s ecosystems on an educational tour at Tree People in Coldwater Canyon Park.

Girls wearing LA Dodgers backpacks at Dodger Stadium

Go Dodgers! | Photo: Los Angeles Dodgers, Facebook

Pro Sports

The Dodgers, Rams, Chargers, Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Sparks, LAFC, and Galaxy all call Los Angeles home. So if your family loves sports, you’ll find pro games galore all year long, played at LA Memorial Coliseum, Dodger Stadium, STAPLES Center, Banc of California Stadium, and Dignity Health Sports Park.

Dylan's Candy Bar at The Original Farmers Market

Dylan's Candy Bar at The Original Farmers Market | Photo: Dylan's Candy Bar

Sweets

Indulging your sweet tooth in Los Angeles has never been more delightful. In Hollywood, stop by Sweet! at Hollywood & Highland to try your hand at designing your own candy bar. Or, pop by Dylan’s Candy Bar at The Original Farmers Market adjacent to The Grove to satiate your cravings with candy or ice cream.

Universal Studios Hollywood Tour

Universal Studios Hollywood Tour

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Theme Parks

LA's theme parks are some of the best in the country. From Universal Studios Hollywood to Six Flags Magic Mountain, to Pacific Park at the Santa Monica Pier, if you’re looking for rides, games, shopping, and dining options in a one-stop-shop, you’ll find it at one of LA's family-friendly theme parks.


Words by
Jen Hadley Avatar of author Jen Hadley