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Top 10 Things To Do With Kids in Los Angeles

Parents sometimes hesitate to visit Los Angeles kids. Hollywood, trendy restaurants and velvet-rope clubs don’t scream child-friendly.  But there are a lot things for families to do in L.A., and you really can’t beat the perfect Southern California weather. (Visiting Los Angeles? Learn all about Southern California.)

The concierge at the Peninsula Hotel was kind enough to provide his top ten list for things to do with kids in Los Angeles. We thought it was a handy round-up of all the must-see attractions for  families. It also clued us in to a few hidden gems we didn’t know about, like glow-in-the-dark mini golf. Cool!

The Peninsula Hotel’s  L.A. Top 10 for Families

aquarium of the pacific touch tank in Los AngelesAquarium of the Pacific 

Discover the world’s largest ocean as you journey from the frigid waters of the North Pacific, through the local waters of sunny Southern California to the colorful reefs of the Tropical Pacific. Along the way meet more than 12,500 sea creatures including the ocean’s ultimate predators in Shark Lagoon.

California Science Center

Find out what single-celled bacterium have in common with 100-trillion-celled human being; find out how people employ technology to meet their needs and how man explores the universe. At the end of 2012, the center will become one of only four institutions in the U.S. to house a Space Shuttle Orbiter.


The original “Happiest Place on Earth” still charms visitors some 60 years after opening its gates. While it has all the high points you want to hit at a Disney Park, parents find it smaller and more manageable than the park in Orlando, especially with very young kids. (You can find all our Disneyland posts on our SoCal at a Glance page).

Griffith Park Train in Los AngelesGriffith Park Pony & Wagon Rides

This is where to go for your child’s first pony ride…and second, third, fourth, and fifth!  The ponies can carry kids ranging in age from toddlers (strapped to the saddle) to those old enough to trot around by themselves. Better still, it’s located next to a pleasant picnic area in Griffith Park. And there’s a nice kid size train, which is sure to please as much as the ponies do.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

After spotting the sidewalk stars with your favorite actor’s names try stepping in stars’ footprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and admiring the costumes in the Hollywood Museum. Then pose for photos with costumed characters ranging from “Marilyn Monroe” to “Batman.”

Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens

The L.A. Zoo is home to more than 1,100 creatures representing more than 250 species, of which 29 are endangered. The botanical gardens feature more than 800 plant species and more than 7,400 individual plants.

saber tooth tiger at page museum in Los AngelesPage Museum and La Brea Tar Pits

Go back in time 10,000 to 40,000 years to the last Ice Age, when saber-toothed cats and mammoths walked in L.A. At the Page Museum, visitors can watch fragments of fossilized bones being pieced together. Outside in the park (where tar still bubbles up in pits) kids can climb life-size replicas of extinct mammals.

Putting Edge

One of the best things to do in L.A. for the whole family, this is mini golf with a touch of Beverly Hills glam. Don’t miss A state-of-the- art indoor course decked out with glow-in-the-dark features (below, right).

Putting Edge offers glowing indoor mini-golf in Los Angeles

Universal Studios Hollywood

At one of L.A.’s top attractions you can explore the magic of Hollywood past, present and future. Little ones will enjoy seeing favorite characters come ot life at Nickelodeon Live and Animal Planet.  Thrill-seeking older siblings will love The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and more.

Warner Bros. VIP Studio Tour

Did you ever watch a movie or television program and wonder what goes on behind the scenes? Warner Bros. Studios offers VIP Tours that let you find out. For 75 years, Warner has been making movies at their Burbank studios and they generously share their heritage with visitors.

Planning a trip? Check reviews and rates for activities and hotels on *Trip Advisor. Consider a Los Angeles Go City Card to save money on your choice of 35 attractions including Universal Studios. Their All California Card is an option for longer vacations and road trips.

Pin it for later!

Los Angeles is the biggest city in Southern California and it has lots of things to for kids. Family attractions include Disneyland, Universal Studios, the zoo, the tar pits and awesome mini-golf.


  1. […] It can truly be said that half the fun is getting here.  Ascend to the top of a mountain via an electric tram and you are immediately rewarded with amazing panoramic views and 5,000 acres of tropical forests and gardens. Families can explore the grounds and check out paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and videos dotted across 21 stunning pavilions. Admission is free! And don’t forget to check out the many family programs before you visit LA. […]

  2. CF
    October 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm — Reply

    I’m a local LA parent and want to add Kidspace Children’s Museum in Pasadena to the list. It’s definitely a local favorite – most people prefer it to the Science Center, especially for kids under 8.

    • October 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm — Reply

      Great suggestion. Thank you!

  3. Michele | Malaysian Meanders
    October 8, 2012 at 8:47 pm — Reply

    Great list. We seem to get to LA every couple of years but still haven’t seen many of these sites. I’m going to make a point of cisiting the Tar Pits and the Science Center.

  4. […] a trip? Don't forget our blogs on Los Angeles and San […]

  5. Lisa from Gone With The Family
    October 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm — Reply

    I have to admit that I didn’t know that Los Angeles had that many activities for kids. Mine have been bugging to visit L.A. – probably because they think all their favourite movie stars will be walking around the streets!

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