Los Angeles: 10 Awesome Things To Do With Kids

If you can face the long-haul flight with kids, then Los Angeles repays you a wealth of family-friendly activities. We look at the top things to do with children in La La Land

Los Angeles: 10 Awesome Things To Do With Kids

1. See the Stars at Griffith Observatory

Perched up high on the hill, on a clear night this gorgeous Art Deco observatory gives a perfect view of the Hollywood sign and the city of Los Angeles below. As dusk falls, you can use the telescopes on the front lawn to star gaze.

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Los Angeles: 10 Awesome Things To Do With Kids

You can also catch one of the live shows in the state-of-the-art planetarium theatre. GOOD TO KNOW: children under 5 are admitted only to the first show each day, which is12:45 p.m. on weekdays, 10:45 a.m. on weekends.

>> Griffith Observatory

2. Catch a Movie at a Drive-In Cinema

LA has a couple of longstanding open-air drive-in cinemas, which are great for a retro family night out. The Paramount Drive-In has two huge screens, a snack bar and shows a good selection of new releases. The Vineyard Drive-In is a four-screen theatre with capacity for 1,700 cars, which originally opened in 1950. Although a modern cinema might offer a more luxurious environment, the drive-in wins hands down in sheer novelty value.

Los Angeles: 10 Awesome Things To Do With Kids

>> Paramount Drive-In

>> Vineland Drive-In Theater

3. Escape to a Lesser Known Beach

If you need a break from the hustle of downtown LA, head for the night to one of the quieter beaches, such as Hermosa. Here your kids can learn to surf and play beach volleyball like a local, then bed down at the family friendly Hermosa Beach House hotel, with rooms overlooking the beautiful surf.

>> Beach House Hotel

Los Angeles: 10 Awesome Things To Do With Kids

4. Explore a Working Film Studio

If your children are aged 8 or over, then taking a tour of the Warner Bros. Studio is a must. As part of a small group you’re taken around the back-lots, film sets and props department, before trying on the Hogwarts sorting hat and being photographed holding up an authentic Oscar statuette.

As Warner Bros is a functioning movie studio, crew and actors whizz past on buggies, so you might even catch a glimpse of a star during your visit.

>> Warner Bros Studio Tour

5. Step Back in Time at Mels Drive-In Diner

There are three Mel’s Diners in LA, all serving up a nostalgic slice of the past. The decor is like a scene from Happy Days, the booths have their own juke boxes and their kid’s meals are served up in cardboard Cadillacs. What’s not to love?!

>> Mel’s Drive-In Diner

Los Angeles: 10 Awesome Things To Do With Kids

6. Experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Studios is a much more condensed, manageable size than many of its competitors, making it very doable in a single day. One of the major draws is the The Wizarding World of Harry Potter section, where you can walk the streets of Hogsmeade, have lunch in the Three Broomsticks tavern and soar above Hogwarts castle on the Forbidden Journey ride.

As Universal is a working film studio, you can also tour location sets and discover the secrets of on-screen special effects too.

>> Universal Studios

Hogwarts castle, with a view of Flight of the Hippogriff, Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor roller coaster
Hogwarts castle, with a view of Flight of the Hippogriff, Universal Studios Hollywood’s first outdoor roller coaster

7. Hit the Old West

OK so this one isn’t strictly LA, but if you’re already in the City of Angels then the two-hour drive to Pioneertown is certainly worth it!

Originally created as a Wild West film set in the 40s, Pioneertown has since transformed itself into a unique tourist attraction. People now flock through the Joshua Tree desert to be photographed looking like outlaws outside the frontier buildings.

Pioneertown is also home to a great BBQ restaurant called Pappy & Harriet’s, and the very hip Pioneertown Motel, making it a great overnight stop-over.

>> Pioneertown Motel

>> Pappy & Harriet’s

  

Los Angeles: 10 Awesome Things To Do With Kids

8. Decorate Your Own at Duff’s Cupcakes

The great thing about Duff’s Cupcakes on Melrose Avenue is that not only can you buy all kinds of cakes and cupcakes there, but you can also arrange to decorate them yourself. If you’re going for the D-I-Y option, then cupcakes can be brought in batches of six and there’s a rainbow of gorgeous sweets to decorate them.

GOOD TO KNOW: This place is insanely popular, so it is best to book your session well in advance, especially if you’re visiting at the weekend.

>> Duff’s Cake Mix

9. Meet Snoopy at Knott’s Berry Farm  

Alongside the usual rollercoasters and thrill-rides, this theme park also offers lots of attractions to keep younger children entertained. Kids can pan for gold, hang out with the Peanuts gang at ‘Camp Snoopy’ or meet the horses at the livery stable onsite. There are also lots of theatrical shows and story-telling sessions for children.

>> Knott’s Berry Farm

Los Angeles: 10 Awesome Things To Do With Kids

10. Get Pampered at the Beverly Wilshire Spa

If all this gallivanting around LA has left your family in need of some rest and relaxation, then head over to the super luxurious Beverly Wilshire hotel (yes, the one of Pretty Woman fame).

There’s an extensive treatment menu for adults and a kids spa menu, which includes the princess mini-facial, the rock star massage and mini-manis to get the whole family Rodeo Drive ready!

>> Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire Hotel

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Los Angeles: 10 Awesome Things To Do With Kids