Familydaysout.com has done ALL the hard work so you don’t have to by creating the ULTIMATE family city guide to visiting Los Angeles, to read, print and use!
Are you excited to read our "Top 9 Family Attractions" for your visit to the vibrant and iconic City of Angels. Yes, we mean Los Angeles, California! Not only can you read about our top things to do in LA for kids, but we let you know the coolest FREE things to do with kids too!. If that wasn't enough, you'll see our transport tips, fun facts for you and your family (to impress your friends), and let you know about a super fun day trip from Los Angeles too. You'll even find out about some famous locals you may not know of. We want to make sure you don’t miss out on anything when visiting the bright lights of Hollywood, and beyond!
So whether you are from interstate looking for great travel tips, or a local thinking "I wonder what I can do with the kids near me today", then this is the place for you!
Los Angeles City Guide
Everybody got a dream! What's your dream? Yes, we're in Los Angeles and it's where the sun shines bright, a melting pot of food can be found, families have amazing fun and yes, dreams come true. Los Angeles history actually began after a Spanish colony town was officially named in 1781. In fact, it's that Spanish beginning where we get the city's famous name, as Los Angeles is actually Spanish for "The Angels"!
Over the next century, Los Angeles developed, with a major boom in population occurring in 1848 after gold was discovered in California. The city was incorporated in 1850, its first newspaper arrived in 1851, and today, it's become one of the most popular cities in the US to visit. LA isn't just great for its movies and movie stars, it also has plenty of family fun too!
Did you know that Los Angeles gets nearly 290 days of sun a year? So no matter if you visit in winter, spring, summer, or fall, there will be something fun to do with the kids in Tinsel Town. Take a stroll down Rodeo Drive, visit the iconic cross-section of Hollywood & Vine, or dip those toes in the Pacific Ocean along the stunning coast. There are amazing museums to enjoy, like the Natural History Museum, a unique experiences like Ripley's Believe It or Not, and lots of animal fun, such as the Los Angeles Zoo! So get ready to search for those dreams, kids, because you're off to Hollywood!
You might commonly hear that "everybody drives in LA", but the reality is, LA has a great public transport system, it's just under your feet! MetroLink is a great way to get around LA, especially with a family.
The rail system can take you to a number of the key attractions within the city, including Universal Studios, Griffith Park, Sunset Blvd, & those Hollywood stars, as well as those slightly further afield destinations including Marina del Rey, Venice, and Pacific Pallisades.
They even offer unlimited train journeys on weekends for just $10!
Source and Image Credit: More information here: MetroLink
Best Attractions in Los Angeles
Be part of the glitz and glamour with a Starline Tour! This popular and iconic company can take you to see a range of city hot spots, as well as backstage at movie studios, and yes, even take you past celebrity homes! Don't forget your camera, we're going star spotting!
Top 9 Fun Things To Do With The Kids In Los Angeles
Let's start off our Top 9 with a BANG, and head to the iconic Universal Studios Hollywood! A day of fun, excitement, adventure, magic, and thrills is ready and waiting with their amazing rides & attractions. Are you up for the challenge?
A true favorite of Universal Studios is the studio tour, where you can see King Kong come to life in 3D right in front of you! Come face to face with Amity Island's most famous resident, then hold on tight with the Fast & The Furious - Supercharged grand finale!
There's wizardry waiting with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, plenty of kiddie rides for the little ones, Transformers: The Ride-3D excitement, the entertaining Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and SO much more!
Universal Studios is one to keep visiting too, as there are always new rides & attractions opening, just like the new Jurassic World launching Summer 2019!
You're in Hollywood, so why not see the magic of the movies first hand with a tour around the Warner Brothers Studio! There standard Studio Tours allows you to experience the excitement of a working Hollywood studio, and see where your favorite TV shows & movies were filmed!
Kids will love to immerse themselves in the DC Universe, and see Aquamans' Realm. You can learn about what it takes to get from script to screen, and it in the Central Perk Cafe (parents, that one's for you!)
Also on offer are Deluxe Tours (with extra access!) and the Classics tour, celebrating the Golden Age of Hollywood. Lights, cameras, and ACTION!
The Hollywood Museum will completely immerse you in the magic of the movies, with the most extensive collection of Hollywood memorabilia in the world! Spread across four floors, there are on display over 10,000 authentic show business treasures, including costumes, props, posters, car collections, autographs, and so much more!
Parents and kids alike will love to see the collection, from the classics like Marilyn Monroe's million dollar dress and Elvis' personal bathrobe, to more recents such as Jurassic Park, Glee, High School Musical, Beyonce, & Miley Cyrus. You can even visit the dungeon from Silence of the Lambs! Eeek!
Lifelike wax figures complete the exhibits, so you can really imagine just what those stars would have been like in person! Say hi to Bette Davis for us!
Why not spend your family day out in LA surrounded by 1,400 animals, representing over 270 different species? Sounds pretty WILD, doesn't it? That's exaclty what you can do at Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Garden. It's a super fun day out for the kids, to meet their favorite animals, and learn about them too!
The exhibits are fun to explore, giving you a change to walk through a rainforest, experience the chimps of Mahale Mountains, head Down Under to Australia, and imagine yourselves in Africa with the gorillas. Kids can even enjoy their own children's zoo with lots of hands-on interactions with domestic animals.
Set across 133 acres, and open year round, it's time to walk on the wild side in Los Angeles!
Saddle up kids, we're off to Sunset Ranch Hollywood a good old fashioned trail ride, but with views that stretch out right over the city! Whether it's your first time on a horse, or you can ride like John Wayne (kids look him up), they have you covered!
Sunset Ranch offers day rides, as well as evening tours, lunch tours, and of course a BBQ tour too (we are cowboys and cowgirls after all). Yee haw!
A fun escape from the crowds of the city, and a great opportunity to see LA from a different point of view!
A visit to the Natural History Musuem of Los Angeles also means a visit to the oldest museum building in the city! Once inside, you will be met with some extraordinary specimens, and learn of the stories behind them.
Kids can see what mammals really lived in the Ice Age, and come face to face with some of the most incredible and terrifying dinosaurs to ever walk the Earth. You can even explore the Earth itself in the Gem and Mineral Hall.
Both indoor and outdoor experiences can be enjoyed, all with the one unifying theme of nature & culture in Los Angeles and the world.
Feel part of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood by taking a backstage tour of the Dolby Theatre, home of the Acadmey Awards! Formerly the Kodak Theatre, this stunning location is where that red carpet is rolled out, the photographers gather, and those gold statues are given out.
During the tour, you can check out images from previous Academy Award ceremonies, hear the stories of what it takes to put on such an event, and even see a real Academy Award statuette!
The La Brea Tar Pits actually began about 50,000 years ago, which is about 65 million years after all the big dinosaurs went extinct. Some annimals who lived around this time, got stuck in the sticky tar, and now you can see their incredible fossils within the la Brea Tar Pits Musuem!
There are over one mission Ice Age fossils collected, from over 650 species. You can see Mammoth tusks, tiny mice, the infamous sabre-tooth tigers and more!
The museum offers plenty of interactive fun for the kids too, just like watching paleontologists work on the Ice Age fossils right before their eyes!
If you're visiting Los Angeles with the kids, then a visit to Disneyland is a must! After all, it's the Happiest Place on Earth, and your all your friends, including Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, are waiting to say meet you!
Disneyland offers that classic theme park experience, but with a magical twist. A day here really gives kids a chance to live out their favorite fairytales (and the super cool rides help too!)
From the fast paced Space Mountain, to the gentle Tea Cups, and swashbuckling Pirates of the Caribbean, Disneyland is just as much for adult as it is for the kids. The Magic Kingdom awaits!
Arguably the most famous movie stars in the world, Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson in 1926, & gave us classics like Some Like It Hot, and Seven Year Itch
Image Copyright: Public Domain
Leonardo DiCaprio is an Academy Award winning actor who has been in some of the highest grossing films ever, including Wolf of Wall Street, Inception & of course Titanic
Image Copyright: Public Domain
5 Fun Los Angeles Facts
Impress your friends with your amazing Los Angeles knowledge!
- When LA was founded, the city's full name was “El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora Reina de los Angeles sobre el Rio Porciuncula". Phew!
- The Hollywood sign originally said “Hollywoodland" (it was an ad for real estate!) In 1978, it was deteriorating & nearly demolished, until Hugh Hefner held a fundraiser to save it!
- The original "movie" town was Atlantic City in New Jersey, but Thomas Edison held all the film patents, & thus controlled the industry. People fled to LA to escape it, & Hollywood was born!
- There are a maze of underground tunnels below Downtown Los Angeles. Some are abandoned subways, others were used in Prohibition to smuggle alcohol. Some well, remain a mystery!
- Los Angeles has the ONLY lighthouse in the world that uses a green light!
Top 5 FREE Things To Do With Kids In Los Angeles
The Getty Center & Museum
Just the views from the Getty Center & Museum alone are reason enough to make the trip up to this popular attraction. They are stunning, looking out over the whole of Los Angeles!
But within the museum you'll find spectacular art and architecture, so it also makes a rich day of learning for the family.
Explore Griffith Park & Observatory
From the early morning runners, to playing families, and evening strolls to watch the sunset over the city, Griffith Park is an incredibly popular destination for nature lovers and active families.
At the summit, you'll find the impressive Griffith Observatory, where the views of the city are breathraking. It's free to explore the observatory, but shows are a small fee.
See the Handprints of the Stars!
One of the most famous experiences in Hollywood is to visit those famous hand & footprints outside of TCL Chinese Theatre, previously known as Graumans.
From Marilyn Monroe, to Steven Speilberg, Judy Garland & Sandra Bullock, you can see were you favorite stars cemented themselves in history (and it's fun to compare your hands too!)
Visit Santa Monica Pier!
The end of iconic Route 66 can be just the start of your adventures when you take a stroll along this historic pier, and enjoy delicious foods, fun activities, and entertainment!
Whilst some of the pier attractions have a small fee, there is always plenty of free entertainment, as well as a stunning beach to play on.
If you visit Los Angeles and don't visit Santa Monica Pier, then your trip isn't totally complete!
Stroll Along Venice Beach
Venice Beach is a truly iconic destination in Los Angeles. Here you can see those famous muscle men working out as you enjoy deliciously fresh food from the many vendors, as roller skaters breeze past.
You're right on the Pacific Ocean, hang around until sunset, take in the atmosphere and breathe in the magic of the city!
15 Great Places to Eat in LA!
Known as the American Riveria, Santa Barbara is great day trip option from Los Angeles. Located on the stunning California coast, you'll be surrounded by ocean, mountains, vineyards, culture, history, and an Mediterranean climate! What could be better!?
A visit to Santa Barbara is like stepping back to early Hollywood, or the very first days of Fiesta. The Spanish Colonial influence can be seen around every corner, as well as the rich history of the basketry and boat-building techniques of the Chumash Indians.
You'll also be in the very place that the first days of filmmaking emerged. Did you know Santa Barbara was home to the first major movie studio in California? Flying A Studios was so great, hundreds of silent films were produced there before the LA scene grew, and Charlie Chaplin was a regular!
There are a few ways to visit Santa Barbara from Los Angeles. By bus, Greyhound is great for the budget, with the two hour drive around $20. The train is a favorite option, with LA's Union Station runs trains from $19 (inclunding historic trains!), but if you go by car, it takes around 90 minutes & you'll be taking one of the most scenic drives on the West Coast (and maybe the world!). It's a good idea to leave LA early to avoid the rush hour.
Here’s our top 4 Santa Barbara attractions to visit:
- Santa Barbara Zoo
- Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History
- Santa Barbara Historical Museum
- Santa Barbara Maritime Museum
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Let's get the family adventure started!