A family holiday in Los Angeles
With movie studios, theme parks, science centres, Hollywood hikes and live sports games, Los Angeles is positively fizzing with family activities. Check out our suggestions below to create an itinerary that's equal parts fun, learning and excitement.
La Brea Tar Pits
The La Brea Tar Pits is a paleontological research site that's also an awesome family outing. For around 50,000 years, animals, plants and insects have been getting trapped in the huge tar pits, which are continually fed from an underground oil field. Now scientists are digging them out and your family can watch. Your crew can also check out the three million specimens the museum has already unearthed, travel back in time at the 3D theatre and watch a live stage show of ice age encounters, including a meeting with a sabre-tooth tiger.
California Science Center
The California Science Center promises a day of immersive and interactive science fun. There are permanent exhibits, like Ecosystems and Air & Space, which help kids to understand the amazing facts of life on Earth. You'll also find special exhibitions about places, exploration and inventions. A special highlight is the huge IMAX 3D movie theatre with its epic, high-definition laser screen.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Stroll past more than 2,700 terrazzo stars that stretch for 2.1 kilometres from Gower Street to La Brea Avenue on Hollywood Boulevard. You can also check out the handprints, footprints and handwritten messages from stars and starlets at the TCL Chinese Theatre's Forecourt of the Stars. See if you can find the biggest hoof in Hollywood!
Cayton Children's Museum
A family day out at Santa Monica Beach involves much more than swimming and dozing in the sun. Just inland from the pier is the Cayton Children's Museum, where your kids can roam free and touch anything they want. The museum's founder says children's museums are meant to be "played with, broken, destroyed, replaced and revised", so your kids can do no wrong here.
Annenberg Community Beach House
Originally a luxury mansion, Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica is a five-acre oceanfront site dedicated to kids' fun. It includes a splashpad, beach courts and fields, swimming pool, playground and other energy-burning activities. Admission is free!
Dodgers Baseball Stadium
Watching a live pro sports game is a quintessential USA experience the whole family will love. In LA you can see baseball, basketball and NFC at stadiums that are built to keep crowds of up to 90,000 happy. Which team will you support? The Dodgers, Rams, Chargers, Lakers, Clippers, Kings, Sparks, LAFC and Galaxy all call Los Angeles home, so start checking their game schedules to find a match that fits your plans.
Griffith Observatory & Hollywood sign
High on the slopes of Mount Hollywood, Griffith Observatory is a free attraction that's packed with learning and wonder. There are exhibits inside and out, as well as live shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium and Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater. At night, public telescopes let you gaze at the stars. The observatory is also a top spot for pictures of the Hollywood Sign and views of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles amusement parks
LA has been theme park central since Disneyland® opened in 1955. Now there are two Disneylands to consider – the original and Disneyland California Adventure Park. Or choose one of the other famous fun parks, like Universal Studios Hollywood, Knott's Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain or Legoland. You'll also find traditional amusement parks, such as Pacific Park at Santa Monica Pier, Belmont Park and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Park.
Runyon Canyon Park
Every legendary family holiday deserves a hike, and there's no hiking ground quite like Runyon Canyon Park. Located high above Los Angeles in the Hollywood Hills, this iconic park is where famous and not-so-famous locals come to stretch their legs and exercise their canine pals. The official entrance is just north of Hollywood Boulevard and there are several trails to choose from. If you want to put the Hollywood sign in your family photo, hike up to Clouds Rest.
Located on the second floor of Westfield Century City, Dreamscape is the place for a fully-immersive virtual reality experience. An astonishing mix of physical and fake, Dreamscape adventures bring you face-to-face with strange creatures, planets and environments. You might fly a dragon, navigate an ancient temple or dive deep into the ocean – and it feels so real!
Catch a cab or bus to Venice Beach for a day of unexpected family entertainment. Along the boardwalk there are street performers, artists and all kinds of food stands. You'll also find an Oceanarium at the pier, bodybuilders at Muscle Beach and crazy board riders at the skate park. Hire some bikes to get around – there are tandems, low rider choppers, bikes with baby seats and tagalong bikes for two. Top it all off with a stop at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams for custom sundaes and ice cream sandwiches.