There are so many activities in the Los Angeles area that it can be overwhelming when you are trying to figure out what to do. This post focuses on fun things to do in LA with kids. We spoke with Mom Blogger Christina Patricio on the LA Dreaming Podcast about this topic. During our conversation, we talked about 10 different ideas for things to do with kids in LA. This is such a large topic that I will continue adding to this list as parents share activities that their children have enjoyed in the LA area.
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You can listen to the podcast through Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, or Podbean.
You can follow our guest Christina Patricio on Instagram @christina.patricio for more ideas of what to do in LA with kids be sure to visit her blog.
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood is so much fun to visit. You can enjoy rides, shows, the backlot tram tour, and more! For young children be sure to bring bathing suits so they can play in the Minions water area. In the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, you can purchase an interactive wand that can be used to cast spells around the area. The park has Simpsons, Jurassic World, Minions, Kung Fu Panda, Hello Kitty, Secret Life Of Pets and they are currently working on adding a Super Nintendo World.
I especially love visiting Universal Studios during the holiday time to enjoy Grinchmas. One of my favorite places to eat at the park is the Three Broomsticks, for dessert a Simpsons donut is a must-have. You can check out more blog posts about visiting this park. I have written about tips & tricks to enjoy your visit, what to do at the CityWalk, and how to save money at the park.
Visiting from out of town? Christina recommends staying at the Sheraton Universal Hotel or The Garland.
Disney’s El Capitan Theatre
If your family loves Disney, a visit to El Capitan Theatre is the perfect experience to put on your to-do list. Even if you don’t see a movie at the theatre (which you absolutely should if time permits) you can visit the Disney Studio Store and Ghirardelli Shop next door. You’ll find special edition pins and other fun merch but delicious desserts. For the theatre itself, I do recommend purchasing discounted tickets through Goldstar. They have discounted tickets for most movies so it is always worth checking to see if you can get a deal.
One of the things that truly make El Capitan stand out is that they only show Disney movies. They don’t just show movies though, they really go above and beyond to make your experience spectacular. When I saw Frozen at this theatre they made it snow during Let It Go. When I went to a throwback screening of Beauty and the Beast Belle came out on stage to introduce the movie.
Occasionally, they will have character breakfasts on Saturday mornings. You can get Mickey pretzels at concessions. Be sure to go downstairs to see special props and costumes on display. I also recommend connecting with them on social media to stay up to date with their special events. They often have talent from the movies coming for a q&a or to introduce the movie.
Madame Tussauds Hollywood
Madame Tussauds Hollywood is always fun to visit. It is down the street from El Capitan so it is very easy to do these on the same day. I also recommend adding a quick stop for the courtyard of the TCL Chinese Theatres to see the hand & footprints of the stars. Madame Tussauds used to sound creepy to me, but I was shocked on my first visit by how much fun I had. This is one of the most interactive museums that I have ever visited.
If you and your family love taking photos this will be a fabulous place for you to check out. They have so many props and costumes for you to try on to take your photos and videos to the next level. It can also be a great opportunity to teach your children about classic Hollywood stars like Audrey Hepburn and even the stars of your childhood like Michael Jackson.
With the Go City LA Pass, you can get into Madame Tussauds, Knotts Berry Farm, Legoland, the Warner Bros Studio Tour, Universal Studios (with a 3-day pass), the LA Zoo, Science Center, and more. You pay one set fee and can get into multiple places a day with the pass. I have used it before and highly recommend it. You can purchase a pass here.
If you want to see an example of spending just one day in LA using a Go City LA pass you can visit this post.
Warner Bros Studio Tour
Children 5 years old and up can participate in the studio tour. While it is geared towards adults, it can still be enjoyable for children. There is a lot for them to do at the end of the tour when you get to explore the DC and Harry Potter exhibits. The tour is ideal for fans of DC, The Big Bang Theory, Pretty Little Liars, Gilmore Girls, Friends, movies & more! This is my favorite studio tour, and I have done them all. You can read more about visiting the Warner Bros Studio here.
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Skirball Cultural Center is such a fun and interesting museum. They have a mini Noah’s Ark that is amazing. They have so much to offer for the entire family as well as a wonderful cafe. Christina and her family visited when the museum had a Jim Henson exhibit (which is gone now) but you can read about that experience on her blog here.
The Grove is a favorite outdoor shopping and entertainment center. At The Grove, you can visit the American Girl Doll store which has a cafe where you can dine with your doll. It is so much fun to ride the trolley and visit the Famers Market. Barnes and Noble host a bunch of book signings, including children’s books, with celebrities. I have met stars like Dick Van Dyke, Neil Patrick Harris, Drew Barrymore, and Kate Hudson at their events. You can find out about upcoming events through Barnes and Noble’s Instagram.
Funko Pop Hollywood Store
The best part about a visit to the Funko Pop Store is that entry is free! This store is unlike any other shop I have ever been to. It is so immersive and full of incredible photo ops. The Funko Pop store is located at 6201 Hollywood Blvd #100. At the entrance, I was handed a map, and honestly, you need the map just to make sure you are not skipping any areas. The layout of the store is really good with each fandom having its own area. And the merchandise is not just limited to Funko Pops. You’ll find super cute shirts, purses, and more.
The Disneyland Resort
Of course, no list of things to do in LA with kids is complete without The Disneyland Resort. If you are visiting with multiple children you might want to use a rider switch pass. This is designed for families who have a child that isn’t tall enough to ride an attraction or doesn’t want to ride it. One adult waits in line with one child but asks a cast member for a switch pass. When they get off the ride the adults switch so everyone who wants to ride can. There is also the baby center (each park has one) where you can find privacy to nurse, prepare bottles & food, and more.
There are so many ways you can help keep children busy while you wait in line. You can teach them to look for hidden mickeys, which are designs hidden around the park shaped like Mickey’s head. In the queue for Indiana Jones, you can keep an eye out for a hidden Eeyore above the projector in the room with the safety video. Pin trading is a great way for them to practice social skills. The way pin trading works is you can buy any Disney pin and trade it with cast members should you see one on a trading board that you like better.
Knotts Berry Farm
If your kids love rides and Charlie Brown and the peanut gang, this amusement park is perfect. Knotts Berry Farm has really fun events for the holidays as well as their boysenberry festival. They even have Knotts Soak City that you can enjoy during the summer. If your kids enjoy big roller coasters this is a great spot to visit.
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Christina is a LEGOLAND blogger ambassador and enjoys going to LEGOLAND so much with her family. There are 9 different lands. The newest one is the LEGO Movie World. Waiting in line has never been as fun as it is at LEGOLAND. Children can play with Legos while the adults wait in line. The hotels sound absolutely incredible. I cannot wait to bring my nephews here. You can read about Legoland on Christina’s blog here.
Other activities and events I would recommend adding to your list of things to do in LA with kids.
- Kid Space Museum near the Rose Bowl – I brought my nephew here and he loved all the activities and water play.
- Santa Monica Pier – the rides on the pier and a day at the beach can be so much fun
- The Huntington Library – the kid’s garden area is really cool
- California Science Center
- Underwood Family Farms – you can pick your own fruit, see animals and enjoy farm activities
- LA Zoo
- Aquarium of the Pacific