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Photograph: Michael Juliano

The best things to do with kids in L.A.

With books, bowling, museums and mini golf, it’s easy to keep little ones entertained with these things to do in L.A. with kids

By Alexa Joy Sherman and Time Out contributors

Looking for things to do in Los Angeles with kids to keep your small ones smiling (aside from a trip to Disneyland, of course)? Boredom leads to bad moods for even the most angelic of children, so keep the yawns (and tantrums) at bay with our exhaustive list of things to do in L.A. with kids. Whether you’re in Hollywood, Venice or the Valley, we have picks designed to help you not only meet, but exceed the expectations of even the toughest tiny customers—be they bookworms, speed demons or petite patrons of the arts.

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Best kids activities in L.A.


La Brea Tar Pits and Museum

Museums Natural history Miracle Mile

Back in 1875, a group of amateur paleontologists discovered animal remains in the pits at Rancho La Brea, which bubbled with asphalt from a petroleum lake under what is now Hancock Park. Some 130 years later, the pros are still at work here, having dragged millions of fossils from the mire. Scope out the bones on display inside the museum, and make sure to take a tour of the active tar pits.

Petersen Automotive Museum

Petersen Automotive Museum

Museums Transportation Miracle Mile

Miracle Mile was the first commercial development in L.A. designed expressly for the benefit of drivers, and so a former department store makes an apt home for this museum of car culture. A 2015 redesign has since turned the automotive history museum into more of a high-tech gallery, with about 150 cars on display. For kids, you’ll find Forza driving simulation stations and a Cars-inspired discovery center on the second floor, complete with an augmented reality experience tha

Santa Monica Pier
Photograph: Courtesy Scott Trento

Santa Monica Pier

Attractions Historic buildings and sites Downtown Santa Monica

Considered the focal point of Santa Monica Beach, Santa Monica Pier includes Pacific Park, a traditional set-up stocked with a Ferris wheel, aquarium, fairground games and cotton candy stands. On warm weekends, the stretch is busy with families, beach bums and gym bunnies, who work out in public at the original Muscle Beach just south of the pier.

Echo Park Time Travel Mart

Echo Park Time Travel Mart

Things to do Cultural centers Echo Park

At first glance, the inside of this storefront resembles any other market in the area—but look closer and you’ll find a collection of “time travel” curiosities that one might need in order to visit the distant past or future. While everything in it is indeed for sale, the store is actually a front for 826LA, a literary nonprofit founded by author Dave Eggers. Enter through a secret door in the back of the shop, and you’ll find a classroom, where free tutoring and creative writing classes are offered to kids ages 6 to 18; in fact, all the books in the store are written by those kids.

Griffith Observatory
Photograph: Courtesy Nathan Dumlao

Griffith Observatory

Museums Science and technology Griffith Park

You could comfortably spend a few hours here—even with little ones—just taking in the exhibits and the shows. Swing by the Foucault pendulum in the central rotunda, stick around to see a Testla coil demonstration and watch a movie in the handsome, high-tech Samuel Oschin Planetarium. Make sure to head downstairs, too; young ones love jumping up and down to make the seismograph machine scribble and checking out what they’d weigh on each planet.

Button Mash
Photograph: Courtesy Button Mash

Button Mash

Restaurants Contemporary Asian Echo Park

If your kids lean a little older, there’s no better spot to grab a bite before hitting the arcade. Echo Park’s combination restaurant and ode to the vintage game cabinet boasts dozens of old-school options like Pac-Man and pinball, while the food’s excellent for any age group. (Ginger chicken wings, fries, burgers and fried rice, anyone?) Note: This spot is 21+ starting at 9pm, so stop by during the day or early evening if you’re bringing the kiddos.


Rolling Robots

Things to do Glendale

For tykes who prefer science and technology to ceramics and teddy bears—and who are at least seven years old—this place takes building your own toy to a whole new level. Specializing in after-school and weekend workshops, as well as birthday parties and holiday camps, they teach budding engineers how to construct, customize and battle their own mechanical creations.

Children's Library at the Beverly Hills Public Library
Photograph courtesy: Beverly Hills Public Library

Beverly Hills Public Library

Things to do Classes and workshops Beverly Hills

This Beverly Hills library is a truly magical place sure to spark a lifetime love of reading. In addition to the extensive collection of books and the comfy reading desks and nooks in the bright, beautifully renovated Children’s Library, there’s a separate, enclosed play area complete with toys, puzzles and train sets, where no shushing is necessary. Kids will also be captivated by the high-ceilinged “Enchanted Woods Room,” which is adorned with art from children’s classics, as well as the gorgeous, all-wood area where story times are offered for babies, toddlers or preschoolers throughout the week.


Underwood Family Farms

Things to do Ventura County

Old MacDonald would have a serious fit of farm envy if he saw the fun kids have here. For starters, they can visit with (and in many cases feed) an array of animals, including donkeys, sheep, ducks, rabbits, cows, pigs, horses, emus and alpacas—and even watch goats climb overhead on a custom-made “mountain” of balance beams. There are also various attractions, including a bounce house, electric train, petting corral and mini electric tractors.

Photograph: Courtesy Mulligan Family Fun Center

Mulligan Family Fun Center

Things to do The Harbor

Some kids in the family want to go to the batting cages while other want to play mini golf and lazer tag? No need to fight over it, just head to Mulligan Family Fun Center, where kids (and adults) can do all that and more. With a rock wall, paddle boats, mini golf, an arcade, go-karts, lazer tag, a family fun zone and batting cages, there is literally something fun for everyone in the family.

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