Visiting Los Angeles’ numerous theme parks and miles of beaches could keep a family busy for weeks, but there’s an artsy side to this city that is well worth exploring. Downtown is experiencing a revival and has fast become the city’s newest hotspot for families. Kid-worthy museums and urban parks are just part of the story. Read on for the best activities in Los Angeles with kids.
The California Science Center
Innovative programming introduces kids to the wonders of science with the help of dozens of interactive exhibits and live demonstrations. This is California, so kids may design their own structures and learn how to make them earthquake-proof. The Family Discovery Room encourages tactile explorations and includes a special area just for toddlers. This museum is a big hit with little travelers so plan on spending at least half a day here. Free admission sweetens the deal.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
This museum’s Dinosaur Hall is a perennial favorite. Labs offer glimpses of actual scientists at work while the Gem and Mineral Hall showcases sparkling rubies, diamonds and sapphires. The Butterfly and Spider Pavilions are open seasonally. The Nature Garden allows you to get up-close with plant and wildlife while remaining in the big city.
The Flower District
You’re never too young to appreciate the beauty of flowers. The Flower District is the largest wholesale flower market in the United States, a feast of color and fragrance. Shoppers pay the same price that professional florists do, so it’s a good spot for kids to observe commerce in action as buyers haggle for bargains.
The birthplace of the City of Los Angeles, this lively swath of Downtown is home to historic buildings and a Mexican-style plaza. Sit on a bench shaded by leafy fig trees and get a sense of the rich Mexican heritage that infuses this city. On weekends, strolling Mariachis serenade with traditional music. The marketplace is an excellent spot to shop for crafts and inexpensive souvenirs.
Even kids who think they don’t like art should enjoy a visit to this contemporary museum. The building itself is pure eye-candy thanks to its unusual honeycomb façade. Inside, the shiny Jeff Koon’s Balloon Dog, Alexander Calder mobiles and Andy Warhol’s Superman hold mucho kid-appeal. Free admission, advance reservations necessary.
OUE Skyspace LA
Located on the 70th floor of the U.S. Bank Tower, OUE Skyspace is California’s tallest open-air observation deck. The view from the top is stellar, as is the interactive technology that offers visitors facts and information about the city. Adventurous kids will love riding the Skyslide, a fully enclosed, glass slide.
Foodie families, bring your appetites to Smorgasburg. Held each Sunday in the Alameda Produce Market, dozens of vendors sell mouth-watering bites, dishing up everything from light-as-air vegan donuts to triple-cooked French fries. Even picky eaters will find something to munch on.
This little park is the perfect place for tiny travelers to let off steam. There’s a performance lawn, community terrace planted with drought-tolerant plants and best of all, a wade-able pool where the kids can enjoy a splash while they cool off.
Grand Central Market
This bustling landmark is home to scores of food vendors actively hawking their delectable food. You can purchase everything from fresh fruit smoothies to ramen. Open daily.
Griffith Park is approximately 20 minutes from Downtown. Spanning over 4,200 acres, it’s one of the largest urban parks in the United States, home to the Los Angeles Zoo and the Griffith Observatory. Travel Town Museum, with its dozens of railroad engines and miniature ride-on trains, is a gem. Horseback riding and cycling are active ways to experience the park
In Korea, grandparents, parents and children go to the spa together. At Wi Spa in Koreatown, around 15 minutes from Downtown, the entire family can get an authentic Korean spa experience. Watch Korean pop music videos, nap on the cozy mats in the common area or enjoy a snack at the restaurant. There’s even a children’s play area that youngest members of the family should enjoy.
By Allison Tibaldi