Los Angeles is one of the most renowned destinations in the country, as it's the home of Hollywood and a variety of other entertaining attractions the entire family can enjoy. Whether you're looking for fun in the city or a trip to the beach, you can find it all in this town. To make sure you get the most out of your vacation, however, you'll have to come up with a plan that will see you through every step of the way. Learn how you can create an unforgettable family vacation in Los Angeles, and discover what it takes to get the most out of your experience.
Getting to Los Angeles
Given the popularity of Los Angeles, you'll find it fairly easy to travel there no matter where in the country you're coming from. Several major highways and interstates can take you to this coastal city, including I-5, I-15, I-10, and Highway 101. Keep in mind, however, that traffic in Los Angeles can be heavy and slow-moving during the workweek all year long. If you're planning on flying, your best bet would be flying into Los Angeles International Airport. Just west of downtown, LAX is relatively close to major attractions. Public transportation isn't readily available, however, so you may want to rent a car once you arrive. Alternatively, you could try to arrange for a flight into the Hollywood-Burbank airport. BUR is much smaller than LAX and puts you closer to the action, but it doesn't offer as many connections.
Family attractions to fill your Los Angeles itinerary
No trip to Los Angeles would be complete without an itinerary full of fun things to do. Fortunately, you'll find no shortage of iconic sites to visit and enjoy no matter what your family is interested in. Hollywood itself is packed full of fun, but the entire city has much to offer for you and your kids, so take a look at some of the best attractions in town you won't want to miss out on.
See the famous Hollywood Sign
The Hollywood Sign is one of the most iconic landmarks in the entire city, and it deserves far more than just a glancing pass while you're walking the streets. Instead, you can take your family to the sign directly, thanks to the convenient local walking paths that lead directly behind it. Once you reach your destination, you'll have a great view of the entire city that serves as a perfect backdrop for an unforgettable family photo. The hike is about a 3-mile round trip. It's not difficult terrain, but it may be too long for especially young kids.
Stroll among the stars at the Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is found on Hollywood Boulevard, a legendary part of town, and features several names in stars on the sidewalk. You'll recognize plenty of iconic names, while some celebrities more popular with kids have their own stars as well. Nearby, the handprints in the cement outside the TCL Chinese Theatre are also fun to see along with the iconic design of the theater itself. It's important to remember, however, that this street can be quite busy.
Enjoy fun in the sun at Venice Beach
Families looking for some fun at the beach will find everything they're looking for and more with a visit to Venice Beach. The beach itself offers inviting waters and soft sands that the whole family can enjoy. You will find some mild waves in a few areas though, so be cautious if your kids are especially young. If your kids are at least 14 years old, they can take surfing lessons here. While you're here, be sure to check out the Muscle Beach section to see some impressive art murals set up in the area.
Enjoy classic entertainment at Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier is an iconic destination right by Venice Beach where you and your family will find plenty to do, including an amusement park, places to fish, and several fun shops. The most prominent landmark here is the massive Ferris wheel, which you can ride for even better views of Los Angeles. In addition to the other rides, like coasters, you'll also find a fun arcade full of both retro and contemporary video games that the entire family can enjoy. The pier can get quite busy during peak hours, so you may want to visit earlier in the day to avoid the crowds.
Step back in time at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
When you visit the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, you'll find an extensive collection of exhibits showcasing the massive reptiles that roamed the planet millions of years ago. Several dinosaur bones are on display, including full re-creations of entire dinosaurs. Kids can even enjoy special exhibitions specifically catered to them, such as the Butterfly Pavilion, which is a common favorite. You can also enjoy live theater shows during special events held here.
Take the WB Studios Tour
On a WB Studios Tour, you and your family can learn about how one of the busiest Hollywood studios works. With more than 100 years of history to explore and actual backlots of real sets, the studio offers plenty to see and do during your tour. Your kids will especially enjoy the interactive soundstage that lets them experience firsthand some of the latest technology that's used in film production. Kids who are into comic books will especially enjoy the DC superheroes and villains showcase where they can see iconic props.
Cultivate curiosity at the California Science Center
At the California Science Center, you'll find a wide variety of exhibits suitable for adults and kids alike that offer hands-on experiences and cultivate curiosity for human inventions and innovations. The Ecosystems exhibit showcases incredible marine life, while the air and space exhibit features rocket pieces and other artifacts from the history of humanity's effort to explore the final frontier. Other exhibits include high-powered jet planes and discovery rooms designed especially for guests 7 years of age and younger.
Family restaurants in Los Angeles
You and your family will need to stay fed during your trip, and there's no shortage of stunning restaurants to enjoy in the area. The popularity and influence of the city have drawn quite a few world-renowned chefs to set up shop here, but high-end fine dining doesn't always work well with family vacations. Take a look at the top family-friendly restaurants in the area where you'll find delicious food that you and even the pickiest children can still enjoy.
Try the combination at Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken
When you think of tantalizing food combinations, donuts and chicken probably aren't the first to come to mind. If you visit Astro Doughnuts and Fried Chicken, however, you'll find the best of both, offered in a way that works surprisingly well. Given that this combination sounds like the dream of a child in the first place, it probably won't take much convincing to get your kids to go. Families may be particularly interested in their picnic basket offering that features a variety of items, including 8 pieces of chicken, several biscuits, and an assortment of donuts.
Eat pizza at Cosa Buona
Pizza is almost always a kid-pleaser, and you'll find some of the best at Cosa Buona. This Neapolitan pizzeria is run by chef-owner Zack Pollack, who's committed to creating stunning creations using only fresh ingredients. Despite not having a dedicated kids' menu, your family will never be short on delicious items to choose from. In addition to pizza, you can enjoy meatballs, mozzarella sticks, and a variety of sandwiches, among other incredible options. You'll even find sweets here, such as cookies and pies.
Explore variety at Grand Central Market
Grand Central Market isn't a singular restaurant but a collection of restaurants set up in a way that makes it easy to introduce your kids to a variety of cuisines. The 30,000-square-foot space has several vendors set up within, offering everything from childhood favorites to more international options. You'll find classic sandwiches, pizza, and tacos right alongside Asian, vegan, and even some specialties from Berlin. Several sweet-treats vendors are settled here as well, offering items like candy and donuts.
Grab a quick bite at Huckleberry Bakery and Cafe
If you're looking for something tasty without dedicating all that much time to an entire sit-down meal, Huckleberry Bakery and Cafe has got you covered. Run by a husband and wife team, the restaurant features a variety of homemade items that are created with local, fresh ingredients. Some favorites include grilled cheese and PB&J sandwiches, chicken fingers, and scrambled eggs. The café is an especially popular option for breakfast, so consider it as a first stop one day on your itinerary.
Accommodations for a family vacation in Los Angeles
In between your Los Angeles excursions, your family will need a place to rest and recuperate every night. That's why finding the right kind of accommodation is so important to your vacation experience. You'll find a wide variety of options available whether you're looking to get pampered or you want something more budget friendly to save your funds for the attractions. Either way, you'll need to decide the type of accommodation, as they all have different experiences on offer.
Los Angeles family resorts
When you book one of the Los Angeles family resorts, you can expect a more luxurious kind of vacation experience with high-quality amenities you won't find anywhere else. Resorts offer all the space your family needs in addition to on-site conveniences like restaurants and spa centers. Your kids will enjoy the pools and waterslides available at many local resorts. Plus, resorts tend to be conveniently located near some of the top local attractions, and even when they aren't, they may offer easy transportation at no additional cost.
Los Angeles house rentals
Families looking for a more home-away-from-home experience during a family vacation in Los Angeles may want to opt for a local house rental. Renting a house can create an experience closer to your actual home life, with multiple bedrooms, a full kitchen, and potentially some outdoor space. Amenities like WiFi and central heating and cooling tend to be standard, and that's just the beginning. You can still enjoy luxury accommodation when booking a house rental, as some offer stunning upgrades like a private hot tub and private beach access.