Los Angeles – Off the Beaten Path
Los Angeles is a city with endless options and activities to keep little ones entertained and families occupied. Traditional activities such as museums, parks and zoos are definitely tried and tested staples, however, modern parents are often itching for something new and exciting that offers more of an experiential element than the predictable standbys.
We’ve rounded up some of the most unique activities in and around Los Angeles. These unique ideas will keep the kiddos entertained, while also offering a fun experience for the adults to enjoy!
Take a Beachfront Bike Ride
With Los Angeles’ seemingly endless and near-perfect sunny weather virtually year round, it would be a crime not to take advantage of it and head outdoors…specifically to the beach! What better way to experience the California lifestyle than hopping on a bike! You’ll feel the wind in your hair and see nothing but breathtaking views of sand and ocean for miles.
If you don’t own a bike, there are plenty of bike rental shops dotted along the various beachfront bike paths. Stretching from Santa Monica and Venice Beach, all the way to Manhattan Beach and beyond, you’ll easily find rental options. Beach Cruisers are a favorite rental and if your child isn’t completely comfortable on their own bike, consider renting a tandem bicycle. Rental shops also offer baby seats and trailers for the younger ones to hitch to adult bikes, so the whole family can get in on the action! Kids will love the sense of freedom and gorgeous views while parents enjoy a great workout. It’s a win win situation!
Cost: free (if you already own a bike); Bicycle rentals start at $5/hour and go up to approx. $24 for a full day.
Visit Annenberg Community Beach House
While sticking with the beach theme, be sure to check out a children’s version of outdoor paradise at the Annenberg Community Beach House. This former Marion Davies private estate, and it’s adjacent marble swimming pool, is located on 5 beautiful acres of ocean front property on Santa Monica State Beach. It has been transformed into a non-membership public space for all to enjoy!
Kids will love the splash pad, children’s play area, and of course the historic pool. Take a midday break and have lunch or a quick bite at the onsite restaurant, Back On The Beach Cafe. With a few quick steps beyond the restaurant you will be right on the beach. Take advantage of the onsite umbrella and chair rentals. Parents can kickback and relax in the shade while little ones build sandcastles and frolic on the beach. For a touch of culture, take a free tour of the Marion Davies Guesthouse to round out your day!
Note: The pool itself is only open from May to October. However, the beach house runs Pop Up Pool Days throughout the year and offers beach amenities year round.
Cost: Parking- Apr-Oct $12/day or $3/hour, Nov-Mar $8/day or $3/hour; Pool admission- $10 per person; Splash pad: free
Explore Decanso Gardens
Decanso Gardens is one of those Los Angeles places that feels very “un-LA-ish”, in the best possible sense. Located off the beaten path in La Canada Flintridge, you will definitely feel like you’ve been transported to a calming refuge away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This should come as no surprise as Decanso means “place of rest” in Spanish. This 150-acre botanical garden is huge so check the events calendar and zero in on the kid-friendly activities. This will help to make your visit more manageable and enjoyable for the kiddos.
Little Explorers is perfect for children ages 2 to 5. On the first Saturday of the month, Little Explorers will encourage kids to use their senses to discover the natural world through hands-on activities. Children 2 years and older are welcome to participate in the Little Owls Reading Nest where they can enjoy an enchanting nature themed story time at Magnolia Nest. Ride the Enchanted Railroad train ride, participate in scavenger hunts and don’t miss the children’s maze, perfect for kids 6 and under to run around and explore.
Cost: Adults $9, Children 5-12 $4, Children 5 and under are free
Enjoy an Outdoor Concert at Levitt Pavilion
With 50 free concerts offered every summer, Levittt Pavilion, located in MacArthur Park, is the perfect place for the whole family to explore their love of music in the great outdoors. Pack lawn chairs, blankets and picnic fixings and be prepared to get up on your feet and dance! Most shows start between 6:30 and 7:30pm, however, if you arrive early there is a designated Kidzone near the pavilion offering free art activities, games, face painting and more! They also offer a Sunday Children’s Series featuring music geared towards the kiddos!
Cost: Admission Free; Parking $8
Shop & Play at Studio City Farmers Market
This is a double whammy for kids and parents alike. Parents get to buy their weekly selection of farm fresh produce while kids enjoy a ton of super fun activities. Voted the most kid-friendly farmers markets in Los Angeles, this is an experience that is fun for the whole family. There are pony rides, a petting zoo, a bounce house, swings, a rock climbing wall and slides. It’s a combination of every child’s fantasy all in one place! After the kiddos have burned off a bunch of energy, they can re-energize and re-hydrate with food and beverages from local vendors.
Cost: Free admission; Purchase tickets onsite for kids activities (price varies)
It’s easy to get caught up in the familiarity of local parks and museums, but kids and parents benefit from venturing away from the norm. Even if it takes a bit of extra effort, the payoff is priceless!
Some of these off-the-beaten-path activities require much walking so don’t forget to rent a stroller or carrier from BabyQuip providers in the LA area to make it easier on you and the little ones!
What are some of your favorite Los Angeles activities that are off the beaten path? Comment below!
Jennifer O’Neill is an Independent Quality Provider with BabyQuip, helping families travel lighter and happier. She is a mother of two boys and enjoys working out, spending time with family and friends and of course, traveling.