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Our first trip to LA! help please!

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posts: 26
Our first trip to LA! help please!

This is our first trip to LA, with our 2 sons (ages 8 & 6), we will be staying by Santa Monica beach for 5 days. It would be very helpful if anyone could advise how to use our 5 days wisely and see/do some great things! (We will be coming from Anaheim, so no need to include disney). Oh and if anyone can also advise of any nice family places to eat, that would be great to. Thanks in advance.

Newbury Park...
posts: 3,354
reviews: 27
1. Re: Our first trip to LA! help please!

Third Street Promenade has a lot of restaurants and stores. It is fun to walk around. There is a good toy store as well as ots of street performers.

The Santa Monica Pier has some rides and carnival games (a little pricey for what they are - but my kids enjoy them as a special treat). The carousal at the end of the Pier is great (only a quarter to ride).

There is an indoor playground on 4th Street called Bright Child if you just need a break and want the boys to get some energy out. Lots of climbing and slides. My 3 & 7 year old love it.

If you have a car, the Long Beach Aquarium is really nice (about a 30 minute drive without traffic).

If your kids are adventurous eaters, Typhoon at the Santa Monica Airport for lunch is good (get a window seat and watch the small airplanes take off and land).

The Santa Monica Museum of Flight is small but nicely done.

I will post more in a bit - have to run out now.

Newbury Park...
posts: 3,354
reviews: 27
2. Re: Our first trip to LA! help please!

While some may disagree, my kids enjoy the Getty Museum - we just do it kid style. They love the tram ride up and enjoy the gardens. There is a kid section with some hands on - small but nicely down. Certain exhibits are enjoyabel as well for the kids. If you check there calendar on their website they have free concerts there over the summer and family activity days. On a clear day the view is wonderful.

The LA Science Center by USC is good. The IMAX theaters are there as well. The La Brea Tar Pits are also a good stop for the kids.

Other things my family enjoys doing on the weekends:

Take the subway and then going to Olvera Street and Chinatwown.

Universal City Walk

El Capitan Theater is great fun to go and watch a movie at.

Giffith Park has travel town (lots of trains for the kids to explore, climb on and enjoy) and next door to it on Sunday there are the Los Angeles Live Steamers. Minitrains that you sit on top of and go around the park (both are free, donations are gladly accepted). From there, you can go into the park, picnic, see the Hollywood Sign, and more.

Venice Beach is great fun to wonder and people watch (get a fake tatoo, buy some cheap t-shirts, etc... very inexpensive entertainment for the kids) and if they are good bike riders, you can rent bikes or rollerblades in Santa Monica and easily bike there.

As far as places to eat, there are so many really good ones in the area. Are you looking for fast food, unusual, cheap, doesn't matter... etc...

There is a place on Wilshire and 27nd (maybe a block one way or the other) called California Chicken Cafe - they have the best chicken and wraps and reasonably priced. A definate lunch place that the kid swill love as much as you (assuming you like chicken). There are a lot of "fast" food type place on the 3rd Street Promenade like Baja Fresh and also in the food court at the Santa Monica Mall. If you go along Main Street in Santa Monica there is a wide selection of eating establishments.

Ocean Avenue Seafood is WONDERFUL (pricey) but really good and there are giant fish tanks that my kids like so they stay happy. PF Changs is also there and a favorite of ours. El Cholo on Wilshire is a good family Mexican restaurant.

Hope that helps a bit more.

posts: 26
3. Re: Our first trip to LA! help please!

Thanks so much for your great tips! It really nice to get a mums point of view who knows the area so well. Just can't wait to go now & trying not to think about the 11 hour fight!!

los angeles
posts: 14
reviews: 1
4. Re: Our first trip to LA! help please!

the Santa Monica pier is good to go at night.... the rides look nice when they are lit up....

the children's science musuem is great for kids too..... the Getty is free ( only pay for parking )

If you do not go to Disny then Knott's Berry farm is a great family amusement park ( based on Snoopy and the whole Peanuts gang )

or Six Flags Magic Mountain (based on Looney Tunes and Marvel comic books characters and rides. ) there are thrilliin roller coaster rides, and is also family based with a whole Bugs Bunny world area.--and a Batman Stunt show

Newbury Park...
posts: 3,354
reviews: 27
5. Re: Our first trip to LA! help please!

My personal opinion is to skip Six Flags with kids that age. Even though there s a kid section, once the kids hit 1st or 2nd grade they consider them baby rides, but are to short for the tempting thrill rides. The crowd there is also not the best impression of what LA has to offer and it is a drive from Santa Monica.

Universal Studios is always an option - but all the parks tend to become very pricey days by the time you add in parking, admission, food, souveniers, etc... Knotts Berry Farm is probably the most reasonable as there are also great discounts available and most rides have lower height requirements. If you stay in the area, Medivial Times is fun for the kdis as well.

There are several good water parks in the area as well (one next to Six Flags and one with Knotts Berry Farm)

Depending when you are here, you might also want to consider a move at El Capitan Theater or a show at the Hollywood Bowl (with a picnic dinner before hand). The Greek at Griffith Park is also fun to see performance at.

If you drive further North there are some good fishing lakes, or up along the coast you will reach Santa Barbara, a nice day trip. Ventura County Fairgrounds along the way up the coast has stock car racing there quite often which my son and his friends LOVE.

If any of these sound appealing, let me knwo and I can give you more specifics.

posts: 26
6. Re: Our first trip to LA! help please!

Thanks for your replys & great ideas. We are thinking we will try to fit in the rides on the pier, Venice beach, 3rd street promenade, Griffith Park, The Getty, the childrens play area when they need to let off some energy & maybe the Hollywood bowl/a drive to Santa Barbara.

As we are coming from Anahiem & will have spent a couple of nights at Disney we are not really looking to do more theme parks, but to see more of L.A.

But Universal is such a big attraction, we are wondering if it is worth the money for 2 young children (my youngest will just be 6) I have looked at the website and the rides seem to be aimed at older children/adults, what do you think?

Newbury Park...
posts: 3,354
reviews: 27
7. Re: Our first trip to LA! help please!

It is very different from Disney and though it has some rides, it is not an amusement park. If your kids enjoy t.v. and movies, they will probably really enjoy the behind the scenes tours and many of the shows offered. My kids don't watch much tv or movies (7 and 3 1/2) so while my then 6 year old enjoyed it, he would choose many other places to return to first. There are a handful of rides, but imho they are just okay - but not worth the making the trip just for them.

posts: 26
8. Re: Our first trip to LA! help please!

Juxie - Thanks for all your help!

I have checked out the El Capitan Theatre & the Hollywood Bowl kids activities and I think these will both be great for our family. One question what is The Greek at Griffith Park? I have tried looking but there doesn't appear to be much info on the internet.

Newbury Park...
posts: 3,354
reviews: 27
9. Re: Our first trip to LA! help please!

Here is a link to their home page: http://www.greektheatrela.com/

"Nestled into a green, tree-enclosed canyon on a hillside in Griffith Park, the award-winning Greek Theatre is one of Los Angeles' most historic entertainment venues."

West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 24,313
reviews: 51
10. Re: Our first trip to LA! help please!

With apologies to Walt Disney, if you have the opportunity to go to Knotts Berry Farm, that is a very "kid friendly" amusement park (larger than Disneyland, less expensive and with some very decent "thrill rides").

My nephews enjoyed the "panning for gold" attraction where they actually got to take home a little vial of little gold nuggets. Don't overlook the "chicken restaurant" by the front gates to the place -- really, really good "home style" food.