The Best 2 Day Los Angeles Itinerary with Kids

Take in the view, where to go in LA with kids.
Take in the views along with the sun in LA on your next getaway with the kids. credit: Catherine Parker

As the second largest city in the U..S. Los Angeles offers families epic beaches and unique cultural experiences that tweens and teens crave. Los Angeles is a favorite U.S. city to explore with its endless sun, beaches and pop culture. It is a top destination for older kids, especially teens. For your next getaway, tell the kids you are stargazing then hand them sunglasses and a bathing suit. For a getaway that blends the stars and the beach along with the top museums on the West Coast, head to LA.  Here is the best 2-day LA itinerary with kids.

Table of Contents

Day 1 Say Hello to Hollywood

To make the most of your first day in LA, get started early while the crowds are still sleeping. Hop in your car and head for breakfast off Sunset Blvd.

The Griddle Café

7916 Sunset Blvd.
Open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday 

How to get there: From your centrally located hotel, head north on U.S. 101 and exit Sunset Blvd.

Since it’s a favorite, arrive early to satisfy your breakfast dreams. The Griddle Café offers a huge menu with pancakes in every flavor along with French toast and egg dishes.

A drive down Sunset Blvd. is a must for its icon LA vibe. As a bonus, it’s early, so the driving should be easygoing.

Château Marmot

8221 W. Sunset Blvd.

The Château Marmot is iconic LA hotel. Head around the corner to see a bit of Old Hollywood history, built in the 1920s. As the backdrop to numerous movies and a celebrity hangout, it’s a must.

Time to head to the theater, so drive north and turn right on Hollywood Blvd. As home to several famous theaters, it’s a bucket list destination for moviegoers.

TCL Chinese Theatre

6925 Hollywood Blvd.

Start with TCL Chinese Theatre’s famous footprints, where stars put their footprints in the concrete along with hand prints.

Dolby Theater

6801 Hollywood Blvd.

Located close by, the Dolby Theater is the home of the Academy Awards. Just imagine the red carpet and flashing cameras.

Hollywood Walk of Fame, where to go in LA with kids.
Find your favorite star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Photo Credit: Pixabay

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hollywood Blvd. between La Brea Blvd. and Vine St.

After walking by the famous theaters, find the brightest stars in California. With three-and-a-half miles of brass and granite stars, spend a few minutes finding your favorites for a star selfie.

Capital Records Building

1750 Vine St.

Drive by this iconic record label and its unique headquarters. Built in 1956, the round building looks like a stack of 45s. before changing gears and heading south.

After stargazing, it’s time to change gears and head south. A must-do for generations, the La Brea Tar Pits has topped my list since I was 10.

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La Brea Tar Pits is where to go in LA with kids.
A must for the Dino-loving kids, visit the Le Brea Tar Pits. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

La Brea Tar Pits

5801 Wilshire Blvd.
Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Admission: Adults $15, Students $12 and Kids (3 -12) $7

How to get there: From Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, drive west on Hollywood Blvd. to N. Highland Ave. and head south to Wiltshire Blvd. Head west on Wiltshire Blvd and park in the shared La Brea Tar Pit/LACMA parking lot.

A must for families, the strange bubbling tar churns and spews into puddles and pools at the La Brea Tar Pits. Start with a walk around the property to see the tar pits in different sizes. Though be prepared to cover your nose, the tar reeks.

After walking around the tar pits, head into the museum to look at prehistoric animal bones found on the property. The discovery isn’t over, La Brea Tar Pits remains an active discovery zone.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) shares a parking lot with La Brea Tar Pits. Walk through the museum next.

Tour the LACMA,
See a Warhol after checking out the La Brea Tar Pits. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

5905 Wiltshire Blvd.
Open Monday & Tuesday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Closed Wednesday, Thursday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Adult admission $25, kids 3 -17 $10

How to get there: Located in the same complex as the La Brea Tar Pits so walk to the entrance.

Don’t let the name confuse you; the LACMA (as the locals call it) is the largest art museum in the western U.S. With separate buildings dedicated to different eras and styles visitors could spend all day. I recommend hitting the highlights and checking in with a docent upon arrival to tailor your visit to your interests.

After a morning with the stars, and some tar followed by the arts, it’s time for lunch. For the kids, I recommend Pink’s Hotdog Stand, a LA icon. Hop back in the car for a 10-minute drive.

Note: A new building for its permanent collection is scheduled to open in late 2024.

Petersen Automotive Museum

Open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
Adult admission is $21 Students $13 and Kids (4 -11) $11.
6060 Wilshire Blvd.

For families with an interest in cars, then the Petersen Automotive Museum is a must. The building opened in 2015 and resembles a red car racing around a corner, you can’t miss it. Inside, find a curated collection of iconic vehicles.

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Eat at Pink's,
Grab a dog with the kids at Pink’s for messy cheap eats. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Pink’s Hot Dogs

709 N. La Brea Ave.
Open daily from 9:30 a.m. until midnight (2 a.m. on weekends)

How to get there: From La Brea Tar Pits, take Wilshire Blvd. at S. La Brea Ave. and take a left. Street parking in front and parking around the back, though watch that meter!

I will admit, I’m not a hotdog enthusiast though I enjoyed Pink’s.

First, pick a celebrity named dog, like the Martha Stewart Dog. Then give your order to the ladies working the counter, many whom have worked the stand for years.

Grab a table out back under an umbrella. Then bite into an experience. Are the hotdogs messy? Yep, but the kids will love it.

Griffith Park

4730 Crystal Springs Dr.
Free, attractions extra

How to get there: From Pink’s, head north on La Brea Blvd. then take right on Santa Monica Blvd. Continue east on Santa Monica Blvd. until N. Western Ave. and take a left. Continue to Fern Dell Dr. into Griffith Park. Located west of Interstate 5 and south of SR 134 (Ventura Freeway) Use the DASH Observatory Shuttle ($.50) to get around the park since parking can be hard to find, especially at the Griffith Observatory.

As one of the largest municipal parks with an urban wilderness in the U.S. Griffith Park offers days of exploring. Depending on your family, I would choose one attraction in Griffith Park–the Los Angeles Zoo or the Griffith Observatory.

Los Angeles Zoo

5333 Zoo Dr.
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Adult admission $22 Kids (2 – 12) $17

Since 1966, families have explored the Los Angeles Zoo with over 250 animal species across 133 acres. Take a spin on the vintage carousel with the kids too (additional ticket).

Griffith Observatory

2800 E. Observatory Rd.
Open Tuesday to Friday from noon to 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. (closed Monday) 

With amazing views of Downtown LA and the Hollywood Sign, a visit to the 1935 Griffith Observatory tops many must do lists for LA. Free to visit, the building is an Art Deco jewel and includes science exhibits including telescopes.

Griffith Park and Southern Railroad

4400 Crystal Springs Dr
Open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 
Adults $4 Kids (17 and younger) $3

For the train lovers in the family, visit the Griffith Park and Southern Railroad for a ride on a miniature train.

Travel Town

5200 Zoo Dr.
Open daily from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Another must do for train lovers, Travel Town offers an outdoor facility with several full-size train cars to explore.

After exploring Griffith Park for a few hours, head back and stop for dinner at The Original Farmer’s Market.

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The Original Farmer’s Market

6333 W. 3rd St.
Open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. 

How to get there: From Griffith Park, head south out of the park on Fern Dell Dr. and onto N Western Ave. Continue until Beverly Blvd and turn right, headed west. At Fairfax Ave. make a left.

More than a fresh produce market, The Original Farmer’s Market is a foodie destination. Stocked with unique and familiar purveyors, find everything from fresh seafood to cold brew coffee.

Since so many quick-service eateries are in one location, this is the ideal place to feed a family.

The Grove

189 The Grove Dr.

For the teens in the family, The Grove, is next door, an outdoor shopping area. It offers the possibility to see a starlet or two.

Since it’s a vacation, reserve tickets to your favorite pastime.

Walt Disney Concert Hall

111 S. Grand Ave

The only way into the concert hall is to attend an event. So if the LA Philharmonic is in season reserve tickets to the architectural marvel, sheathed in stainless steel. Designed by Frank Gehry in the Deconstructivism style, it’s an architectural icon.

The Broad

221 S. Grand Ave.

While at Walt Disney Concert Hall, drive by the newer The Broad, located across the street. As a contemporary art museum, the building looks like a honeycomb.

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Watch a Dodgers Game,
Take in a baseball game if the LA Dodgers are playing. Photo Credit: Pixabay

Dodger Stadium

1000 Vin Scully Ave.

If a concert sounds boring, get tickets to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a home baseball game. Another place to enjoy a perfect SoCal evening.

Day Two The Shuttle and the Surf

It’s a vacay so eat like the calories don’t count.

Grand Central Market

317 S. Broadway
8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

How to get there: From your centrally located hotel, head to S. Broadway in Downtown LA.

As a downtown landmark since 1917, Grand Central Market provides a hum of early morning activity and some solid breakfast options, like coffee counters and bakeries.

After breakfast, time to explore like an astronaut.

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California Space Science Center, where to go in LA with Kids.
Kids love space so explore the California Space Science Center. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

California Science Center

700 Exposition Park Dr.
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Free, except for special exhibits and IMAX movies 

How to get there: From Grand Central Market, take E. 3rd St. to I-110 South and continue for 3 miles. Take the W. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. exit (20A exit) and park in the paid parking lot.

As one of the locations to see a retired Space Shuttle, this is a must for the adventurers in your car. With half of the facility dedicated to space exploration, the California Science Center is a must for families. The Space Shuttle Endeavor is a top attraction and don’t forget the external tank outside the building.

The Ecosystems exhibit walks kids through 11 different ecosystems. So don’t miss the kelp forest with touch tanks mimicking tidal pools. The desert display features a mock flash flood that kids love too.

Know before you go: Since this is a free museum, it’s a favorite with school groups. Buy tickets for special exhibits and IMAX at Will Call or the Ticket Window.

After exploring the earth and stars, head out for some art.

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Tour the Getty Center. where to go in LA with kids.
The Getty Center offers a lush garden along with an extensive art collection. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

The Getty Center

1200 Sepulveda Blvd.
Open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Stauday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (closed Monday)
Free though requires a timed entry reservation

How to get there: From the California Science Center take W. Exposition Blvd. to Normandie Ave. and head north to I-10 West. Head west on I-10 for about 3 miles to the I-405 North. Continue for about 10 miles on I-405 North then take exit 57B for Moraga Dr. Then take a left on N. Sepulveda Blvd. and then another left on Getty Center Dr. Park in the paid parking lot and take a tram to the museum (free).

Savor the beauty of LA in a beautiful place to see beautiful art overlooking a beautiful view. The Getty Museum is more than an art museum, it’s a work of art itself.

Designed by Richard Meier, The Getty Center is a top architectural delight as well as the gardens and courtyards. As a favorite among locals, sit in the grass and enjoy a sunny afternoon.

With an extensive art collection, including Van Gogh’s Irises, you could spend all day, so keep it limited to your interests or stroll the gardens instead.

Head to the Santa Monica Beach for the afternoon.

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the beach is where to go in LA with kids
A Southern California sunset tops my list of must-dos in Los Angeles. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Santa Monica Pier and Beach

Ocean Ave. at Colorado Ave.

How to get there: From Kye’s head south on Montana Ave. towards the Pacific Ocean. Take a left on Ocean Ave. Continue for about a mile to the pier, parking is available on the pier or use metered street parking.

A trip to the beach is a must for LA. and a SoCal sunset is legendary. It will totally make up for any hiccups in parking.

Take a surf lesson, where to go in LA with kids.
The teens want to learn how to surf on vacation so sign them up for a lesson. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Surf lessons

If surfing is on the kids list then arrange for a surfing lesson from one of several surf shops that offer lessons. Don’t worry about special gear, the shop arranges all that for you, like spring or wet suits and surfboards.

I have three kids, 10, 13 and 15, and all benefitted from surf lessons. Though like any new sport, practice is the key and kids must be proficient swimmers.

Walk along Santa Monica Pier, where to go in LA with kids.
An evening walk along the Santa Monica Pier tops my list for family fun in Los Angeles. Photo Credit: Pixabay

Santa Monica Beach and Pier

After surf lessons, explore the Santa Monica beach and pier for the rest of the afternoon.

I recommend renting bikes and taking a guided tour of Santa Monica. It’s a great way to explore, and the dedicated bike lanes make it safe for families. Several rental shops are next to the pier.

After a bike tour, rent a couple of chairs and watch the sunset. Let the kids play in the sand or chase waves.

After the sun sets, head to the Santa Monica Pier for dinner and family fun. It boasts carnival rides and food in abundance. I’m partial to the carousel though I found a Ferris wheel and a roller coaster.

Grab the sunglasses and hop a plane bound for Los Angeles for your next getaway. Here are the best museums, beaches and activites with the best 2 day LA itinerary with kids. Where to eat in LA | Best beaches in LA | Best Museums in LA | What to do in LA for a weekend | Weekend Itinerary for LA | LA Planning Guide #LA #California
credit: Pixabay

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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