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Family hacks for exploring Los Angeles on a budget

If you’re in search of your next family holiday destination, then Los Angeles provides the backdrop to a trip the whole crew will remember. And it won’t cost an arm and a leg! From trying new cuisine from food trucks to free admission to some of the city’s best museums, L.A. will be a holiday to remember.

Hollywood Boulevarde settles into dusk. Credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Family-friendly hotels in Los Angeles

Quality Inn Near Hollywood Walk of Fame

The perfect starting point for a day of sightseeing, Quality Inn Near Hollywood Walk of Fame is just steps away from an array of famous and fun Hollywood attractions for the whole family. Wake up feeling refreshed and ready to explore thanks to the daily hot breakfast, before coming back to enjoy a dip in the outdoor pool. Stay connected with complimentary wifi and upload all your happy snaps in real time.

HACK: Make the most of this ideal location and head to the Hollywood Walk of Fame early in the morning to beat the crowds, after enjoying the FREE daily hot breakfast. To save even further, consider booking your accommodation as part of a package.

And just for fun, here’s where to spot your favourite celebs in LA

The Garland (Studio City)

Studio City’s The Garland offers a range of family suites (with bunk beds!), as well as fun activities like ‘dive-in’ movie nights in the hotel pool, courtyard games, yoga and brunch.

Relax by The Garland pool or watch a ‘dive-in’ movie. Credit: Supplied

HACK: take advantage of the hotel’s collaboration with Universal Studios Hollywood. Score a FREE ticket on the trolley that transports you  to and from the venue and City Walk, as well as early park admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Omni Los Angeles Hotel (Downtown)

In the Bunker Hill section of Downtown L.A., which is the home of The Broad, MOCA and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, is Omni Los Angeles Hotel. With its close proximity to attractions, the Omni is a great choice for families, especially when you can secure lower rates during a sale.

HACK: Enjoy the perks of the Omni Kids Crew program, with backpacks full of goodies given to the hotel’s younger guests. Kids also receive milk and cookies delivered to their room on the first night, along with colouring menus and crayons when they dine on the property with their parents.

Where to eat in Los Angeles with kids so you stick to your budget

The Fields LA (Downtown)

The Fields LA is a new, elevated food hall in Downtown L.A.’s Exposition Park. It offers nine dining options, including fried chicken sandwiches from Chef Tim Hollingsworth of Otium fame. While in Exposition Park, families can catch a LAFC soccer match at the brand-new Banc of California stadium and visit one of the nearby museums within walking distance.

Credit: Aliza J. Sokolow

HACK: No need to put your money where your mouth is. Children eat for free at The Fields LA!

Grand Central Market (Downtown)

For picky eaters, gourmands and history buffs alike, Grand Central Market (GCM) is a one-stop-shop. GCM, which celebrated its 100-year-anniversary in 2017, is home to nearly 40 food vendors ranging from street Thai food to Mexican.

HACK: Don’t go past kid-friendly favorites such as McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream and PBJ.LA, serving up classic and unique offerings.

Food Trucks (Various Locations)

There are more than 200 food trucks roaming the streets of L.A. This will be sure to keep fussy eaters satisfied and adventurous eaters entertained, with countless choices to keep everyone happy.

HACK: Get your food fast without eating fast food! A hot-spot for a variety of food trucks is along Wilshire Blvd, nearthe La Brea Tar Pits. Find them here between 11am – 3pm (approx..) on weekdays.

How to get the most value out of these awesome, family-friendly activities in LA

Take a hike with the kids in the LA hills

Los Angeles is surrounded by rolling hills and home to many hikes of varying difficulties and is the perfect opportunity to get the kids out in the fresh air. The iconic Griffith Park hike is a must-do, with views of the Hollywood sign and a round-trip length of 4.6 km.

Another popular trail at Griffith Park is Bronson Canyon, which takes you through what is known as the Batcave, famously known for featuring in the 1960s Batman TV series.

Stunning views of the Downtown skyline at Griffith Park. Credit: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

HACK: Visit Griffith Park for the best all-ages activities in the city thanks to the Griffith Observatory, Travel Town Museum, Walt Disney’s Barn, Autry Museum of the American West and so much more.

If you’re looking further afield, here are some of the best places for kids in the USA

Attend a Baseball Game at Dodger Stadium

Not just for sports buffs, baseball games are a great way to enjoy some family time, without the hefty price tag associated with some sporting codes. Catching a game will be fun for the whole family as the vibe and comradery drawn by home crowds is an experience not to be missed!

HACK: The ultimate souvenirs are baseballs and autographs, and the best time for your kids to get them is during batting practice at Dodger Stadium. The venue allows all fans to enter the stadium two hours prior to game time to view early batting practice from field level, regardless of their seat location for the game.

The Broad

Kids will be excited the minute they step through the spaceship-like entrance of L.A’s iconic art museum. The Broad is committed to providing a fun and engaging experience for families and children of all ages with materials and guides catering for families with kids, plus tips for visiting that includes a social narrative and additional details about artworks on view to help prepare children before their visit.

The otherworldly museum brings colour and fun to art and ideas. Credit: Kapi Ng / Shutterstock

HACK: Pick up The Broad’s “For Families” guide in the lobby from any Visitor Services Associate (VSA). Each guide has a scavenger hunt and fun art-themed activities to engage and culturally- immerse younger guests.

Cars Mechanical Institute at the Petersen Automotive Museum

Inspired by the  beloved animated film franchise, this permanent exhibit exclusive to Petersen’s immerses visitors of all ages in a variety of activities, from personalising virtual cars, building lego car creations and even racing against your favourite Cars characters.

HACK: Don’t forget your photo opp with Lightning McQueen! A life-size Lightning McQueen can be found upon arrival to the museum and everything in the room, including Lightning, is available to touch and explore.

California Science Center

The California Science Center is a dynamic destination where families can explore the wonders of science through interactive exhibits, live demonstrations, innovative programs and awe-inspiring films.

HACK: Head to the center’s Discovery Rooms with your young scientists. Within the three main exhibit halls, you will find innovative rooms designed to support young children’s first science explorations.

La Brea Tar Pits

Get your hands dirty and your imaginations working overtime at the tar pits. Credit: Supplied

Unleash your inner excavator at the largest natural and cultural history collection in the western United States. Excavator Tours give guests the behind-the-scenes story, with a walk around the famous Lake Pit and visit a live dig site where scientists discover new Ice Age specimens every day!

HACK: Add your choice of Titans 3D or Ice Age Encounter for only a few dollars more than the Basic Museum Admission, which includes admission to the museum and the Excavator Tour.

Universal Studios Hollywood

A day at Universal Studios Hollywood will enchant the kids and send parents down memory lane with attractions themed to The Simpsons, Harry Potter and Transformers. Inspired by the successful film franchise, the highly-anticipated Jurassic World – The Ride attraction made its debut in summer 2019. Parents of older kids will want to brave the thrilling, 84-foot waterfall drop together.

HACK: Save time and money by booking your theme park tickets in advance online. Haven’t booked accommodation yet? Check out Universal Studios Hollywood hotel packages that can save you up to USD$100 on hotel + ticket packages.

The iconic entrance of Universal Studios. Credit: Robert Landau

Catch a Disney Film at the El Capitan Theatre

Take the kids along to the iconic El Capitan Theatre to get their Disney fix in the heart of Hollywood. Originating in the 1920’s, the historical theatre reopened after a refurbishment made possible by Walt Disney on June 19, 1991.

HACK: Head to the theatre for ‘Tiny Tot Tuesday’, where the first show of the day on Tuesdays makes movies tot-friendly by dimming lights and reducing sound levels.

There’s something even more atmospheric about watching a movie at this old-school cinema. Credit: Supplied

Attend a Live TV Taping

What better way to experience the entertainment capital of the world than as a studio audience member for a Live TV taping? Family favourites on offer include Ellen, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.

HACK: Start scouting for audience tickets as soon as you’ve locked in your travel dates, as many live tv show tapings require you to request tickets months in advance and let you know you’ve secured seats only days before.


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