Los Angeles with Kids? Recommendations on what to do/where to stay?

EpcotNerd

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 22, 2015
Hoping to visit DL then LA once things open up. I have an 8 and 10 year old. Where is a good place to stay for 2 days in LA, central to sites, safe, etc. The 10 year old wants to see the Hollywood Sign but other than that I'm wondering what else they'd enjoy checking out.
Thanks!
 

cruisehopeful

DIS Veteran
Joined
Oct 25, 2015
I don't like any places to stay in LA and no matter how centrally located you are, it's going to be a lot of car time on the freeways. You'll be better off choosing an area that you wouldn't mind staying in vs. attempting to find a centrally located hotel. Two areas that come to mind are Santa Monica and Universal Studios area. There's a Sheraton and a Hilton by Universal Studios that I would recommend. I haven't stayed in Santa Monica in decades, so I can't recommend anything in particular there.

I agree with above posters on La Brea Tar Pits and Aquarium of the Pacific. I actually like Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach aquarium) more than Monterey. Both of those are half day visits. So, you may want to see what else there is to do near each of those. The Queen Mary in Long Beach is walking distance to the aquarium and has various tours (regular and ghost) and places to eat and you can even stay on board as a hotel.
 

Kittyblue

7322
Joined
Jan 23, 2020
If you opt for Glendale I recommend the Glendale Hyatt. I've stayed there many times when my oldest had some minor stuff done at Children's Hospital LA. It's a block away from the Glendale Galleria mall.

There's the bigger attractions (Knotts, Universal Studios, Aquarium, Zoo). I agree about La Brea Tar Pits. My kids also loved the California Science Center in LA. If you have a kid that's in American Girl dolls there's a store and cafe at The Grove in LA. I've used this site a lot when looking for fun little things to do, including a calendar of special events: https://mommypoppins.com/
 

EpcotNerd

Mouseketeer
Joined
Apr 22, 2015
I don't like any places to stay in LA and no matter how centrally located you are, it's going to be a lot of car time on the freeways. You'll be better off choosing an area that you wouldn't mind staying in vs. attempting to find a centrally located hotel. Two areas that come to mind are Santa Monica and Universal Studios area. There's a Sheraton and a Hilton by Universal Studios that I would recommend. I haven't stayed in Santa Monica in decades, so I can't recommend anything in particular there.

I agree with above posters on La Brea Tar Pits and Aquarium of the Pacific. I actually like Aquarium of the Pacific (Long Beach aquarium) more than Monterey. Both of those are half day visits. So, you may want to see what else there is to do near each of those. The Queen Mary in Long Beach is walking distance to the aquarium and has various tours (regular and ghost) and places to eat and you can even stay on board as a hotel.
Interesting. The very little research I did made me think we need to stay in Hollywood, and the Loews hotel looked centrally located, that we could walk to a few tourist-y things. Thoughts on that? Is it a safe place?

I should have put in my original post that we're more interested in the kitschy side of LA attractions, we have zoos and aquariums near us here, we would definitely like to focus on the movie-making side of the tourism spectrum :) like the Chinese Theater, a studio tour, the Hollywood sign, etc.
 

starry_solo

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 19, 2010
There is a hotel right next to the Hollywood and highland mall. ive never stayed but always saw it when I went to El Capitan. It’s also close to the train stop to go to USH
 
  • cruisehopeful

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2015
    Interesting. The very little research I did made me think we need to stay in Hollywood, and the Loews hotel looked centrally located, that we could walk to a few tourist-y things. Thoughts on that? Is it a safe place?
    Safe if you are very aware of your surroundings all the time and don't look like a tourist. My initial reaction was that I would never stay in that area with kids, but I've had to take my kids to stay on the strip in Vegas a couple times when they were in competitions there and I just prepped them for what they'd see ahead of time. I haven't been to central Hollywood in a while. Looking at the video on the Lowe's site, it looks like it's cleaned up quite a bit. There are videos on Youtube of walking around the area and it looks pretty tame now. Lowes is a good brand.

    Somewhere on this site, someone posted a list of studio tours in order of the most recommended to the least. I believe that Warner Bros was the most popular with those who've done several. Be sure to look at reviews when you are choosing a studio tour so you have an idea which TV/movie sets you have a chance to see. That will keep it interesting for your kids. The tour at Universal Studios is very good, too.

    You can see the Hollywood sign from part of the freeway and from Griffith Park. If you want to get near it, there's a steep hiking trail that will get you closer to it.
     

    EpcotNerd

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 22, 2015
    Safe if you are very aware of your surroundings all the time and don't look like a tourist. My initial reaction was that I would never stay in that area with kids, but I've had to take my kids to stay on the strip in Vegas a couple times when they were in competitions there and I just prepped them for what they'd see ahead of time. I haven't been to central Hollywood in a while. Looking at the video on the Lowe's site, it looks like it's cleaned up quite a bit. There are videos on Youtube of walking around the area and it looks pretty tame now. Lowes is a good brand.

    Somewhere on this site, someone posted a list of studio tours in order of the most recommended to the least. I believe that Warner Bros was the most popular with those who've done several. Be sure to look at reviews when you are choosing a studio tour so you have an idea which TV/movie sets you have a chance to see. That will keep it interesting for your kids. The tour at Universal Studios is very good, too.

    You can see the Hollywood sign from part of the freeway and from Griffith Park. If you want to get near it, there's a steep hiking trail that will get you closer to it.
    This is EXCELLENT advice, I'll look for that thread on the studio tours, that's exactly the kind of thing I think we'd all love to do. And good tips on staying in Hollywood, I'll definitely do more research before settling on that. I might be back with more questions ☺
     

    wingednike

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2010
    The Warner Brothers tour is excellent. Depending on your interests, the Hollywood Bowl and Pantages may also be fun. Exposition Park has the Natural History Museum.
     

    Jeskova26

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 26, 2021
    The Griffith Park Observatory is a great place for kids and you can get a really good view of the HOLLYWOOD sign
     
  • Disco Lemonade

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 10, 2018
    Do you still have to plan out going to the Observatory/go early? We tried to do it before but there was no where left to park. It’s been a few years, and maybe there was some other option available that I wasn’t aware of.
     

    ninergrl6

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 12, 2018
    Interesting. The very little research I did made me think we need to stay in Hollywood, and the Loews hotel looked centrally located, that we could walk to a few tourist-y things. Thoughts on that? Is it a safe place?

    I should have put in my original post that we're more interested in the kitschy side of LA attractions, we have zoos and aquariums near us here, we would definitely like to focus on the movie-making side of the tourism spectrum :) like the Chinese Theater, a studio tour, the Hollywood sign, etc.
    That's absolutely the place to stay for what you want to do. The Hollywood and Highland complex (where Loews is) can satisfy all of those needs. It's literally attached to the Chinese Theater and the Dolby (formerly Kodak, home of the Oscars and American Idol finales), is across the street from El Capitan (which exclusively shows Disney movies), is on the Walk of Fame, and has views of the Hollywood sign and kiosks for tours. It's totally safe with tons of restaurants and stores; it's basically a mall that hosts celebrity events. Orchid Ave., the street directly behind H&H, used to have some motels that were more affordable than Loews that I stayed at A LOT but I don't know if they're still there.

    If you're looking to take a studio tour, I recommend Warner Bros. I've done it a few times and it's always fun. I've done a few other studio tours, but WB is the best IMO.

    I also used seeing-stars.com as a resource for "Hollywood" type events, like movie premiers and people getting stars on the Walk of Fame. It was good to know if Hollywood Blvd. was going to be closed for an event and if I should keep my eyes peeled for celebs 😍 It also lists filming locations, Hollywood landmarks, restaurants frequented by celebs, how to get tickets to tv show tapings, all of the kitschy Hollywood stuff it sounds like you're looking for.
     
    Last edited:

    EpcotNerd

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 22, 2015
    That's absolutely the place to stay for what you want to do. The Hollywood and Highland complex (where Loews is) can satisfy all of those needs. It's literally attached to the Chinese Theater and the Dolby (formerly Kodak, home of the Oscars and American Idol finales), is across the street from El Capitan (which exclusively shows Disney movies), is on the Walk of Fame, and has views of the Hollywood sign and kiosks for tours. It's totally safe with tons of restaurants and stores; it's basically a mall that hosts celebrity events. Orchid Ave., the street directly behind H&H, used to have some motels that were more affordable than Loews that I stayed at A LOT but I don't know if they're still there.

    If you're looking to take a studio tour, I recommend Warner Bros. I've done it a few times and it's always fun. I've done a few other studio tours, but WB is the best IMO.

    I also used seeing-stars.com as a resource for "Hollywood" type events, like movie premiers and people getting stars on the Walk of Fame. It was good to know if Hollywood Blvd. was going to be closed for an event and if I should keep my eyes peeled for celebs 😍 It also lists filming locations, Hollywood landmarks, restaurants frequented by celebs, how to get tickets to tv show tapings, all of the kitschy Hollywood stuff it sounds like you're looking for.
    Thank you, this is very very helpful! Sounds like that's the way to go for our cheesy tourist needs 😊😊
     

    ninergrl6

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 12, 2018
    Thank you, this is very very helpful! Sounds like that's the way to go for our cheesy tourist needs 😊😊
    My pleasure! You're taking me down memory lane from when I used to go to Hollywood several times a year.

    The first couple minutes of this Janet Jackson event give a good view of H&H. Loews and the Hollywood sign are behind the stage, El Cap is across Hollywood Blvd. when her car pulls up (my friend and I still call those "the Janet Jackson stairs"), and the Dolby and Chinese Theater are stage right. Obviously it isn't swarming with fans every day, but they used to have events at the complex regularly. I've accidentally stumbled on awards shows, movie premieres, and celeb charity fundraisers there.

    Here is what the area looked like on a normal, busy, pre-covid day. If you're interested in visiting Universal Studios, the metro from H&H has easy access (just two stops away). The Dolby and Chinese Theater used to offer tours several times a day, but I'm not sure if/when those will resume post-pandemic.
     

    evilmommie

    DLand CM Alumni 80's-90's
    Joined
    Nov 16, 2016
    As someone who went to school in LA and also lived in LA, I personally wouldn't stay in Hollywood. I'd stay in Santa Monica (Shutters or the Wyndham) and then drive/uber into your highlights in the LA area. My favorite haunts: Griffith Observatory, Hollywood walk of fame, Grauman's Chinese Theater, El Cap. Many of the same suggestions already. Maybe try to get Magic Castle tix. They used to let kids in on Sat/Sundays. Not sure what they are up to these days. http://www.magiccastle.com Great museums in Exposition Park around USC. Tour USC ;-)
     

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