15 Things to Do in Santa Monica With Kids

15 Things to Do in Santa Monica With Kids
15 Things to Do in Santa Monica With Kids 4

Looking for fun things to do in Santa Monica? This beautiful city is an exciting place filled with lots of beach activities, nature exploration, and live entertainment.

There are loads of family-friendly things to do in Santa Monica. With a little help from our short guide, enjoy all the best that Santa Monica has to offer for your family’s visit.

Keep reading to learn more.

15 Things to Do in Santa Monica With Kids 5

15 Things to Do in Santa Monica With Kids

The Beaches

One of the best things to do in Santa Monica is a visit to one or all of its state-managed beaches. Each beach features restrooms, showers, and lifeguards.

Take in the gorgeous ocean views and check out what each unique beach has to offer for family fun and amusement.

Santa Monica Beach - Things to Do in Santa Monica With Kids
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1. North Beach

This part of Santa Monica State Beach stretches from north of the Santa Monica Pier to the city limits. Here are a few activities and amenities that make North Beach worth a visit:

Dogs are not allowed on the beach. The main parking lot is located next to the pier and does have fees.

2. South Beach

This is a very wide sandy beach (also known as Ocean Park Beach) is located south of the pier. There are so many recreational activities at South Beach in addition to sites to see. 

Dogs are not allowed on the beach.

The main parking lot is on the west end of Ocean Park Boulevard. Additional parking can be found along Ocean Avenue and Barnard Way. All have parking fees.

3. Sorrento Beach

Located in the northernmost section, this beach is famous for its volleyball courts. Both advanced and beginner players can participate in competitions held right on the beach. Additional activities include:

  • Start of a paved bike path connecting to other beaches
  • Bike and Segway tours
  • Parks
  • Hollywood sign views from the beach

If you have children that love biking and skating, they will have 20 miles of the paved path at the start of Sorrento Beach.

Dogs are not allowed on the beach.

A walking overpass allows access to the beach from downtown Santa Monica. The main parking lot is located at Montana Avenue. There are fees for parking in the lot.


The city of Santa Monica hosts numerous well-maintained parks for kid-friendly things to do in Santa Monica. Here are just a few that offer unique activities and features for your whole family:

4. Chess Park (1652 Ocean Front Walk)

Open sunrise to sunset, Chess Park is an outdoor area with tables with chessboards. It also features a human scale board that can be played with large playing pieces. Go to the Police Substation on the pier to check out playing pieces.

5. Tongva Park (1615 Ocean Avenue)

The park is divided into 4 areas: Observation Hill, Discovery Hill, Garden Hill, and Gathering Hill. Some features include:

  • Play area with splash pad
  • Unique gardens
  • Amphitheater with free performances
  • Overlook views of water features
  • Walking paths
  • Picnic areas

Dogs are welcome in the park. Your family will appreciate the many shady areas for picnics and playtime. 

6. Palisades Park (Ocean Avenue)

The former filming location for the tv series “Baywatch”. This is a 25-acre park with beautiful overlook ocean views, artwork on display, picnic areas, and a rose garden.


7. The Getty Villa (17985 Pacific Coast Highway)

A museum designed to recreate a Roman country house. It has ancient art, unique gardens, and a reflection pool. Admission is free but requires a reservation.

8. Santa Monica Community Gardens

Three locations are available for visitors to tour or locals can participate in growing their own gardens with registration. The city focuses on educating about gardening with free Santa Monica activities for the public.


Learning and fun are abundant in Santa Monica. Here are just 3 of the many that are worth a visit.

9. Museum of Flying (3100 Airport Avenue)

Features the California Aviation Hall of Fame. Many interactive activities for the kids including a flight simulator. Parking is free and children ages 3-12 are only $6 admission.

10. 3DAR Trick Museum (1254 3rd Street Promenade)

The kids will have a blast learning about augmented reality art. Over 40 interactive scenes to takes pics and post to social media. Tickets can be purchased online and you get free 90-minute parking.

11. Cayton Children’s Museum (395 Santa Monica Place)

21,000 square feet of discovery-based exhibits and immersive play activities for children 0-10 years old. Lots of climbing and maker adventures!

L.A. County residents have a “pay as you wish” donation for admission. Free 90 minute parking.


Sealife along the shores of Santa Monica encourages the young to ask questions. Encourage their curiosity with visits to discovery centers.

12. Heal the Bay Aquarium (Santa Monica Pier)

Over 100 local species on exhibit and daily learning activities. Learn about marine life and how to care for the bay. Admission is free for children under 12 years of age.


It’s fun to listen to local musicians along the beaches but take the opportunity to explore some planned concerts that are geared toward children, too. 

13. Americana in the Park (1819 Stewart Street)

The city of Santa Monica has partnered with McCabe’s Guitar Shop to host a series of concerts at Gandara Park. Opening acts are geared to children and feature music that explores the development of American music.

Concerts are Sundays 3-6 pm and have free admission.

14. Main Street Farmer’s Market (2640 Main Street)

Santa Monica has 3 locations for farmer’s markets that offer fresh produce and meats for purchase. 

The Main Street location also features live concerts on Sunday for free. Hours are 9:30 am – 1 pm. Children’s activities often include face painting.


Santa Monica offers a wide selection of foods from all over the world. Many are family-friendly and even feature activities for children.

15. Back on the Beach Cafe

Part of The Annenberg Community Beach House, this cafe is right on the beach. Relax and eat from a well-stocked menu complete with kids’ selections. Children can play within view on swings or bike on the paved path in front of outdoor tables.

Find More Fun Things to Do in Santa Monica and Southern California 

Local Anchor hopes this informational article was helpful to you. With so many entertaining things to do in Santa Monica, it’s hard to list just 15 suggestions. 

Check out our site for additional locations in southern California to explore. We offer family-friendly local resources to encourage and support a thriving community. 

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