Schools out for summer! So now what? Besides summer camp, there are many activities and special events to enjoy. If you’re looking for fun things to do to fill all those lazy summer days and keep your kids off their devices, we’ve got you covered. Check out our list below of the top things to do with kids, and plan the best summer ever. We dare you to try them all!
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The Best Things to Do This Summer
Best Kid Friendly Summer Events in LA
Cooling down in a movie theater is always a great way to beat the heat. Luckily, the whole family can enjoy plenty of movies premiering this summer. Make a splash with Disney’s The Little Mermaid starting May 26, swing into action with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse premiering June 2, and get fired up with Pixar’s Elemental in theaters June 16.
It wouldn’t be summer without a refreshing slice of watermelon. Celebrate all things watermelon at the 2023 California Watermelon Festival at Hansen Dam, June 17 – 18. The event features live music, kids’ activities, and all-you-can-eat watermelon.
Get out your dance shoes and get ready to boogie in downtown Los Angeles! The Music Center’s Dance DTLA event is back for 2023. The free event, which includes dance lessons and a variety of musical styles, takes place on Friday nights from June 23 to Aug. 18, 7 – 10pm, at Jerry Moss Plaza.
Help your young thespians discover the famous Bard with Shakespeare By the Sea. The Shakespearean festival kicks off the 2023 season with performances of Twelfth Night and Hamlet from June 22 – Aug. 5.
Pay a visit to the Getty Center for their special Family Festival series. Inspired by the current exhibition Play and Pastimes in the Middle Ages, these special events take place on Sundays through June and July. Activities include demonstrations of Medieval swordplay, making your own board games, and more.
If your kids are wondering what all their new animal friends get up to after dark, head to the LA Zoo Friday Nights. The zoo stays open late on Fridays from July 7 to Aug. 18, so you can check out the animals at twilight. The event also features live music and food trucks.
The LA Fair may be over, but you can head to Orange County for more food and excitement at the OC Fair July 14 – Aug. 13. Or head north to the Ventura County Fair Aug. 2 – 13, where you can enjoy an incredible view of the Pacific Ocean from the Ferris wheel, among other family-friendly activities.
The Lotus Festival in Echo Park is always a fun activity for the entire family. The 42nd annual festival takes place July 15 – 16 and includes dragon boat races and a children’s area. While you’re in the neighborhood, check out our favorite things to do with kids in Echo Park.
Travel back in time and explore a park full of life-sized dinosaurs at Dinos Alive. The exhibit, running through September, features 80 realistic, moving replicas of your favorite dinos, like velociraptors, stegosaurus, and even T-rex.
Catch a movie under the stars. All of the summer outdoor movie events, like the ever-popular Street Food Cinema, are back for the summer.
Looking for something to do on a Friday night? Head to Odd Nights at the Autry. Every third Friday through September, you’ll be treated to a pop-up fest outside the Autry Museum with live music, inflatables, food trucks, vendors, face painting, and more.
Hang ten at the International Surf Festival in Manhattan Beach Aug. 2 – 6.
Close out the summer with a visit to Fiesta La Ballona. This long-running annual Culver City festival always guarantees a good time. Rides, games, a petting zoo, tasty eats, live music, and more await Aug. 25 – 27.
Go to a concert at the Hollywood Bowl! You can get tickets for as little as $15, making it an affordable night out for the whole family. Insider Tip: The Hollywood Bowl is technically a city park, which is open to the public. Pack a picnic and enjoy the view for a lunch date with friends. If the orchestra is rehearsing that day, you may even catch a sneak peek.
Kid Friendly Places to go in LA this Summer
Nothing says summer like a day at the beach, and Los Angeles has plenty of them! Check out our guide to the best beaches and visit them all.
A trip to a theme park is always a hit. Luckily we have some of the best amusement parks, like Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Knott’s Berry Farm!
If you want to enjoy an amusement park without spending a fortune, spend the afternoon at Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier. You can enjoy the rides and games of a theme park without breaking the bank.
Explore marine life at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach or make new animal acquaintances at some of the best zoos and aquariums in SoCal.
Take the water experience to the next level for older kids at one of Southern California’s awesome water parks. Or make it a whole weekend getaway and book a stay at one of the best hotels with a waterslide near LA like the Howard Johnson Anaheim.
The newly released Barbie movie might be too mature for young audiences, but you can still explore the World of Barbie. This immersive experience allows you to explore the Barbie Dream House, hop aboard her camper van, build a customized Barbie set, and more.
Spend the day exploring Griffith Park, the largest park in Los Angeles. There are plenty of activities to enjoy, from visiting the LA Zoo, the Griffith Observatory, the Autry Museum, or a hike to the Hollywood Sign.
Explore one of LA’s multiple botanical gardens for a day outdoors. Many popular spots have special programs for the summer season. During Descanso Gardens’ extended summer hours, for example, you can stroll through the Japanese Garden while accompanied by acoustic music Fridays – Sundays through August. In this brand-new twelve-week series, relax with a beverage from the Tea House bar.
Speaking of music, one of the best summer outdoor activities is the dozens of free outdoor summer concerts across the city. Pack a picnic and head to one of the shows on our free concerts list.
Go to the library. The Los Angeles Public Library is once again hosting its summer reading program along with plenty of fun kids’ activities at local branches. And remember, a library card comes with tons of free perks. Check out all the free things your LAPL card gets you.
Cool off at one of the Best Ice Cream Places In Los Angeles, or better yet, take a summer-tasting tour of all the hot spots and see which of the best places for ice cream is your favorite.
Be a tourist in Hollywood. Take a walking tour of the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard, and see a movie at the famous Chinese Theatre or the El Capitan.
Learn how art is for everybody with the colorful new Keith Haring exhibit at the Broad.
Beat the heat and engage those minds by exploring some more of the best museums for kids in Los Angeles, like the California Science Center in Exposition Park, where you can enjoy a picnic at the Rose Garden after visiting the Space Shuttle Endeavour.
Discover what Los Angeles was like when it was covered by the prehistoric Pacific Ocean at the new Natural History Museum exhibit, LA Underwater. While you’re there, flutter over to the annual Butterfly Pavilion, open for visitors throughout the summer.
Dine out! When it’s just too hot to cook, grab dinner with the family at one of our favorite restaurants with outdoor seating.
Get hands-on with science and explore the Festival of STEM all summer long at the Discovery Cube LA.
Take me home to the Ballgame! Go Dodgers!
The summer heat means the tar pits are bubbling, pay a visit to the La Brea Tar Pits and check out the excavation pits, which are most active during the summer months.
Pay a visit to a local farmers market. Most spots on our list of the best farmers markets for families feature live entertainment and plenty of tasty food options in addition to fresh produce.
Are you a family of Disney fanatics? You won’t want to miss one of the coolest immersive exhibits the entire family will love. Immersive Disney Animation celebrates Disney’s greatest films from the early days of the animation studio to modern-day hits.
Take them out to a ball game! Head to Dodgers Stadium for Dodger Dogs, popcorn, and of course, baseball!
Take a day trip to your own city. From Redondo Beach to Hollywood, Los Angeles has so many incredible neighborhoods to explore that you can vacation without leaving the city. Check out our City Guides for ideas.
Hit the trails! Los Angeles has so many family-friendly hiking trails, and thanks to our rainy winter, they are still green and blooming with wildflowers. As the summer heat sets in, the best time to hike is early morning or late afternoon.
Spend the day at the Venice Beach boardwalk. Explore the eclectic shops and restaurants and check out the unique street performers. Older kids will love watching the skaters or even getting in on the action at the skate park. Head off the boardwalk and explore the famous Venice canals for a quiet interlude.
Let the kids stay up past bedtime and observe the Grunion Run. If you’ve never experienced this spectacular phenomenon, head to the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, where they host viewing events.
Trying to enjoy a fun summer on a budget? With some planning, there are plenty of free events and things to do. Admission is free to Noah’s Ark at the Skirball Cultural Center every Thursday. LA County residents get free entry to the Natural History Museum Monday through Friday when they enter after 3pm. Explore the Huntington Library and Gardens for free on the first Thursday of every month. The Getty Center and Villa are always free; you just have to reserve a timed entry online. There are several free kids club events around Los Angeles that feature live music and activities. The possibilities are endless for a low-budget summer that still guarantees a great time!