Visiting the city of Angels with little ones for a holiday might seem like a dream for families. With no shortage of things to do, sights to see and experiences to enjoy, the possibilities are endlessly exciting. But before setting off on this bonding experience, it’s probably a good idea to do a little extra planning upfront.

Navigating the sprawling city and making the most of the time away from home can be a challenge. Fitting all those dreams of soaking up the sunshine, seeing iconic landmarks up close, and seeing the wonder in their eyes at a major theme park isn’t so simple.

This doesn’t mean the trip won’t be well worth it. To help make the adventure as smooth and memorable as possible, this in-depth guide is here to lead the way. Read on to discover how families can make their dream Los Angeles getaway with kids a reality.

Planning for every logistical hurdle

Anyone who’s ever been on a holiday anywhere will know from experience that the better the planning, the smoother the end result will be. For better or worse, Los Angeles’s undeniable charm comes with some note-worthy logistical hurdles for families with kids of all ages. Here’s a breakdown of what the planners of the family vacation should keep in mind before choosing to set off:

Keeping everyone happy

Catering to the needs and interests of everyone set to be included in the trip can be a tough balancing act. Fortunately, there are a great deal of fun, family friendly Los Angeles activities to choose from. By sitting down and going over ticket prices as well as which exciting activities will appeal to everyone, it’s possible to pick out the best ones to plan the rest of the holiday around. Doing this work during the planning stages of the holiday will give a family a much clearer idea of what might be in store for them.

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Traffic and crowdsDriving around Los Angeles

The city is notorious for traffic congestion, especially during peak hours. Public transportation, while improving, can be slow and crowded. If a visit to the city involves taking a stroller along, navigating these crowds can prove to be headache-inducing.

Spread-out city

Unlike some developed European cities with walkable centers, Los Angeles is big and spread out. Many attractions take time to get to, requiring car travel or ride-sharing services, which can add up costs-wise very quickly.

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Theme park fatigue10 things to do at Disneyland

While Disneyland and Universal Studios are undeniable highlights, a vacation packed solely with theme parks can leave kids overstimulated and parents exhausted. Finding a balance with calmer activities is a much better idea. Don’t let the kids tell you otherwise.

Hidden costs

While Los Angeles offers some free and budget-friendly options, theme park tickets, parking fees, and dining out every night can quickly eat into a meticulously planned travel budget. This means that careful planning and hunting for discounts wherever possible is non-negotiable.

Planning the trip itself

With these initial obstacles in mind, planning can officially begin. First things first, when is the best time to go? Thankfully, Los Angeles enjoys a pleasant Mediterranean climate year-round, which means that planning around an existing, busy schedule won’t be too much trouble. With that being said, it’s probably better to enjoy the city’s many fun activities during the warmer months of the year.

Picking a date by season

If the trip is being planned for Spring, between the months of March to May, many of the largest crowds can be avoided. The city’s theme parks will be less busy compared to peak season.

In Summer, or around the months of June to August, temperatures will allow for more fun in the sun. For beach-loving families, this is the best time to visit the coastline and enjoy ice-creams while wandering around the city. Keep in mind that everyone loves LA during the summer, so there will be more people to contend with.

In the fall, milder temperatures might require some light jackets in the evenings. Like spring, the months between September and November will mean less crowds, but this season also offers up the vibrant colors.

 

The best spots to build a holiday home-base

Los Angeles offers up an extensive variety of potential places to stay during a getaway. Each distinct location will cater to different needs and different budgets. Location is everything. It will greatly impact travel times and dictate just how much self-care parents will be able to squeeze into their trip.

The best spot will depend heavily on a family’s interests and goals for the getaway:

  • If theme parks are a major draw, consider booking accommodations close to Universal Studios. Keep in mind that the closer a family chooses to stay to their preferred theme park attractions, the more costly the booking is likely to be.
  • If visiting the beach to catch some rays is the vibe, try to find hotels and lodgings with beach access or seaside views.
  • Looking to experience the city’s museums and cultural landmarks? Finding affordable places to stay close to these more historical locations could be ideal for families planning around tighter budgets.

Getting Around with Little OnesUniversal Studios Studio City

As mentioned, Los Angeles isn’t a small city, so navigating with kids requires some forethought. Here are a few of the best transportation options for groups with kids:

Car Rental

A rental car offers maximum flexibility, especially if planning on exploring beyond the city center. This allows travelers to set their own pace and avoid relying on public transportation schedules. Be prepared for traffic, especially during peak hours, and factor in those parking costs.

Public Transportation

Los Angeles has an expanding public transportation system, including buses and subways. While it can be a budget-friendly option, navigating with young kids and strollers can be challenging, especially during the busiest times of the day.

Ride-Sharing Services

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft offer a convenient way to get around, especially for shorter distances. This can be a good option for avoiding the hassle of parking and navigating unfamiliar streets.

Tips for packing well

Not sure what to pack? Keep in mind what airlines will allow during the flight to LA. Most essential items will be allowed. Here’s a handy checklist of all the most important things a family will need for a smooth and sunny adventure:

Comfortable shoes: 

Los Angeles involves a lot of walking, so pack comfortable shoes and lightweight clothing for the whole family. Go for breathable sneakers or sandals that can handle exploring theme parks, beaches and city streets.

On-the-go hydration

Lifestraw

Staying hydrated is always a top priority, especially in the warm California sun. Pack reusable water bottles to minimize plastic waste and stretch that budget just a little further.

Entertainment

Long car rides or waiting in lines are inevitable. Download movies, games or audiobooks for kids and adults to keep everyone entertained on the go. Don’t forget that portable charger to keep those devices going.

Items for young travelers

Diapers, wipes, snacks and a beloved stuffed toy will need to be on hand at all times to keep the kids comfortable and happy. Familiar comforts from home can provide a sense of security for young children in a new environment. 

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Sun protection

Think sunscreen, hats and sunglasses. The sun can be harsh during the hottest parts of the day, so pack an expert-rated, broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher for everyone in the family. Reapply frequently, especially after swimming or sweating.

Remember: 

Check the weather forecast before leaving accommodations to make any last-minute adjustments to clothing choices. Los Angeles can experience occasional rain showers, so a light rain jacket might be a good idea depending on the time of year.

Don’t let the logistics get in the way of the moment

Sure, planning this trip can seem like a challenge. But it’s good to remember what all this work is for, at the end of the day. Just imagine the shared laughter echoing through Disneyland as the little ones meet their favorite characters. Picture the awe on their faces as they gaze at the stars from Griffith Observatory. By planning well, a memorable Los Angeles adventure will be more than just a vacation – it will create a trove of unforgettable moments.

Beyond the activities themselves, it’s the moments of connection, the spontaneous dance parties in the hotel room, the late-night conversations under the twinkling city lights and the shared stories exchanged over delicious meals that make a trip truly worthwhile.