Our Guide for Los Angeles for the Non-Touristy Family

Family Fun in LA

We love, love, love LA it is one of our favourite cities. There is an endless list of things to see and do. Once you have done the touristy ‘must do’ guidebook activities have a look at what we got up to on our last LA adventure.

LA family fun – tattoo anyone?


Venice Beach

The drawcard of Venice Beach for us it the people watching. The eccentric people make the whole area unique. We love the skate park and the talented skateboarders there provide hours of entertainment. The boys have managed to buy a skateboard during each trip and got right in there amongst the locals for a ride on the skate bowl. First thing in the morning or last ride in the afternoon is best to avoid the crowds.

Bike riding is another activity that is a must along the Venice Beach-Santa Monica bike path. Hiring bikes for two hours allows plenty of time. We like to start and finish at the Santa Monica Pier near sunset time. It is wonderful to watch the sunset over the beach. There are also great people watching at the exercise area at Santa Monica beach. Huge swings to push the kids on and monkey bars, slack lining and rings to attempt or watch others show their skills.

Bike Riding from Pier to Pier

Skating in Venice Beach


The Los Angeles County Museum of Art has an amazing collection of art from around the world. We loved the exhibition outside of the LACMA which is the Lights Exhibition. Opposite the LACMA is the Petersen’s Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits which is where fossils are excavated from woolly mammoths and other ancient animals.

Light Installation at LACMA

Catching the Sunsets

This is our place to watch the sunset over LA and see the Hollywood sign. We have never had trouble finding a car park at Griffith Observatory. This was up until this last trip in LA. We tried for ages to find a spot about an hour before the sun was due to sink over LA. So Billy had the best idea to head over to the Dodgers Baseball stadium which is high up over LA. The security will stop you on the way in and ask where you are headed. The correct answer is to the Gift Shop! This will take you to the amazing spot to see the sunset over the whole city. Simply magical and we were the only ones there. Check the closing times of the gift shop because once it is closed you will not be allowed in to the car park.

Sunset from the LA Dodgers car park

LA Dodgers

Watching a game at the Staples Centre

So many sports are played each week at the Staples Centre that you are bound to be able to catch a game of something. We went to an ice hockey match. What fun and the atmosphere was amazing. We did not pre-book our seats as we didn’t mind where we sat and wanted the cheapest tickets possible. The StubHub ticket office is at the Staples Centre which sells tickets that ticketholders will not be using. These are usually heavily discounted but the price all depends on the games popularity that you are watching. Prices can be checked online at StubHub.com Tickets can also be printed at this StubHub if you are to buy online and needed to collect the tickets before the game. The Ice Hockey was so exciting and there was lots of entertainment during the match. We weren’t as cold as I was expecting in an Ice Hockey game. I highly recommend watching a match. All the kids loved it.

Ice hockey game at the Staples Centre GO KINGS!

Warner Bros Studio Tour

Polly and I were guests of the WB Studio Tour and what fun we had. The tour lasts 3 hours and they sell out fast. Each tour group has 8-12 people in the group and each tour is personalised to the whole groups interests.  Each group has their own guide who the drives a large golf buggy type vehicle around the lots.  At the beginning of the tour the guide gives suggestions on what movie/TV genre interests the group has.  The tour is then tailored and everyone is catered for.  Polly and I had a fantastic time going onto the Big Bang Theory Set, looking at Harry Potter costumes, trying on the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter, flying on a broomstick in front of a green screen where you then look at it with a background added and you can buy the movie, holding a real Oscar statue and sat on the Friends couch having a coffee.

Holding a real Oscar

Polly under the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter

Riding a broom stick in front of the green screen

LA Dodger Baseball Stadium Tour

The boys and Billy had a fantastic time at the Dodgers Stadium Tour.  Being baseball fans the boys loved going behind the scenes and seeing the World Series trophies, the players change rooms, the dugouts and walked around the diamond but not on the haloed diamond!  The two hour tour was with a small group and there was the chance to ask many questions and learn about the history of the Dodgers.

Dodger Stadium

Dodgers History


There are always bargains to be had in the States and with plenty of places to shop.  We have always been able to grab a bargain at the Premium Outlets and the closest one to LA is the Citadel.  We have also enjoyed shopping at the Culver City Westfield and the Farmers Market for fabulous food.  Glendale is another wonderful suburb of LA with a large shopping centre and a great village atmosphere with lots of restaurants.


We have stayed in many different places in La and Santa Monica.  We loved all the places we have stayed at and this was one of our favourites.  The house even had its own fruit trees and it was spacious with a back yard and space for everyone.  We booked this accommodation a few hours before we arrived on a hotel website.  it was such a great find and the price was perfect and much cheaper than hotels or places right on the beach.

Our Perfect little house in Venice

Day Trips and Drives

LA is surrounded by mountains and canyons and beaches.  Hoping in the car and heading away from the city centre will provide a wonderful day trip experience.  We love the hills and canyons behind Malibu as the drive is winding and the views spectacular.  Beach trips from LA can be had by heading to Malibu or south and trying Manhattan or Huntingting Beach.

Read about other great LA tips here

If you want to know more about L.A check this out:   Where to Stay in Los Angeles Like a Loca l

For all our LA tips from previous trips and adventures click here.

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