If you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it a million times: driving can be a real drag in L.A. I’m talking about rubber on concrete, gas in the guzzler, taking a left on red because you couldn’t on yellow, etc. However, some things are worth a little time in your home away from home (ie: your car) and getting there doesn’t even have to be that bad (especially if you plan your excursion around high traffic time periods). One of the best things to do in L.A. is to spend a day in Pasadena. Its got a gorgeous downtown and was made for walking the wide sidewalks beneath the scenic mountain landscape.
I’m a bit of a treasure hunter, so don’t expect any recommendations for spending the day on Rodeo Drive, or pushing past the mob of tourists gathered to see the Chinese Mann Theatre where they film the Oscars. Personally, my favorite activities in Los Angeles is to check Craig’s List on a Friday night for all the garage sales in Venice Beach, and head out early with a hot cup of coffee in my to-go mug and a Ziploc bag of almonds in my purse. I’ve furnished entire apartments from the spoils of those L.A. residents having to move quickly, or the eclectic souls who decide to finally clean out their garage starting with all that vinyl from the 70’s.
You can feel your kids’ excitement begin to build once Daylight Savings Time begins; summertime is right around the corner. You may already be asking yourself: what are you going to do with them this summer? Sleepaway camp is always a great option for kids who are game. There are a ton of camps not far outside the city, including Idyllwild (in the San Bernadino Mountain Range), which is only a 90-minute drive from L.A. Day camps are one of the recreational activities for kids during the summer, with plenty of outdoor camps that take advantage of L.A.’s public beaches and mountains.
I have three kids ages 11, 8 and 5—so finding great activities in the bustling city of L.A. for all three to enjoy can be a challenge. Luckily we live walking distance from a playground, which is where I can often be found with my two youngest. I always pick my destinations carefully based on some basic requirements: public parking, public bathrooms and some cultural or educational aspect to the adventure. Really, there are plenty of great family activities in L.A. if you put your mind to it. For me, this list has resulted in some favorite tourist destinations in Southern California including: La Brea Tar Pits, Fisherman’s Wharf in Marina del Rey, and the snack bar at Griffith Park.