Introducing guest blogger Ciara from Wellness Travel Diaries
Los Angeles, California is gigantic! With over 30 million people and communities from cultures around the globe, there’s always someplace to adventure to. If you’re visiting LA, you can venture into the city proper, or step outside the city to experience the Greater Los Angeles Area. This area has gorgeous palm trees, beaming bright sunshine, chill beach vibes and serene mountains tops.
The sunny weather with high heat and low humidity means this year-round wellness traveler destination is filled with numerous activities for families, couples, and solo travelers alike. While Los Angeles can be a tourist trap, the Greater Los Angeles Area allows for wiggle room to enjoy a family wellness getaway away from the crowd.
This post is part of our Explore My City series – come and visit cities around the world through the eyes of locals
What are some activities to do in the Greater Los Angeles Area?
While hot spots like Disneyland or Universal Studios are a must-see for families visiting LA, they will also require a whole day to visit. Having lived in Southern California off and on for 20 years, I’ve learned having a plan is crucial when visiting the Greater Los Angeles Area since the area is not walkable.
Most places that are less touristy will require a car to get to. I suggest packing tasty snacks, cueing up your favorite Disney playlist to sing a long to, and loading up the car with games, as California traffic is a thing! But it does go fast!
Let’s dive into some family-friendly activities to do in the Greater Los Angeles Area – I’d suggest 5 days in LA to cover these highlights
1. Visit the California Science Center
Head over to the California Science Center located in Exposition Park near USC. Here you’ll find innovative science in a hands-on environment. You can witness the shiny objects in different giant discovery rooms and child-friendly science experiments begging you to “touch me, touch me”.
With several exhibits, IMAX films, and special seasonal displays, there are countless places within the park to entertain every member of the family. Moreover, all permanent galleries are free of charge for everyone. Tickets are only needed for special exhibits and for the IMAX films.
At Exposition Park, you’ll also find other sites of interest. You can dive into the African American Museum, which is free of charge, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (you can purchase tickets here) and the vast rose garden.
For extra fun, take advantage of the street vendors in the garden, where you can buy refreshing cold ice cream after exploring the center and museums.
2. Visit Museums
One perk about visiting the Greater LA Area is there are museums everywhere. On top of the bounty of culture at Exposition Park, there’s the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which has free entry every second Tuesday of the month. If you want to continue the art journey, The Getty and Hammer Museum are both always free.
The Greater LA Area is also the only place in the nation with two Presidential Libraries: the Reagan and Nixon libraries.
3. Go Hiking and Dive Into SoCal Wellness Culture
While California is known for its glam life, it’s also known for its beautiful nature. One of the best ways to experience nature in the Greater Los Angeles Area is to go on a hike. You can find the best hikes in the area by looking through “All Trails”.
There you can see the hiking difficulties and estimated duration of the hike so you can plan accordingly for your family. Make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks as it does get hot in the Greater Los Angeles Area during the summer. Here’s a list to get you started:
- Mount Baldy
- Kenneth Hahn Community Loop
- Malibu Creek State Park
- Glendale Peak Trail
4. The Original Farmers’ Market
Enjoy lunch at the Original Farmers Market in Los Angeles. This historic location can get crowded due to its location at the end of the outdoor mall called The Grove. With its lively and glitzy ambience showcasing different gourmet food vendors, grocers and a free trolley ride that runs through the mall, this spot is both a local and tourist favorite.
It gives you a feel of LA glam culture while also being down to earth and family-friendly. Here you can grab a whole food plant-based meal, a gigantic pizza, or another preferred meal of choice at one of the many restaurants in the Grove Mall.
After you can recharge by the dancing water fountain show, go shopping and roam around the different merchants at the Farmers Market. You’ll find artisanal ice cream, fresh home-baked goodies, farm-fresh produce, piping hot pizza and more.
5. Eat Tacos
California is known for its mouth-watering Mexican tacos, amongst many other dope places to eat in LA. Since Mexico is California’s neighbor, Mexican cuisine has highly influenced Californian cuisine. You can find tacos, burritos, or nachos in almost any neighborhood, so plan time to explore a local taco joint.
There’s a range of flavors including pineapple al pastor, shredded beef, spicy chorizo, and roasted vegetable tacos loaded with bright colored bell peppers all served on soft corn tortillas. Tacos are a fine option for any vegan or gluten-free travelers! The flavors will depend on where you go.
You can pick them up and head over to the Yorba Regional Park, eat them at the beach, or take them up to the Griffith Observatory. There you can eat tacos and let the kids run around at Griffith Park, all while enjoying the sunset over Los Angeles. At the observatory, you’ll also find free exhibits, a planetarium ($7 for adults, $3 for children), and an enormous telescope to look through.
6. Explore Yorba Regional Park
This free regional park is a beautiful evergreen area jam-packed with several lakes, volleyball courts, playgrounds and more. It’s one of my favorite ways to experience that good old California sunshine by having a picnic at the park, then tossing a Frisbee around.
The park is 140 acres, with exceptional trails for both walking and biking via the Santa Anita River Trail. You can bring your own bike, or rent one while you’re there.
7. Huntington Beach
Enjoy relaxing at one of the many beaches California has to offer. If you want to stay closer to LA, there’s Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach. However, I say skip them both and head straight to Huntington Beach.
Here you will find a less touristy experience and a more local beach. Plus, there are several fire pits for appetizing beach barbecues. I spent most of my high school years at this beach roasting gooey chocolatey smores, charbroiling hot dogs tucked in a snug bun, and dipping fresh-cut veggies deep into a tub of garlic hummus.
As a bonus, it’s also one of the closest beaches to Anaheim, meaning it makes the perfect beach to pair with a Disneyland trip.
If you’re planning to BBQ at the beach, be sure to get there early because the fire pits get taken fast, and bring extra firewood. There are no entrance fees to the beach but expect to pay to park your car.
Heading further north? See our detailed guide to the best of Northern California
About the Blogger
Ciara Turner-Ewert is a freelance writer and a health and wellness
travel blogger. She’s a SoCal native who loves to travel the globe
with her husband.
With a degree in psychology, Ciara helps others find
meaningful connections with the world. Through a blend of fitness,
nutrition, and personal development tips, her travel blog, Wellness
Travel Diaries helps your body, spirit and mind take a vacation too.
You can keep up with Ciara online at blog https://wellnesstraveldiaries.com and on social media:
With thanks to Ciara for her contribution to our guest series. You may also like to read about Top family attractions in San Diego, the best of Santa Monica with kids, or head north and learn more about San Francisco with kids.
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Enjoyed your time in LA and thinking of making it a longer term stay? We have more tips over here what to do in Los Angeles for those looking to stick around a while and really get into the local culture.
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