Ultimate Guide to the Best Hiking in Los Angeles

When we moved to Los Angeles more than 8 years ago, the first thing we got into was hiking. Hiking in Los Angeles is *the* thing to do and we dove head first right into it. My son was only 3 so we didn’t do a ton of difficult hikes at that time, focusing on the best hikes for toddlers, but as the years have progressed, we have added more and more to our arsenal.

In 2021, we started the year with a goal of hiking (and biking!) 100 miles for the month of January and 1000 for the year. For our own purposes to keep track of the hikes we have done and would recommend, we started this guide on all the hiking trails in Los Angeles that we have been on or have on our list!

We will cover the best hikes in LA (according to popular consensus), waterfall hikes in Los Angeles as well as some great hiking near Los Angeles. Read on for more information for each. Check back often for updates as well.

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27 Amazing Things to Do in Los Angeles with Kids

Are you planning to visit Los Angeles? If so, check out our favorite things to do in Los Angeles with kids.  After living here for 7+ years exploring every nook and cranny with our son, we know all the best things to do in LA with kids big or small!

Since moving here, I have become very aware of the image people have of Los Angeles – obscene traffic, out of control botoxed wanna-be celebrities, gang violence and ugly strip malls. Yep, we have all of that. But we also have so much more.

I will admit that it took me a while to get over my NorCal leanings and really see LA for all it’s amazingness. But now that I do, my goal with visitors is to also show them the real LA, not just reinforce their impressions from the TV and film industry.

After years escorting visitors around, this is our list of the most epic things to do in Los Angeles for kids offering a broad sampling of everything this vast city has to offer.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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21 Amazing Family Friendly Things to Do in Los Angeles for Halloween

Are you in Los Angeles for Halloween or anytime during October? Read on for our list of 21 amazing things to do in Los Angeles for folks of all ages who are here during the Halloween season. Updated for 2019, find out some of our favorites that are on hold for the year and what new events have popped up instead!

This list was initially started to keep track of all the traditions my son wanted to do each year for Halloween. For him it’s not just the one day of trick or treating, rather it’s the build up that is the most fun. Decorating the front yard, visiting the 99 cent store for more cheesy, scary decorations and of course attending as many Halloween themed events as he can muster!

To make sure you are getting the most out of the season, here is our current list of all the things you can (and according to my 9 year old *must*) do.

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Exploring All Things Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood

Harry Potter at Universal Studios HollywoodOne of the main attractions for our family visit to Universal Studios Hollywood was of course The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Having just finished book number 5, my 7 year old was hankering to visit our neighborhood theme park.

While the Wizarding World of Harry Potter isn’t a huge section of Universal Studios Hollywood, I wanted to give a quick overview of this part of the park with some tips and tricks to get the most out of your visit.

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LA Sanitation Department Open House 2018

LA Sanitation Dept Open House
Surveying the area, making their plan.

It’s almost that time of year again! The day little boys (and girls) look forward to all year long – trash truck open house! My son equates spring and summer with several things and the opening day to summer in his mind is the LA Sanitation Department’s open house (and the Fire Service Recognition Day!).  This year’s events are a little more spread out meaning that you could reasonably hit all 6 open houses!

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Fire Service Recognition Day Open House 2018

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“Let’s go boys. We have an emergency.” – 4 yr old boy having the time of his life.

There are several important events in the year according to my son. Christmas and Easter are two, but right up there with national holidays are the open house days for the sanitation department and the fire stations!

The second Saturday of May is designated as Fire Service Recognition Day in Los Angeles (and a few surrounding cities). As part of this, neighborhood fire stations host an open house to welcome visitors of all ages. Local stations invite kids to sit in fire trucks, spray water from the hoses and explore the station. However, a few of stations go above and beyond to really wow their visitors with dramatic demonstrations and free food and drinks.

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Calico Ghost Town | Perfect Stop Between Las Vegas & LA

Calico Ghost TownEver since moving to California I have heard of it’s ghost towns. The few I have on my list to visit haven’t been on any route we’ve taken, so when I happened across Calico Ghost Town on our way back from Utah last summer, I was excited to make a stop.

Calico Ghost Town is perfectly located in the middle of Los Angeles and Las Vegas, making it a great stop over point for a break on the long boring drive. I will warn you though, it probably isn’t quite what you imagine a ghost town to be like, or at least it wasn’t what I thought it would look like. It is super touristy but also provides a real sense for what life might have been like back in the day.

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Outdoor Activities for Kids in Los Angeles

Outdoor Activities for Kids in Los AngelesA struggle many parents have when living in a large metropolis is getting their kids outdoors more than just at the local playground. We are so blessed in Los Angeles to have beautiful weather most of the year and an abundance of amazing outdoor areas to explore. So really, there is no excuse to not get the kids outdoors. Although, I recognize with shorter daylight hours and how quickly afternoons become filled with extra curricular classes (and homework) that it’s easy to find that weeks have gone by without getting meaningful outdoor time. There are also parents who just aren’t that into exploring the outdoors themselves, but want their kids to have that access. Nature classes and scheduled programs are the answer!

There is a growing movement to get kids back to the basics and outside. With that, comes more options for meaningful outdoor time for the entire family. Below are some of our picks to get your fill of the outdoors every week!

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Free Things to Do with the Family in Los Angeles

Free Things to Do in Los Angeles There are so many free things to do with the family in Los Angeles that it’s hard to keep up with them all. There are plenty of websites outlining free museum days, but I feel I am always missing something when I consult these. Instead, I decided to make my own calendar with reoccurring monthly events and free museum days. Since this is geared specifically for families with small children, I thought some of you might also enjoy checking this out. At the bottom of the post, you will also find a free calendar to download for your fridge! 

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Family Day at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro

Sarcastic Fringehead at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, San PedroMy son has been begging to go to the aquarium, but our membership recently expired and I wasn’t ready to commit to another year. To appease him, and my pocket book, I began looking for other aquarium options in the area, when I remembered the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium was on my to do list (along with a super awesome hike to the Sunken City in San Pedro) so we decided to make a day of it and check several things off of our never ending LA bucket list!

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Inspire Your Inner Artist at Watts Towers

Watts Towers, Los AngelesLooking for something new to do? A micro-adventure? Or perhaps you need some artistic inspiration? Head down to one of LA’s finest cultural gems, Watts Towers, for a visual treat. From the massive spiral towers resembling Sagrada Familia in Barcelona to the garden and adorable turtle pond out back, Watts Towers in South Los Angeles is a unique and fascinating outing with much to interest everyone in the family.

What is Watts Towers? It is a beautiful piece of folk art that is the result of one man’s imagination and his persistence of realizing his vision. Watts Towers, designed and built by Simon Rodia (an Italian immigrant), are a collection of 17 interconnected structures made out of rebar, glass bottles, seashells, concrete and broken ceramic tiles. Over a period of 33 years, Rodia designed and built this magnificent structure on his own without machine equipment, scaffolding or drawing board designs. One day, Rodia handed over the deed to his property and walked away, leaving all of his work behind. Neighbors fought the city to save it from being demolished. After 16 years of taking care of it themselves, the neighborhood group donated the towers and art center to the City of Los Angeles.

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Kids Workshop at Home Depot

Do you have a construction loving little one? If so, this is the post for you! My son gets confused with all of the large warehouse type stores, so when he sees Home Depot he says “This is my favorite Target!” very excitedly. It must run in the genes. His grandfather is a contractor and … Read more