Best Things to Do When Grandparents Are Visiting LA

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When grandparents roll into town, it’s always good to have a list of fun outings they might enjoy doing with the whole family. Plus it’s a nifty excuse to play tourist in your very own city. From LA’s best museums (including some quirky museums we’re sure they’ve never seen before) to must-visit botanical gardens and savoring delicious global cuisine and more, there’s no shortage of thrilling things to do in the City of Angels.

The Original Farmers Market

For a swell sampling of food to suit any taste, The Original Farmers Market is always a good bet when family comes to LA. Some of our fave restaurants include The Gumbo Pot for scrumptious Cajun cuisine, Pampas Grille for Brazilian BBQ, Sushi A Go Go for some of the freshest rolls in town, and Monsieur Marcel Bistro for French food that’s très magnifique! No visit to the market would be complete without a double scoop from Bennett’s Ice Cream for dessert. Don’t forget to swing by all the specialty shops on site that feature unique finds and fab LA souvenirs. 


Getty Villa & Getty Center

If you find yourself close the ocean, take Nana and Pop Pop to the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades for ancient Greek and Roman art, peaceful gardens, a stunning reflecting pool and unforgettable views of the Pacific. Or if you’d rather head up into the hills, The Getty Center is another beautiful spot to check out. Located in Brentwood, the Getty Center features European art, modern architecture, breathtaking gardens and eye-popping views of LA. Admission is free at both locations and requires timed-entry reservations.


Skirball Cultural Center

As one of the world’s leading Jewish cultural institutions, the Skirball Cultural Center explores a dynamic array of literary, visual and performing arts from around the world. The permanent collections, as well as exhibitions that rotate throughout the year are always some of the most interesting in town. And the kids’ favorite area is of course Noah’s Ark—an interactive 8,000 sq. ft. wooden ark where little ones can play make believe, climb, build and explore—all while burning off excess energy. This should definitely be a stop on the grandparent tour. Advance reservations are required.


The Autry Museum of the American West

Located in Griffith Park, The Autry Museum of the American West celebrates the diversity and history of the American West with over 500,000 pieces of art and artifacts from the American frontier. Through its paintings, sculptures, textiles, firearms, film memorabilia and other exquisite exhibitions, the Autry aims to connect our country’s past to the present and inspire our shared future.


Exposition Park

Skip the bumper-to-bumper traffic and hop on the LA Metro to Exposition Park for a day of fun. There’s so much to see and do in this one area of town, including the California Science Center where Granny and Gramps can check out fabulous exhibitions and the Space Shuttle Endeavor, the Natural History Museum that showcases jaw-dropping dinos and butterflies at the Butterfly Pavilion, and the California African American Museum that celebrates the cultural heritage of African Americans with a focus on California and the Western US. Also, don’t forget to stop by the famed Exposition Park Rose Garden during your visit and take some Instagram-worthy photos.

LA Arboretum and Botanic Garden

The LA Arboretum and Botanic Garden features 127 acres of stunning gardens, breathtaking landscapes, historic structures and brightly colored peacocks roaming free throughout the area. The LA Arboretum opens at 9 a.m. if you and your house guests want to get an early start to the day and bypass the heat.


Pony & Train Rides at Griffith Park

Giddy up to Griffith Park for a day to remember. The pony rides are open to kiddos ages 1-14 and are cheap entertainment at just $5 a pop. Right next to the ponies, is the famous train at Griffith Park and Southern Railroad which takes riders over a picturesque 1-mile track, across a bridge, through a forest and by an Old Western town. It’s consistently makes for a very entertaining afternoon.

RELATED: Does trainspotting excite the whole family? Then check out all these spots to see trains around LA.

Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden

Tucked away in the heart of Pasadena, the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden invites visitors to soak in its beauty over two lush acres. With Japanese style bridges, ponds, a 15 ft. waterfall, a stunning formal teahouse and beautiful trees swaying in the breeze, this is one of the most peaceful places in the Southland for sure. The garden is open on weekends only and advance registration is highly recommended.


Terranea Resort

Perched atop a hillside overlooking the Pacific, the Terranea Resort on the Palos Verdes Peninsula is a must-see when you have grandparents in town. You don’t need to stay at the resort as a guest to enjoy an unforgettable meal with a view. There are several restaurants on the property that offer mind-blowing scenic views and delicious food, as well as a spa where you can treat your loved ones to a well-deserved facial or massage.


Huntington Library

With 207 acres of breathtaking beauty, the Huntington Library is absolutely one of our favorite spots in SoCal. The complex houses a library filled with rare books, a massive art gallery featuring some of the world’s most famous pieces of art, and the most gorgeous gardens you’ll ever lay your peepers on. We especially love the Japanese Garden, Shakespeare Garden and Rose Garden that make you feel like you’ve been transported into a fairytale.


Museum Row in Miracle Mile

For some of the best culture that LA has to offer, look no further than the neighborhood of Miracle Mile. Known as Museum Row, the area on Wilshire Blvd. between Fairfax and La Brea, features some of the city’s most impressive museums. From the Petersen Automotive Museum, LACMA, the Page Museum and La Brea Tar Pits to the Craft Contemporary Museum and the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, you could spend a day or many days toting the grandparents around this one area of town.


Walt Disney Concert Hall

Designed by famed architect Frank Gehry, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is one of LA’s most iconic sites and one of the most acoustically sophisticated concert halls in the world. The LA Philharmonic calls this beloved landmark home and presents the very best in classical jazz, contemporary music, world music, and jazz. The Music Center offers tours of the concert hall most days, as well as a variety of exhibits. To catch a show, be sure to check out the concert hall calendar.


Dodger Stadium

For grandparents who are die-hard baseball fans, Dodger Stadium should be a top priority on the itinerary. Not only can you catch a game with the boys in blue, but you can also take a behind-the-scenes tour of Dodger Stadium where you get to walk down to the field, get an exclusive look at the 2020 World Series trophy and the rest of the trophy gallery from years past, pay a visit to Vin Scully’s press box and check out many other areas of the venue. Don’t miss eating a Dodger Dog—one of the best hot dogs you can find in LA!


Grand Central Market

A downtown mainstay since 1917, Grand Central Market is a wonderful place to take out of town visitors and picky eaters since they have just about any type of food you can imagine. With a long list of nationally acclaimed eateries to choose from, we have our top picks: Horse Thief for some of the best BBQ in the city, Fat and Flour for out of this world pies, Tacos Tumbras a Tomas for insanely great—you guessed it—tacos, Wexler’s Deli for incredible pastrami, China Café for consistently delish Chinese, Shiku for fab Korean delights, and The Donut Man for donuts that will make you forget all others.


Griffith Observatory

As one of the most iconic observatories in the world, the Griffith Observatory is the perfect place to take visitors. Not only is it the best vantage point in the city for observing the Hollywood sign, but there are also tons of exciting exhibits to explore, telescopes to peer through and riveting live shows at the Samuel Oschin Planetarium.


Olvera Street

Known as the “birthplace of Los Angeles,” Olvera Street is a vibrant Mexican Marketplace founded in 1930 that has preserved the city as it once was. This historic block, located in DTLA, is filled with blooming bougainvillea, beautiful trees, a brick-lined pathway, old structures, painted stalls, street vendors, mariachi bands, cafes and restaurants. Many of the vendors selling wares on Olvera Street today are descendants of the marketplace’s original vendors. It’s always a place of colorful celebration, and historic walking tours are available most days as well.



Chinatown should not missed when you’re looking for fun things to do. With beautiful paper lanterns swaying in the breeze overhead, colorful shops filled with curiosities, and some of the best Chinese food you’ll ever have, we think this is a must-see for sure. For a memorable lunch, we highly recommend Yang Chow or Pearl River Deli and for dessert, swing by the famous Phoenix Bakery.


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