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The best kind of mom getaway offers a chance to relax and rejuvenate. Whatever your vacation style, these fun girls trip locations are close to LA and all give moms a much-needed break

You’re an amazing mother who deserves a weekend of lounging around the pool, drinking wine by the fire, spa treatments and great conversations with your girlfriends. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to pack your bags, climb into your minivans, start your favorite playlist and exchange that mental load you’ve been carrying around for a few luxurious days of leisure, self-indulgence, and peace of mind.

These girl trip ideas include stylish places to stay, palatable provisions, and entertaining pursuits guaranteeing the ultimate moms’ weekend. And of course, we know time is precious so we picked spots that would maximize your time, whether you have a day, two or even a few more to spare. And lucky for us, some of the best girls trip destinations in the country are located within four driving hours from DTLA (traffic notwithstanding—we’re moms, not magicians).

Girls Trip to the Beach: Under 30 Minutes from Los Angeles

Malibu Beach Inn: Just off PCH is the luxe Malibu Beach Inn where you can enjoy private beach access to Billionaire’s Beach. Yep, you get sand just outside your door, and the ocean, is just a few more steps away. The insta-worthy views from every single one of the 47 rooms—from standard to suites—are transcendent. Everything about this hotel—the Italian linens on the beds, the minimalist furnishings, the self-warming toilet seat (!), and fresh cookies at check-in—scream sumptuous luxury.

The deluxe oceanfront spa, The Cure, is a magical place to get treatments. Stressed out moms need only indulge in Reiki, Hydrafacials, and some thirst-quenching IV Therapy to find relief. The medically-trained staff can also help diminish those frown lines and crow’s feet if you want because, well… there’s a cure for everything!

The thing we love about Malibu is how this California coastal enclave can go from laid-back beach-y fab to high-end impressive in a snap. You’ll find a mix of low-key boutiques carrying top-of-the-line fashion, fancy sushi dinners at Nobu or lively Greek music and eats with belly dancers at Taverna Tony. It’s true what they say, “Malibu makes your soul relax.”

22878 E Pacific Coast Hwy.
Malibu
Online:
malibubeachinn.com

Related: Bookmark Our Guide to Malibu with Kids When You Head Here with the Family

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows: This luxury beachfront resort has it all, whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, love to spend your days lounging by the pool, enjoy world-class shopping or love the nightlife and world-class foodie scene. And located in the thriving downtown area of Santa Monica, you’re within walking distance to all of it.

The bungalows have played host to movie stars like Marilyn Monroe, Jimmy Stewart, JFK—as well as Greta Garbo—a notorious introvert who loved her solitude, and lived in one of the bungalows for more than four years. You’ll quickly understand and appreciate the privacy these rooms provide. Don’t miss out on a GLOW body scrub or foaming enzyme facial at Exhale Spa. And if you’re in the mood for some retail therapy, you can easily venture out to the 3rd Street Promenade.

Dining options are abundant, but we recommend the onsite dining spot, Fig Restaurant. Seasonally inspired dishes harvested from the local Farmers’ Markets result in the freshest, good-for-you cuisine. Other favorites for a moms’ night out on the town would be the elevated Italian restaurant Elephante or the upscale French-Asian restaurant, Cassia. After dinner, stop by The Bungalow, an indoor/outdoor bar and lounge for drinks, bar bites, billiards and a fun people-watching scene.

101 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica
Online: fairmont.com/santa-monica

Fun Girls Trip Ideas under 2 Hours from Los Angeles

Two Bunch Palms: Here you can rejuvenate your mind and body, nurture friendships, pamper yourself and rediscover your long-lost passions. Two Bunch Palms in Palm Desert has a stylish, modern vibe decorated with luxury and wellness in mind. The best part? You have to leave the kids at home because this hotel is just for guests 18 years and older.

You can literally spend the day lounging at the spa, soaking in the natural 100-degree hot springs. Or balance your chi with complimentary classes in the yoga dome. Smash out all your stresses on the tennis courts or try your hand at everything from natural indigo dyeing to hand-thrown ceramics. Shared communal areas are the perfect place to reconnect with your mom tribe or have a heart-to-heart on one of the intimate outdoor patios of your suite.

67425 Two Bunch Palms Trail
Desert Hot Springs
Online: twobunchpalms.com

Lake Arrowhead Resort and Spa: This low-key mom’s getaway is one of the best-kept secrets in Southern California. The picturesque setting is swoon-worthy, and no matter the time of year, there’s something about being lakeside that’ll make you feel refreshed and calm.

If you can swing it, request a room with a view of the lake and a balcony—it’s the perfect place to read a book and toast with your best girl friends. Spoil yourself with a warm stone muscle melt and an oil scalp massage from The Spa of the Pines—one of the best massages our editor’s have ever had. The property also has a private beach where you can rent a kayak or SUP and go out onto the lake, a bonus because this lake is private and typically only accessible to members.

Bin 189, located on site, serves hearty American cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a patio overlooking the lake and mountains. There’s really no need to leave the resort, but if you’re feeling the urge to explore—take a short walk to the village just around the corner. You’ll find several lively restaurants, shops and a grocery store.

If you’re a first-time visitor, check out our guide to spending the weekend in Lake Arrowhead. For some kitschy fun, hop aboard the Arrowhead Queen for a one-hour narrated boat tour of the lake where you’ll see close-up views of Lake Arrowheads’ stately homes and learn about the history (and gossip) of this refined mountain-living community. Finally, satisfy your sweet tooth at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for gourmet caramel apples and handmade fudge.

27984 Highway 189
Lake Arrowhead
Online:
lakearrowheadresort.com

Related: Bookmark Our Guide to Lake Arrowhead When You Head Here with Kids

Bellanca Hotel Avalon: Just 26 miles across the Pacific—and a quick hour-long boat ride aboard the Catalina Express—is a worthwhile island getaway and a not-so-secret celebrity playground. Bring your mom best girlfriends here, and you’ll feel like you’ve escaped to the Italian Riviera.

Avalon’s oceanfront Bellanca Hotel is centrally located to all the fun things to do on Catalina. Catch some rays atop the rooftop terrace and gaze down at the quaint town and port full of yachts. Complimentary bikes will take you everywhere, from the Wrigley Mansion to the stunning art deco theatre hidden inside Catalina’s Casino.

Shops and restaurants are within easy walking distance, as is the Descanso Beach Club home to Catalina’s only beachside restaurant and bar and one of the last private beaches in California open to the public. It’s also one of the few places where you can legally have a drink in your hand and your feet in the sand…at the same time. In addition to water sports, the island is also known for rock climbing, ziplining, and four-wheel drive excursions into the untouched interior to see bison, leftover from a 1924 movie.

Hit up The Naughty Fox restaurant in the hotel—Catalina’s newest hotspot for dining and lounging. Top menu picks include lobster BLTs, Frito Misto and Ahi Poke Nachos.

111 Crescent Ave.
Avalon
Online: bellancahotel.com

Ojai Valley Inn: Surrounded by the scenic Sulphur and Topatopa mountains, this memory-making mom getaway to Ojai is just 90 minutes away from LA. Health-conscious and spiritually-focused moms will find peace, contentment and gratitude here, add to that an award-winning Spa called the Spa Ojai, tennis courts and a championship golf course, it’s no wonder the Ojai Valley Inn is referred to as ‘Shangri-LA.’

While families love splashing around in the family-friendly Pixie Pool, for Moms on vacation—sans kids—you can peacefully enjoy the Indigo Pool. This adults-only pool is a luxury experience with a full bar and dainty morsels like ceviche, sliced fruit and crudité plates. Four other notable restaurants on the property feature delectable dishes made from locally grown ingredients.

For some fun, shop in town for art, fun gifts and home products. Bibliophile moms should check out Bart’s Books, the world’s most fantastic outdoor bookstore offering over 130,000 second hand books to choose from. Most importantly, though, do not miss what locals call the “pink moment”—a daily phenomenon where the sky takes on a soft, pinkish glow at dusk.

905 Country Club Rd.
Ojai
Online:
ojaivalleyinn.com

Skyview Los Alamos: This 1950’s roadside lodge turned mid-century modern luxury boutique motel is just off the 101 Freeway on a hilltop with views of the Santa Ynez Wine Country. Road-trippin’ moms can park and forget about the car all weekend long because everything is within walking distance from the rustic chic hotel. The fully-renovated rooms come with down duvets for chilly nights.

Borrow one of the Linus Bikes and ride down the hill to Bell St., the old-west-style town. Basically, Los Alamos is seven blocks dominated by restaurants, tasting rooms and art galleries. For dinner, dine at Norman Restaurant and Bar which serves California fare with nods to the town’s country roots. Foodie moms will love the charcuterie board with apricot and goat cheese crostini, the achiote chicken, Wagyu striploin, and the cornbread pudding.

Relax and refresh after dinner at the 21-and-over heated swimming pool or chill out with one of the vineyard wines on an adirondack chair by the fire pits.

9150 US-101
Los Alamos
Online:
skyviewlosalamos.com

Santa Barbara Funk Zone: With a Mediterranean-like climate and spectacular beaches, Santa Barbara is known as the American Riviera. If you’ve got a group full of really fun women who are always up for a good time, one of the best girl’s trip ideas is planning a trip to Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone—an area full of arts, culture, wineries, restaurants, and shopping.

The Funk Zone has a unique history and is one of the “funkiest” areas to explore with mom friends. Extending from State St. and Garden St. to Montecito St. and Cabrillo Blvd., we recommended staying at a hotel right in the middle of the action. Spots include: Hotel Californian, Riviera Beach House, The Waterman, Hotel Milo, Kimpton Canary, Palihouse, Hotel MIlo and the Haley Hotel. Just a short walk away from any of these accommodations is the most eclectic mix of artist galleries that used to be old warehouses. You’ll also find breweries dotted along the way.

Farm-to-table restaurants like Finch & Fork or The Lark offer fresh, seasonal fare and a local vibe. You’ll be right in the middle of Santa Barbara’s most happening area with your ride-and-die moms, so grab a glass of wine from the Santa Barbara Winery—no kids allowed—and then explore all this bustling area has to offer.

Good to Know: Leave the car at home! You can take the train from LA’s Union Station to Santa Barbara. The Pacific Surfliner route offers daily round-trip service from either Los Angeles or San Diego to Santa Barbara. And once you get there, the station is just a 4-minute walk (0.2 miles) to the Funk Zone.

Online: santabarbaraca.com

Glen Ivy Hot Springs Spa: Time-deprived moms who want a quick getaway need the Glen Ivy Spa. You’ll love the body moisturizing spa treatments, hydro massages, 17 wellness pools and the “Grotto” experience at this one-of-a-kind day-spa. It’s a wellness destination where moms can get away from it all—without the sounds of those lovely kids we hold so near and dear—even if only just for the day. Grab a glass of champagne from the Paradise bar and have the “spa day” of your life.

Get ready to dip yourself into various 104-degree, sulfur-rich, geothermal springs—an not just for show, they provide a number of therapeutic effects. Expect to ease tight muscles and joints, calm inflammation in the body, boost blood flow and flush out toxins.

The therapeutic red clay mineral baths, affectionately known as “Club Mud” are said to have healing properties as well. It’s not a fountain of youth, but immerse yourself into the mud and you’ll feel like a playful kid again.

Your day will not be complete without a visit to the Grotto. Descend into a subterranean cave where you’ll be painted neck-to-toe with a warm aloe vera, coconut oil, eucalyptus, shea butter and lavender masque. Then, warm your body in the gently heated cavern where the silky formula soaks further into your skin. When you’re ready, step into the next room to rinse off under a cascading waterfall before moving into the final, cooler grotto to relax with tea, water, and fruit. In a word, heavenly!

Glen Ivy sources organic and locally grown ingredients whenever possible, sometimes harvested from trees that grow right on the property. Fruit for your orange and grapefruit juices or avocados are used daily. Because wellness is what Glen Ivy is all about, they offer a variety or vegetarian and vegan dishes, as well as gluten-free. Our recommends? Start your day in the Goco Café with a Matcha and finish off at The Chill Zone. There you’ll find a variety of fresh pressed juices, delicious popsicles, real fruit smoothies, and even homemade empanadas.

25000 Glen Ivy Rd.
Corona
Online: glenivy.com

After a day at Glen Ivy Hot Springs, you could be too tired to drive home, so booking an Airbnb might be a way to continue the party through the weekend. There are several great Airbnbs near Corona, CA.

 

Jacuzzi and pool includes 6 chaise lounge chairs and umbrellas on an outside deck.

photo: Airbnb

Rancho Santa Fe: The coastal community of Rancho Santa Fe is one of the most expensive and exclusive communities in San Diego County. If you’re a mom who prefers the country club over the PTA, then this resort-style living, rural enclave in the hills is right up your fairway. While there are so many beautiful hotels in Rancho Santa Fe, sometimes with a big group, it’s more fun to rent a house.

Plan a reunion with up to 16 of your best high school buds, sorority sisters or play the consummate party host for just the girls when that decade birthday comes around. We love this private, five-acre resort ranch with 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, a driveway big enough to park 10 cars and an abundance of amenities. Moms will love the massive pool, jacuzzi, basketball court, mini golf course and in-ground trampoline. And for the competitive set, there are lawn games like corn hole, bocce ball and horseshoe. The palapa for outdoor meals includes mini fridge, sink, grill and stove. Catch up on life at the outdoor fireplace with cocktails in hand. You’ll enjoy every minute of this home away from home.

Sleeps: 16
Price: $1135/night
Online: airbnb.com

Fun Girls Trip Locations under 3 Hours from Los Angeles

Cuyama Buckhorn: The Hidden Valley of Enchantment is the perfect place for passionate, creative moms who relish the idea of being one with nature. Take the uber-scenic Route 33 to get to this former booming oil town at the four corners of four counties. You can even charge your electric vehicles upon arrival.

Cuyama Buckhorn is a laid-back, mid-century meets western-style, fully-renovated motel with modern amenities. Not only is this an artists community, but loads of adventures for nature-loving moms. Visit the Bitter Creek Wildlife Refuge to see endangered California Condors as they roost and forage. In the spring, catch the wildflower superbloom at Carrizo Plain National Monument. Hike to the salt flats, check out the historic cave paintings and the San Andreas fault. ATV through Ballinger Canyon. Mountain bike or hike through Los Padres National Forest. Stargaze at Mt. Pinos. One minute you could be wine-tasting at Sagebrush Annie’s or attending the Fall Food & Wine Festival, and the next minute you could be line dancing at a Chuckwagon BBQ. There’s so much to do on a girls trip to Cuyama.

4923 Primero St
New Cuyama
Online: cuyamabuckhorn.com

Best Place for Girls Trip under 4 Hours from Los Angeles

Carter Estate Winery and Resort: The Carter Estate Winery and Resort in Temecula is the ideal place to spend quality mom ‘me-time’ with friends. The bungalows and suites all have king-sized beds, so you won’t find any families around the property to induce FOMO mom-guilt. Instead, savor every sip of their award-winning sparkling wines on your private patio overlooking the vineyards.

Tempt your palates with a variety of wines from only the best varietals in the Carter Estate wine tasting room at the resort. For curious moms who’d love wine-tasting all of Temecula’s incredible wines, borrow some bikes from the hotel and explore wine country at your own pace or “wine’d” down at the Grapeseed Spa, just up the road at the South Coast Winery Resort & Spa.

34450 Rancho California Rd.
Temecula
Online: carterestatewinery.com

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From Chicago and Pittsburgh-style to, of course NY-style pizza, we’ve found the best pizza spots in LA worth your time and money

Is there anything more comforting than a delicious, piping-hot pizza? Uh, doubtful. And luckily, LA is having its very own pizza renaissance with more and more incredible pizza joints leveling up the pie game every day. (Thankfully, gone are the days when people would quietly chuckle when they mentioned pizza for dinner in LA). Nowadays, it’s almost (almost) too hard to keep up with which pizza joint is the best. But we did our research and are excited to deliver what we’ve known all along—not all pizza is created equal. After many bites and stuffed bellies, we’re delivering the best pizza in LA that is worth your time and hard-earned dollars.

Where to Find the Best New York Style Pizza in Los Angeles

Danny Boy's: New York City native, Daniel Holzman, owner of Danny Boy’s Famous Original Pizza in DTLA, says the secret to authentic New York Style pizza is in the water temperature used to make the dough—41 degrees to be exact. Holzman believes that making a premium pie is all about the flavor of the dough, the perfect cheese blend, using Stanislaus tomatoes for the sauce, and creating the right structure of a true New York slice—when you fold it to take a bite, it should crack, but not break in half.

Good to Know: The shop is only open Mon.-Fri. so make sure to get your pizza fix on a weekday.


330 S. Hope St.
Downtown
Online: dannyboysfamousoriginalpizza.com

U Street Pizza: When the crew behind Pasadena’s crazy popular Union Italian restaurant decided to open a pizza place last spring, it was bound to be a booming success. Executive Chef, Chris Keyser, brings his East Coast roots to create one of the best New York style pizza shops in town by concentrating on the crust—thin and crispy with the perfect amount of breadiness. Flavors run from classics like pepperoni and a fab sausage pie to pizzas topped with little neck clams, fresh garlic, lemon and Fiscalini Cheddar.

Insider Tip: Save room for dessert. Kiddos will definitely want a bowl of U Street’s amazing soft serve for dessert.

33 E. Union St.
Pasadena
Online: ustreetpizza.com

Secret Pizza LA: Sean Lango, the once anonymous owner of Secret Pizza LA, started his highly successful pizza biz out of his apartment during the pandemic. As a New Jersey native and major pizza lover, he was looking for a way to supplement his income when his job as a musician came to halt during COVID. After a lifetime of making pies for friends and watching people work in his favorite pizza joints back home, Lango learned how to make a simple, yet unbelievably perfect New York style pie. He began advertising on Instagram, and a viral sensation (and business) was born. He sold a limited number of pizzas out of his apartment each week with orders consistently selling out every time. This past July, Lango moved his small business into a Moneticito Heights space where customers can still book time slots for weekend pick-ups via Instagram links. New orders open on Mon. at 11 a.m. sharp. Act quick cause slots go quickly.

Online: instagram.com/secretpizzala

Where to Find the Best Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza in Los Angeles

Masa: In the heart of Echo Park is Masa, a mom and pop, family-owned restaurant specializing in Chicago Deep Dish Pizza made with love by a true Chicago son. With a two-inch-deep cornmeal crust, hand-crushed whole pear tomatoes and fillings like Masa’s secret recipe Sweet Italian Sausage & Authentic Hot Giardiniera imported from Chicago, it’s one of the best in LA for sure. But one of the sweetest parts of coming to Masa is the warm, welcoming atmosphere where you always feel like family.

1800 Sunset Blvd.
Echo Park
Online: masaofechopark.com

Gino's East: For Chicagoans who are living in LA, Gino’s East feels like a real taste of home. The beloved restaurant got its start in Chi-Town where according to the owners, "People know pizza." Lucky for us, they’re now serving up authentic deep dish in Sherman Oaks, along with 15 TVs highlighting Chicago sports, comfy booths for piling in the whole family and lots of Chicago memorabilia on the walls.

12924 Riverside Dr.
Sherman Oaks
Online: ginoseast.com

Hollywood Pies: This pizza spot serves up deep dish deliciousness that would make The Windy City proud. With a perfect combo of incredible crust, homemade sauce, custom butchered meats and locally sourced high-quality ingredients, it’s easy to see why this shop has earned a cult-like following around town.

6116 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles
Online: hollywoodpiesla.com

 

Where to Find the Best Detroit Style Pizza in Los Angeles

DTown: Crowned "World Champion of the 2021 International Pizza Competition," it’s no surprise DTown’s Detroit-Style pizza has gained such a devoted fan following. Run by Chef (and Michigan native) Ryan Ososky, DTown is turning out deep crust square pizzas with incredible flavor, perfectly caramelized crust and such divine texture it would impress even the most die-hard Motor City critic. We especially love The Goomba Pepperoni with pepperoni and fennel.


7326 Santa Monica Blvd., Ste. 10 (inside Phorage WeHo)
West Hollywood
Online: dtownpizzeria.com

Quarter Sheets Pizza Club: Echo Park’s Quarter Sheets Pizza Club knows exactly what they’re doing when it comes to making "Detroit-ish" pan-style pies. What started as a pop-up during the pandemic, is now one of the most sought-after brick-and-mortar pizza shops in town. There are just a few flavors to choose from—our fave is the Red Top with mozzarella, red sauce and Grana. And the desserts…oh man, the desserts are a must as well—Quarter Sheets’ Slab Cake is what dreams are made of.

1305 Portia St.
Echo Park
Online: instagram.com/quartersheets

Where to Find the Best California Style Pizza in Los Angeles

Side Pie: If we can thank the pandemic for anything, it’s sweatpants and that many of LA’s most inventive pizza shops were created during that time. Among them, Side Pie started as a pop-up in the side yard of owner Kevin Hockin’s home in Altadena. Hockin constructed a dome shaped pizza oven in his backyard, finessed his outstanding wood-fired recipes and word quickly spread about his insanely delicious pizza. Today, Side Pie has its own retail space and is still cooking up delish pies like The Bobby Green with kale, mushrooms, mozzarella, lemon oil, onion, parmesan and garlic or The Ramblin’ Peach with peaches, mozzarella, ricotta, basil and honey.

900 E. Altadena Dr.
Altadena
Online: side-pie.com

Where to Find the Best Pittsburgh Style Pizza in Los Angeles

Gorilla Pies: Ever had a Pittsburgh style pizza? Well, Chef of Gorilla Pies, Benjamin Osher, is here to change that. Pittsburgh pies have a puffy crust with a smoky edge, a bit more heft to the bread than their New York counterparts, lotsa mozzarella and a really, really diverse range of toppings. If your fam is feeling adventurous, we say check out The Rabbi with pastrami, Swiss-smoked kraut-chi, red cabbage, Reuben sauce and Caraway seed crust.

12416 Burbank Blvd.
Valley Village
Online: gorillapies.com

The Best Artisanal Pizza in Los Angeles

Pizzeria Bianco: Widely regarded as one of the best pizza makers in America, Chef Chris Bianco, finally brought his highly successful pizza restaurant, Pizzeria Bianco, all the way from Phoenix to LA. What makes his pizza a standout and has earned him countless accolades is his meticulous usage of the highest quality seasonal ingredients possible right down to the salt and pepper, making his own cheese and sausage and cooking everything to absolute perfection in a wood-fired oven. Make sure to check out the Sonny Boy and the Rosa pizzas during dinner service—you will not regret it.

1320 E. 7th St., #100
The Row in DTLA
Online: pizzeriabianco.com

L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele: Skip the cost of airfare to Naples and head over to world-renowned L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Hollywood for some of the most scrumptious Neopolitan pizza in town. With a bubbling crust that that’s expertly done and pies like the Bianca with double fior di latte, pecorino and basil, this won’t be your last visit.

1534 N. McCadden Pl.
Hollywood
Online: damicheleusa.com

The Best Vegan Pizza in Los Angeles

Double Zero Venice: Chef Matthew Kenney, known for specializing in plant-based cuisine, is currently making some of the tastiest Vegan pizza in LA. Double Zero Venice is the second location for his New York-based flagship with a goal of bringing a healthy perspective to the world’s most popular food. Notable pizzas include his Truffle Pizza with cashew cream, wild mushrooms, Tuscan kale and lemon vinaigrette, as well as the Pesto Pizza with macadamia ricotta, zucchini, arugula and parmesan.

1700 Lincoln Blvd.
Venice
Online: matthewkenneycuisine.com/double-zero-venice-ca

PS: These noteworthy pizza spots are also worth checking out: Hail Mary in Atwater Village, Brandoni Pepperoni near The Grove and Pizzeria Sei in the Pico-Robertson neighborhood. 

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Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! Discover just some of the rich, cultural heritage of the Latinx community that helps make LA such a great place.

Hispanic Heritage month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15) gives us the chance to celebrate this rich and diverse culture, and with an emphasis on Hispanic Heritage month activities taking place around LA, there’s never been a better time to show your support for our local, hard-working Hispanic-owned businesses. Whether you’re in the mood to try a new restaurant, find a great cup of coffee or stock up on some unique gifts for an upcoming celebration, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite, family-friendly shops and restaurants to support.

The Best Latinx-Owned Restaurants, Bakeries & Cafes around LA

Sonoratown: Owners, Teodoro Diaz-Rodriguez, Jr. and Jennifer Feltham, opened the doors to Sonoratown in 2016—wanting to pay homage to the small border town in Mexico where Teo grew up. Having called DTLA their home for many years, the pair hoped to contribute to the area’s revitalization by creating a taqueria that was different from the usual fare served to office workers in the area. Their namesake tacos served in the style of San Luis Colorado, Sonora—a part of Northern Mexico known for having the most delicious carne asada cooked over a mesquite wood fire, along with handmade flour tortillas quickly became a darling of the LA food scene. This past summer, a second Sonoratown location opened in Mid-City and is proving to be just as popular as the original.

Downtown & Mid-City
Online: sonoratown.com

Guelaguetza: On the edge of Koreatown is one of the best Oaxacan restaurants in the country and is even a James Beard award winner. The Lopez family opened Guelaguetza in 1994 using their family mole recipes from Oaxaca. It became one of the first restaurants in LA to feature Oaxacan dishes and meant the world to immigrants from the area by reminding them of home. That authentic feeling soon won over other customers as well and the restaurant became a huge hit. All mole is made in house from scratch and many of the ingredients are brought in directly from Oaxaca—giving the food its truly unique flavor.

3014 W. Olympic Blvd.
Koreatown
Online: ilovemole.com

Teddy's Red Tacos: This was a must on our list as Teddy’s Red Tacos are some of the tastiest around. Owner, Teddy Vasquez, started as an Uber driver who often carried around his family’s authentic recipe of Consume Birria Tacos in his trunk. Passengers started inquiring about what smelled so divine, and a booming business was born. Teddy opened his first taco truck off Slauson by the railroad tracks then gained such a loyal following that he now owns eight retail locations around SoCal with two more opening soon.

Several LA Locations
Online: teddysredtacosofficial.com

La Mascota Bakery: For some of the most to-die-for tamales around, La Mascota hits the mark every time. With mouthwatering flavors like Red Chile with Pork, Green Chile with Chicken, Veggies in Banana Leaf, Sweet with Pineapple and many others—it’s no wonder this bakery has been a beloved Boyle Heights mainstay for many generations. In addition to their outstanding tamales, La Mascota offers an impressive selection of pan dulce, cookies, cakes, and flan.

2715 Whittier Blvd.
Los Angeles
Online: lamascotabakery.com

Mariscos Jalisco: Raul Ortega has operated Mariscos Jalisco, a highly celebrated food truck, for 21 years in the Boyle Heights neighborhood with additional locations in DTLA, Pomona and West LA. Serving up some of the freshest seafood in town at an affordable price, it’s no wonder you’ll always find a long line of customers waiting. One dish that’s a must try is the Taco de Camaron—a deep-fried shell filled with gigantic shrimp topped with homemade red salsa and fresh avocado—you’ll thank us later.

Several LA Locations
Online: instagram.com/mariscosjalisco

La Monarca Bakery and Café: La Monarca Bakery has 12 locations throughout LA and offers lunch and dinner, as well as handmade pan dulce, concha, cakes, and organic Mexican coffee. Owners, Ricardo Cervantes and Alfredo Livas, grew up in Monterey, Mexico and later met at Stanford Business School where they formed the idea for La Monarca. When choosing their next locations, they look for Latino communities in need that are also preferably near public transit so they can hire locally from the area. Select signature retail products are also available for purchase in store or through their website.

Several LA Locations
Online: lamonarcabakery.com

Gusto Bread: In 2020, baker Arturo Enciso and his partner Ana Belen Salatino opened a cozy panaderia called Gusto Bread in the Retro Row area of Long Beach. Specializing in pan and pan dulce made only with masa madre (naturally leavened sourdough), Gusto Bread serves up a delicious variety of loaves, concha, long breads and much more. In fact, Food + Wine rated Gusto Bread as one of the top 100 Bakeries in America. But more important than the accolades, the owners hope to foster a strong sense of community connectedness and sustainability through their business.

2710 E. 4th St.
Long Beach
Online: gustobread.com

Related: How to Spend a Fun 48 Hours in Long Beach with Kids

Nonna's Empanadas: At the Original Farmer’s Market, Chef Eddy Ekmejian has taken over the business of running Nonna’s Empanadas from his late father Mario who was born in Argentina. Eddy turns out some of the most fabulous empanadas around by following the traditions his Great Great Grandmother. With a fantastic selection of flavors to choose from like Samosa Beef, Salsa Verde Chicken, Mac and Cheese, Shrimp and on the sweeter side—Nutella, part of the fun is figuring out which ones to eat first. Nonna’s also has locations on W. 3 St. and at Americana at Brand.

Several LA Locations
Online: nonnasempanadas.com

Our Favorite Hispanic-Owned Coffee Shops around LA

 

Little Barn Coffee House: Despite the challenges of launching a new business during the pandemic, Joana Rubio and Seleste Diaz opened Little Barn Coffee house—a 100% vegan café—with much success. They specialize in vegan comfort foods and make their dishes from fresh in-house ingredients every day. With delectable specialties like pan dulce, polvorones, maple fennel sausage biscuits, Mexican wedding cookies, oat horchata cold brews, Mexican hot chocolate, and hazelnut lattes, they strike a unique balance between Latin flavors and American tastes. As a proud LGBTQ Latinx woman-owned café, their top priority is making every customer feel welcomed and nourished.

3329 Division St.
Los Angeles
Online: instagram.com/littlebarncoffeehouse

Related: Our Favorite Women-Owned Businesses around LA to Support All Year Long

The Boy & The Bear: Andres Pineros founded The Boy & The Bear Coffee Roastery in Villavicencio, Columbia in 2012 as a pop-up shop specializing in Columbian coffee. When he moved to LA in 2013, he knew he wanted to establish his brand in a city known not only for its deep desire for premium coffee, but also for its openness to different cultures. Today, Pineros has four café locations around the SoCal area with a fifth coming soon to Sherman Oaks. He hopes to continue to offer an elevated Columbian coffee experience to Angelenos and a place where they will always feel at home.

Several SoCal Locations
Online: theboyandthebear.com

Patria Coffee: This small-batch coffee roaster in Compton is run by Deana and Geoffrey Martinez. The pair offers a fab selection of unique beverages to suit almost any taste, including Oat Milk Coffee Slushies, Oat-Chatas, Ibarra Mexican Mochas, lattes, teas and a delish selection of pastries. Best of all, this shop has a true neighborhood feel and is bound to become a regular stop during your week.

108 N. Alameda St.
Compton
Online: patriacoffee.com

Tierra Mia Coffee: With dozens of convenient locations to pick from throughout the Southland, Tierra Mia Coffee is a great choice when you need a good cup of jo. Ulysses Romeo founded the company with one mission—to offer customers the highest quality and freshest Latin-inspired coffee around. Because they use the pour over method for all their drinks, the coffee has uniquely strong flavor, but is never bitter. Some of our faves include the Cubano con Leche, the Mocha Mexicano and the Horchate Frappe.

Several LA Locations
Online: tierramiacoffee.com

Our Favorite Latinx-Owned Frozen Treats around Los Angeles

Mateo's Ice Cream & Fruit Bars: This traditional, fresh-fruit paleta shop from Oaxaca brings nothing less than their A-game when it comes to frozen desserts. In 2000, late founder, Priciliano Mateo opened the first Mateo’s location in Mid-City with hopes of sharing his beloved childhood treats with the LA community. His family carries on that tradition today with four locations and over 30 flavors of paletas on the menu like mango with chile, smoked milk, pistachio, and coconut.

Several LA Locations
Online: mateosicecreamla.com

Los Alpes Ice Cream Parlor: Since 1979, Los Aples owner, Margarita Flores, has been treating Angelenos to some of the best handcrafted frozen treats you’ll ever devour. This Huntington Park institution serves everything from paletas, ice cream and fruit bars to shakes and Mangoneada. With flavors like passion fruit, cranberry-pomegranate, chocolate abuelita, and hibiscus-raspberry just to name a few—your tastebuds will not be disappointed.

6410 Rugby Ave.
Huntington Park
Online: instagram.com/losalpes1979

Party Art Community: This party, stationery, and gift shop focuses on socially conscious goods and workshops. Owner, Destine Escobedo, makes a point to invest in local women vendors, as well as those from the BIPOC, Femme and Queer communities for inclusion in the products her shop carries. She always keeps in mind that her success can help propel the success of others. From colorful balloon bouquets and piñatas to cheeky gifts, colorful greeting cards and stationery—it’s truly one of the most unique shops in town.

5689 York Blvd., Ste. B
Los Angeles
Online: partyartcommunity.com

 

 

Lil' Libros: After realizing there was a shortage of bilingual books available for littles, two enterprising LA mothers – Arian Stein and Patty Rodriguez – created Lil’ Libros. As an independent bilingual children's book publisher, Lil’ Libros encourages kids to read in two languages while teaching them about Latin American culture and history. Kiddos are immersed in colorful worlds of storytelling about figures like Frida Kahlo, Basquiat, Celia Cruz and Pelé, as well as books about San Juan, Oaxaca, Havana and Bogotá, among many others.

Online: lillibros.com

Quiero Prints: What originally started as a quinceañera invitation shop, has blossomed into a popular stationery and gift shop based in East LA. Quiero Prints sells a wide range of Latinx-themed products ranging from witty tees and stickers to vibrant stationery and mugs. If you’re looking for a gift that’s different than the norm, this is the perfect place to shop.

Online: quieroprints.com

GRL Collective: After leaving her multicultural marketing agency job in LA, Kristine Rodriguez flew halfway across the world to volunteer with women and girls’ empowerment in India. This life-changing experience inspired her to later launch GRL Collective—a lifestyle brand that sells playful jewelry, tees, stickers, tote bags and more where 20-percent of all profits fund girls’ education in India.

Online: grlcollective.com

Sweet Llamita: When Brenda Castillo searched every premium stationery store and still couldn’t find any greeting cards to connect with her mom and dad who are Latin immigrants, she decided it was time to fill that void. Castillo’s greeting card company, Sweet Llamita, features super chic bilingual cards that are culturally relevant and speak to Latin Heritage and experience.

Online: sweetllamita.com

Hija De Tu Madre: Founder and designer, Patty Delgado, created apparel and accessory line, Hija De Tu Madre, to encompass the intersection of Mexican and American identity and provide customers with a sense of identity and belonging. With a fun selection of t-shirts, tote bags, jewelry and stunning denim jackets embroidered with the image of Frida Kahlo or the Mexican flag, pieces often double as wearable art.  

Online: hijadetumadre.com

Hedley & Bennett: After cooking in some of LA’s very best restaurants, Ellen Marie Bennett saw a need for better aprons that could stand up to the toughest conditions while still looking fabulous. She set out to make an apron that was not only functionally better with comfortably placed straps, strategic pocket placement and expert stitching, but one that could be worn by everyone from the executive chef of a Michelin starred restaurant to the home cook baking banana bread. Her company, Hedley & Bennett, now makes some of the best aprons on the market with a variety of stunning designs, including smaller aprons for aspiring kid chefs.

Online: hedleyandbennett.com

Other Books: On a mission to promote literature that is underrepresented, Denice Diaz and Adam Bernales started Other Books—an independent bookstore in Boyle Heights with a large Spanish language collection. The shop features a wide range of authors for both kids and adults and sells used and new editions in English and Spanish. Other Books also hosts writing workshops, readings and signings, as well as open mic poetry from time to time.

2006 E. Caesar Chavez Ave.
Boyle Heights
Online: otherbooksla.com

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Go for a pumpkin or two but stay for the face painting, bounce houses, and photo ops—without delay, here are our favorite pumpkin patches near LA

For most of the country, the slide into fall begins with cool mornings and crunchy leaves underfoot but for us in LA, pumpkin patch season usually coincides with warmer daily temperatures (the crunchy leaves we still get but that’s because things are just dried out and brittle). But that’s okay—you can still play the part—just pair your seasonal flannel or scarf over shorts and flip flops—no one said cool autumn weather is a must for picking out the best pumpkin. Of course, if you are ready to level-up your fall game plan, check out all the best places to go apple picking around LA and all the nearby fall foliage spots we love around LA).

And when you are ready to embrace all the gourds, spice and everything nice about fall, use our handy guide for where and when to go to get your pumpkin near Los Angeles. Whether you are looking for festive fall celebrations, a quaint patch, an Instagram-worthy experience, or even where to go to race Giant Tricycles along side a pumpkin patch (yes! keep reading!) or just a place to pick up a pumpkin or two on the way home, your guide to the best pumpkin patches in LA is here. 

The Best Pumpkin Patches in Los Angeles

Culver City: Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch

This well-loved pumpkin patch is a westside institution, drawing fans from near and far for thrills and chills since 1987. It’s even become somewhat of a celebrity haunt (pun intended!). Come enjoy a VIP experience (Sat. & Sun. only) with everything from complimentary wagons and photo ops galore at Pumpkin Village and hoist yourself up onto their giant rocking horses. Activity tickets are also available for a full slate of attractions like pony rides, super slides, face painting, bounce houses, and a petting zoo. And for you pumpkin-lovers, Mr. Bones has you covered with a wide assortment of standard and specialty pumpkins, tiny, giant, and even organic ones. You can have pumpkins delivered, decorate them on-site, buy a carving kit to bring home, or even commission a custom pumpkin with their master carver. 

When: Oct. 7-31; Daily, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Cost: $10/person & up; kids under 3 are free. Extra activities range from $1-17/person.

Good to Know: There is on-site parking (price varies), but there is also metered street parking. Wear closed-toed shoes with socks—there is an uneven wood-chip covered ground so sandals and flip-flops are not allowed.

10100 Jefferson Blvd.
Culver City
Online: mrbonespumpkinpatch.com

Related: All the Fun Things to Do with Kids in Culver City

 

Los Cerritos: Fallstivities Pumpkin Patch

Head here for a pumpkin patch filled with activities for all ages to enjoy that you won't find anywhere else. In addition to bounce houses and slide inflatables, an inflatable rock climb, a Euro bungee jump, and obstacle course, we've got our eyes on the lighted scooter track (age 5 & up) and Giant Tricycle Track. Read that again: A Giant Tricycle race track made just for big kids and adults (age 8 & up). It looks as fun as it sounds.

Don't miss the face painting, DIY color mask, and pumpkin display fun area that has a variety of photo ops with fun photo backdrops as well as to be announced movie nights. 

When: Sept. 30th-Oct. 30th; Mon.-Fri. 3:00 p.m.- 9:00 p.m.; Sat. & Sun. 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Cost: Some activities are free, others start at $5 & go up from there.

Los Cerritos Center Mall (North side of Sears)
239 Los Cerritos Center
Cerritos
Online: fallstivitiespumpkinpatch.com

Santa Monica: Shawn's Pumpkin Patch

A new location this year but the same fun you come to expect. At Shawn's, your city mouse can turn into a country mouse and experience the hunt for that perfect, long-stemmed, “chubby-faced” pumpkin! And as always, Shawns packs in extra fun with activities like a train, petting zoo, inflatable slide and bouncer, pony rides, carnival games, and more. Weekdays and early weekend mornings are the best times to beat the lines (and the heat).

When: Oct. 1-31 (closed Oct. 3-6 and Mondays except Oct. 31) 
Cost: Admission and parking are free; activities cost extra.

11650 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles
Online: shawnspumpkinpatch.com

The Best Pumpkin Patches in the Valley

Moorpark: Underwood Family Farms

Underwood’s beloved Fall Harvest Festival returns this year with family favorites like pick-your-own pumpkins (and other fruits and vegetables!), wagon rides to and from the fields, countless photo ops, corn mazes, a hay pyramid, harvester slide, animal experiences, and themed weekends with live entertainment! With 50 acres of scenic farmland to explore, there’s plenty of room to spread out and enjoy yourselves!

Good to Know: The best time to go is weekdays, but if you can only swing a weekend visit, tickets need to be purchased on-line (3 time-slots available) and in advance. 

When: Oct. 1-Oct. 31.; Daily, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: $14/person weekdays; children under 2 and parking are free. Many attractions are included with general admission, but some activities are an additional cost.

3370 Sunset Valley Rd.
Moorpark
Online: underwoodfamilyfarms.com

Tina's Pumpkin Patch

Information not updated as of publishing.

Located beside the Westfield Fashion Square (just off the 101), this is a super convenient and low-key spot for Valley residents and westsiders. With a petting zoo, pony rides, a mini train, and free straw maze, it's got plenty to entertain little ones and fill your camera roll with adorable snapshots. 

When: Oct. 1-31; Sun.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-8 p.m; and Fri. & Sat., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Cost: Free admission and parking. Activities range from $3-$6.

Westfield Fashion Square (parking lot off Woodman & 101 Fwy.)
4725 Woodman Ave.
Sherman Oaks
Online: tinaspumpkinpatch.com

Encino: Tapia Bros Farm Stand and Pumpkin Patch

Information not updated as of publishing.

This farm-fresh market stand (known for its signature tomatoes, corn, strawberries, and stone fruit) will transform into a pumpkin patch come Oct. 1st. Their famous corn maze is returning this year where guests can wind and giggle their way through five acres of corn stalks. There will also be pony rides, a petting zoo, and a tractor-pulled train ride around the field. The patch itself will also be carefully decorated, perfect for snapping a few festive photos before picking up some popcorn, drinks, and homegrown produce at their fruit and veggie stand.

Good to Know: The corn maze is open everyday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (and will remain on-site for an extra week or so into Nov.). Pony rides, petting zoo, and train are available on weekends only from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 

When: Oct. 1-31; Daily 9 a.m.-7 p.m.
Cost: Free admission and parking. Activities cost extra.

5251 Hayvenhurst Ave.
Encino
Online: https://www.facebook.com/TapiaBrosFarm

The Best Pumpkin Patches in Orange County

Irvine: Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch

Irvine Park Railroad’s Pumpkin Patch is fun for the entire family. Located just behind the train station, admission is free (although there is a park entrance fee, charged by the County of Orange for each vehicle ($3-7) that enters Irvine Regional Park). If you plan to visit on busy weekends, plan to arrive early in the morning to help avoid park entrance and parking delays.

Good to Know: On Sept. 24, they are hosting the Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off! Pumpkin growers will see if they have what it takes to win a prize for growing the biggest pumpkin. Cash prizes will be awarded.

When: Sept. 17-Oct. 31; Mon-Fri. 10 a.m-5 p.m; Sat. & Sun. 8 a.m-6 p.m.
Cost: Free to attend but there is a park entrance fee.

1 Irvine Park Rd.
Irvine
Online: irvineparkrailroad.com

Irvine & Costa Mesa: Tanaka Farms

Are you looking for that “farm-to-table” pumpkin experience? Then, you need the “U-Pick” option at Tanaka Farms, one of the only farms in Orange County with a real pumpkin patch. Take a wagon ride to fields of pumpkin varieties, like their carriage-shaped Cinderellas, deep-ribbed Fairytales, smooth white Polar Bears, and spooky blue Jarrahdales. Then, top off the fun with a visit to their barnyard for animal encounters and a stop at their produce stand, turned harvest holiday bazaar. And starting at noon on Fri. and throughout the weekend, Tanaka brings out their pumpkin cannon, ATV rides, food vendors and more!

Good to Know: Parking is free on weekdays but is $10/vehicle on weekends starting Fri. at noon. For weekend visits, you must purchase timed-entry parking passes ahead of time.

When: Sep. 17-Oct. 31.; Daily, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $10/person; kids under 3 (and military) are free. Activities cost extra.

5380 3/4 University Dr.
Irvine
Online: tanakafarms.com

For those wishing for a smaller, more relaxed experience, check out Tanaka Farms' second location: the Hana Field Pumpkin Patch in Costa Mesa. You can spend as long as you like, wandering the U-pick pumpkins and flower fields for that perfect fall photo op. They also have a corn maze, flower picking (when available, depending on bloom availability), a small barnyard animal exhibit with chickens, bunnies, and goats, a play area, cow train, arts and crafts, "Shoot the Root" (shoots turnips!), and a pumpkin cannon. 

Good to Know: Parking is $10. You must purchase timed-entry parking passes online in advance

When: Oct. 1-31; Fri.-Sun., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Cost: $10/person; kids under 3 (and military) are free. Activities cost extra.

Hana Field
42 Anton Blvd.
Costa Mesa
Online: tanakafarms.com/hana-pumpkin-patch

 

The Best Pumpkin Patches in San Bernardino

Skyforest: Pumpkins in the Pines

Attention all 80s kids: There’s a pumpkin patch at Santa’s Village! (Yes, that Santa’s Village—the one whose catchy commercials captured our imaginations with “fun, forest, and fantasy all rolled into one!”) Today, Santa’s Village (a.k.a. Skypark at Santa’s Village) is an adventure theme park, offering biking, fishing, archery, ziplining, bouldering, mining, and much more alpine fun for the whole family! And during the Pumpkins in the Pines festival, Skypark treats guests to a fall celebration with special events like park-wide trick-or-treating; pumpkin painting in Santa’s Workshop, costume contests, light shows, themed skate parties, seasonal characters, and holiday treats throughout the park. 

Good to Know: On October 29th & 30th, bring your little ones to participate in Arrow’s Spooky Balance Bike Race.

When: Oct. 8 and runs every weekend through Oct. 30; 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Cost: $59/adults; $49/children (ages 4-12); free for children under 3 and adults 75 & up.

28950 California 18
Skyforest
Online: skyparksantasvillage.com/pumpkins-in-the-pines

Related: A Weekend of Fun with Kids in Lake Arrowhead

Redlands: Live Oak Canyon Pumpkin Farm

Is it a pumpkin patch, animal farm, country fair, or garden oasis? Answer: Yes. If you’re looking for an escape from the city (and are up for a 60-90 minute drive), this destination is a must—Plus, it's close to the best apple picking around! There’s something for everyone here: From autumn fields, bursting with sunflowers and pumpkins; to carnival food, rides, and games; animal attractions; and photo ops galore. It's also the largest pumpkin patch in all of San Bernardino County.

When: Sep. 24-Oct. 31; Opens 9 a.m. on weekends and 4 p.m. on weekdays.
Cost: Prices vary depending on the day but range anywhere from $5 per person to $15 per child. Parking is free. Some activities cost extra.

32335 Live Oak Canyon Rd.
Redlands
Online: liveoakcanyon.com

The Best Pumpkin Experiences in LA

The best pumpking patches in Los Angeles
Descanso Gardens

La Cañada Flintridge: Descanso Gardens

Nights at Descanso Gardens will be aglow with festive pumpkins from the return of "Carved," a family-friendly event for all ages. Even though this isn't a buy-a-pumpkin event, you can get inspired by the hundreds of carved pumpkins that light up a 1-mile walk through Camellia Forest and Oak Grove. There will also be new, oversized photo ops with sculptures made of sticks and other natural materials. And don't miss out on exploring the whole garden, including their popular Pumpkin House and hay maze; and enjoy themed food and drink on this fun night out with the kids.

When: Pre-sale tickets are on sale now for members and Sept. 15 for non-members. The event runs from Oct. 7-31. from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. (Admission is by timed-entry tickets).
Cost: $32 & up; children under 2 are free, but still need a ticket. Parking is free.

1418 Descanso Dr.
La Cañada Flintridge
Online: descansogardens.org/carved

Pumpkin Festival at Cal Poly

Cal Poly’s College of Agriculture grows 40,000 pumpkins for this annual event, a smorgasbord of fall harvest traditions, including (obviously) a massive pumpkin patch, horse and pony rides, a petting zoo, duck races, a sunflower field, live music, games, a food court, and two corn mazes. What makes this festival different than some of the others is the focus on education (it’s a college, after all). Families can wander down “Ag Discovery Lane” to check out various live demonstrations of things like blacksmithing, soap-making, beekeeping, sheep shearing and live cow-milking (which’ll make your kid either appreciate—or abandon—their daily cup of milk). New this year: Pumpkin Land, a garden “gallery” of uniquely decorated pumpkins. And for an additional entrance fee, little bug-lovers will want to get a ticket for the festival’s Insect Fair, which has 500,000 live and preserved insects from around the world.

Dates: Oct. 1-30
Cost: Thurs. & Fri.: Adults, $6; children 3–12, $5; kids under 3 are free. Sat. & Sun.: Adults: $10; children 3–12, $7. Certain events require additional tickets on the weekends

AGRIscapes Center
4102 S. University Dr.
Pomona
Online: cpp.edu

–Mary J. Lim

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Lots of insider tips await

School is finally back in session and that means the fall season has arrived. While the weather may not have gotten the message in Southern California, there’s no time like Halloween Time to visit the Happiest Place on Earth.

From Sept. 2 through Oct. 31, Disneyland Resort and Disney California Adventure have been transformed into a fall-themed extravaganza with decorations, ride overlays and a brand new menu. We hit up the parks on the first day of the fall celebration and got all the insider details you need to make your visit the most festive yet.

Disneyland Resort

Halloween Time Attractions & Experiences

A trip to Disney requires advance planning so before you head out, take inventory of what attractions and experiences are the most important to your family. If the Haunted Mansion Holiday (with it's Nightmare Before Christmas overlay) is a must, consider a rope drop (where you arrive at the park and are some of the first to enter) to make sure you don't get stuck in a huge line. Instead of trying to hit up every single ride, picking a few experiences will let you enjoy your day more and give everyone a win. We talked to Carrie at Plan Disney who shared this amazing resource where parents can submit questions and receive expert tips and advice on planning their trip.

In addition to the Haunted Mansion Holiday attraction, we highly recommend checking out the Halloween Screams nighttime spectacular. While the fireworks portion of the experience is only available on weekends, visitors can still catch the projections on weekdays. Carrie from Plan Disney recommends catching this show closer to it's a small world, where there's more room for kiddos to let the wiggles out instead of being shoulder to shoulder in other viewing areas.

Insider Tip: Plan lots of breaks in your day where you can rest and beat the heat. While it's technically "fall" at the parks, Southern California is known for autumn heat waves. We recommend hitting up it's a small world, the Star Wars Launch Bay and the Animation Academy at Disney California Adventure to soak in some much-needed AC.

Karly Wood

Fall Menu Items at Disneyland & Disney California Adventure

There's food and then there's Disney food––and you don't want to miss the new fall menu items on your visit. In addition to options like spicy mac and cheese and ghost pepper nachos, there are plenty of fall-themed items like Oogie Boogie Funnel Cake Fries, pumpkin spice churros, Monster Halloween cake and a blood orange slush. We highly suggest checking out the foodie guide and mapping out your must-haves before heading to the park.

This year's popcorn bucket is a glow in the dark Mickey Mummy that is bound to be the envy of every park attendee, in addition to a Donald Duck sipper.

Finally, we cannot recommend mobile ordering enough. If it is an option at your dining location of choice, exercise it to keep your hungry kids at bay. 

Insider tip: You can place all your mobile orders at the start of the day once entering the park so your meals are taken care of. If you wait too long, time slots will be not available and you might have to wait hours to pick up your food.

Karly Wood

Plaza de la Familia at Disney California Adventure

Returning this year is the Plaza de la Familia in Paradise Gardens at Disney California Adventure. This special area commemorates Dia de Los Muertos, a holiday of joyful celebration remembering family and friends who have passed away. It runs from Sept. 2 through Nov. 2.

This is a great place to see Coco come to life, with beautiful interactive experiences, special food and live entertainment. Several times a day you can catch the street show, “A Musical Celebration of Coco,” and sing your heart out to “Remember Me.”

This location is the perfect spot to also grab some amazing photos at the memory wall, see the Árbol de la Vida (Tree of Life) and snap a picture with Miguel.

Insider tip: The Plaza is a great place to sit and recharge. It's heavily shaded, right next to lots of food options and has a great craft section for kids. When you need a break, head here!

Karly Wood

Halloween at Disney California Adventure

Disney California Adventure is equally transformed during the fall season. While the theme is more on the spooky side with lots of bats and Oogie Boogie displays, it's just as enchanting for families. Don't miss the 10-foot tall Headless Horeseman on Buena Vista Street and the vintage Halloween costumes the Disney characters are wearing.

Be sure to head to Cars Land to see Radiator Springs transformed into Radiator Screams, Mater’s Graveyard JamBOOree and Luigi’s Honkin’ Haul-O-Ween. Also, keep an eye out for Lightning McQueen, Mater, Cruz and Red in their best “car-stumes!”

And finally, once it gets dark, don't forget to head to Guardians of the Galaxy- Monsters After Dark. This ride is the only one that guests can ride twice in one day and have completely different experiences thanks to its evening transformation!

Insider tip: If your family plans on riding Guardians of the Galaxy- Monsters After Dark, we highly encourage a Lightning Lane pass. This line for this attraction can get long quickly and you don't want to waste your evening!

 

Note: This trip was paid for by Disneyland Resort but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer. 

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Fall fairs in LA! From the largest corn mazes to the best photo-ops imaginable, discover the best fall festivals in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, with its plentiful palm trees and summery temperatures, may not feel like fall, but there are still plenty of chances for you and your kiddos to experience some of those classic autumn experiences aka: the fall festival (if you’re looking specifically for apples and pumpkins and leaf peeping—check out all the best places to go apple picking around LA, where to find your perfect pumpkin and all the nearby fall foliage spots we love around LA).

What makes the SoCal fall festival different from a regular pumpkin patch? There are loads more to discover than just the gourd—learn about and explore farm goods, wander fields and pick your own flowers, veggies (and yes, pumpkins), get lost in corn field mazes, ride an amusement park ride or two, and eat your way through loads of fall-friendly fare—all this and more at our favorite fall festivals in LA, SoCal, Orange County, Ventura and everywhere in between.

The Best Fall Festivals in Los Angeles County

Pumpkin Festival at Cal Poly: Cal Poly's College of Agriculture grows 40,000 pumpkins for this annual event, a smorgasbord of fall harvest traditions, including (obviously) a massive pumpkin patch, horse and pony rides, a petting zoo, duck races, a sunflower field, live music, games, a food court, and two corn mazes. What makes this festival different than some of the others is the focus on education (it's a college, after all). Families can wander down "Ag Discovery Lane" to check out various live demonstrations of things like blacksmithing, soap-making, beekeeping, sheep shearing and live cow-milking (which'll make your kid either appreciate—or abandon—their daily cup of milk). New this year: Pumpkin Land, a garden “gallery” of uniquely decorated pumpkins. And for an additional entrance fee, little bug-lovers will want to get a ticket for the festival's Insect Fair, which has 500,000 live and preserved insects from around the world.

Dates: Oct. 1-30
Cost: Thurs. & Fri.: Adults, $6; children 3–12, $5; kids under 3 are free. Sat. & Sun.: Adults: $10; children 3–12, $7. Certain events require additional tickets on the weekends

AGRIscapes Center
4102 S. University Dr.
Pomona
Online: cpp.edu

LA Fall Fair: The largest Fall Festival in Los Angeles County, you'll find 12 acres of amusement rides, live music, games, arts & crafts, and an international food court. Fair-goers can purchase a presale unlimited ride wristband for $25 that allows the fairgoer to ride all the rides as many times as they want for any one day of the event from open until close.

Dates: Oct. 21-Nov. 6
Cost: $5 per person; Under 12 and over 65 are free

1600 Rosemead Blvd.
South El Monte
Online: lapradaevents.com

Día de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever Cemetery: For a different direction than farms and pumpkin patches, head to Hollywood Forever Cemetery for their spectacular Día de los Muertos event. Tour over 100 vibrant altars, uniquely decorated in honor of community members’ ancestors and loved ones; awards are given at the end of the day to the most memorable altars and best-dressed Calacas (skeletons). Many event goers arrive in magical costumes (best costume is awarded $500!). At the Children’s Plaza, kids can participate in art and crafting activities, face painting, and performances by the Bob Baker Marionettes. Families can also watch the procession featuring hundreds of Aztec ritual dancers, listen to music on five different stages and sample food from LA vendors.

Date: Oct. 30, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $35 (under 5 don’t require a ticket)

6000 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles
Online: hollywoodforever.com

The Best Fall Festivals in Ventura County

Underwood Family Farms: Celebrating its 21st year, Underwood Family Farms is the best-known fall festival in Los Angeles—and it's no wonder why. The (slightly steep) ticket price gives families a whole day's worth of activities, including a massive corn maze, a tractor-drawn wagon ride, an animal center with a menagerie of adorable farm animals, a chicken show (!), a farm-themed playground, pig races, and acres of open space for kids to sprint their sillies out. Shell out additional bucks and you can add more to your day, including pony rides, kid-drivable mini-tractors, and a train ride. There's also Moorpark's amazing farm stand, and enough pumpkins in the patch that you'll be sure to find one that's Jack-O-Lantern-worthy.

Dates: Oct. 1 through 31. The festival is open seven days a week, but the major programming, live music and shows happen on the weekend.
Cost: $22-$28 on the weekends; $14 on weekdays; kids under 2 are free. (Hint: Online tickets are required for weekends; for certain weekends, you can buy advanced tickets online for a discounted price.)

Weekend programming highlights include:
Oct. 1-2: "Friends of the Farm Weekend," a public safety-themed weekend, when the fair will be filled with all sorts of real-life superheroes including Bomb Squad and SWAT members, police K-9s, a Disaster Action Response Team display (DART)—plus police cars and police motorcycles that your kids will love getting to see up close.
Oct. 15-16: "Antique Tractor Weekend" where dozens of old tractors will be on display and their owners available to answer all your littles’ burning tractor questions. Plus, tractors go on parade at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 22-23: "Wild West Weekend," filled with cowboy entertainment including stunt ropers, a gold miner, a covered wagon, music, and more.

3370 Sunset Valley Rd.
Moorpark
Online: underwoodfamilyfarms.com/fall-harvest

The Best Fall Festivals in Orange County

Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch: Tanaka's 30-acres of Irvine farmland are open to the public year-round via U-pick and guided walking and wagon tours, but the farm ups its game during the Halloween season. This Fall Harvest Festival features carnival-style games, ATV and wagon rides, a pumpkin cannon, a corn maze and pumpkins as far as the eye can see. While you're there, pick up some farm-fresh veggies (straight out of the ground via U-Pick or from the farm stand), grab lunch from the Tanaka Farms Grille, or let the kids have some QT with the critters in the petting zoo. Note: There is no public drinking water, so bring your own water (or be prepared to buy drinks there) because it can get hot.

Dates: Weekends, Sept. 17 through Oct. 31
Cost: $10, with various activities costing additional fees

5380 3/4 University Dr.
Irvine
Online: tanakafarms.com

Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch: You’ll find this pumpkin patch just behind the Irvine Park Railroad station in Orange County. There’s a wide mix of classic fall activities. Free-of-charge ones include a haunted house, a hay maze, hay pyramids for kids to climb and photo stations. Buy tickets for pumpkin decorating, John Deere racers (the mini-sized versions, whew), panning for gold, hay and train rides, carnival games and more. And on Sept. 24, starting at 9 a.m., bring your best estimating skills to The Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off where prizes will be awarded to the biggest pumpkins.

Dates: Sept. 17-Oct. 31
Cost: Entrance to the pumpkin patch is free. Activity tickets are $7; pack of 15 tickets is $90. There is also a park entrance fee per vehicle of $3 on weekdays, $7 on weekends

1 Irvine Park Rd.
Orange
Online:
https://www.irvineparkrailroad.com/events/pumpkin-patch/

The Best Fall Festivals in the San Fernando Valley

Forneris Farms Fall Festival: Forneris Farms' annual fall festival boasts a four-acre cornfield maze that is so big that it takes about an hour to complete—and kids under 12 aren't allowed without a parent. Which is to say, it's super big, super fun and super worth it! Festival-goers can also enjoy pony rides, a tractor-pulled train ride and a tractor ride around the farm. Your littlest celebrants will be in Halloween heaven at the "Farm Frolic" area, which includes a giant pumpkin jumper, a hay bale pyramid, a hay bale mini-maze and more.

Good to Know: All attractions are cash only; there is an ATM on site.

Dates: Sept. 30 through Oct. 31
Cost: Entry is free to the farm and pumpkin patch, but attraction passes—which include the corn maze, train ride and Farm Frolic area—are a separate fee (ages 2 and under are free)

15200 Rinaldi St.
Mission Hills
Online: fornerisfarms.com

Calabasas Pumpkin Festival: Did you know that Calabasas comes from the Spanish word ‘calabaza’ meaning ‘pumpkin’ or ‘gourd?’ So, it makes sense that Calabasas would go all out for its annual weekend-long Pumpkin Festival, a Halloween-time tradition that been holding strong from more than 40 years. This year, festival-goers can expect a slew of fun seasonal entertainment, including live music, food booths (orange flags signify vendors with pumpkin-based treats), tons of vendor stands, spooky squash sculptures, a beer garden (with pumpkin beer!), pumpkin carving with Peculiar Pumpkin Portrait's Doug Goodreau, and kids' games. Admission price includes all inflatables, a giant slide, Halloween carnival games, reptiles and bug shows, and a Saturday morning costume parade.

Dates: Oct. 16, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $10-15, kids under 2 are free

3701 Lost Hills Rd.
Calabasas
Online: cityofcalabasas.com

The Best Fall Festival in Riverside County

fall festival corn maze los angeles
Anderson Schmig via Unsplash

Big Horse Corn Maze: Speaking of corn mazes, if you really want to get lost in the crops, it's worth the hour-ish drive out of town to test your navigation skills at the Big Horse Corn Maze & Harvest Festival, where its whopper of a maze is ranked as the biggest in all Southern California. We're talking over 11 acres of corn stalks to navigate, which is no easy task, especially with little ones in tow. (FYI: If you give up, there are emergency exits along the way. And your bigger Harry Potter fans will love how much like the Tri-Wizard Tournament's final task this feels!)

Dates: Oct. 1-3; Tues.-Fri. 1-5 p.m.; weekends 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $15 (ages 5 and under are free). Each group must have a parking pass as well, parking $5

33320 Temecula Pkwy.
Temecula
Online: bighorsecornmaze.com

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When sleeping on the ground is no longer attractive, check out these must-go glamping sites located just a couple of hours away from Los Angeles

If your family’s looking to getaway from LA and commune with nature, but the idea of pitching a tent with sweat dripping down your face and choice words flying out of your mouth is less than ideal, we hear you. Luckily, there’s a fantastic selection of glamping accommodations near LA that will definitely level up your camping experience—sweat-free. Whether you’d like to stay in an Airstream, stay in a treehouse, wagon, or a yurt decked out with 4-star hotel amenities, we’re pretty sure these must-go glamping spots will become your new favorite way to spend the night away from home.

Glamping in Santa Barbara, CA

Cliffside Camp: Looking to experience the beauty of Santa Barbara County with some truly unique accommodations? Cliffside Camp checks all the boxes with luxurious tents that feature private ensuite bathrooms, a queen size bed with mattress, and up to two extra beds for kids at no extra charge. Add to that: cozy bedding, a propane heater for chilly evenings, off-the-grid lighting, a BBQ and picnic table and you're set for your entire stay. Tents allow enough space for up to 4 people—2 adults and up to 2 children, 1 adult and up to 3 kiddos, or if you're making it a an adult-only getaway (hello kidless weekend!) 3 adults per tent. The best part? The campsite offers breathtaking ocean and mountain views, a secluded beach and provides the perfect dark night sky for some serious stargazing. 

Good to Know: This spot closes in early Nov. for the winter but will re-open in Mar. 2023

Santa Barbara, CA
Online: cliffsidecamp.com

Related: How We Spend 72 Hours in Santa Barbara with Kids

El Capitan Canyon: Since 2001, El Capitan Canyon has been one of SoCal’s most popular glamping experiences by offering guests a wide selection of cedar cabins and glamorous yurts that offer total comfort. Cabins come equipped with king, queen or double beds, a standard bathroom, heating, a kitchenette, all linens, a private picnic table and a firepit with removable grill for dining and campfires. The number of people each cabin sleeps depends on what size you book.

If you’re looking for something a little different, check out the adventure yurts—free standing accommodations atop a wood platform with canvas walls and a raised rooftop that includes a domed skylight for some swell stargazing that sleep up to four people. Yurt amenities include a queen size bed and twin day bed with trundle, bar sized fridge, microwave, ceiling fan and space heater. Adjacent restrooms have private shower stalls and changing rooms. Outside, each yurt has its own picnic table and a firepit with grill.

Good to Know: El Capitan also has a great Canyon Store that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner for dine-in or take-out, as well as wine, souvenirs, snacks and different types of BBQ kits. During your stay, you’ll also want to check out the great hiking trails, the llama and goat farm, the pool and children’s playground, beach cruiser bikes and occasional live concerts.

11560 Calle Real
Santa Barbara, CA
Online: elcapitancanyon.com

Related: Want to Go Glamping in Northern California? Check Out These Book-Worthy Spots

Glamping in Joshua Tree, CA

AutoCamp Joshua Tree: Joshua Tree is one of our fave places for an adventurous family getaway. But the experience is made even better by staying at AutoCamp—a luxury desert camping spot located just outside the famed national park that features an array of modern Airstream trailers with tons of amenities. Think private bedroom with a queen size bed, a bathroom with stand-up shower, a pull-out sofa, AC for sweltering days, a kitchenette stocked with complimentary coffee, tea and waters, an outdoor picnic table and a firepit for cooking meals and making s’mores.

Near the lobby, there’s a pool to cool off and lounge the afternoon away whenever you’re not busy hiking Joshua Tree’s fantastic trails nearby. There’s even a curated marketplace where you can purchase food, wine, beer, and supplies in case you forgot any essentials. Each Airstream sleeps 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 kiddos. For even more of an upgrade, AutoCamp also has an impressive selection of Vista X Suites that guests can book for their stay. Each suite features a memory foam queen bed, full living area, kitchenette and private outdoor space. Complimentary mountain bikes are also available on the property as well. You many never go back to tents after this.

62209 Verbena Rd.
Joshua Tree, CA
Online: autocamp.com/joshua-tree

Related: Luxury Camping and Joshua National Park in One Glorious Place

Glamping in Big Bear, CA

Getaway: This family glamping spot near Los Angeles offers cozy cabins that provide restorative nature stays for their guests just two hours outside the hustle a bustle of major cities. With 15 outposts and growing, Getaway offers a true escape that encourages you to savor your free time, find balance, embrace disconnection from the world, and bond with the people you love most.

For SoCal folks, Getaway has 40 outposts in Big Bear that's perfect for some much needed peace and quiet—and would make a great group destination if you can get everyone to coordinate the same dates. These modern, tiny cabins feature a queen bed or queen bunks, AC and heat, a private bathroom, a stove and mini fridge, as well as your own picnic table, firepit and many more amenities. Dogs are also welcome for a small additional fee. Cabins fit 2-to-4 people depending on the accommodations you choose.


Big Bear, CA
Online: getaway.house

Related: Why Big Bear is a Favorite Vacation Destination for LA Families

Glamping in Ventura County

Ventura Ranch KOA: Just an 80-minute drive from LA and tucked away at the foot of Topa Topa Mountain is the Ventura Ranch KOA campsite. Filled with wildlife, a creek, a forest and breathtaking views as far as the eye can see, this KOA location offers a wide variety of glamping options, including spacious safari tents, teepees, Conestoga wagons and cabins.

Kids will love the on-site pool, rock climbing tower, gem mining, Bigfoot Watering Hole and Soar Over Ventura Adventure Course that combines a zipline and ropes/obstacle course. Boredom is not an option when camping here.

7400 Pine Grove Rd.
Santa Paula, CA
Online: koa.com

Glamping on Catalina Island

Two Harbors Campground: For an extra special camping experience, Two Harbors Campground on Catalina Island can’t be beat. Located on high on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the site offers traditional camping, as well as unique tent cabins that are equipped with cots, a two-burner stove, a shade structure, picnic table and fire pit with cooking grate. If you don’t feel like lugging a bunch of food and drinks to Catalina, simply purchase items from the Two harbors General Store and have them delivered straight to your campsite for a small fee. During your stay, your family can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling or simply lounging waterside.

Campground
Two Harbors
Online: visitcatalinaisland.com

Related: The Best Things to Do on Catalina Island with Kids 

More Glamping Resources near Los Angeles & Southern California

Check Out: Glamping Hub

When you’re on the hunt for remarkable glamping locales, make sure to check out Glamping Hub. Their impressive selection of accommodations, including treehouses, safari tents, tiny cabins and more throughout Southern California, will give your family tons of ideas for your next outdoor adventure. Standouts like this stargazing dome near Joshua Tree and this delightful vintage trailer set-up in Chatsworth are just two of the unique spots to choose from.

Online: glampinghub.com

Check Out: Hipcamp

If you’re looking for a variety of interesting camping options that think “outside the tent,” Hipcamp is the most comprehensive resource for unique outdoor stays. From an old gypsy wagon with Topanga views to guard tower suites that resemble tiny castles in the Joshua Tree desert, there’s truly something for everyone at various picturesque spots throughout SoCal. Guests also have direct communication with campsite owners, making booking and questions about your stay easy breezy.

Online: hipcamp.com

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Accessible adventures—everywhere to go in LA with grandparents in tow

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. Check out why these crowd favorites—from the Original Farmer’s Market to the Natural History Museum—are our go-to spots including how accessible they are for those that aren’t as mobile as they used to be.

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. 

Accessibility Information for the Original Farmer's Market: The Market restaurant and shops are all located on the ground floor and accessible via wheelchair. Wheelchair service is also available—guests can request a wheelchair by visiting the Farmers Market Office or calling 323-933-9211.

Online: farmersmarketla.com

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.

Accessibility Information for the Getty Villa: Accessible parking spaces are located in both Central and South garages and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Wheelchairs are available for free rental on a first-come, first-served basis in the Entry Pavilion. Free assisted listening devices (ALDs) are available for all tours and for the Orientation Theater and Villa Auditorium. Each ALD has an ear piece and a clip that can be attached to clothing.Free induction neck loops, which work with hearing aids that have a T-coil switch, are available free of charge at the Coat Check inside the Museum entrance.

Accessibility Information for the Getty Center: Accessible parking spaces are located on the entry level of the Main Parking Structure. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The computer-operated tram that takes visitors to the top of the hill is accessible for guests using wheelchairs. If using a wheelchair, board in an end car. To reach the tram, take the elevator in the parking structure up to level T1. The tram station is approximately 20 level feet from the elevator doors. Wheelchairs are available for free rental on a first-come, first-served basis at the Lower Tram Station above the parking structure and at the Coat Check Room in the Museum Entrance Hall.

Online: getty.edu

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.

Accessibility Information for the Skirball Cultural Center: ADA accessible parking is located in the South Parking garage. The North and East Parking garages also include a limited number of ADA accessible spaces. The use of motorized wheelchairs and other power-driven mobility aids is permitted. A limited number of wheelchairs are available for check-out on a first-come, first-served basis at the lobby desk in the Main Entrance and at the security kiosk in the North Parking garage. If you are parking in the East Parking garage and require a wheelchair, please call (310) 440-4676 in advance so that a security guard may be ready to assist you upon your arrival. Built-in and portable assisted listening devices are available during public programs. Please inquire with the security guard upon your arrival for additional information.

Online: skirball.org

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.

Accessibility Information for the Autry Museum: Wheelchairs are now available to borrow.

Online: theautry.org

best places to take grandparents around LA
CAAM

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.

Accessibility Information for NHM: Accessible parking is available in NHM car park. All exhibits are accessible for wheelchairs and strollers, with the exception of strollers inside the Butterfly and Spider Pavilion. 

Accessibility Information for CAAM: Wheelchairs are available if needed. To book a wheelchair, or for any other needs, please contact iDesk@caamuseum.org or call 213.744.2084.

Accessibility Information for the California Science Center: The Science Center is about 0.2 miles from the Expo Park/USC Station Metro Line. Accessible parking spaces are available on levels 1, 2 and 3 of the Science Center parking lot, entered from 39th Street and Figueroa. Accessible parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Standard manual wheelchairs are available for free at the Information Desk on a first-come, first-served basis for use inside the California Science Center. All exhibit spaces are wheelchair accessible. All levels are accessible by elevator or stairs.

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.

Accessibility Information for the LA Arboretum and Botanic Garden: Designated parking spots are located near the front entrance. The Arboretum’s roads are accessible and allow access to many of landscape areas. At this time, wheelchairs are not available to rent and the wheelchair lift, located at the Queen Anne Cottage, is currently closed for restoration.

Online: arboretum.org

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.

Accessibility for the Griffith Park and Southern Railroad: Accessible parking is located on site. To ride the trains, one must be able to climb in and out of the train car. 

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.

Online: japanesegardenpasadena.com

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.

Accessibility Information for Terranea Resort: The hotel complies with ADA Guidelines.

Online: terranea.com

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.

Accessibility Information for The Huntington: All buildings and most garden areas at The Huntington are accessible to visitors who require a physical accommodation. Wheelchairs are available for loan on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors who require a physical accommodation are also welcome to bring their own motorized scooters, wheelchairs, or Segways. A color-coded map of the grounds is available online and in the Visitor's Guide when you arrive, showing steep areas. For visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing, assistive listening devices (ALD), sign language interpretation, and real-time captioning are available for all public events; please email or call 626-405-3549 at least ten days in advance of the event to make arrangements.

Online: huntington.org

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.

Accessibility Information for LACMA: The most convenient location to drop off a guest who may have trouble walking is on Wilshire Blvd. Handicap parking is available in both of LACMA’s parking lots—underground off Sixth St. (one block east of Fairfax Ave.) and above ground at the corner of Spaulding Ave. and Wilshire Blvd. All of the museum’s galleries are accessible by wheelchair. Wheelchairs are available at no additional expense from any the Ticket Offices.

Accessibility Information for La Brea Tar Pits: Accessible parking is available in La Brea Tar Pits car park. Wheelchairs are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and can be checked out at the Main Entrance.

Accessibility Information for the Academy of Motion Pictures: The Museum is fully accessible to wheelchair users and other visitors who need to avoid stairs. Visitors with disabilities may use mobility devices, including manual and electric wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and other personal mobility devices (including Segways), provided that they are operated on the lowest speed setting. Manual wheelchairs may be checked out free-of-charge on a first-come, first-served basis at the Bag Check on Lower Level 1.

Accessibility Information for Petersen Automotive Museum: Parking for visitors with disabilities is provided on level P1. 

 

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. 

Insider Tip: Don't miss a chance to walk through the Blue Ribbon Garden—and another hidden gem in LA—the Lillian Disney Memorial Fountain—Frank Gehry's tribute to Lillian Disney. It's comprised of a rose sculpture ensconced in 200 Delft porcelain vases and more than 10,000 tiles that were broken to create a quarter-of-a-million mosaic fragments.

Accessibility Information for Walt Disney Concert Hall: Seating areas for patrons in wheelchairs (and their companions) are available on all levels of Walt Disney Concert Hall. Ushers may not physically assist patrons wishing to transfer into theater seats. Music Center Guest Services representatives will assist patrons with mobility impairments by escorted wheelchair transport to and from the theater. Reservations are necessary. Please call 213 972 0777 at least 24 hours in advance. Wireless headsets are available free of charge at the Coat Check in the lobby. Complimentary large-print programs are available in the lobby at the Coat Check. Upon request, ushers will read program notes to patrons needing assistance.

Online: laphil.com

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!

Accessibility Information for Dodger Stadium: Disabled parking spaces are located in parking lots B, G, N, & P. All stadium gates are available to accommodate persons using wheelchairs. Wheelchair seats are available in the following sections: Field Box MVP, Field Box, Infield Loge Box, Preferred Loge Box, Club and Top Deck.

Online: mlb.com/dodgers

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.

Online: grandcentralmarket.com

Related: Go on a Donut Tour—Here are Our Must-Go Donut Stops around LA

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.

Accessibility Information for the Griffith Observatory: Designated parking spaces are available in the Observatory’s front lot. Spaces are available on a first come, first served basis.

Online: griffithobservatory.org

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.

Online: olvera-street.com

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From Dodger baseball to ice cream showdowns, discover fun, family-filled events taking place in Los Angeles over Labor Day weekend

Labor Day is (literally) around the corner, and you might be brainstorming for family-friendly activities around LA that go beyond the usual suspects of splash pads and waterparks, playgrounds and parks, and going to the beach (although these beaches are our favorite if you’re looking for some recs). Don’t sweat it—from nights at the Hollywood Bowl to a Forest for the Trees, we’ve sussed out the most fun and unique events around town that will keep you and your brood happy all the way through the long weekend.

Family Friendly Labor Day Weekend Activities around LA

Maestro of the Movies at the Hollywood Bowl

Join the LA Philharmonic and Hollywood’s most iconic composer, John Williams, for an unforgettable night of cinematic scores from some of Williams’ biggest blockbusters, including Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, Jaws, Star Wars and many more! Grab those light sabers and bring the kids for an evening to remember.

Good to Know: This super popular show tends to sell out.

When: Fri., Sept. 2 at 8 p.m., Sat., Sept. 3 at 8 p.m., and Sun. Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Advance tickets are available in a variety of price ranges online.

2301 N Highland Ave.
Los Angeles
Online: hollywoodbowl.com

Summer Evening Stroll at Huntington Gardens

Enjoy Huntington Gardens’ last summer evening stroll of the season where the whole family can check out the gorgeous gardens at twilight. With cooler temps and smaller crowds, it’s a lovely time to visit. The 1919 Café will be open until 7 p.m. so be sure to grab a delicious bite (and a glass of vino) as well.

Good to Know: Timed tickets tend to go quickly, so don’t delay.

When: Fri., Sept. 2, 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Cost: Tickets are available online and run $20 for adults, $5 for kids ages 4-11, and littles 3 and under are free. Huntington Garden members are also free.

1151 Oxford Rd.
San Marino
Online: huntington.org

Boogie Down at Fiesta Hermosa

Load up the fam bam and head down to Hermosa Beach for Fiesta Hermosa, a 3-day celebration featuring live bands, a beach concert, a carnival with rides and games, a petting zoo, a food fair, an outdoor marketplace featuring local vendors, an art festival and much more. The event even features remote, free shuttle parking and a bike valet.

When: Sat., Sept. 3 - Mon., Sept. 5
Cost: Free

1 Pier Ave.
Hermosa Beach
Online: fiestahermosa.net

 

Related: Here are All of the Free Things to Do in LA This Month with Your Kids

Jennifer O'Brien

626 Night Market

Arcadia’s final 626 Night Market of the summer is an absolute must this Labor Day! As the largest night market in the United States, this iconic California festival inspired by the open-air nighttime bazaars of Asia, features over 250 local food and merchandise vendors, crafts, artists, games, live concerts and entertainment events. Kids will love the human-sized claw game and giant baby bottles filled with delicious fruit drinks. And the food–oh man, the food is to die for! It’s truly one of the most unique events in SoCal.

Good to Know: Some vendors only accept cash, so it’s best to have some on hand.

When: Sat., Sept 3 - Mon., Sept. 5, 4 p.m. - 12 a.m.
Cost: Admission is $5 in advance online, $6 at the door, and children 3 and under are free.

285 Huntington Dr.
Arcadia
Online: 626nightmarket.com

Poolside Cinema at Fairmont Miramar

Looking for a fun film experience under the stars that’s out of the ordinary? Check out the last weekend of Fairmont Miramar’s Poolside Cinema series with family-friendly showings of Brave and Cars II as you lounge poolside with food and drinks by hotel restaurant, FIG. Seating is complimentary for all hotel guests, but costs $25 per guest for everyone else.

When: Sat., Sept. 3 for Brave and Sun., Sept. 4 for Cars II, 8 p.m.
Cost: $25 per person if you're not a hotel guest and advanced tickets can be booked online. Hotel guests get free seating.

101 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica
Online: fairmont-miramar.com

Shin-Sen-Gumi’s 8th Charity Summer Festival

If you find yourself near Torrance this Labor Day weekend, be sure to swing by the Shin-Sen- Gumi 8th Charity Summer Festival. Held at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center, the family-friendly event will feature a taste of Japan and celebration of Japanese culture with tons of live music, entertainment, anime cosplay, tasty food, drinks, and even an eating contest! All proceeds are donated to the City of Torrance and its education facility.

When: Sat., Sept. 3, 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Cost: General admission is $1 per person, cash only.

3330 Civic Center Dr.
Torrance
Online: tasteofjpn.com/ssgmatsuri

A Forest for the Trees

Wanna go into the woods? Check out the final weekend of A Forest for the Trees in Boyle Heights. This elaborate art installation—a collaboration from Atlantic journalists, tribal leaders, environmental scientists and incredible artists—has transformed a 28,000 sq. ft. DTLA space into a surreal and magical forest that invites families to contemplate their relationship with nature. Guests will experience illusions of controlling fire with their hands, talking animatronic trees, water you can walk on and multi-sensory storytelling. For every ticket purchased, two trees will be planted.

When: Now - Sun., Sept. 4
Cost: Timed tickets are available online with prices ranging from $15.50 - $37. Children under 6 are free.

490 S Mission Rd.
Los Angeles
Online: aforestla.com

Cinespia Outdoor Film Series

Seeing a summer movie in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery is treasured tradition that many families look forward to each season. Over Labor Day weekend, Cinespia is screening two classics that kids of all ages will love—Grease and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Pack a picnic or grab some treats from the concession stand and grill. Gates open at 6:15 p.m. with DJs serving up fab sets until showtime at 8 p.m.

When: Sat., Sept. 3 for Grease and Sun. Sept. 4 for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, doors open at 6:15 p.m.
Cost: General admission tickets are $22 in advance online.

6000 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles
Online: cinespia.org

Eat See Hear Outdoor Film Series

If Ratatouille is one of your fave films, you’ll definitely want to attend the Eat See Hear screening over Labor Day weekend at The Autry Museum. In true culinary fashion, an all-star lineup of food pop-ups will be available on site to satisfy your inner Remy the Rat with selections ranging from tacos and Caribbean food to BBQ and Filipino delights. Before showtime, R&B/Indie-pop performer StaJe will entertain the crowd.

When: Sun., Sept. 4, doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Cost: Advance online admission ranges from $14-$30.

4700 Western Heritage Way
Los Angeles
Online: eatseehear.com

The Music Center Dance DTLA

Get on your boogie shoes and join thousands of your fellow Angelenos for a free night of music and dancing on the Jerry Moss Plaza at the Music Center downtown. The super fun event features LA’s top DJs spinning tunes and local bands playing live while the crowd learns new moves in different dance styles—from Disco and Tango to Bollywood and Salsa. All ages are welcome!

When: Fri., Sept. 2, 7 p.m. - 11 p.m.
Cost: Free

135 N Grand Ave.
Los Angeles
Online: musiccenter.org

Americana in the Park Concert

On Sun., Sept. 4, Santa Monica will host the Americana in the Park concert. Singer-songwriter, poet, author and culture bearer, Tina Orduno Calderon, will open the evening with a Tongva land acknowledgment and blessing, followed by a performance from nine-time world champion Native hoop dancer, Eric Hernandez. The headliner for the night is Prince Diabaté and Friends, widely regarded as one of the leading kora players of his generation. A variety of food trucks will be on site as well throughout the event.

When: Sun., Sept. 4, 4 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Cost: Free

1819 Stewart St.
Santa Monica
Online: santamonica.gov

Jazz at LACMA

LACMA’s uber popular Friday night jazz performances continue over Labor Day weekend with a concert on the Smidt Welcome Plaza by Ladera Heights brothers, Aaron and Lawrence Shaw, otherwise known as Black Nile. Bring a picnic and the family for an evening of incredible tunes.

When: Fri., Sept. 2, 6 p.m.
Tickets: Free and all ages are welcome.

5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles
Online: lacma.org

Go to a Dodgers Game

Take them out to the ball game this Labor Day as the Dodgers play at home all weekend long. Fri. - Sun., the boys in blue take on the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium. Friday’s game will feature fireworks as well. On Mon., the Dodgers go up against the San Francisco Giants. Play ball!

When: Fri. Sept. 2 at 7:10 p.m., Sat. Sept. 3 at 6:10 p.m. and Sun., Sept. 4 at 4:08 p.m. vs. the San Diego Padres. On Mon., Sept. 5 at 7:10 p.m. vs. the San Francisco Giants.
Cost: Tickets are available online in a wide range of prices.

1000 Vin Scully Ave.
Los Angeles
Online: mlb.com/dodgers

Café Gratitude’s Vegan Ice Cream Showdown

Café Gratitude Larchmont is hosting a Vegan Ice Cream Showdown on Labor Day! There will be live music, Oliopop root beer floats, raffle prizes, vegan bites, a photo booth and mouthwatering samples from local vegan ice cream vendors. For grown-ups, there will be special boozy ice cream spritzes—holla! Guests will also have a chance to taste, judge, and vote for their favorite ice cream with one vendor being crowned the ultimate champion!

When: Mon., Sept. 5, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Tickets: $20 through Eventbrite.

639 N Larchmont Blvd.
Los Angeles
Online: eventbrite.com

 

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When you’re looking for a weekend getaway that’s a level up from tent camping, these are the best book-worthy spots in CA

Got a hankering to leave city life and go camping nearby, but not convinced that braving the elements and setting up your own sleeping quarters with just a piece of nylon between you and whatever wanders around outside is your idea of fun? Let us introduce you to the good old yurt. “What’s a yurt?” you ask? Well, unlike pitch-a-tent camping, yurts are already constructed structures, adorably, in the round. Yurt means “home” in Mongolian so for those that don’t want to give up some creature comforts (like a good set of walls and an off-the-floor bed) but also want to feel at one with the great outdoors (whether it’s beach camping or perhaps a touch of a luxe campsite), this could be the camping answer you’ve been looking for.

Cachuma Lake Yurts

You'll relax at the lake and roast marshmallows at your very own fire ring while little glampers will have fun at the playground and the swimming pool during the summer months. Add to that, there are guided nature walks, guided lake cruises, and junior ranger programs the kids can join.

Good to Know: The yurts named Lupine, Poppy, and Sage are on the western side of the campground and get a spectacular sunset on most evenings. Oak, Sycamore, Pine, and Redwood (ADA) are on the eastern side and get a beautiful morning sunrise over the lake and boating marina. PS: There's also a country store in case you need any essentials.

Yurt Features: Depending on the yurt, these yurts sleep 3-to-6 people. Expect to find indoor lighting, heating and screened windows. Outside you'll find a deck, picnic table (some are inside), that previously mentioned fire ring, a charcoal bbq and water spigot. Restrooms and showers are located close by while a portable lavatory is located adjacent to some yurts for convenience.

1 Lakeview Dr.
Santa Barbara, CA 
Online: countyofsb.org/741/Yurts

El Capitan Canyon

Camping is downright easy with this adventure yurt at El Capitan. We aren't sure if the best part is the domed skylight for easy stargazing at night or the multitude of deer, birds, trees and other nature-like things that surround you during your stay. Make sure to carve time out for the 30-minute hike to the beach or a walk to feed the llamas and the goats. 

Good to Know: There's a heated swimming pool, along with a playground with a slide, swings and jungle gym adjacent to the pool. And for parents? There is an espresso bar as well as local wine and beer in the Canyon Market.

Yurt Features: Includes a queen bed and a twin day bed with twin trundle, bar-sized refrigerator, microwave, ceiling fan and space heater. Adjacent restroom facilities include private shower stalls with attached changing rooms. All yurts include a private picnic table and firepit with grill. 

11560 Calle Real
Santa Barbara, CA 
Online: elcapitancanyon.com

Santa Margarita KOA

Located halfway between LA and SF (and makes a great pitstop if you're making the roadtrip between the two), this yurt, on 70 acres in the central coast, is an outdoor enthusiasts dream—whether you and your family are into hiking, fishing, boating, bird watching, horseback riding, cycling, horseshoes, swimming, or any number of other outdoor activities, there's (literally) something for everyone. And if just making it to the yurt is the adventure, there's plenty to entertain the kids onsite: There's a giant jumping pillow and the unheated pool is open May through Oct. Make sure to say hi to Kevin, the resident emu who loves being fed.

Good to Know: This spot is located within an hour drive of Hearst Castle, Cambria, Ocean Dunes, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, local wineries, and Pozo National Forest. 

Yurt Features: This 20-foot, yurt comes with a queen bed, two full futons and two twin beds. There isn't a bathroom or kitchen inside and you need to bring your own linens. Fire pit and picnic table are located out front.

4765 Santa Margarita Lake Rd.
Santa Margarita, CA
Online: koa.com/santa-margarita

Related: What a Family Adventure Looks Like in Morro Bay, CA

best yurts to rent in CA
Purty Yurty

Purty Yurty & Mini Me

Located on 5-acres of land in Joshua Tree, expect a star-studded stargazing experience thanks to vast skies and little-to-no light pollution. This is a rustic experience so bring plenty of food and even more water. 

Good to Know: Joshua Tree National Park is 20 minutes away and is a bucket-worthy spot for hikes for the half-pints.

Yurt Features: Sleeps up to four guests. There's no kitchen, the restroom is a porta potty, there's a shower stall with solar shower (bag of water heated by the sun) along with battery and solar-powered lamps. Additionally, there is a solar panel which charges battery packs and you can use them to charge phones and small devices but no more than 110V. If you need a power for anything else, this listing is not suitable. Bring prepared food and plenty of drinking water.

Joshua Tree, CA
Online: airbnb.com/rooms/19860463

Related: Luxury Camping & Joshua Tree National Park All in One (Glorious) Place

Airbnb

The Cazador Yurt

Nestled among 30 fruit trees on a half-acre lot, this yurt exemplifies classic bohemian California living. There are several hammocks hung around the yard, a firepit as well as fruit trees that you're welcome to help yourself to.

Yurt Features: This yurt is 16 feet in diameter and has a conical roof with a skylight directly over the bed. It sleeps four, with one queen bed, one single bed and an air mattress. Included is internet access, a toaster oven, coffee, and mini-fridge. There's an outdoor bathroom with a toilet, sink and an outdoor shower with a tankless water heater that allows infinitely long hot showers. 

Glassell Park
Los Angeles, CA 
Online: airbnb.com/rooms/1688018

Related: Our 100 Things to Do in LA List Is New & Improved

Skyfarm Yurt

Skyfarm Yurt

A glamping bohemian yurt in the neighborhood of Paradise Hill (a 10-minute drive from DTLA). Families will dig this yurt's location on an urban farm where you can visit (and help feed if you wish!) goats, chickens, and a pig next door.

Good to Know: There are steps, so for toddlers, this location may be a challenge.

Yurt Features: This 20-foot yurt comes with a king bed and two single mattresses. A full outside kitchen, hanging chair the kids will love, wifi, an indoor fireplace, a solar-powered clawfoot garden bathtub, plus a coffee maker, microwave and refrigerator and a bbq grill outside.

Paradise Hill
Los Angeles, CA 
Online: airbnb.com/rooms/19012748

Related: Our Favorite Farm Stays for Families across California

best yurts to book in CA
Launch Pointe

Launch Pointe

If your brood loves to have plenty of activities, then Lake Elsinore's Launch Pointe Recreation is a camping hot spot. With splash pads, a playground and a swimming pool, little campers have tons of choices on how to have fun. And if you love to jet ski, boat, or fish, you've got it all here. Even better? There's a restaurant on-site for when the crew gets hungry.

Yurt Features: There are six themed yurts (The Lodge, The BoraBora, The Boho, The Beach, The Rock & Roll, and The Elsinore) that vary in guest accommodations but all come with linens, in-room coffee and a refrigerator. Bathrooms are private while showers and additional restrooms are located within the yurt village.

32040 Riverside Dr.
Lake Elsinore, CA 
Online: launch-pointe.com

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There comes a time when camping in the living room with Mom and Dad will no longer cut it. If that’s the case, your kids might be ready for their first sleepover. But, like any new milestone, you may worry if it’s the right time to send them to a slumber party. There are no hard and fast rules about the right age: some 6-year-olds might be ready to sleep away from home, some 11-year-olds might not be. So it’s important for parents to assess each opportunity individually. Read on for six signs your kids may be ready for a sleepover or an epic slumber party, and 10 ways you can reassure them that everything will be A-OK once they get there.

iStock

1. They Know What to Expect
Your kid’s first sleepover is a fun rite of passage, but make sure she knows exactly what she’s getting into before she heads out the door. Go over specifics, like navigating the bedtime routine at someone else’s house, and answer all the questions, like whether or not she can still bring her favorite stuffed animal.

2. You’ve Tested It Out
If you’re not quite sure if your child may be ready for a full-fledged slumber party away from home, try it at your house first. This way, you can see if the kids tire of one another or begin to fight with one another. Also, you can opt to throw a “mock sleepover” with a movie, popcorn, and PJs, but call it quits just before bedtime. Then you’ll know you’ve worked your way up to the real deal, but everyone can go home and sleep in their own beds!

Related: Why I’m Saying Yes To Sleepovers This Summer!

 

A little girl goes to sleep with her teddy bear while a parent comforts her after her first sleepover
iStock

3. They’re OK without You
Have you ever had to spend the night away from your child? Perhaps they’ve had a babysitter walk them through brushing and bedtime or stayed with grandparents while you were out of town? If they are OK being away from you overnight, or at least until they fall asleep, they may be ready for their first sleepover.

4. You’ve Asked Questions
Perhaps your little one is thrilled about the pint-sized pajama game, but you’re still a little uneasy. There is nothing wrong with calling up the other parent and asking questions until you feel more comfortable. Everything from “What time will they go to bed?” to “Do you have pets?” are all fair game to calm your nerves. You’ll also want to address any concerns you have about how the parents will handle situations like arguments or kids being scared in the night. And don’t overlook the BIG question: are there guns in your house, and are they kept in a safe, secure place where the children (ANY children) will not have access to? 

5. They’re Planning One
When your kids come home from school, begging for a sleepover with their BFF, it’s a good indication that they’re ready to give it a go. On the flip side, if they seem cautious about the idea or worried about who will tuck them in, they may need more time to warm up to sleeping away from home.

6. You’ve Talked to Your Kids About Inappropriate Touching
Part of feeling safe is being safe and making sure your children understand not just what is good etiquette at the host family’s house, but what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior from the adults and older siblings in the house. While we encourage our children to be polite and on their best behavior, it is equally important to speak frankly with children in a way that will empower them to say “no” and know when something just isn’t right.

Related: The Best Museum & Zoo Sleepovers in the U.S.

 

A little girl dressed in pink pajamas does a happy dance with her stuffed animal during a sleepover
Gail Adams-Arnold on Unsplash

Related: Goodnight Summer! 11 Epic Sleepover Ideas

Encouraging Words

Here are 10 statements you can make to help your little one feel secure at their first sleepover:

  1. "You can call me to say goodnight before you go to bed.”
  2. “I will pick you up first thing in the morning.”
  3. “You can take a picture of us with you.”
  4. “We are only a phone call away.”
  5. “You will have so much fun with your friend and we’ll see you in the morning.”
  6. “[Friend]’s parents will be there in case you need anything.”
  7. “You can bring your pillow, blanket, and stuffed animal with you.”
  8. “We’ll be home if you need us.”
  9. “I’m so proud of you and I want you to have fun with [friend]!”
  10. “I can’t wait to hear all about it when you get home.”

And if all does not go according to plan and you need to dash out to pick up your child early, a simple “maybe next time!” can help them to feel a little less embarrassed about feeling homesick. Happy slumbering!

 

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