Real Life Homes of Your Favorite Childhood TV Shows

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Marcia.  Laura.  The Fonz.  Batman.  The Angels.  Gilligan.  Staples of childhood stay-up-late TV watching (whether in first run or on Nick at Nite).  And lo and behold, your own mini ones are now old enough to sing along to the Brady Bunch theme and cry along with Pa, Ma and Half-Pint.  So introduce them to the TV pals of your youth (via your TV pals of today: Tivo, Netflik, Roku and YouTube!), and then go on a family excursion to check out the real-life homes of your childhood heroes.

yelp_Brady Bunch_“The Brady BunchHome
Here’s the story, of a house called Brady… Tucked away on a side street near the LA River in North Hollywood, the split-level home of America’s first ‘blended’ family still stands. As lovingly ‘designed by architect Mike Brady’, the exterior has changed over the years, but fans of “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia” will still easily recognize the spot. The house is private property, and bounded by a fence to ward off fans who loved the show the way Marcia loved Davy Jones.

11222 Dilling St.
North Hollywood

Related: All the Places to Eat & Play While in Studio City.


The “Fantasy Island” Cottage
“The Plane! The Plane!” Campy melodrama at its best, “Fantasy Island” was a favorite reason to stay up late on Saturday nights. For a mere (pre-inflation) $50,000, dreams became reality, courtesy of dreamboat Ricardo Montalban, aka Mr. Roarke. Fortunately, dreamers can still visit the bungalow in which his sidekick Tattoo rang the bell to announce each week’s lucky guest. The Queen Ann Cottage at the LA Arboretum in Arcadia is even open to the public where twice a year, the Arboretum hosts tours at the Queen Anne Cottage.

LA Arboretum & Botanical Gardens
301 N. Baldwin Ave.

Nearby: Sample savory dumplings and fruit-flavored shave ice at one of the many local eateries along Baldwin Avenue. Or stop by Westfield Santa Ana for snacks and shopping.

bat caves“Batman” Bat Cave and Wayne Manor
Holy hiking Batman! Did you know that hikers in Griffith Park can explore the ‘Bat Cave’? Bronson Canyon caves, north of Canyon Drive in the Hollywood Hills is a perfectly picturesque place to take the kiddos for exercise mixed with a little BIF! POW! BAM! as they explore the spot where Batman and Robin stashed the Batmobile.  Superhero aficionados of all ages – particularly fans of the campy 60’s TV show  – can also cruise to Wayne Manor, better known as Greystone Mansion in the trendy Trousdale area of Beverly Hills.

Bronson Canyon Park trailhead
3200 Canyon Dr.
Los Feliz

Nearby: Nearby Vermont and Hillhurst Avenues boast the best choice for window-shopping and healthy sidewalk eateries, including Alcove Café and Home.

Greystone Mansion
905 Loma Vista Dr.
Beverly Hills

Nearby: After a romp around the Greystone grounds, expose your mini media mavens a clip or two at the Museum of Broadcasting on Beverly Drive, close to Tom’s Toys, Ice Cream Lab and Sprinkles flagship store.

“Gilligan’s Island” Harbor
The shipwrecked S.S. Minnow was the premise for the entertaining antics of Gilligan, the Skipper, his crew and 3-hour tour passengers.  The series filmed in Hawaii during its inaugural season, but the boat returned to roost in Marina Del Rey during the 2nd season, where Fisherman’s Village served at setting for the opening credits. With the site now being overhauled, landlubbing little ones can wander the gangway leading to the slip where the small craft supposedly stayed during its time at dock.

Fisherman’s Village
13755 Fiji Way
Marina Del Rey

Nearby: Burton Chace Park is a local hangout for kite-flying, summer concerts and a knockout view of the Marina harbor. Stroll down to Waterside Mall for a quick bite at Sugarfish, Mendocino Farms, The Counter or other family-friendly spots.

Happy Days“Happy Days” House
Sunday, Monday, anyday 50s fans and friends of the Fonz can catch a glimpse of the Cunningham’s house on Cahuenga in the Wilshire district not far from Paramount Studios. The Hancock Park home is atypical of SoCal architecture, picture-perfect for the Midwestern Milwaukee locale where Happy Days was set.

565 No. Cahuenga Blvd.
Los Angeles

Nearby: Koreatown rocks the Miracle Mile with the Korean Cultural Center, shopping centers, BBQ and boba.


“The Beverly Hillbillies” Mansion
Jed Clampett cruised into Beverly Hills in his ancient backwoods jalopy, right up to this site that’s actually not in Beverly Hills, but rather in nearby Bel Air. Formerly known as Kirkeby Mansion, the main residence has since been reconstructed, now with an underground garage (which would have served the Clampett family well). Ellie May’s pet critters may still lurk in the bushes, though the original ornamental gate is gone.

750 Bel Air Rd.
Bel Air

Nearby neighborhood: The Glen Center at the top of Beverly Glen is an unharried destination for a light lunch at Charlie’s Pantry, with its old-school (albeit marble) counter and homemade meringues, smoothies and juices. Steps away is Glen Kids with a swoon-worthy selection of fun fashion for itty-bitty babes to trendy tweens.

Townsnd Agency“Charlie’s Angels” Townsend Agency
The mysterious Svengali-like presence of Charlie Townsend was (almost) as compelling as the unorthodox detectives he supervised in each episode. The classic brick facade of Charlie’s agency stands at So. Robertson Blvd in Beverly Hills, now painted with a glossy black door and red awnings for a European appliance manufacturer. Some remember it best as the show that launched more haircuts than a Friends’ episode and more posters than Kate Upton may sell in her lifetime.  Now housing a Miele showroom, stop in for a quiet vacuum demo or the latest in dishwasher tech.  Or strike a pose, Angel style.

193 S. Robertson Blvd. (at Clifton Way)
Beverly Hills

Nearby: Delectable treats await on Beverly Drive at Bouchon Bakery. Soak up sun in the adjacent park while the kiddos run through the grass and study the fountains.


Little House on the Prairie
Spanning 10 years on the small screen, Little House was a part of many of our childhoods. Big Sky Ranch in Simi Valley served as stand-in for the real-life trials and tribulations of the Ingalls family. Originally published in the 30s, Ingalls Wilder’s stories sprung to life due in large part to Michael Landon who produced the popular drama from the mid 70s to mid 80s. (And just might be the reason our moms would watch the show with us!) The ranch continues to play a starring role in TV and features, recently seen in Saving Mr. Banks as P.L. Travers’ Australian home.

Big Sky Movie Ranch
4927 Bennett Rd.
Simi Valley

Nearby: Continue on 118 West to 23 South to visit the Reagan Presidential Library

– Kim Orchen Cooper

Photo credits: LA Arboretum’s facebook page, yelp, and Horror Taxi via flickr.


It’s So Easy Being Green: 15 Earth Day Celebrations

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Little tree-huggers, take note: Earth Day is on Wednesday April 22, and there are loads of LA activities that will educate while you celebrate. From river cleanups to festivals, a party with Fairy Mother Earth and super blooming hikes, here are our 15 favorite ways to hop on the reduce/reuse/recycle (eco-friendly electric) bus.

Not Your Last Resort

Spend the day enjoying just how gorgeous our earth is at this seaside resort with spectacular views. For kids there are storybook reading and workshops highlighting how to recycle and compost at the Educational Green Wall. There’s also a wildflower planting station and Earth Day hikes, and grownups can join in the Kelp Forest Kyak Cleanup. Venture down the cliffs to play in the tidepools, and then end your day with an outdoor dinner as the sun sets. <a target="_blank" href="">Learn more about this event.</a> When: Saturday, April 22 at various times Where: Terranea Resort, 100 Terranea Way, Rancho Palos Verdes <em>photo: Terranea Resort</em>fuck

How will you honor our planet this year?  We’d love to know; meet us in the comment section below!

—Kim Orchen Cooper


So Long Sitters: Dinner Dates with the Kids

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No sitter, no problem!  The romance is in full force, even when you bring the kids along at these restaurants that manage to have spectacular vistas, twinkling lights, or plush dark booths as well as fabulous food for big and little people alike. And they’re located everywhere from Silverlake to Manhattan Beach and Hollywood to Topanga. Pick a spot and bring date night back, any night.

20141129-16photo: Little Beast

Little Beast
A romantic spot that has also earned a place on our list of the “Best Kids Menus in Town”? Be still our foodie hearts. Get a table on the twinkling patio of this cozy craftsman and sip a glass of carefully selected wine while you peruse the menu. The American bistro-style food for the parents is upscale and simultaneously inventive and rustic (duck liver mousse with port gelee, blueberries and sherry gastrique or pan roasted steelhead trout) while the kids options are simple, healthy and appealing, like a roast chicken, quesadilla with broccoli, or Little Beast Jr. Burger and fries. You’ll all want to be sure to start with everyone sharing the addictive edamame hummus, and end with the Belgian chocolate pudding (you might need a few of these, as you won’t want to share).

1496 Colorado Blvd.
Eagle Rock

 speranza photo: Remi Y. via yelp

This tucked away spot on Hyperion in Silverlake is hard to stumble across; it has no sign or website. But once you find it, you’ll be a regular. The restaurant is mostly the patio, filled with plants, heat lamps & blanket to keep you toasty when it’s chilly and candles. It feels tucked away and transports you to another world, one filled with fantastic hand made pasta (kids love the fresh squid ink pasta that turns teeth black!) and risotto, fresh salads and a smattering of desserts. Be sure to arrive early to secure a table and settle in for a cozy evening.

2547 Hyperion Ave.

photo: Meghan Rose

Inn of the Seventh Ray
A fairytale setting just a short drive from Santa Monica city lights, Inn of the Seventh Ray is a peaceful oasis with naturally built-in entertainment. Nestled in tranquil Topanga Canyon, the magical woodland setting seems ripped from the pages of a storybook. Request a creekside table so you can kick back while the kids remain in sight exploring the nearby stream bed for a family brunch, or dig into a dinner under twinkling lights. How’s this for romance: chances are better than even that you’ll get to see a wedding! Gourmet preparations of organically sourced veggie, vegan and raw dishes appeal to all taste buds and kid-friendly simple preparations are no problem.

128 Old Topanga Canyon Rd.

A hop, skip and jump from Old Town Pasadena, Saladang (and sister restaurant Saladang Song, next door) delights Thai food lovers with modern interpretations of traditional dishes. Slip into its open, airy dining space for oodles of noodles—legitimate reasons for the kids to play with their food—as well as spicy curries (for grown-ups) and fried delicacies begging for refreshingly sugary Thai iced tea. Even the garnishes evoke romance: fruits and vegetables carved into miniature birds and swans. An eclectic selection of beer and wine entices you to linger, allowing time to try one of their signature desserts, including sweet sticky rice and crowd-pleasing homemade coconut ice cream.

363 So. Fair Oaks Ave.

o-1 3.35.15 PMphoto: Dorothy H. via yelp

If old school charm rings your bells, this is the spot. This French restaurant in the middle of Echo Park has been here since 1927, and you sense the history instantly. It feels like the Rat Pack could take the stage at any moment. The interior is dark and quiet, the booths deep and comfy, and the food retro, classic and delicious. If steak au poivre and escargot aren’t on your kid’s list of acceptable foods, fear not: there are hearty burgers and fries on the grown up menu, and a menu for kids that includes chicken and veggies, spaghetti or mac & cheese, and to seal the retro deal, kid meals come with soup or salad and sherbert.

1911 Sunset Blvd.
Echo Park

Bocce Ballphoto: Tin Roof Bistro

Tin Roof Bistro
This lively Manhattan Beach eatery brings wine country cuisine to the South Bay. Arrive before 6 p.m. to enjoy Bocce Hour on the patio, where grownups can sample libations for less, salads and artisanal woodfire pizzas while the kids learn the fine points of Italian bowling. Keep the vino flowing from their Napa Valley list while sharing farm-fresh sides and family-friendly nightly features like fried chicken, porterhouse steak and whole fish. Pint-sized palates will be pleased to find faves such as burgers and pasta. Romance is allowed to flourish when little ones are otherwise occupied…

3500 No. Sepulveda Blvd.
Manhattan Beach

water grillphoto: The Water Grill, Santa Monica via facebook

The Water Grill, Santa Monica
Across the street from the Santa Monica Pier, you can savor the same stunning views, minus the crowds. Large roll-up-door windows carry in sea air, inviting beach babes to grab a perch to watch the spectacular sunsets. While they wait, little ones will be enchanted by various fish tanks, doing dual duty as decor and appetite enticers. Grownups in want of an aphrodisiac will be well-served by the selection of freshly-caught oysters, while the kids settle into tufted leather booths to get acquainted with hand cut fries, steamed edamame and homemade gooey mac n’ cheese. The entire family can partake of a whole fish from the daily catch and top it off with a shared bowl of homemade ice cream and be well away before the evening crowds arrive. (Because the real romance takes place later at home, and you need to get the kids tucked in early!)

1401 Ocean Ave.
Santa Monica

Yamashiro_FBphoto: Yamashiro Hollywood

The steep hillside road leading to this iconic Japanese restaurant is reminiscent of an amusement park ride. Steeped in old Hollywood history, the storied site delights all ages with ornate pagodas, a cascading waterfall and indoor garden, not to mention a breathtaking top-of-the-world view. Now over 100 years old, Yamashiro’s heritage is alive and well in the updated menu, mixing Mai Tais that bring you straight to the tropics and spicy sushi rolls with kid-pleasing finger foods including crispy chicken, Asian BBQ ribs and plain veggie rolls. The spring season brings the return of the outdoor Pagoda Bar. Reserve ahead to avoid long waits and weekend disappointments.

1999 No. Sycamore Ave.

Where do you go for dinner when burgers won’t cut it and a sitter can’t be found?

—Kim Orchen Cooper

Under the Big Top: 6 Classes for Circus-Loving Kids

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Prepare to be amazed: your kids that love to swing on the refrigerator doors now have an appropriate (and safe!) outlet for their acrobatic desires. Enjoy the excitement of the circus at one of these fantastic acrobatic and trapeze studios with classes catered to kids.


photo credit: Le Studio

Relax Mama, It’s Safety First:  There’s no clowning around with safety at these studios. All venues listed are insured with certified/licensed rigging and trained instructors. Also, if you’re looking to mix up your own workout routine, classes are offered for adults too (go for it!).

Le Studio
Focused on personal growth, flexibility and fun, Le Studio offers a one-on-one empowerment program, started by a successful vet of the entertainment business. A warm, engaging environment festooned with cozy seating areas amidst hanging silks, trapeze, aerial hoop (lyra), and a mini-tight rope, Le Studio concentrates on youth programs, with the smallest tykes (age 3 & up) safely learning self-esteem and building confidence through aerial arts. At Le Studio, private or semi-private study prevails, allowing kids to work at their own pace and focus on specific skills and routines with one of their coaches, who are performers themselves. Beginner’s Recreation Classes are a great introduction to all the fun. Advanced Acrobats are for kids age 6-9 where kids with unusual strength, potential, and determination can try out for a team.

Location: 9500 B Jefferson Blvd., Culver City
Phone: 310-855-4353



photo credit: Kinetic Theory via yelp

Kinetic Theory
“Join the circus without leaving home,” invites Kinetic Theory. 25-foot ceilings and 10,000 sq. ft. of training space in a converted Culver City warehouse summon kids to defy gravity on ropes, ribbons and static trapeze, enjoying a safe, soft landing, guided by professionally trained acrobats who are experienced performers. The school offers weekly small group classes for bouncy youngsters, 4 years old & up. Fundamentals of acrobatics, juggling and coordination skills can be combined with tumbling and hand balancing. Private instruction is also available and advanced students age 8 & up are eligible to join a performance troupe.

Location: 3604 Holdrege Ave. (at Jefferson), Los Angeles
Phone: 310-606-2617

Cirque School
Envisioned by a veteran of Cirque du Soleil, Cirque School in Hollywood offers a safe, non-competitive environment for “anybody with any body” to embrace circus arts. A 6,000 foot converted industrial loft with beamed ceilings and exposed brick walls, the studio holds weekly workshops for Cirque Kids beginning at age 7. Walking a low wire and spinning on fabric with a partner fosters teamwork like no other sport. Young ones learn balance and coordination while building strength, in an outlet that feeds their imaginations.

Location: 5640 ½ Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
Phone: 424-226-2477


photo credit: Sharyn Morrow via flickr

Trapeze School
A.k.a. TSNY (Trapeze School New York, in Los Angeles): with an outpost at the Santa Monica Pier, it’s easy for the aspiring trapeze artists to get into the swing of things. With a serious focus on safety, kids ages 6 & up can experience the ease of the flying trapeze ‘en plein air’ over a nice stretchy net at the Pier. At TSNY’s indoor studio at 7th and Wilshire, also in Santa Monica, kids can also learn conditioning and body awareness through classes in trampoline, silks, lyra and static trapeze.

Location: 370 Santa Monica Pier & 1207 7th St., Santa Monica
Phone: 310-394-5800

Hollywood Aerial Arts
Named for its proximity to Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Hollywood Aerial Arts offers aerial production and design as well as instruction for all ages. Started by a trapeze and tightrope artist with more than 40 years experience, the studio has daily group classes in tissue, hoop, Spanish web (rope) and high flying trapeze. Kids as young as 4 are invited to take a leap; all participants must start with an introductory 2-hour class. Drop-ins are accommodated as space is available.

Location: 3838 W. 102nd St., Inglewood
Phone: 310-412-7171


photo credit: Hugo’s Gymfitness

Hugo’s Gymfitness
Hugo’s packs a lot of fitness in one place, from gymnastics to rock climbing to, you guessed it, aerial and acrobatic training. Instructors are incredibly talented performers, and they’re charming and enthusiastic with kids in the weekly Kids Aerial/Circus Arts class. Held in a special area of a gigantic 12,000 square foot gym, parents can sit and watch (or cringe) as their kids (ages 6 & up) learn to flip, twirl and spin on apparatus like the hoop, cube and trapeze. Students who love to show off their skills may be invited to perform at the yearly “Hugo Olympics.”

Location: 21107 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita
Phone: 661-255-2700

Have your little acrobats ever hit the silks? We’d love to hear about your kid’s experiences walking the tightrope or flying through the air!

–Kim Orchen Cooper & Shannon Guyton

Just Opened: A Superfoods Cafe for Kids

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Handheld is in. You’ve got your Kindle and your iPhone and your keyless remote, juggling to grab your little one out of her car seat while texting to confirm weekend plans. But what about lunch? That’s where newcomer Kye’s comes in, with the newest healthy alternative to give the sandwich standby a run for its money. Stroll into their sunlit shop in Santa Monica and unwrap an unexpected (and healthy) handheld treat for your toddler’s tastebuds.


With KyeRitos, Super Foods Get Super Convenient
Think of it as a healthy push-up. Start with a crisp sheet of shiny nori, already a fave with your little ones. (Other wrappers are available, too.) Now add kid-friendly fillings that double as healthy nutrition. KyeRitos are the brainchild of owner and local mom (to Kye) Jeanne Cheng (with degrees is traditional and holistic medicine, so you can really trust that this stuff has the goods) who conceived of the taste treat.

Dr. Seuss himself would be intrigued by the Nori N’ Lox resplendent with green eggs, smoked salmon arugula and tomatoes, all neatly wrapped in crisp seaweed.  Fans of old-school ‘wrappers’ can partake of the deli turkey, which reminds you of the classic wrap with a smear of tasty giji aioli for that super-food punch. The secret to the ‘slip wrap’ as they call it is Kye’s patent-pending packaging with a sheath of cellophane to keep the ingredients in and the mess off. And most choices are dairy and gluten-free for sensitive tummies. In fact, Kye’s accommodates every dietary need, from vegan toddlers to Paleo parents to macrobiotic mommies.  Whatever healthy eating plan you’ve committed to for this New Year, Kye’s will help you stick to it.  Happily.

IMG_8612A Super-Food Side With That
Kye’s happy fare continues with kiddo-pleasing beverages like their signature caramelized banana shake: like candy in a cup with no refined sugar (dehydrated cane juice, aka sucanat, does the trick) but a dose of Chinese yam for extra vitamins and coconut milk for enough added energy to chase those ducks at nearby Douglas Park. The avocolada smoothie is a guilt-free mocktail that begs for a mini umbrella. And what LA kids don’t prefer to drink their veggies, especially in a yummy shake?

IMG_8622Healthy Sweets For Picky Petites
No matter how healthy you’re eating, there’s always room for dessert. The brownies of black bean and rich cacao are as moist and rich as any you’ve had, while the chocolate avocado pudding pulls double-duty with omega3s and bioflavinoids in one delectable dish they’ll ask for over and over.  Because dessert is only dessert if it feels like an indulgence, and these do.


You Can Get There From Here
Kye’s in conveniently situated in the center of Montana’s main shopping strip, on the same block the recently-opened NYC fave Pink Chicken. And there’s free parking  behind the restaurant.
Tasty, healthy, kid pleasing and free, easy parking? Now you have no excuses to start the New Year on a healthy note!

Open Tuesday – Sunday, 7a.m.-7 p.m.

1518 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, 90403
Phone: 310-395-5937

– Kim Orchen Cooper

All photos courtesy of Kye’s and Kim Orchen Cooper.

Look Mom, No Cars! An Insider’s Guide to CicLAvia

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Environmentally conscious 21st century Angelenos rejoice! You and your family can experience a carless LA. Grab a stroller, bike, blades, scooter or skateboard:  it’s time for the pedestrian-friendly, car-free, wheel-y fun celebration that is CicLAvia, taking place this fall on October 5 in downtown Los Angeles.


As their website touts, CicLAvia “temporarily removes cars from LA streets…and fills them with smiles.” Originally started 30 years ago in Colombia as ciclovia, it launched in 2011 in our fair city, growing to multiple events in 2014 with more planned for future years that branch out beyond the city center.

Where do we go?
The upcoming October 5th event is called the “Heart of LA” tour and takes place downtown.  It’s not the same downtown route that CicLAvia has traveled in the past – this fall it will branch out into new areas like Echo Park, the Historic Broadway Theater District,  Boyle Heights all the way to East Los Angeles.   Riders (and walkers) of all ages can join in anywhere along the route, though it’s easiest to start near an endpoint.  A wheel-free walking-only zone is located this year in the Broadway Theater Districs at Broadway and 9th St., if your little one isn’t quite up to biking or triking with the crowds.  There will also be a kids zone at the East LA Civic Center and you can stop in at the Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture, which is being held in Grand Park.  A complete map is available online at

And how do we get there?
Getting there can be half the fun, if you live close enough to take an early morning bike ride.   Load up the minivan – or if you’re nearby, board Metro to transport you to the route.  Both buses and subways allow bikes at no extra charge – be sure to study the guidelines before embarking on your journey:  get the 411 at

Remeber, CicLAvia is for everyone, but peewee peddle-pushers just learning to ride may need extra help, and this isn’t the best place to practice balancing.  That’s where tandem attachments and bike trailers are magic.  Pedestrians are welcome as well, as are strollers (hey, they’ve got wheels!).  The organizers of CicLAvie just ask that if you’re going slow, stay to the right, for safety’s sake.


Helmet, check. Air pump, check. Water, check. Sunscreen, check.
Safety first.  There are lots of happy helpers along the route, many passing out water or offering to top off tires in need of air (or just give encouragement).  To minimize stress and max-out fun, here are our tried-and-true tips to ensure a memorable experience you’ll soon want to repeat:

  • Fill tires beforehand: Flats are no fun.  Pop-up repair spots are hard to predict, though über-friendly organizers are strategically sprinkled along the course, ready to aid in a pinch.
  • Dress comfortably & for conversation:  A brightly colored easy-to-see graphic tees makes friends & meets new neighbors.  Or dress your baby biker dude in a vintage concert souvenir.
  • BYO water (& lip balm): Many spectators graciously offer refreshing bottles along the way, but there’s no guarantee.
  • Prep your phone for pix (sync, download & clear memory): Besides photo ops of tykes on trikes in the middle of 6 lanes of seemingly deserted urban thoroughfare, there’s lots of local color to soak up.
  • Pick a portion to ride:  The course is 10 miles in total, too long for most little legs, with designated crossing points for cars.  Try a segment with few (or no) traffic breaks for constant wind in your hair, tangles be damned.
  • Get a late start: The event goes from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.  No need to be crowded in with the masses.  Eat a healthy breakfast (mmmm, pancakes for fall?) and hit the road a little later.


The CicLAvia site is chock full of detailed guidelines, from parking sites and rules of the road (helmets for everyone!) to a handy dandy downloadable printable map.   Click ‘Join’ on the homepage to get newsy email updates about the route, entertainment and food – and upcoming events.  Because we’re pretty sure that when you’ve  experienced CicLAvia, you’ll be counting the days till the next event. (That would be the South LA route on December 7, or you can wait for the Iconic Wilshire Blvd. ride in spring of 2015.)
What: CicLAvia “Heart of LA” is October 5, 2014 from 9 a.m.–4 p.m.

– Kim Orchen Cooper

Have you participated in CicLAvia before?  Got any additional tips?  Share them in the comments below. 

Photos courtesy of the author.

House Call: Classes That Come To You

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You can customize your coffee (we know you like your half-caf, almond milk, extra hot, wet cappuccino), your burger, your cold-pressed juice and your workout. But what about kids classes?  They’re always at the wrong time, for the wrong age and on the wrong side of town. With these classes that come to you, you can ditch the drive and have it just the way you like it.

smallshop teacher

photo credit: smallSHOP

Artsy-Fartsy Fun

Crafty kids mix it up with candle making, bubble painting and a myriad of materials, courtesy of the creative mind of local teacher Lonnie Martinez. Miss Lonnie will come to your home with everything you need. 1-hour lessons start at $150 for a group, $75 for individuals, and all and any ages are welcome. She also teaches song-writing and gives guitar lessons, so you can maximize your culture with a minimum of stress.


Ready to venture beyond finger painting and crayons? The working artists of smallSHOP encourage mini-Manets and pint-sized Picassos to express themselves with a variety of media, depending upon the ages and interests of the group. 60-minutes lessons for up to 4 kids (including materials) begin at $150; check with smallSHOP for options and times. Perfect for parties or recurring lessons.

Phone: 310-815-1669


Dance Till You Drop

Funky Divas & Dudes
Get a groove going with Funky Divas & Dudes, who bring all the accouterments and accessories for a myriad of movement classes, including cheerleading, breakdancing, fairytale acting, ballet and Broadway. Peewee personalities shine in the theme of your choice, while building coordination and self-confidence.

Phone: 310-838-8387


photo credit: The BeatBuds

March To The Beat of Your Own Drum

The BeatBuds
The BeatBuds bring home the basics in ‘jam sessions’ designed for your own mix of mini musicians aged 6 months to 6 years. Using a combo of real percussion instruments, vocal technique and rhythm-making props, the band of pros give high-energy hands-on experience during 4- or 6-week sessions with a minimum of 8 kids.

Phone: 818-642-7279

Kickin’ It In the Kitchen

Kitchen Kid
Concocting a meal is one of childhood’s purest forms of creativity. The culinary coaches at Kitchen Kid will help take it to the next delicious level, while sneaking in age-appropriate and super-fun science and math skills. Their thematic culinary adventures include ‘Books for Cooks’ and ‘Mom’s Night Off’, with countless possibilities depending upon the age and interests of the group.

Phone: 310-450-3462

kitchen kid 2

photo credit: Kitchen Kid

The Sporting Life

Head Above Water
Head Above Water takes the stress out of learning to swim. Their roster of super-experienced instructors are known for their nurturing approach to teaching even the tiniest tadpole to float. Individual lessons or group options are available, with pool owners offered a discount for hosting. Prices for a 6-lesson Parent & Me session starts at $195 per person for 2 kiddos; contact Head Above Water to get specifics about group classes.

Phone: 310-867-9282


photo credit: Super Soccer Stars facebook page

Super Soccer Stars
Kickin’ it with your best buddies is an awesome way to run off energy while learning cooperation and sportsmanship. The kid-friendly coaches at Super Soccer Stars bring it on at the time and place of your choosing, indoors or outdoors. Groups can be organized per coach, with a maximum number of kiddos, starting as young as 2. Or put together a tiny ‘team’ of at least 4 tots; rates depend upon age and each participant pays a set rate per class. See Super Soccer Stars’ website for full details.

Phone: 310-998-0010

– Kim Orchen Cooper

Do you have a favorite class that caters to your kids and schedule?  Let us know!

Trek Lightly with TreePeople

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Trees give us shade, limbs to climb and branches to swing from  – not to mention fresh air to fill  little lungs. While it can feel like we live in an urban jungle, in LA we’re always about 10 minutes from a frolic in a forest. Tree People will help remind you of our abundance of green, and a visit to their Coldwater Canyon Park plants the seeds for budding environmentalists to learn and value the nature of sustainability.KYCC Street Planting by Maria McGinley

High above the city lights of Hollywood, TreePeople’s headquarters are easy to access at the ridgeline of Coldwater Canyon and Mulholland Drive. Pack a snack and hit one of the half-dozen hiking trails within the Park; meandering one of the stroller-friendly paths, like the Magical City Forest Trail, leads to panoramic views of the Valley.

Along the way, tiny trekkers can check out the Yurt Village that serves as the nonprofit’s environmentally friendly offices. Along the Oak Trail, you’ll uncover a 99-seat amphitheater under a natural canopy, where a volunteer Ensemble presents music, plays and special events the summer.

Eco Tour 2The Park’s main attraction is TreePeople’s Center for Community Forestry. Here’s the place kiddos can get their hands dirty, learning about planting trees and water conservation. Little ones will love to explore the entry to the Watershed Garden, through a concrete storm pipe. Once inside, witness a small scale river flowing through a natural landscape to a clean ocean. Models alongside demonstrate how rainwater picks up pollutants that wind up in the ocean and also how trees and naïve plantings can avert these detrimental effects.

Eco TourA hop, skip and a jump away is the Nursery where TreePeople nurtures seedlings, most grown from native seed and acorns collected by volunteers. Kids can lend little hands (with grownup help) to tend to the baby trees.

Eco Tour 2 by Basurto FamilyDon’t forget to bring a picnic and spend the day, eating spots are scattered through the park.  This gorgeous getaway feels like miles from civilization (while merely minutes away from the 101 freeway!)

TreePeople @ Coldwater Canyon Park
located at the intersection of Mullholland Drive, Coldwater & Franklin Canyon

Check for parking closures due to special events (also, detailed directions and info for public transportation).

Also, check their website for events, like the monthly Moonlight Hike, where howling at the moon is optional, but encouraged.

– Kim Orchen Cooper

Photos courtesy of TreePeople, Maria McGinley and the Basurto Family.

Have you visited TreePeople?  We’d love to hear about your favorite hiking paths there or what your kids enjoyed learning!

Kid Friendly Gourmet: Superba Opens In Venice

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If you’re finding that there’s even more traffic on Lincoln lately, and that the cries from the cars are for “more croissants!”, it’s all due to this new spot that serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner.   Kids and parents alike happily brave the bumper to bumper for a little burrata on toast and black rice salad.  We’ve been waiting for it, it’s here, and it’s kid friendly.  Superba Food + Bread is indeed superb.

superba_interiorFrom the family-friendly restaurateur/dad Paul Hibler (who redefined parental pizza preferences with Pitfire) Superba Food + Bread goes beyond the neighborhood bakery. The sweet doughy aroma of freshly baked specialties beckons babes to climb around the outdoor planters onto the patio and plop down for a fruity muffin of the day, buttermilk biscuit or homemade pretzel croissant. Roll up on your beach cruiser with toddler trailer and Fido in tow: Superba Food + Bread is just what the neighborhood ordered.

Superbafb_bread counterCommerce Meets Comfort Food
What to choose? On any given day Superba’s bakery counter touts a half dozen handmade loaves, from traditional French baguette to whole spelt to omega 3-rich chia seed sourdough spirals. Tempt your little ones with toast topped with homemade jam, made from the season’s freshest offerings. The signature pain au levain (like sourdough, yet lighter) is good all by itself, as most teething tots can attest, while older kiddos might opt for cheesy scrambled eggs to greet the day.  While the in-house bakery uses wheat in most of its breads, there are gluten-free options like their tasty sweet-tart lemon cake, made with rice and almond flour.

superbafb_frontPark or park?
There’s easy beach access from Superba’s corner (on the SE side of Marco Place), a veritable café campus, with oversized patio planters enticing little squirmers to climb and explore adjacent to the outdoor bench and bistro seating. The dedicated parking lot accommodates equal numbers of cars and bicycles, with ample stroller and scooter parking safely shielded from the line of traffic. In addition, there’s street parking on Lincoln for overflow so everyone can find a spot.  And with new shops popping up regularly (see the super-duper toy emporium Huzzah just steps away), you’ll be a regular.

Superba_in_outWatching the World Go By
Sit down, take a load off. Superba’s open. All day. Breakfast. Brunch. Lunch. Dinner. Giant glass garage-like doors roll up creating a seamless space, indoors joining outdoors. Your kids can cozy up to on a patio cushion while you kick back with a beverage; maybe a piping hot cappuccino with a vanilla brioche sticky bun big enough for sibs to share. Or take a break to sip something more relaxing during their nightly supper, ranging from rotisserie duck to fried chicken with biscuits. Delivery service is in the works.  Cue the Hallelujah chorus.

Superba_dogSuperba Food + Bread
1900 So. Lincoln Blvd (corner of Marco Place), Venice
Open: Mon- Sat 7 a.m. – 11 p.m., Sun 7 a.m. -10 p.m.

– Kim Orchen Cooper

What’s your favorite spot that serves B & L & D, where you can bring the kids?  Let us know in the comment section!

Local Spa Getaways Any Mom Will Love

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Of course you want to spend Mother’s Day with the very people that made you a Mama. But then, oh, then, you’ll be an even better mother when you’re refreshed and relaxed from a getaway to a spa. So drop hints that a day with your little sweeties is just how you want to spend May 11th, but a solo getaway to one of these local day spas would make a superb gift for someday soon.


Ojai Valley Inn
No wonder this valley doubled for Shangri-La (an earthly paradise) in the movies. The Inn evokes Tuscany-meets-Provence-meets-Morocco as striking white casitas abut the verdant hills. But you’re here for the award-winning 31,000 sq ft spa which features not one, but three dedicated pools in its own ‘village:’ one for laps, another for wading and a specially-designed therapy pool (calm hot water, cooler than a whirlpool, it’s the place for pregnant bellies). Try their unique do-it-yourself co-ed Kuyam mudbath, the definitely decadent Abhyanga four-hand massage and stick to create your own personal scent at the Apothecary. The kids will rave about how relaxed you look and good you smell.

Day passes available for $75 (or $20 with treatment)
Opens daily at 8 a.m.
905 Country Club R.
Ojai, Ca 93023
Phone: 888-772-6524


Four Seasons Westlake Village
Over Malibu Canyon between LA and Santa Barbara, this Four Seasons offers an oasis in the sprawling valley off the 101 Freeway. Intimate yet well-appointed, the elegant setting offers a “Wow-Me-Wednesday” special for the sitter-less with a choice of a 50-min massage or facial that includes child care for a kiddo from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. for just $99. (Potty-trained babes to 9 year olds are welcome, with an extra fee for additional little ones.) For the ultimate “Daycation” you can get a half day at your private poolside cabana, a massage or facial and lunch for $235. If outside gets too hot or too cold, head to the indoor pool and fitness center, or try a nutrition or cooking class at the California Health & Longevity Institute.

Day passes Mon.-Fri. $50 ($75 to include indoor pool & fitness center), spa amenities included with treatments & services
Open daily 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
2 Dole Dr.
Westlake Village, Ca 91362
Phone: (818) 575-3000


This spectacular oceanfront resort in Palos Verdes, is like Hawaii without the jet lag or tacky shirts. Opt for one of their signature rituals, categorized as “invigorating” or “relaxing” and graciously recommended for different times of day depending upon body areas targeted and intensity of the treatment. The oceanfront lap pool has ample lounge chairs perfect for napping, with VIP suites and outdoor cabanas that can be reserved for small groups for added privacy. Take a spin on the stationary cycles at the waterfront gym, while sipping a sugar-free smoothie from the spa café (or choose from one of the other 7 on-site eateries) before heading home for dinner. Insider’s tip: Tide Pool Kid’s Club is available to day spa guests, for little ones 4-12 yrs. from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. for $50; activities are offered 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. at $15/hr.

Day passes available Mon-Thurs for $60
Spa amenities are included with treatments & services, daily, at no extra cost
Open daily 6 a.m. – 8 p.m.
100 Terranea Way
Rancho Palos Verdes, Ca 90275
Phone: (310) 265-2800

Montage Laguna Beach
Surfers paradise gives way to the lap of luxury at the world-class oceanfront Montage. Check out a yoga class for $65 and enjoy the lap pool and fitness center, as well as their eucalyptus steam room, redwood sauna, cold plunge & Jacuzzi. Can’t decide what services to have? Have a treatment indoors then outdoors as well – or plan a mommy-and-me reunion sans bebes and book the private Gallery for the group.

Day use requires a class, 60-min treatment or mani-pedi.
Open daily 6 a.m. – 9 p.m.
30801 South Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, Ca 92651
Phone: (949) 715-6010

La Costa
This Carlsbad mainstay does not disappoint, and the recent renovation upholds its gold standard. A day just touches on the plethora of spa services and classes offered in the Athletic Club. Grab a robe for a relaxing walk on the Reflexology Path that massages weary feet, while strolling to the Roman waterfall showers before turning resting at the poolside cafe. The lush retreat is set apart from the popular family areas, so escape is absolute (and child-free). If you’re bringing kids with you, they have a Kidtopia program where kids can play and have fun, while you rest and relax.  Insider’s note: the spa offers numerous day packages with multiple services and lunch; check website for current details.

Day passes available daily, $60 all day or $30 after 2 p.m.
Includes valet parking, Athletic Club & fitness classes
Opens daily at 8:30 a.m.
2100 Costa Del Mar
Carlsbad, 92009
Phone: 800-854-5000


When’s the last time you took a weekend (or day) for a relaxing spa getaway?  Because you deserve it!

–Kim Orchen Cooper

Photos courtesy of Ojai Valley Inn & Spa facebook page, Terranea facebook page, La Costa facebook page, & Montage Laguna Beach facebook page.