Best Things to Do When Grandparents Visit LA

best places to take grandparents around LA CAAM

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.


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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

Exposition Park

best places to take grandparents around LA
CAAM

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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