Your Family-Friendly Guide to Presidents’ Day in LA

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Presidents’ Day is fast approaching and with another looong weekend to fill, it’s time to find some swell activities around LA that will both entertain your pint-sized patriots and maybe even teach them about our nation and founding forefathers. We’ve rounded up a list almost as long as the Constitution of our fave presidential to-dos. So fire up “Star Spangled Banner” on the karaoke machine, slap on a stovepipe hat worthy of Lincoln and brace yourself for a President’s Day weekend to remember.

Dive Into American History Lessons (That Are Actually Fun)

SoCal is home to not just one, but two presidential libraries and museums. And now that things are reopening, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum is once again hosting its Annual Presidents’ Day Celebration with lots of storytelling, entertainment and even president and first lady look-alikes—ooolala! Or if Nixon’s your guy, head over to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda on Mon. for the unveiling of the official 2022 White House Christmas ornament honoring the Nixon presidency. Some interior spaces at the museum still remain closed to the public due to COVID.

On June 12, 1987 President Reagan stood 100 yards from the Berlin Wall that divided East and West Germany and delivered his infamous “Tear Down This Wall” speech that would prove to be a turning point in the Cold War. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, LA’s Wende Museum installed one of largest stretches of the original Berlin wall in the world at 5900 Wilshire Blvd (across from LACMA). Stop by and share this great piece of history with your family.

At the Autry Museum, little cowpokes can ooo and ahh over hundreds of pieces of art and important artifacts that showcase the triumphs and hardships of the American West. Don’t forget to try your luck at panning for gold with your little 49ers. It’s always a hit with kids.

Kennedy was president during the great space race and a visit to the California Science Center to scope out the Space Shuttle Endeavor is the perfect way to see just how far we’ve come and inspire future space explorers of your own.

Known as the “Battleship of Presidents,” the Battleship USS Iowa was the WWII flagship that carried President Franklin D. Roosevelt across the Atlantic for meetings with Winston Churchill. It was also the flagship for President Reagan during our nation’s Celebration of Liberty on July 4, 1986. Visitor tours have recently resumed and there’s never been a better time to check out this incredible naval history museum.

Finally, don’t throw away your shot to catch Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning juggernaut, Hamilton, at the Pantages Theater before it ends its run in Mar. We can’t think of a cooler way to teach littles about Alexander Hamilton’s history as one of the founding fathers of the United States.

Dive Into America’s Melting Pot

When President Obama was on the campaign trail in 2011, his motorcade famously stopped for a bite and some hand shaking at one of LA’s most iconic eateries—Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. As a tribute to the former president’s visit, Roscoe’s now features the #9 Obama’s Special on their regular menu—3 wings with a waffle or potato salad or french fries.

Not to be outdone, Canter’s Deli also hosted Obama in 2014 when he stopped by to speak with a group of Americans who had written to him about their struggles. While he was there, he visited with customers and posed for photos. President Kennedy and President Nixon were also known to have dined here as well.

If you have a hankering for something sweet this Presidents’ Day, nothing’s more American than good old fashioned apple pie. Visit your favorite local spot for a slice (or whole pie) to go.

One of the things that makes America so special is that it’s a true melting pot of different of cultures. At Smorgasburg LA, a weekly pop-up every Sun., you can taste a wide variety of foods from sea to shining sea. Another great pit stop for a wide offering of multicultural cuisines is Grand Central Market downtown—it’s fantastic!

Dive Into America’s Parks

Honor Teddy Roosevelt, the founder of our nation’s great parks system, and treat your family to an afternoon filled with sunshine and fun-filled nature exploration. Choose a day hike from one of our favorite destinations, some of which may even have waterfalls!

If you’re craving some eye-popping flora and fauna, we highly recommend a visit to The Huntington Garden Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens. There’s no more beautiful place to spend the day. And while you’re there, pop by the Library to check out the Huntington’s famous collections and papers of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.

Given the long weekend, use that extra time to visit a National Park. There are so many close to LA—from Joshua Tree and Cabrillo to Channel Islands National Park and more—there’s a nearby spot to explore, including cabins and vacation rentals if you want to extend your stay. 

Dive Into American Pop Culture

Throughout history, America has consistently stood at the forefront of filmmaking. For an immersive look at the history of cinema, visit the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that opened last fall. Highlights for kids include the Hayao Miyazaki exhibition (which ends in Jun.) and the Pixar 3D Zoetrope.

If the pandemic’s brought us one good thing, it’s the return of drive-in movies. On Presidents’ Day weekend, Street Food Cinema will feature the movies Up and LaLa Land with a delicious selection of foods on site that are available for purchase.

We could wax poetically all day about the kitsch of Madame Tussaud’s Hollywood. Visit your fave celebrities who’ve been expertly sculpted into wax so real, you may have to do a double take. They’ll even pose for a photo or two with you…after all, they’re not going anywhere.

American football is an enormous part of our culture, especially when our city not only hosts this year’s Super Bowl, but also has a team competing in it (Go Rams!). So even if you didn’t snag tickets to the big showdown, football fans can take a tour of the new Sofi Stadium in Inglewood which has been dubbed by some as the “very best in the world.” Guests get to run through the tunnel, participate in on-field challenges and more.

Throughout history, America has consistently stood at the forefront of filmmaking. For an immersive look at the history of cinema, visit the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that opened last fall. Highlights for kids include the Hayao Miyazaki exhibition (which ends in Jun.) and the Pixar 3D Zoetrope.

If the pandemic’s brought us one good thing, it’s the return of drive-in movies. On Presidents’ Day weekend, Street Food Cinema will feature the movies Up and LaLa Land with a delicious selection of foods on site that are available for purchase.

We could wax poetically all day about the kitsch of Madame Tussaud’s Hollywood. Visit your fave celebrities who’ve been expertly sculpted into wax so real, you may have to do a double take. They’ll even pose for a photo or two with you…after all, they’re not going anywhere.

American football is an enormous part of our culture, especially when our city not only hosts this year’s Super Bowl, but also has a team competing in it (Go Rams!). So even if you didn’t snag tickets to the big showdown, football fans can take a tour of the new Sofi Stadium in Inglewood which has been dubbed by some as the “very best in the world.” Guests get to run through the tunnel, participate in on-field challenges and more.

—Jennifer O’Brien

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