Amazing LA Malls with Free Kids Activities, Cool Climbing Structures & More

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Shopping till you drop at the local mall might have been fun back in those carefree (kid-free) days, but now with children in tow, any kind of shopping typically involves a lot more dropping (ahem, tantrums). Fortunately, plenty of LA malls offer family-friendly amenities and activities to keep kids entertained, while you sneak in a little retail therapy. From live music to humpback whale climbers and even a double-decker carousel, these malls have it all.

photo: Scott A. via Yelp

Westfield Topanga & The Village
More like a shopping commune than a traditional mall, this two-for-one special combines an open-air plaza with a sleek indoor mall space that is bursting with family fun. First, let your wiggly bunch loose at the outdoor Village, where kids can scale the lily-pad-like kids climber. (There’s also a splash pad that runs during the summer.) After they’ve worn themselves out, hop on the Trolley for a quick ride to the mall. First stop: The Fun Factory arcade for a few rounds of skeeball, followed by a spin on the mall’s two-story carousel! Once you’ve worked up an appetite, stop in at the crowd-pleasing Giggles & Hugs for lunch. Older kids need a reason to hit the mall? Register them for free coding and video game designing camps at the Microsoft store where they will get hands-on experience learning the latest technology. With recurring monthly events like story times and Family First Fridays, you’ll never have to drag anyone to the mall again!

6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd.
Canoga Park

photo: Unsplash

The Americana at Brand 
This high-end shopping plaza boasts a beautifully manicured lawn smack dab in the middle of it all where you can find kids’ yoga classes every Wednesday, a dancing water fountain and even an adorable little trolley making its way around the property. Your shoppers-in-training will be falling over themselves for a trip to The Americana every Tues. from 11a.m.-1p.m. where they can experience 2 hours of live music and creative entertainment through the mall’s Kids Club program. Come holiday season, this place has the best Santa set-up this side of the North Pole and it’s even been said that the Easter Bunny has made quite the Springtime splash!

889 Americana Way

photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Grove
Like it’s sister store mentioned above, The Grove is an upscale shopping center that is just about as LA as it gets! Not only does it have a gorgeous dancing fountain and super fun trolley like The Americana, but it also neighbors the historical Original Farmers Market which is a maze of food and vendor stalls sure to stimulate the senses. Check out the Grove’s Kids Club every Sat. from 10a.m.-12p.m. where magic shows, petting zoos, and marionette puppet shows are only some of the awesome offerings. Parents have tons of retail choices at The Grove, but your pint-sized patrons will really go gaga for the ginormous American Girl store just kitty-corner from Dylan’s Candy Bar (win/win!). All this excitement is sure to work up an appetite so be sure to grab lunch at The Cheesecake Factory or American Girl Cafe before heading home for well-deserved naps all around!

189 The Grove Dr.
Los Angeles

photo: Palisades Village via Yelp

Palisades Village
Pretend you’re on a stay-cation and take the family to visit Palisades Village where the charming beachy vibe lends itself nicely to the seaside town set up of this open-air mall. Kids Club reigns supreme every Thurs., from 10-11a.m. complete with live music, magicians and the kind of entertainment tots will love. Looking for something for everyone in your family to enjoy? Check out “Balloons and Bubbles” on Tues. nights from 5-6p.m. at the Draycott restaurant, where a balloon artist will twist animals, hats and more for kids of all ages. While little ones are occupied with their balloons, parents can enjoy happy hour at the Draycott with a glass of bubbly (yes please!).

15225 Palisades Village Lane
Pacific Palisades

photo: Shannan Rouss

Santa Monica Place
This beautiful outside shopping arena is chock full o’things to do with the family. Aside from Kids Club entertainment on the first Wednesday of every month from 11a.m.-12p.m. in the food court, there is now the newly opened Cayton Children’s Museum for your little one’s exploring pleasure. Here kids 10 and under can immerse themselves in hands-on discovery-based exhibits that will truly be a major draw just on its own!  After spending some time exploring the museum, wear your small fries out even more at Samo’s Clubhouse play area directly across from Cayton. This super cool play-and-learn area includes a life-size whale climbing structure, a balance beam, tightrope, a slide, and lots of interactive areas to tickle the mind! When everyone has had their fill of the mall and all it has to offer, spill out onto the Santa Monica Promenade where three blocks of dancers, street performers, magicians and more create a vibrant experience you won’t want to miss!

395 Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica

photo: Katelyn H. via Yelp

The Point El Segundo
Only a few years old, this open-air mall is smaller than some of the others on this list but packs a big punch of kid-friendly fun. The Point hosts Kids Club the third Thurs. of each month from 10a.m.-12p.m. where activities such as face painting, arts & crafts, balloon twisting, live music and more are on deck to delight the masses. This kind of place is a great playdate meet-up spot as the central lawn is meticulously clean and there are tons of tables to park your posse while they play and you watch (with a coffee in hand from Pete’s).  With an ice cream stand on the lawn and tons of kid-friendly restaurants to choose from, you can really spend a nice chunk of time shopping in the South Bay!

850 S. Pacific Coast Hwy.
El Segundo

photo: Kev H. via Yelp

Fig at 7th
Heading to Downtown LA can be a pretty cool adventure in itself (take the Metro to really up the fun factor) and Fig at 7th is a great place for you and your thrill-seekers to visit while there. Like many malls on this list, it’s got the whole outdoor concept going with an enormous must-see food court that will appeal to everyone’s tastes. They also have a Kids Club every second and fourth Sat. of the month from 2p.m.-4p.m. that is all about imaginative art workshops for kids ages 3 and up. If you’ve got babes who just want to boogie, swing on by Fig at 7th’s free of charge Sunday Funday Grooves live music shows, which take place in the food hall courtyard on the second and fourth Sun. of each month from 11a.m.-3p.m. Give everyone a cupcake from Sprinkles and your happy bunch won’t even mind a stop into the mall’s super Target before heading home!

735 S. Figueroa St.

–Jenifer Scott


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