What to Do in LA When Your Kids Wake Up Way Too Early

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If you’re one of those families whose kid never got the “sleeping in” memo and insists on waking up at an insane hour no matter how late you put them to bed or how much you ran them around the day before—we feel you and we see your exhaustion. That’s why we put together this list of clever morning ideas to entertain them (not just your local playground cause we’ve been there and done that all by 7 a.m.) but we found the niftiest places around town that happily cater to early birds.

Where to Eat with Early Risers around LA

Take advantage of those early mornings by hitting up some of LA’s best food spots in a different part of town without any traffic and gets way too crowded to take the kids past 10 a.m. 

SK’s Donuts: This no-frills doughnut shop is one of the best doughnuts in LA for a reason—they are consistently fantastic. Keep the kids in their PJs and head over to SK’s right when they open at 5:30 a.m. for doughnuts fresh out of the oven. Whether your tastes lean more traditional with glazed and chocolate or more adventurous with flavors like S’mores and Oreo Blast, they’re so good you might even forget you’ve maxed out your daily sugar intake before 9 a.m.

Hours: Mon.-Wed., 5:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Thurs.-Sun., 5:30 a.m.-12 a.m.

5850 West 3rd St.
Los Angeles
Online: skdonut2go.com

Courage Bagels: If you have a hankering for the yummiest bagels in town, Courage Bagels is well worth the early morning excursion. With that perfect ratio of crispy on the outside to chewy on the inside, these bagels are melt-in-your mouth delicious—you’ll definitely want to grab a couple extras to take home. The sidewalk window promptly opens at 7 a.m. to take you order and there is decent amount of outdoors tables to eat al fresco and your kid can run around.

Hours: Thurs.-Mon., 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

777 N Virgil Ave.
Los Angeles
Online: couragebagels.com

Good to Know: Another favorite bagel spot—Wise Sons in Culver City—also opens at 7 a.m. on weekends. Stop by here before heading over to Kenneth Hahn Park or the Baldwin Hills Overlook

The Griddle Cafe: They say the early bird gets the worm, but we think pancakes taste much better. One of our go-to pancake joints tends to get packed each morning due to its overwhelming popularity. But if you up and willing to be there when the café opens at 8 a.m., you’ll get a jump on the crowd and devour some of the best pancakes in LA—a parenting win if you ask us.

Hours: Wed.-Sun.., 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed Mon. & Tues.

7916 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles
Online: thegriddlecafe.com

Where to Go with Early Risers around LA

Of course, thanks to great weather, heading outdoors is a logical suggestion with an energetic early riser (especially if you just downed a bunch of doughnuts and pancakes).

Nature Centers: There are loads of fabulous nature centers across LA where you and your kids can wander and explore the local fauna and flora (again, take advantage of no traffic and visit one across town). Most open at 8 a.m. while their restrooms open at 8:30 a.m. 

Hiking: If you have spirited kiddos early in the morning, why not head out for a kid-friendly hike and you can all get in those steps for the day? There are so many fantastic trails around town to check out before the heat and crowds arrive. Some our faves for families include Baldwin Hills Overlook, Runyon Canyon, Fryman Canyon, Griffith Park, Franklin Canyon Park, Temescal Gateway Park, and Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area. All trails are open sunrise—sunset daily.

Farmer’s Markets: With so many wonderful farmers’ markets happening throughout the LA area on any given day, you’re sure to find one that littles will enjoy. Whether it’s the popular farmers’ markets in Studio City, Hollywood, Santa Monica or the fabulousness of Beverly Hills, most markets open at 8 a.m. and are ready to receive your early bird crew with open arms. The plus side—you get to leisurely stroll with a coffee in hand while your pint-sized produce aficionados eye the season’s best grub.

Annenberg Beach House: One of LA’s most popular summer spots for families, the Annenberg Community Beach House is heaven for kiddos on scorching sunny days. Though the pool doesn’t open until 10 a.m., there’s still plenty to do in the meantime. First: Grab prime parking when the lot opens at 7 a.m. because it will be packed before you know it. Explore the beach, collect shells and build some sand castles. At 8 a.m., the playground, sandy area and volleyball courts open, followed by the courtyard, splash pad and view deck at 9 a.m.

Good to Know: The restaurant, Back on the Beach, (another one of our faves for grabbing breakfast and letting the kids run around) opens at 8 a.m. on weekends, 9 a.m. on weekdays. Make a reservations when they open (they only take them in person or over the phone) to guarantee no hangry kids (or adults) will surface.

445 Pacific Coast Hwy.
Santa Monica
Online: annenbergbeachhouse.com

Aquarium of the Pacific: While the aquarium doesn’t technically open until 9 a.m. (reservations required), it takes around 30 minutes to drive from DTLA to Long Beach so a bit of your morning will be spent on the commute. And if you still have time to burn, walk along the harbor and head to Shorline Aquatic Park where a real lighthouse stands on a hill. Once you make it into the Aquarium of the Pacific, your kids will be delighted to see so many creatures to see, including sea otters, sharks, sea jellies, penguins, frogs, lorikeets and the adorable new Babies exhibit before it gets too crowded.

100 Aquarium Way
Long Beach
Online: aquariumofpacific.org

Underwood Family Farm: Another good spot to go when you want to take advantage of super early mornings and traffic-free highways, this spot is about an hour away from DTLA and opens at 9 a.m. but the best part is you can get a jump on all the fun activities—all before the sun gets too hot. Whether your jam is a tractor-drawn wagon ride, picking your own produce in the field, playing on the combine and harvester slides, or visiting with the animals, there’s plenty to do that could fill an entire day.

3370 Sunset Valley Rd.
Moorpark
Online: underwoodfamilyfarms.com

Watch Planes Land at LAX: Grab some food to-go and head over to the little grassy park, just outside the In-n-Out on Sepulveda Blvd. and watch the planes land at LAX. For more observation spots, check out our full list of places to take plane-obsessed kids

9149 S. Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles

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