Los Angeles, California needs no introduction. It is the home to Hollywood, Disneyland, Universal Studios, beaches and many other attractions that kids are sure to love. These, plus the fact that they are spread out across a large city, means that the hardest thing about planning a trip to LA with a family is deciding where to stay.
To make the task easier, here’s a list of some the main areas to stay in Los Angeles. Public transportation is generally not very good here, so this is something to take into account when picking a destination if you don’t plan on renting a car.
The downtown area of Los Angeles is largely a business district, but Chinatown and Little Tokyo are nearby. However, downtown isn’t close to any of the main tourist attractions and much of the downtown area goes quiet at night. But it is a good area for families that want to use public transportation during their stay. The main train station is right downtown while most of the bus and subway routes pass through the area. Otherwise, it’s probably best to look to other areas if you’re trying to keep your kids entertained.
Hollywood is known the world over, and for many visitors it’s an essential stop on a visit to LA. In Hollywood, there’s the Walk of Fame, Universal Studios, TCL Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood sign. All are easily accessible. Nearby, West Hollywood is also a good place to stay. There are buses to Hollywood and Santa Monica. Plus, the Hollywood/Highland subway station makes it easy to get in and out of the area as well.
Beverly Hills is just what you imagine it to be – money, money, money at every turn. Home to the famous shopping street of Rodeo Drive, massive celebrity houses, and lovely hotels and restaurants, Beverly Hills is an attractive, safe area for families. It is also quite easy to get to beaches and Hollywood, but not the best option for public transport users overall. This is a good choice for families with their own car who want to stay in a quieter area while still being close to many attractions. And of course, this is not an area to head to if you’re on a budget.
Santa Monica is a lovely beach area that offers endless rows of shops and restaurants, as well as the family friendly Santa Monica Pier complete with an amusement park. It is very safe and an interesting area to walk around, with plenty for kids to see. There are buses from Santa Monica to other areas, but it is not the best choice if you plan to rely heavily on public transportation. Santa Monica is a good choice for families who want to be near the beach and explore the area they’re staying in rather than heading off to visit attractions across the rest of the city.
Just south of Santa Monica, Venice Beach is a fabulous place to hang out and people watch. The two-and-a-half mile promenade by the beach is full of shops, restaurants, bars, sporting facilities and interesting people (to say the least). This is a great place for families to enjoy some time together walking, eating, and taking pictures, although it can be unsafe to walk around here at night. It is a great option for families who are stopping over in Los Angeles and want to be close to the airport (LAX), which is just on the other side of Marina Del Rey, the world’s largest man-made small boat harbor.
Anaheim is where to go if you’re in the mood for theme parks. Home to Disneyland, Disney California Adventure Park, and Knott’s Berry Farm, the area is a great base for families who want to hit the roller coasters, get scared in haunted houses, and eat expensive hot dogs. The major drawback is that it’s about an hour south of Hollywood, so it’s best for families who place theme park visits above pictures on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It’s also a good option for families who rent cars and plan to visit San Diego, which is a couple of hours' drive south.