Our Guide to Where to Stay in Los Angeles with Kids
Some of our favourite neighbourhoods for the whole family to enjoy. (Yes, everyone – we couldn't quite believe it either.)
With its theme parks, sprawling arcade-laden piers and golden beaches, Los Angeles is pretty much a dream for most children. It’s a journey inside the movie industry, where the line between fiction and real life is blurred just enough to feel like a fantasy; a holiday your kids will never forget.
But your job as a parent is really to keep them safe and secure, right? When it comes to where to stay in Los Angeles with kids, some parts of the city can get a little more lively than others at night, not least the Downtown Los Angeles district and the Fashion District. The city is generally pretty safe, but you’ll have to be wary of pickpockets and the like in those spots.
With that in mind, it’d be great to get an idea about the safest spaces to put up your family that are within close range of some of the city’s best family attractions. Hmm, if only there were some sort of expert travel brand willing to freely distribute such key information and curate a family-friendly collection of homes too. Well, would you look at that...here we're sharing some of our top-secret Plum Guide advice about where to stay in Los Angeles with kids.
OK, so Beverly Hills is pretty residential, but you won’t get many safer neighbourhoods in the city. It won’t come cheap either, but you pay a premium to follow in the footsteps of the melodramatic families from the neighbourhood’s eponymous TV series. And if your kids are fans of any of its myriad incarnations, then you’re onto a winner. Drive up and down roads flanked with palm trees and mansions, feeling like you’ve finally made it. Maybe if you honk enough and cause a riot, you can single-handedly bring down house prices, before you swoop. Just hope for an experience a little less histrionic than a typical episode of the TV show.
With fewer mansions and more quirky theatres and idiosyncratic boutiques, the Venice area makes for an easy answer to the question of where to stay in Los Angeles with kids. Stroll along the beach with the little ones and stop for ice cream in one of the parlours. Walk out along the fishing pier for great views of the water and enjoy the hubbub of the Ocean Front Walk. A little inland lies the labyrinth of Venice Canals. Away from the beach, the area becomes more residential, making for a quick and easy escape to your safe Plum home.
While Venice Beach quietens down in the evening, it’s adjacent little sister Santa Monica stays rocking into the evening. Bring the kids out on the double-headed Santa Monica Pier and take them on the Ferris wheel until they’re nauseous and vomiting on the unsuspecting folk down below. Now that they’ve made room, it’s time to fill them back up again at one of the area’s most exclusive restaurants, such as the Tar & Roses or the Water Grill Santa Monica. Bring the kids shopping on the iconic Third Street Promenade. They’ll love that…
Hey, it’s the land of the talking pictures. Your children love talking pictures, so they’ll be delighted to reside in the shadow of the Hollywood Sign. Tell them your name is engraved on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and watch them spend an afternoon looking for it. ‘Yes, yes, my high school nickname was Sylvester Stallone, that’s me,’ you’ll tell them. Take them through all the movie hullabaloo and then spend an afternoon on the rides of Universal Studios to get eaten by the dinosaurs from Jurassic Park.
You may want to get away from the whole Hollywood thing. We can relate: it can get tiring being mobbed by fans when you’re just trying to enjoy a family holiday. So, where to stay in Los Angeles with kids elsewhere? Make your way south to Long Beach, which has…a long beach. The little ones will love climbing aboard the RMS Queen Mary ocean liner museum. Peer into the tanks and annoy the fish in the Aquarium of the Pacific on the coastal boulevard.
Right at the other end (the northern one) of Los Angeles lies Malibu, which is a great drink and a terrible 90s TV show. As a neighbourhood, it’s more like the former, in that it’s great, although it’s far more appropriate as a place to stay in Los Angeles with kids than the alcoholic beverage. In fact, it’s the perfect spot to teach them how to surf, with its big waves on the Zuma Beach, Surfrider Beach and Topanga Beach.
Marina del Rey
It’s so safe that you and your kids are the biggest threats in the Marina del Rey district. So, try not to harass anybody; we’re all just here to have some fun, ok? Walk along the coast and check out some of the yachts that may or may not belong to Hollywood celebs. Try to resist the urge to break in and sail off over the horizon.