Get Lost: 72 Hours In SoCal With Kids
Children are catching flights just as frequently as grown folk are, and it’s pretty fascinating to witness. They have passports, their own customized luggage and a budding sense of adventure. It’s not uncommon to see the experienced kiddies roaming freely throughout domestic and international airports, eager to board a plane and land in a new destination where they can explore and absorb as much as their growing minds can handle. Can you blame them? Seeing some world is a great education.
The #BlackTravelMovement has birthed a new generation of modern globetrotters. Never before have African Americans traveled as often and spent as much on travel as they do today. Higher paying jobs, post-secondary education and good ole social media are to partially thank. And since parents are going more, so are their kids.
Spring is here and summer and fall are quickly approaching, which means planning your next family vacay should be happening now.
If you’re looking for an affordable destination that’s almost always sunny, with great beaches, a diverse food and culture scene, a variety of kid-friendly activities, and direct flight options from every major city in the country (and world), SoCal is it.
Here’s how you spend a few good days in Southern California with your busy little ones in tow.
Southern California aka SoCal is comprised of Los Angeles, Long Beach, San Diego, West Hollywood and several other cities, towns and villages located in the southernmost section of the state. The climate year-round is mild-to-hot and mostly dry, so whenever you go the temperature will likely be on your side.
Despise crowds? Visit between April to May or September to October when popular attractions and activities aren’t as hectic.
Before you land, reserve a ride with Midway Car Rental because moving around SoCal without wheels (and your kids) isn’t the best idea. Most things in the region are spread out so driving from place to place is a smart option.
From LAX, head north on the 405 to The Garland, a retro-chic hotel located in North Hollywood, just minutes away from Universal Studios, City Walk, Griffith Park Observatory and the L.A. Zoo. Check-in, drop your bags in your room, then spend time exploring the property’s lush grounds.
The children won’t be able to resist a dip in the outdoor pool, so while they splash, lounge and sip a handcrafted cocktail (or two) from The Lobby Bar. When you’re done, head to The Front Yard for a comfortable and casual L.A. dining experience, and the best people-watching on this side of town.
Since sleeping-in isn’t an option when you’re vacaying with your little ones, get up and get out early. Start your day with a museum crawl, with stops at the American Southwestern Railway Museum, Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum and the Petersen Automotive Museum. Then, hit L.A.’s infamous Original Farmers Market for lunch.
There are over 100 gourmet grocers and restaurants from across the world to choose from. Our Pick: Pampas Grill Churrascaria for Brazilian BBQ. You can’t leave the vicinity without a quick stroll through The Grove. The kids will love the fountain and live entertainment, you’ll love the shopping.
It’s no secret that SoCal traffic is extremely unpleasant, but the silver lining is that the backdrop of the region is gorgeous. Load up the kiddies and ride out along the Pacific Coast Highway, one of the most scenic drives in the world. Be sure to pull over at Venice, Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo beaches along the way.
Check out of The Garland and into the iconic London West Hollywood, boasting sick rooftop views of the Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. The serene atmosphere and luxury cabanas will satisfy you, and your little ones will be smitten about Magical Tea, the cutest tea party held in the hotel’s Sitting Room. All ages are welcome to enjoy the colorful and playful menu featuring unicorn cake, fairytale cupcakes, rainbow donuts, macaroons, cotton candy sugar clouds and so much more.
Following tea, walk over to Book Soup on Sunset Blvd., one of the last standing independent bookstores in the country, and browse through thousands of titles both you and your kids will enjoy.
Up for a little adventure? Bikes & Hikes LA is a must! The 2.5-hour West Hollywood + Beverly Hills Electric Bike Tour is an eco-friendly and health-conscious way to explore the city. If your kids are too young to ride solo, your tour guides will attach a wagon to the back of your bike—it’s all good!
Mister O’s or Gracias Madre are our picks for dinner. If you can secure a sitter for the kids, go with Mister O’s. The intimate, mid-century inspired lounge and dining room is dimly lit and stunningly styled—don’t let the curb appeal fool you. They’re known for their artisanal cocktails, but the seasonal dinner menu is pretty impressive too. Enjoy!
Editor’s Note: This trip was taken before the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States. When planning to travel this summer, be sure to research any local tourism-related restrictions or closures ahead of time and continue to practice social distancing while visiting. Safe travels!