Have you decided to take a family trip to Los Angeles? While everyone knows about such popular destinations as Disneyland, Six Flags and the beach, this Afternoon in Los Angeles series offers an insider's peek at all this amazing city has to offer! Read on for the first in this installation for your guide to Mid-Wilshire.
First and foremost, the rumors are true: traffic is unforgiving and getting around solely by public transit, while possible, can be difficult. A rental car is highly recommended. With that information, one should be mindful about cross-town trips unless they want to spend their vacation time parked on the 405 freeway! A 15 mile drive may not look like much on the map, but depending on the time of day, this could take an hour. Creating daily itineraries central to a particular neighborhood or general area is a great way to maximize sightseeing.
For Museum Lovers
The Urban Light installation by Chris Burden was erected outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2008. It has become symbolic of the LACMA and one of the most photographed. Patrons can wander through the rows before heading into the museum.
Mid-Wilshire is exactly what it sounds like. Nestled between Mid-City the South and 3rd Street to to the North, Mid-Wilshire can be seen as the physical heart of the LA Metro area. Located in this pocket are quite a few must-sees for out-of-towners and locals alike. Museum Row, right on Wilshire Boulevard is home to three wonderful museums, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the La Brea Tar Pits and the Peterson Automotive Museum.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
A typical sunny Los Angeles afternoon outside the LACMA.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, better known as LACMA, is a wonderful family outing. A little known fact for non-locals is that parents can enroll their child in the NexGen program, and doing so provides free entry to anyone 17 years of age or younger plus their guardian. Babies are included in this program as the museum promotes a "lifelong love" of such establishments! Prior to visiting, enroll in the program via their website.
(Top) A Labor Day actor putting on a performance for children and families. (Bottom) "HappyHappy" exhibition by Korean artist Choi Jeon-Hwa.
The museum boasts an impressive permanent collection as well as desirable visiting exhibitions. From Matisse to Picasso to Lichtenstein, there is something for everyone. Be sure to check museum schedules for weekly art making workshops and story hour for kids.
Kids will enjoy playing among the painted hoses that make up the "Penetrable" installation located outside LACMA.
La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum
Up close and personal with several prehistoric friends at the La Brea Tarpits and Page Museum.
The La Brea Tarpits and Page Museum are right next door to LACMA. Natural history buffs will fall in love with this place. The tarpits are home to one of the most preserved collection of its kind. Kids of all ages will enjoy the exhibits and prehistoric displays. Take full advantage of the information posted on their site to time your visit with such shows as the Ice Age Encounters. Fun fact: Do the tarpits look familiar? They are a popular filming location. You may have seem them in such movies as My Girl 2, Land of the Lost and Volcano.
Children will marvel at the preserved prehistoric remains at the La Brea Tarpits and Page Museum.
Peterson Automotive Museum
A sampling of just a few of the cars you will see at the Peterson. Kids will be delighted to see Lightning McQueen!
Families and children who love cars are in for a treat with this museum! The Peterson Automotive Museum is across the street from both LACMA and the La Brea Tarpits. This museum features all things automotive. Everything from older historic cars to modern day sports cars to hot wheels and even displays from the movie Cars! An incredible exhibit is on the first floor where visitors can get a feel for older times both through vehicles on display as well as life size dioramas of office rooms and corner grocery stores from days gone by.
The Farmer's Market and The Grove
A shopper's paradise awaits at The Grove. Take the family on a trolly ride around the grounds.
After the museum you have quite a few options regarding lunch. Often times many of L.A.'s gourmet food trucks park directly across the street on the south side of Wilshire. If you are lucky, Kogi, the truck that started it all, will be among them. Eating from a truck not your style? Head north up Fairfax to the Farmer's Market. In addition to stalls selling fresh fruits and vegetables, the market is home to an epicurean's paradise. Cajun, Mexican and Italian are just a few of the delicious foods represented here. There are lunch options for nearly everybody. If sweets are your weakness, watch out! Temptations are around every corner. Stroll your lunch off browsing the stalls or if shopping is your thing walk next door and you will be at The Grove.
(Top) Wander through stalls of delicious goodies at the Original Los Angeles Farmer's Market. (Bottom) Onlookers next door at the Grove taking in the fountain.
Weather: What To Expect
Great weather is one thing that Los Angeles has bragging rights to. Take advantage of this and spend some time outside. Parts of the La Brea Tarpits Museum are outside but if a less structured afternoon is what you are looking for, head to Erewhon, grab a healthy snack to rectify all the indulgences at the Farmer's Market and eat and drink in the sunshine around the corner at the Pan Pacific Park on Beverly. Pan Pacific is a great greenspace in the hub of this area. The park has courts, walking paths, a play structure and several places to sit and relax. Pack smart and bring a frisbee or basketball and end your afternoon enjoying some active time with the family.
Next up in this series: Downtown LA
Find more places to explore with your kids in the WANDER category:
Photo Credits: LACMA wide angle view (Eric Gelinas) / child at Urban Lights (Ricardo Diaz) / performer (Parker Knight) / HappyHappy installation (conbon33) / child playing at HappyHappy (Ryan Dickey) / view of Penetrable (vxla) / boy at Penetrable (George Ruiz) / La Brea Tar Pits (sompops) / mammoth skeleton (Betsy Weber) / Smilodon closeup (Dallas Krenztel) / Smilodon skeletons (Ed Bierman) / child at museum (Phil Scoville) / electric wagon, Cadillac interior, Porsche, Chrysler Turbine (Greg Gjerdingen) / hot rod, Hot Wheels (zombieite) / 1931 Ford (Craig Howell) / cylinders (Randy Read) / Disney car (buginbox) / Farmer's Market, The Grove 1, 2, 3 (prayitnophotography) / All other photos by Allison of The Tiny Coyote