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Los Angeles Travel with Kids

Things to Do in Los Angeles With Kids Under 13 Hollywood's grand old El Capitan Theatre (6838 Hollywood Blvd.), opened in 1926, is the spot to take kiddies to the latest blockbuster. Afterward, little ones can meet costumed characters, usually those from the flick they just saw. Next door at Disney Studio Store and Ghirardelli Soda Fountain Chocolate Shop (6834 Hollywood Blvd.), kid-friendly fare (think hot dogs, grilled cheese and milk shakes) fills the menu while the store sells souvenirs.

flickr/Andrew FastLizard4 Adams
The California Science Center (700 Exposition Park Dr.) appears on every L.A. grade-schoolers' field trip calendar and should be on your itinerary as well. Hundreds of hands-on exhibits teach fertile minds about basic science, nature and technology. The IMAX Theater boasts a seven-story screen, and the center is the home of retired Space Shuttle Endeavour.

On a smaller scale, but no less fun, Pasadena's imaginative Kidspace Children's Museum (480 N. Arroyo Blvd.) rolls out the fruit juice-stained carpet for the under-13 set with a host of indoor and outdoor interactive exhibits and play areas.

Things to Do With Teens Let's face it: Many teens simply want to hang out, shop, text and sulk. Enter Hollywood & Highland (6801 Hollywood Blvd.), an open-air mall across the street from El Capitan Theatre and home to Lucky Brand Jeans, Q and more. Along the same lines, Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade (Santa Monica Blvd. & 3rd St.) does the trick with retailers like Adidas, Anthropologie and Quiksilver. Junior fashionistas should plan a boutique-crawl down Roberston Boulevard, where celeb sightings (of the TMZ variety) abound.

flickr/Glen Bowman
Smart-alecky teens will get a kick out of the world-famous freak show that is the Venice Beach's Ocean Front Walk (1800 Ocean Front Walk), a sun-splashed promenade packed with plenty of fun things to do with friends, including wacky sidewalk performers, oddball merchandise stands, surf shops, greasy pizza-by-the-slice joints and a colorful crush of SoCal humanity.

Fun Places to Go for All Ages From Dumbo the Flying Elephant to California Screamin', Disneyland® Resort (1313 Harbor Blvd., Anaheim), has the whole clan covered with the original Disneyland® Park and Disney California Adventure® Park . Consult your local AAA travel agency about available Disneyland® vacation packages.

Griffith Park (4730 Crystal Springs Dr.), a sprawling, mountainous park, is home to the world-class Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens (5333 Zoo Dr.), the outstanding Griffith Observatory (2800 E. Observatory Rd.) and the Travel Town Museum (5200 Zoo Dr.), an outdoor collection of old train engines and rail cars (climbing allowed).

Getty Images/Larry Brownstein
Pack the cooler and slather on the sunblock. No L.A. vacation is complete without a beach day. You can't go wrong with Malibu or South Bay strand areas like Manhattan Beach. At SoCal's most popular beach destination, Santa Monica , you'll also find amusement park rides, midway games, gift shops and eateries at Pacific Park (380 Santa Monica Pier) on the Santa Monica Pier (200 Santa Monica Pier).

More theme park than work-a-day movie studio, Universal Studios Hollywood™ (100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City) amps up its behind-the-scenes tour with an animatronic Jaws, the King Kong 360 3-D experience and all sorts of special effects razzle-dazzle.

flickr / CC BY/Gnawme
With the ocean at its doorstep, a natural fit for SoCal is the Aquarium of the Pacific (100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach). More than 11,000 creatures swim, crawl and fly through some 50 exhibits. Everyone will love petting sharks and rays, watching sea otters at play and getting up close and personal with penguins.

Santia2/iStockphoto.com
The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens (1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino) offers a 207-acre, gorgeously landscaped playground where the whole family can run wild in a variety of themed areas—Palm, Desert, Japanese, Australian and many more. There's even a terrific, hands-on Children's Garden geared toward ages 2 through 7.

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Los Angeles, CA

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Travel Information

City Population

3,792,621

Elevation

267 ft.

Sales Tax

State and county sales taxes total 9.5 percent in Los Angeles. A lodging tax, called a transient occupancy tax, of 14 percent also is levied along with an 8.25 percent rental car tax.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(877) 275-5273 (within the city of Los Angeles only)

Hospitals

Kaiser Permanente-Los Angeles Medical Center, (323) 783-4011; LAC+USC Medical Center, (323) 409-1000; Providence Little Company of Mary, (310) 832-3311; Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, (310) 825-9111; Valley Presbyterian Hospital, (818) 782-6600.

Visitor Information

6801 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028. Phone:(323)467-6412

Air Travel

The Los Angeles area is served by several airports with cheap airline flights including Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which is about 20 miles southwest of downtown L.A. Several other airports serve the area.

Rental Cars

Most major car rental agencies serve Los Angeles. Hertz, (800) 654-3080, provides discounts to AAA members.

Rail Service

It's almost worth traveling by train just to experience Union Station, the combination Spanish Revival-Art Deco-Streamline Moderne-style terminal at 800 N. Alameda St., near Olvera Street and Chinatown. Amtrak trains, (800) 872-7245, use the station, as well as depots scattered throughout the region.

Buses

Greyhound Lines Inc., (800) 231-2222, has a terminal at 1716 E. 7th St., near Alameda Street, about 1.5 miles south of Union Station. Caveat emptor: ticket purchase does not guarantee a seat on the bus.

Taxis

Taxis are plentiful downtown and at major tourist sites. They can be hailed or boarded from stalls found at the airport, Union Station and major hotels. The base rate is $2.85 at flag drop and $2.70 per mile. The fixed fare between the airport and downtown is $46.50 plus a $4 surcharge for fares originating from the airport. Some large companies are Checker, (800) 300-5007; Independent (800) 521-8294; United Independent, (213) 483-7660 or (800) 892-8294; and Yellow Cab, (424) 222-2222 or (800) 200-1085.

Public Transportation

Transportation by bus, minibus shuttle, light-rail and subway is available in Los Angeles.

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