5 Non-Touristy Places in Los Angeles to Visit with Kids

There are a lot popular attractions in Los Angeles, and they’re always very crowded. But there’s also many local gems that many tourists don’t know about. If you’re traveling to Los Angeles this summer, or maybe you’re a local that wants to rediscover the city, here are some unique places to try with your kids.

These locations tend to be a little less crowded, but it’s still Los Angeles, so they might be very full during afternoons and weekends.

1. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

This location is up on a hill that gives you a view of the whole city, from downtown LA to the Pacific Ocean. You can drive up the hill to the very top. There’s a small paid parking lot. From there, it’s a short quarter-mile trail to the scenic vista platform. There are also multiple trails going through the hills where you can explore and see different viewpoints of the city. Restrooms are available near the beginning of the trail.

2. 6th Street Bridge

This iconic bridge over the LA River into downtown LA has been in multiple movies, but do to structural damage, had to be demolished in 2016. The new Sixth Street was reopened in 2022 with a unique modern design. It is 2/3- mile long with a pedestrian walking path and great views of downtown LA. There is paid street parking in the surrounding side streets or under bridge. There are no restrooms nearby.

3. Old LA Zoo

The old Los Angeles Zoo in Griffith Park was closed down in 1966, but the structures that held the animals remain in place. You can explore the ruins of the old zoo – just watch out for debris. It’s a unique experience looking back in time. Right around the corner from the zoo ruins is Shane’s Inspiration, a massive playground with multiple structures. There are restrooms at the park. There are free parking lots both near the Old Zoo and the playground.

4. Echo Park Lake

This park has a beautiful lake with a tall fountain in the middle. It’s a serene environment with great views of downtown LA. There’s a playground inside the park. The lake has foot-paddled swan boats that you can rent. Restrooms are available in the park. There is limited street parking, and paid parking in a lot about a block away.

5. Venice Canals

This is neighborhood with water canals running through it, built to emulate the Venice Canals in Italy. You can take a stroll on sidewalks along the water in this quiet picturesque neighborhood, looking at all the unique and beautiful houses. There’s also playground in the middle of the neighborhood. There is paid street parking outside of neighborhood. There are no public restrooms nearby.

Bonus: In-N-Out at LAX

If you have time to spare before your flight, get a meal at the In-N-Out restaurant by LAX. Take your food out to the park next to it and have a picnic while watching the planes land over you. There is free but limited parking in small lot for the restaurant or on side streets. Restrooms are available inside the restaurant.

If you are visiting Los Angeles, definitely take some time to see some of the more popular landmarks, like Griffith Observatory, Walt Disney Concert Hall, or the Santa Monica Pier. But these alternative sites will introduce you to more parts of Los Angeles, be a little less busy, and still provide an iconic and memorable experience.

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