Los Angeles is one of our favorite places to visit with teenagers. They’re the perfect age to appreciate the Hollywood glamour, thrilling theme parks, and great museums. Plus, they’ll love the beachside settings and fun experiences. We’re highlighting our favorite things to do in Los Angeles with teens. You’ll discover rugged hiking trails, upscale shopping streets, and how to see the city in new ways.
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Our Favorite Things to Do in LA with Teens
1. Tour a Movie Studio
One of the most exciting things about visiting Los Angeles is being near the sets for some of your favorite Hollywood movies. A movie studio is the perfect way to step into that magic.
We love the Warner Bros. Studio Tour to see familiar sets from your favorite TV shows and films. Other popular options are the Sony Pictures Tour and the Paramount Studios Tour.
2. Go Hiking
LA has a lot of fun hiking for all levels and abilities. Griffith Park is one of the top places to go for a hike. It has trails that lead to the Hollywood Sign and Griffith Observatory. We also love the trails in Malibu Creek State Park, which also has rock climbing and beautiful scenery.
Topanga State Park has fantastic coastal views of the Pacific Ocean, and Santa Anita Canyon has waterfall access with a camping option.
3. Visit Theme Parks
Los Angeles has amazing theme parks that probably top your teen’s vacation list. But which one is the best for your family? We’re recapping our favorites below so you can catch your thrills (or hop on a slow ride, if that’s more your pace).
Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood is our go-to recommendation for a theme park in Southern California. This is where you’ll find The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter, Super Nintendo World, the King Kong 360 ride, and Minion Land.
It’s fun for all ages and feels like a quintessential Hollywood activity. Don’t miss Universal Citywalk Hollywood (it’s free), where you can eat, shop, and even catch a movie. GET YOUR TICKETS HERE
Six Flags Magic Mountain
If your teen loves roller coasters, Six Flags Magic Mountain is the place to go. There are 20 roller coasters, along with other high-octane thrill rides that will take your breath away. Don’t worry – there are also kiddie rides and shows. But still, this park is best enjoyed by thrill-seekers.
Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park
Is it worth going to Disneyland while you’re visiting Los Angeles? Our vote is yes since it’s such a great chance to experience the magic of this popular destination. This will take up a full day of your vacation, so some teens might opt for smaller amusement parks or places with more roller coasters. GET TICKETS HERE
Knott’s Berry Farm
Knott’s Berry Farm could become your teen’s favorite place to go. This popular spot is California’s oldest theme park, and it’s so much fun.
There are thrilling roller coasters, top-notch food, great entertainment, and celebrations of California’s many cultures. Knott’s Berry Farm is easy to visit and fun to experience with kids of all ages – especially teens. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS
4. Stargaze at Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory is a fun and immersive place to learn about space exploration and astronomy. You will have incredible views of the Los Angeles Skyline and stargazing.
Over one hundred and seventy movies have been filmed at Griffith Observatory, so it’s a fun place to see in real life. Admission is free, and the best time to visit is at sunset.
5. Explore Ethnic Neighborhoods
Los Angeles is the perfect place to celebrate a diverse range of cultures. You can experience the great food, music, and shopping that’s unique to each ethnicity. Plus, you and your teen will gain a better appreciation of diversity and culture.
Chinatown is a great place to see Pagoda-style buildings, eat at a dim sum house, and get some treats at specialty grocery stores.
Teens who love K-pop must go to Koreatown, a bustling neighborhood with bubble tea cafes and fun architecture. This is also an excellent place for night owls since 24/7 restaurants keep things bustling in the wee hours.
Olvera Street is a vibrant Mexican Market with street vendors, museums, special events, and charming landscaping. Consider joining a free walking tour to get the most out of your time in beautiful Olvera Street.
6. Explore Santa Monica
Definitely plan to spend time in Santa Monica during your LA vacation. The Third Street Promenade has fun shopping and dining, plus street performers and movie theaters.
Head to Santa Monica Pier and check out some of the games and rides along the boardwalk. Hop on the Ferris wheel for some epic views of the Pacific Coast Highway, the city, and the surf.
You can also check out Main Street for their array of thrift stores, and Montana Avenue to rub elbows with the elite as you window shop in their luxe boutiques.
Santa Monica is also a great place to swim, surf, paddleboard, or people-watch on the beach.
Note: Santa Monica is just north of the infamous Venice Beach boardwalk. I would not recommend visiting, but if the teenagers insist, go during the day and be mindful of your surroundings.
7. Visit the Aquarium of the Pacific
The Aquarium of the Pacific is sure to be a top highlight from your time in California. This five-acre site is the world’s largest ocean aquarium and is home to 12,000 species. Touch a shark, feed a tropical bird, and learn all about the Pacific Ocean.
The Aquarium of the Pacific is in Long Beach, California, right on Rainbow Harbor.
8. Attend a Concert
Los Angeles is one of the best places for live music, and your teen will love going to a concert during their vacation. Great outdoor theaters include the Greek Theater and The Hollywood Bowl.
The Kia Forum hosts many big-name acts that may be in town during your trip. Or check out one of Los Angeles’ small music venues – popular ones include The Troubadour and El Rey Theatre.
9. Go Shopping
Los Angeles is such a fun place to shop, and it’s a great way to spend a day vacationing with your teen. Whether you are looking for unique finds, mainstream trends, or high-end staples, there’s excellent shopping waiting for you throughout LA.
The Grove is one of our favorite places to shop in Los Angeles. There’s a range of stores, like The Gap, Nike, Nordstrom, Sephora, Lululemon, and Ray-Ban. There is also a relaxed promenade, great restaurants, and a movie theater.
Beverly Hills is the place for high-end shopping. This is where you’ll find Rodeo Drive, one of the most famous fashion districts in the world. Even if you don’t purchase anything from these luxe boutiques, Rodeo Drive is still worth visiting for the fun photo ops and unique atmosphere.
Thrifting in Los Angeles
If your teen loves wearing vintage treasures and upcycling used clothes, they’ll love thrifting in Los Angeles. Check out the shops on Melrose Avenue for some of the best finds. Also, check out “Retro Row” in Long Beach or the Rose Bowl Flea market, which runs once a month and attracts thousands of vendors.
10. Make Your Escape
Escape Rooms always make for great family bonding, and Los Angeles has some of the best anywhere. These fun adventures will guide you through a series of puzzles and clues that you must work together to solve. Will your family figure out how to escape?
11. Race Go Karts
Go-kart racing is a great chance to put the pedal to the medal and have a little friendly competition with your teen. There are many indoor and outdoor tracks throughout Los Angeles.
K1 Racing offers karts that go up to 45 miles per hour, though it’s best if you have older kids who all meet the 58-inch height requirement for full-speed racing.
For families with smaller kids, Boomers Park offers a range of speeds and tracks and a fun passenger option for younger ones.
12. Take a Surfing Lesson
Has your teen ever tried surfing? Los Angeles is the perfect place to try this fun sport or refine your skills. Consider making it a family activity and book a group lesson.
Long Beach and Santa Monica have great options for surf schools, and the instructors will know the best beginner-friendly spots.
13. Head to a sporting event
Watching a game is one of the best bonding experiences for families, and LA has plenty of great teams to cheer on. Head to Crypto.com Arena (formerly Staples Center) to watch the LA Lakers dominate the basketball court. Or, watch the Los Angeles Rams play at SoFi Stadium.
One of the best ways to enjoy LA’s pristine weather is at a Dodgers baseball game. Die-hard baseball fans can also book a tour of Dodgers Stadium. One tour option gives guests the chance to play a little ball right on the field.
14. Visit La Brea Tar Pits
La Brea Tar Pits is a really unique place to check out. Here in urban Los Angeles, natural asphalt has been seeping from the earth for tens of thousands of years. Now, it’s a great place to see fossils and learn all about the Ice Age.
La Brea Tar Pits is an active dig site where you can see excavators carve fossils out of the asphalt. Your admission fee will also grant you access to their museum and special exhibits.
15. Fly High at Santa Monica Trapeze School
Lock in a core memory by joining your teen in a real-life trapeze school. Santa Monica Trapeze School is located right on the pier and offers fun classes that are super beginner-friendly. Try the art of trapeze, aerial hammock, or the lyra hoop.
The school first opened as the Trapeze School New York (TSNY): Los Angeles, and it still boasts world-renowned know-how and an unforgettable experience.
16. Visit the Museums
The Getty Museum
The J. Paul Getty Museum, also called the Getty Center, is one of the best art museums in the world. You’ll see works from European artists like Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Manet, along with great rotating exhibits and incredible architecture.
The views of Los Angeles are also unbelievable from here. Admission to the Getty Center is free.
California Science Center
If you have a science lover in the group, this museum is a fun place to spend a few hours with the whole family.
There are plenty of hands-on exhibits, and the main attraction is the space shuttle, Endeavour. There’s also an IMAX theatre which shows rotating films.
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
The Academy Museum is dedicated to all things film, from studio props to special exhibitions. Favorites include Dorothy’s ruby slippers from “Wizard of Oz”, R2-D2 and C-3PO from “Star Wars”, and even ET.
You can see millions of props and costumes, and even watch a movie in one of their theaters. Check the website before your visit to see what’s on display as they are constantly rotating items.
17. Take a Tour
One of the best ways to see any city is through the eyes of a local guide. Here are a few of our favorite ways to tour the city:
- Segway Tour: Almost any popular neighborhood will have a Segway tour option. These fun excursions move faster than walking tours but still have a fun, relaxed spirit. We like this Segway tour in Beverly Hills.
- Street Art Tour: It’s too easy to miss LA’s great street art. Book a walking tour through downtown’s art district to appreciate the murals and graffiti that make the area so distinct.
- Ghost Tour: Los Angeles has such a unique and infamous history, and there are a lot of spooky stories lurking beneath the surface. A walking ghost tour through Hollywood is a fun experience for older kids and teens.
- College Tour: Is your teen ready to call Los Angeles home? Get a taste of college life by joining a university tour. Local campuses include UCLA, the University of Southern California, Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount, and the California Institute of Technology.
18. Watch a TV Show Taping
Want to truly experience the glitz and glamor of Hollywood? You should attend a TV show taping.
Game shows, talk shows, and live competitions (like The Voice and American Idol) are the most common shows that seek live audiences, but there are still some sitcom tapings in town too.
19. Visit LACMA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is the largest art museum in the western United States. It’s got a great collection of modern and historical pieces representing a range of cultures and viewpoints.
Visiting here is a lot of fun because there are so many mediums – it makes for a really immersive experience. Plus, there are regular programs and workshops for teens who like to get hands-on.
20. Take a day trip
If you are looking for day trips from Los Angeles with your teens you will find several exciting options, each offering unique experiences.
Known for its wildlife, and activities like zip-lining, hiking, and snorkeling, Catalina Island is a paradise for adventurous teens.
For those looking for a slower pace, teens can spend time on the beach, paddle board, or play miniature golf. The best way to get to Catalina Island is the Catalina Express which will reach the island in an hour.
This coastal city is famous for its beautiful beaches, surfing spots, and the vibrant State Street for shopping and entertainment. It also has a fabulous culinary scene.
Joshua Tree National Park
For a destination that is truly representative of America’s Southwest, head to Joshua Tree National Park. This is the perfect destination for nature-loving teens, with its iconic Joshua trees, rock formations, and opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, and stargazing.
This is a longer day trip from LA. It’s about 130 miles east and takes 2 to 3 hours to reach. Note: I would not recommend a visit during the summer months as daily temperatures hover around 100°F. Always bring plenty of water when hiking.
Known for its Danish-style architecture and wineries, Solvang is charming and unique. Teens might enjoy browsing through the local shops, visiting the Danish bakeries, or even a bike tour.
Solvang is approximately a 2-hour drive from LA.
Newport Beach is ideal for beach-loving teens, with activities like surfing, paddleboarding, and a fun scene at the Balboa Pier. Fashion Island shopping center is also popular with all ages. The city is fairly easy to reach, about an hour south of Los Angeles.
Honestly, San Diego deserves its own trip, but if you only have a day, don’t miss La Jolla (shopping and beaches), Oceanside (surfing and shopping), or Balboa Park (museums and the world-famous San Diego Zoo). Depending on traffic, travel time can be 2-3 hours.
Where to Stay in Los Angeles with Teenagers
The Langham, Huntington – located in Pasadena, this beautiful property offers swimming, tennis, and a fitness studio. If you are traveling with teenage daughters who love Instagrammable spots, there are plenty of opportunities here for photos. CLICK HERE TO CHECK RATES
Sunset Marquis, West Hollywood – this property is in the heart of West Hollywood, hidden away in a tree-lined cul-de-sac. The property features 2 outdoor pools, an on-site restaurant, and villas that are perfect for families. CLICK HERE TO CHECK RATES
Shore Hotel – this property in Santa Monica has an excellent location which makes it easy to access shopping, restaurants, and the beach! Their eco-conscious accommodations all have private patios and balconies, perfect for enjoying some sunny California weather! CLICK HERE TO CHECK RATES
The London, West Hollywood – if you are looking for a stay close to Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive shopping, this is a great choice. This boutique property has a rooftop pool with cabanas, a fitness center, on-site dining options, and complimentary breakfast. CLICK HERE TO CHECK RATES
Exploring Los Angeles With Teenagers
If you’re visiting Los Angeles with a teen, you may be tempted to make a jam-packed itinerary full of fun excursions. While it’s always good to pre-plan, also make sure you leave time for unexpected adventures and relaxed downtime. After all, your teen may have great ideas for their vacation that you’ve never even thought of!