Vacation to Los AngelesA Family’s LA Story
LA is not only the playground of the rich and famous, but it’s also a family’s playground. The sun-warmed city has it all: beaches, greenery, amusement parks, museums, and five-star family dining, for the most discerning young palates.
There’s tough competition among the hotels, where location will drive your choice. For Laguna chic, check into the Montage Laguna Beach, where even the smallest guests have their own club. At the Four Seasons, your wish is their command, from the diaper genie to the alphabet sponges that spell out your child’s name. It’s quite the charmed existence. If surf’s up, head to Shutters on the Beach, a Leading Hotel of the World that’s on the boardwalk and within strolling distance of the Third Street Promenade. Here the kiddies get their own special title: V.I.C. (Very Important Children).
In true Hollywood fashion, LA has more than enough to keep you and the family entertained. For upscale culture, browse the Getty Museum, where your budding Picassos can find inspiration. If your kids see themselves as future Mario (or Maria) Andrettis, the Petersen Automotive Museum will inspire oohs and aahs. Join the celeb set at the Treehouse Social Club which, as the name implies, has its own treehouse, in addition to music, dance, and Spanish lessons.
Kids can play archaeologist and dig in a sand pit for treasures at the Skirball Museum. For good old American fun, go shop-hopping at The Grove, which is not your average mall. And if all else fails, there is of course Disneyland, which many consider a right of childhood passage.
All this activity works up an appetite, and LA delivers with a wide range of family-friendly restaurants. On the casual side, take a breather at Milk, a gourmet ice cream parlor. You’ll want to eat dessert instead of dinner, especially when you see the ice cream sandwiches made with macarons. Luckily, the food, including a gooey mac and cheese, is just as delicious. For a foodie family picnic, stock up at Joans’s on Third, a self-service gourmet market, with out-of-this-world prepared foods and a dessert counter.
When you’re traveling with kids, it’s hard to go a weekend without pizza. Pitfire fits the bill, serving old-fashioned pizza with a gourmet spin. If you have picky eaters in your brood, hit up The Counter, a burger restaurant where you can choose your own bread, meat (beef, turkey, chicken, or veggie), cheese, and topping. With its parmesan fries, fried dill pickles, and huge plate-sized warm chocolate chip cookies served à la mode, this will be one of Mom and Dad’s favorites too.
Speaking of Mom and Dad, they don’t have to compromise on fine dining here either, because many LA restaurants welcome their youngest food critics for early dinner. Tavern in Brentwood gives new meaning to a tasting menu for children, where you’ll be tempted to eat off their plates instead of your own. The Capital Grill Steakhouse in Beverly Hills reminds you that this isHollywood by bringing each child their own DVD player with a choice of movies, and whipping up special drinks (virgin of course) that arrive in the kids’ own martini shakers. Bouchon, a fairly new and high-end restaurant in Beverly Hills, encourages kids to go Jackson Pollack on their paper-covered tablecloths with crayons of every color of the rainbow.
As any up-and-coming mogul, your kids will want to dress the part. Play clothes are given a stylish makeover at Fred Segal’s Lifesize Kids, with locations in Santa Monica and on Melrose in West Hollywood, and at Kitson Kids. The sleek mall The Grove features Janie and Jack, Pottery Barn Kids, Zara Kids, the Gap flagship store, and a great selection of kids’ clothes and shoes – with free balloons – at Nordstrom.
From celebs to the sun and sand, LA is a trip your kids will always remember, and where they’ll always want to return.