Paintings at the Permanent Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Budget-Friendly Kids’ Activities – Los Angeles Edition

Art Museums That Are Fun Kids Activities In Los AngelesHaving kids can get pricey; and in addition to the basic expenses, we want to give them enriched, memorable, and well-rounded experiences. It’s not always possible to have season tickets to the theater or memberships to all the local museums.  The good news is, if you’re searching for budget-friendly kids’ activities, Los Angeles is full of opportunities for fun.  Here are a few ways to give your children all the activities, events, and memories you’ve dreamed of — without breaking the bank.

Museums, Art, Science, and Culture

Museums around the nation are starting to realize that a visit isn’t always in a family’s budget.  In a smart move to entice more patrons, many now offer a free day once a month (or more).  Put a list on your fridge and make your way through the museums of LA – there are opportunities to absorb art, history, and more! Here are some to check out:

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art – LACMA offers several ways to enjoy free admission.  Those under 17 are always free.  For LA County residents, admission is free Monday-Friday after 3 p.m.  There is also a free day on the second Tuesday of each month.

  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles – MOCA offers free admission on Thursday evenings from 5-8 p.m.  If you want to introduce your children to design and architecture, or your child can’t put the blocks down, the Pacific Design Center is always free admission.

  • Craft and Folk Art Museum – Full of diverse exhibits that inspire innovation and creativity, CAFAM has a free day the first Wednesday of each month.

  • Griffith Observatory – Possibly one of the coolest things to do if you or someone in your family is interested in what’s going on in the night sky is to head to the Griffith Observatory.  Here you can enjoy events, lectures, star talks, sunset walks, or a planetarium show. The best part is that it’s free, except for a small fee for planetarium shows.

  • California Science Center – Explore, experiment, and encourage the scientist within at the California Science Center!  Admission to permanent exhibits is always free, and most of the additional attractions are easy on the budget.

  • Natural History Museum of Los Angeles – Here you can learn about culture, sociology, nature, and more.  You can also take advantage of a free day the first Tuesday of each month (except for July and August).

  • Other great spots to check out:  Kidspace Museum in Pasadena, Pacific Asia Museum, Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, and the Santa Monica Museum of Art.


Nothing engages and enthralls quite like live theater.  Watching actors live on stage is a whole new way to take in literature, music, poetry, and plays.  Not all theater is affordable these days, but there are still some great ways to see a show.

  • Shakespeare in the Park – The Independent Shakespeare Company at Griffith Park strives to bring the classics to all for free.  It’s a great way to get kids outdoors and watching something that has been around for a very long time.  Check out the website for upcoming performances.

  • Smaller production companies – Try children’s theater companies, who often offer budget ticket prices or half-price tickets for plays, which can be a great kids’ activity. Los Angeles is an acting town, so it’s usually pretty easy to find live performances on any given day or night.  Some places to note: 24th Street Theatre, The Little Theater LA, and Theatre West.

  • High school productions – Another great way to watch budding stars is to check out local high schools for plays or musicals.  Tickets are usually affordable, and the productions tend to be full of fun.  Hint: Los Angeles is home to high schools known for their high caliber of talent, such as Los Angeles County High School for the Arts.


Classical, bluegrass, rock, pop, jazz, and country – there’s so much to explore! And the more types of music a child is exposed to, the better. There are many ways to expose your children to music on a budget, such as free concerts in the park, organ recitals, and even the impromptu street musician concert.  Here are some notable ways to get your music fix:

There are so many ways to listen and see music in a city like Los Angeles.  Keep your eye on family-oriented websites like Red Tricycle for even more ideas.

Festivals and Fairs

There is a fair or festival for practically everything in Los Angeles — Easter, puppets, avocados, imaginology, and the list goes on and on. Some notable fairs and festivals:

Public libraries, The Grove, farmers markets, and parks also host a slew of kids’ activities and events. There is certainly no shortage of budget-friendly, fun-filled, family-oriented adventures in Los Angeles — instead, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to do it all!  Next time the kids are feeling bored, or you’re going stir-crazy at home, pack up the car and start checking off the items on your family’s new “things to do in and around LA” list.


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Photo by Dominic Simpson

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