Tinsel Town is filled with glamorous looking babies so we knew we’d chosen a good spot for our first travels with two tots. It was Baby Boy’s first trip ever and the Little Monkey’s first time in California. We had family in Los Angeles and I had been numerous times but it was over eight years since my last visit so I was super excited to head back to the warm climate and get away from the blistering cold we had been experiencing in January. Los Angeles is fantastic in January, not too hot and never too cold (at least not for those from the Polar Vortex).
Los Angeles has every possible thing you may want to experience on a holiday and for us it was a mix of quality family time, theme parks and connecting with friends over good food. This was definitely a trip that focused on experiential fun more than anything else. We did take a quick road trip but more to come on that next week! Today it’s all about Los Angeles and what you can do, where you can sleep and play with a toddler and newborn along for the ride. Los Angeles can be navigated without a car I’ve been told but for our sanity we chose to rent a car and luckily we managed to avoid any major traffic (honestly Toronto’s traffic is WAY worse!). We drove around everywhere and found parking easily and to be fairly cheap. On occasion we did use the many valet options and were quite shocked at how cheap valet parking was in L.A – hey everyone likes to feel like a celebrity I guess! We also decided to rent some baby gear from City Strollers so we didn’t have to lug our gear on the flight.
Where to Stay
Needless to say there’s something for every budget and every need when it comes to accommodations in LA and this time around we explored a couple different spots. My favourite was our stay at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza because they really catered to everyone’s needs. From cribs with mini toiletries for the little ones to an adults only lounge and a killer infinity pool this can easily become home base. There much to rave about this spot and you can read our full review here. The Hyatt Regency Century Plaza was a great spot from which to explore the downtown area and was only twenty minutes away from Universal Studios Hollywood. Oh and mamas… there’s a great strip mall just across the street! However since L.A is so spread out and because we were only there for a few days we decided to change hotels each night so that we could be closer to each of our attractions and avoid any rush hour traffic. We can easily recommend Hotel Menage if you’re looking for an affordable spot by Disneyland. Very kid friendly and whilst they may not have too many thrills and frills, they do have an ice machine, self-serve laundry machines and a 24 hour pool!
Where to Dine :
Oh foodies can roll themselves down Beverly Hills by merely sniffing the aromas from the amazing restaurants spotted at every corner. No matter which neighbourhood you’re staying at you will definitely stumble upon some fantastic joints. For us this trip was a busy one and truth be told we didn’t get to dine out as much as we thought we would but we did discover some spots we’d return to. Okay who am I kidding.. when I visit next there’s going to be a dozen other places I need to hit up! Also keep in mind that if you’re visiting attractions the chances are quite high that you may want to grab a quick dinner or lunch on the go. From Universal Citywalk to Santa Monica Pier and downtown Disneyland, they all have quick dine and dash options though they may not cater to extreme foodie desires!
Rock Sugar : Fresh sushi and fusion asian dishes in a kid friendly yet fancy setting can be found here. I loved their unique creme brulee flavours and definitely feel like most of the dishes on offer are hits more than misses! You can read a full review here.
Blue Plate Taco : If you love a good sunset along side some fine Mexican cuisine and stellar cocktails then you want to dine here! Of course time your visit to catch that sunset overlooking the Santa Monica Pier and you won’t have any regrets! You can read a full review here.
In & Out Burger : Sadly I didn’t get here on this trip but I will attest to you having to stop in here during your L.A travels. No one leaves unsatisfied after an animal style burger is had. NO ONE. EVER.
Tar And Roses : If you’re looking for an upscale evening in Santa Monica (we actually went here without kids but would have felt just as comfortable with kids in tow) Tar & Roses may be the perfect spot. Tapas style fusion cuisine where each of their dishes passes through a wood-burning oven is on offer. It was oak the day we visited and we enjoyed quite a few dishes that really impressed the foodie in me. You can read a full review here.
Milo and Olive : Great sandwiches and their buttery breakfast croissants are ah-mazing! Freshly squeezed juices too. Loved our takeout breakfast from here. Wish we had the chance to dine in!
Where to Play
Kids of all ages will find something to do in Los Angeles and for this trip we wanted a mix of some adult and kid fun at the same spots. From museums to beaches there’s ways to enjoy the winter months in L.A with tots in tow.
Santa Monica Pier : An ideal place for strolling with babies or swinging with toddlers. You can enjoy a leisurely walk or splish splash on the beach (the water was too chilly during January!). There’s quite a few good foodie joints on the pier but sadly we didn’t get a chance to explore much past muscle beach.
Universal Studios Hollywood : One of my happiest places on earth! I love Universal Studios despite not being a huge movie buff. So much to enjoy in this place and whilst it does cater for older kids we managed to enjoy it with a toddler and newborn thanks to the child swap areas. You can read a full review with tips and tricks here.
Starline Tours : We find it helpful to take a tour of every new city we visit and usually do this on the first day so that we get a good lay of the land. Los Angeles has many boroughs filled with history, culture and many an infamous story and Starline has quite a few tours that may appeal to you. For us it was the hop on hop off tour of the downtown core that was most alluring. Perhaps you may enjoy a drive through the famous homes? Read our full review here!
Disneyland : Definitely a spot for the tiny tots! During my college years I’ve visited and enjoyed the rides but this time experiencing it as a toddler would was also quite fabulous! For a full review on how to navigate the park and what to expect during the winter months check out our full review. Mickey and the entire gang are waiting for you… so hop to it!
Hollywood Walk of Fame : Kids will love skipping along and jumping on the stars. Plenty of free entertainment can be found along the 15 blocks spanning Hollywood Boulevard. We saw a lot of characters ever so ready for a photo in exchange for a few dollars! Best of all you can easily duck into some popular spots such as the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Dolby Theatre. Don’t forget to grab some chocolate from the Ghirardelli store.
As with any visit to a fabulous city we were left wanting to do more. Discover LA has a great list of all the possible options and the Venice Canals, dining in Beverly Hills and exploring Malibu are on the bucket list for the next visit! Discovering a city through the eyes of locals and tourists is always fun and as always I was combing through the #Discover and #IgersLA threads on Instagram prior to our travels. >