Nothing quite compares to listening and experiencing a live musical performance. Luckily for Los Angeles parents, there are so many family-friendly entertainment venues to choose from. (This list doesn’t include the larger and more costly sites such as The Greek Theatre, The Staples Center, The Wiltern, The Hollywood Bowl, and The Forum).
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Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum
1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290
You’ll find a variety of family-friendly programming at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum. This 299-seat amphitheater, in a special outdoor setting, is home to special performances throughout the year, both musical and theatrical. Kids Koncerts which includes ”songs, laughter, and ‘get-up-and-dance’ fun” will begin in July.
Wake Up with the Waves
Santa Monica Pier
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401
The Santa Monica Pier invites families to its Wake Up with the Waves series (now through May 20th). These free Saturday morning concerts (from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm) are designed for families with children ages 2-12. Kids will enjoy interactive play, singing, and dancing.
Kids Rhythm Club
Remo Recreational Music Center
7308 Coldwater Canyon, North Hollywood, CA 91605
A Recreational Music Center is comparable to a YMCA “but instead of sporting equipment, basketball and tennis courts, the room is filled with fun percussion toys, drums, bells, tambourines, shakers, piano, singers, dancers, and more.” It is a place where anyone, of any age, is welcome to come and make music, focusing on fun without being intimidated. They offer classes, concerts, and workshops including a “Kids Rhythm Club” on Saturdays. Check the website for more details.
Fowler Museum at UCLA
308 Charles E. Young Dr. N., Los Angeles, CA 90024
The Fowler Musem at UCLA often offers“Family Jam” activities, “Kids in the Courtyard” activities, and concerts and performances. Many of these special performances feature live musical and/or dance performances and are related to a current Museum exhibition. Many often include a hands-on activity for children and/or the opportunity to participate. Admission is free. Check the website for details.
6400 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028
Amoeba Music is a special place. It’s an actual record store, a place that many of our children have never been to (or knew existed). In addition, they sell physical music — CDs, cassette tapes, vinyl (or as many kids describe it — “big CDs”). Additionally, Amoeba hosts signing events, DJ sets, and live performances. All are free. Check the website for a list of upcoming shows.
The Broad Stage
Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center
1310 11th St., Santa Monica, CA 90401
The Broad Stage is a popular performance venue in Santa Monica. However, because of its size (about 500 seats), it naturally feels much more intimate than one of the larger venues around town. They offer Family Programming throughout the year including musical performances, dance, and family workshops. Check the website for a list of upcoming shows and ticket information.
Big World Fun
2580 Cahuenga Blvd. E., Hollywood, CA 90068
On Saturday mornings during July and August, the Ford Theatre hosts Big World Fun performances. These special events serve to introduce children to a variety of music and dance styles. Before the show, children are entertained and educated with craft activities as well as opportunities to learn about different wild animals. Performances are designed for children ages 4-12. Admission is $5 for adults, with children attending for free. Check the website for more information.
Jazz at LACMA Series, Latin Sounds, and Sundays Live
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
A great way to introduce children to different musical genres is by attending a free concert at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Their “Jazz at LACMA Series” just began on May 5th. Each concert is held on Friday evenings and begins at 6:00 pm. LACMA’S “Latin Sounds” is held each Saturday afternoon at 5:00 pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The “Sundays Live” series is a weekly chamber music series held each Sunday at 6:00 pm.
Toyota Symphonies for Youth
Walt Disney Concert Hall
111 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012
A concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall is a memorable family event. The Toyota Symphonies for Youth series are family-friendly concerts that “make symphonic music come alive for children.” Prior to each concert, children (ages 5 to 11) may enjoy a choice of workshops (art-making, music, dance, theater). All workshop activities are included in ticket fees.
Kids Club at The Grove
189 The Grove Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90036 and
Kids Club at The Americana at Brand
889 Americana Way, Glendale, CA 91210
For an informal (and free) way to expose young children to different music, both The Grove and The Americana at Brand offer a weekly Kids Club (from January through October). Each weekly session is two-hours in length and features music and dance as well as many interactive opportunities.
McGabe’s Guitar Shop
3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405
McGabe’s Guitar Shop has been in business since 1958 and is much more than a guitar shop. This popular shop also hosts concerts on a regular basis. While most concerts are at night, some are “Matinee Kids’ Shows” which play at 10:30 am. Check the website for a list of upcoming shows and ticket information.
The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Dr., Los Angeles, CA
The beautiful Getty Center hosts a variety of special events including family-friendly concerts. One popular concert series is “Off the 405,” which runs each summer. Another popular series is “Garden Concerts for Kids,” free family-friendly shows featuring children’s musical artists.
Your Own Neighborhood
Musical performances don’t need to be costly and don’t need to be big to be good. Take a look around your own neighborhood for musical possibilities. Your local coffee house may host a live music night. Your public library, book store, and neighborhood park also may host musical concerts. In addition, many of these sites increase their performance schedules during the summer months.