Hancock Park (named for the Hancock Family) is one of those centrally-located neighborhoods that is conveniently located to so many other neighborhoods. But before you go exploring the surrounding areas, families should really park the car and get out for a walking tour of this charming neighborhood. Take a look at the different architectural styes of the homes. If your kids are young, go for a “shape walk” — look for triangles, rectangles, circles, octagons (stop-signs count), and more. Over the years, many celebrities, including Nat King Cole and Melanie Griffith (just to name a couple), have called the neighborhood home.
And when you’re done marveling at the charming homes, here are some ideas of what to explore in the surrounding areas.
Just east of Hancock Park is Larchmont Village. While you’re here, visit:
Larchmont Village Shops
Larchmont Boulevard (between Beverly Blvd. and First Street), Los Angeles, CA
Spend some time strolling along Larchmont Boulevard, and you can fool yourself into thinking that you’re no longer in a big city, but instead, on a small town’s main street. You will find a variety of shops and restaurants; some are familiar names (such as Peet’s Coffee and Tea), but make sure to spend some time exploring the independent shops as well. Must-sees include Landis General Store and Chevalier’s Books. In addition, Larchmont Village hosts a variety of special seasonal activities including a special Sidewalk Sale (in September) and a Family Fair (in October).
Paramount Pictures Studio Tour
5515 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038
Just a short distance away from Larchmont Village is Paramount Pictures. Paramount Pictures is the “longest operating major studio in Hollywood.” Take the family, go on a tour, and get a behind-the-scenes look at how movies and television shows are made. Tours are at least 2 hours long and require all visitors to be at least 10 years old. More details are available online.
506 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90004
Snooknuk Performing Arts Cafe is a little bit of everything all under one roof. It’s an indoor playground as well as a performing arts studio offering a variety of classes. While kids are having fun playing, parents can enjoy the coffee and pastries sold on the premises. Classes include dance, music, theater, and more. (Check their website for a complete listing of classes and schedules).
If you head further east, you’ll reach Koreatown. In Koreatown, families may want to visit:
Aroma Golf Range
3680 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90010
The Aroma Golf Range brings your golf game to the middle of the city. It is described as the “largest semi-indoor golf range” in Los Angeles due to its size — it’s a four-level, 150-yard golf range. Rental golf clubs are available as well so the kids can try it out and see if golf is something they enjoy and wish to pursue.
3250 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90006
Koreatown Galleria is an indoor shopping center with more than 70 stores. In addition, its Food Court includes many eateries offering authentic Asian dishes. One popular store is the Galleria Market, a very large supermarket offering an assortment of Korean dishes.
Shatto 39 Lanes
3255 W. 4th St., Los Angeles, CA 90020
Take the family bowling at Shatto 39 Lanes. A large venue, complete with vending machines, billiards, and coffee shop. And it’s big — 39 lanes! Many have described it as “bowling on a budget.”
Head west, and you’ll reach Mid-Wilshire. You’ll need more than a day to explore all there is to do in this neighborhood, but here are a few highlights.
Fairfax Branch Library
161 S. Gardner St., Los Angeles, CA 90036
The Fairfax Branch Library is a part of the Los Angeles Public Library system. While the library isn’t large, it does offer a variety of special events for children of all ages. Children will enjoy story times, special events (Dr. Seuss Day is scheduled for Wednesday, March 14th), and teen crafts (“Teen Crafternoon” is held once a month). Additionally, the designated children’s section has a variety of play items for children to engage in imaginative play. (Note- the library is closed on Sundays).
Pan Pacific Park
7600 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
Pan Pacific Park is located adjacent to the Fairfax Library; in fact you don’t have to move the car, they share the same parking lot. This large park offers a variety of facilities including basketball courts, children’s play areas, picnic tables, barbecue pits, seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a baseball diamond, jogging path, and lots of spots for a picnic! Children will also enjoy playing at Renee’s Place — an accessible, inclusive playground that is a part of Shane’s Inspiration Foundation.
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (LAMOTH)
100 The Grove Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90036
The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust is located across the street from The Grove and at the far corner of Pan Pacific Park. While a visit to LAMOTH is obviously best suited for older children,touring this Museum can be a powerful supplement to the lessons they are learning in school. You can tour the Museum while using an iPad and headphones to hear first-hand accounts and explanations of the exhibits which are organized into sections — before the war, during the war, and after the war. Museum admission is free, although donations are greatly appreciated.
And if you feel more like doing some shopping, then you’re in luck. Because on the next block over, you’ll find two popular shopping destinations — The Original Farmers Market and The Grove.
The Original Farmers Market
6333 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90036
A trip to the Farmers Market allows families to simultaneously experience the past and the present. The Farmer’s Market has been owned by the Gilmore Family since the late 1800’s. In 1934, farmers began selling their fresh produce from the corner of 3rd and Fairfax. Since then, the Farmers Market has continued to grow and evolve, although many of the merchants have been a part of the Farmer’s Market for a very long time (including Bennett’s Ice Cream and Magee’s Kitchen). Also, be sure to stop by Kip’s Toyland, which has been family-owned and operated for over 70 years (and doesn’t sell any electronic games!) The Farmer’s Market hosts a variety of special events throughout the year.
189 The Grove Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90036
Adjacent to the Farmers Market is The Grove, a shopping and dining destination. See a movie at the theaters (which host special “Monday Morning Mommy Movies”), read and play in the children’s section of Barnes and Noble, check out American Girl Place, and more. There are many dining options available too. Be sure to take a free ride on the Trolley (which travels between The Grove and the Farmers Market) and watch the Dancing Fountain. (The Fountain “dances” to different songs every hour and was designed by the same company who designed the famous fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas).
And just south of the Farmers Market and Grove, you’ll find Museum Row on Wilshire Boulevard between Fairfax Avenue and La Brea Avenue. It’s too much to do in one day, but with spring break approaching you can make plans for several days of fun family outings.
A few, not-to-be-missed spots on Museum Row include:
La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
5801 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
Wander through the Museum and feel like you’re walking back in time. On display you’ll find thousands of different fossils from 650 different species, including dire wolves, ancient horses, the Columbian mammoth, coyotes, and more. Additionally, at the Fossil Lab, families are given the chance to see paleontologists at work right in front of your eyes! Basic admission prices are $15 for adults, $12 for students ages 13-17, and children 3-12 are $7. However, if you opt to participate in an extra activity (such as viewing “Titans of the Ice Age 3D”) there are additional fees. The first Tuesday of each month (except July and August) are free admission days, and California teachers with valid i.d. are free every day. Outside the Museum building, be sure to wander through the Tar Pits — “the world’s most famous Ice Age excavation site.” You’ll find excavators at work sorting through fossils at Project 23 as well as sculptures and large grassy areas perfect for picnics. Click here to read our Guide to the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
Adjacent to the Tar Pits, you’ll find the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). LACMA is home to more than 120,000 objects from around the globe and dating back to ancient times all the way to the present. You’ll find Asian art, Latin American art, Islamic art, European art, and modern art. Many kids’ programs are offered including NexGen, which provides free youth membership to children 17 and under (admission is also free for one accompanying adult). The Boone Children’s Gallery allows kids and adults to pick up a paint brush and make some art of their own. Story time is also offered on certain days as well. And be sure to visit “Metropolis II,” the ongoing kinetic sculpture that represents the pace and noise of living in a busy city. Kids will love watching the miniature cars zooming around the roadways. Admission is $20 for adults and free for children seventeen and under. There are also on-site dining options available, including the LACMA cafe (a cafeteria-style, family-friendly eatery).
Petersen Automative Museum
6060 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
Families visiting the Petersen Automative Museum will view more than 25 exhibits showcasing more than 300 cars, including famous Hollywood cars, vintage cars, Hot Rods, and Pixar Cars. The Museum’s design includes three floors (the History floor, the Industry floor, and the Artistry floor). Perfect for kids is the Cars-themed Mechanical Institute Discovery Center — a fully interactive experience. Admission is $16 for adults, children 13-17 are $13, children 3-12 are $8, and children under 3 are free.
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