Los Angeles is a sprawling city full of low strip malls, palmed avenues, film studios and over-crowded attractions, BUT that SoCal living is still so sweet. The city's full of beautiful parks, kid-friendly hikes, beaches (oh so many beaches!) and hip vegan restaurants with high chairs. A great destination to profile in our city series for the adventuring family.
Here is a custom 48-hour itinerary for young families visiting L.A.
Old-School: remember the Beverly Hills you grew up on? Brenda and Brandon's BevHills? Well, checking into the Beverly Hills Hotel is like watching an old episode of 90210. Posh, sophisticated and entertaining! They take wonderful care of their littlest guests with adorable VIP cards (access to complimentary beverages and treats on property), teddy bears and mini in-room amenities. The 24-hour concierge is on-call for any child-centric requests, be it bottle warming or babysitting.
New-School: A stay at Mr. C is a chic holiday in and of itself. The warm but masculine Italian interiors do their best to transport you to another era. The refreshing bellini served on arrival certainly helps take the edge off a full day of travel. And the best part? The hotel has recently launched Little C, a tailored welcome to families traveling with tots. Freshly baked cookies and a glass of milk sent to the room on arrival, Honest Company bath products, complimentary cribs and an adorable euro-inspired children's menu all set the tone for a luxurious and pampered getaway for the whole clan.
Home-away-from-home: Book a luxury home or apartment rental via Kid & Coe, the clever booking engine for smart family travel. All properties are displayed on their website with photos and detailed information about child-friendly amenities like cribs, highchairs, potties and proximity to parks.
Because a visit to SoCal wouldn't be complete without a trip to the beach, spend your first day along the coast.
Break-your-fast: In Venice Beach at Superba Food + Bread -- beautiful, local and inspired cuisine, plus high chairs and change tables for the minis. You won't want to miss the pastry that is part croissant and part cinnamon roll. You're welcome.
Play date | Morning activity: Plan a walk along the paved oceanfront boardwalk, starting at the epic pirate-inspired playground on Venice Beach and meandering along to Santa Monica. Make stops at the skateboard park (our kids could have watched these skater boys for hours) as well as the multiple playgrounds along the way.
Lunching:Malibu Farm -- an old vacant pier has been transformed into a fetching farm-to-table dining experience. Head straight to the end of the boardwalk for the more casual counter service. For sit-down-style dining, be sure to book a table at their restaurant by the entrance to the pier.
Play date | Afternoon activity: Spend a couple hours at the beach. Family friendly Paradise Cove is full of kids and has a restaurant offering basic sustenance (don't waste a meal here, but cold beverages served beachside are always a plus). We also love Point Dume -- especially if you visit between December and April when you can whale watch from shore.
Snack time | coffee break:Joan's on Third has just opened a Santa Monica outpost. Great coffee and oh, you must try their coconut cupcakes for a treat.
Early dinner with your tots:Gjusta is Gjelina's bakery outpost however, they excel in more than just pies and pastries (though these are divine). The salads, rotisserie, sandwiches and fish are all on point! It closes early by L.A. standards, but this jives well with the littles' bedtime.
Get a sitter | Night out for mom & dad: If you fancy a fancy cocktail amidst hushed conversations, tinkling crystal bar ware and a piano man, the Tower Barat the Sunset Tower Hotel should do the trick. Make a dinner reservation at nearby Crossroads Kitchen for tasty, high-end vegan cuisine.
Break-your-fast: at the Fountain Coffee Room for a quintessential Beverly Hills experience. Diner-style grub like flapjacks (in the shape of Mickey Mouse for the tots), eggs your way and bottomless coffee. We were sitting across from George Hamilton on a recent visit -- it doesn't get more Old Hollywood than that!
Play date | Morning activity: Strap on your baby carrier, oil up the stroller -- whatever mode of transport suits you best -- and head to Runyon Canyon to work off that breakfast. The fresh air and killer views will do the whole family good.
Lunch: at the fabulous Hotel Bel-Air with chef Wolfgang Puck is always a highlight. Families are welcome -- request a private booth so when the littles get restless, you won't disturb the Hollywood royalty in residence. And be sure to stroll the grounds and visit the swans before you go.
Play date | Afternoon activity: Love the LACMA? Be sure to add a visit to The Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM). We were suitably impressed with the Pritzker Prize-winning building designed by architect Renzo Piano in addition to the works on display.
OR visit the Arts District, Downtown L.A. for cool coffee cafes, well-curated shops, delicious juice bars and healthy eats. It's not a huge footprint which makes it easy to stroll with or without a stroller.
Snack time | coffee break: Coffee Commissary makes a great cup of Joe after a museum visit and don't miss Blacktop to fuel your Arts District exploration. While wandering, don't miss their neighbours, Poketo for gifts, and for cool but casual men's gear at Apolis Common (all ethically made and sourced goods).
Early dinner with the tots:Gracias Madre for tasty vegan Mexican cuisine. It's big and loud so you won't feel like you're children are being disruptive if they get rowdy. Be sure to sample a cocktail (or two) and order the tostadas de ceviche!
If you just can't muster the energy to leave your hotel or home rental and crave a night in with no cooking (don't blame you), we love the L.A.-based app Postmates, which allows you to instantly order food from any restaurant within a specific radius delivered to your door in under an hour. The Uber-like premise means you can dine (as we did) on Cafe Gratitude cuisine without having to sit in traffic, secure a sitter, or risk restaurant meltdowns.
*All photos taken by Amanda Blakley; Kid & Coe home photographs provided by Kid & Coe. The authour received press rates at the hotels featured in this blog.
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