Southern California

March
19

We booked a family vacation to California way back in January. We had been snowed in our neighborhood for a couple weeks and decided it was time to crack open the laptop and plan a much needed sunny getaway. While I personally wanted to get up and go that minute (chains on car and all) we planned it for March to make sure that the weather would be ideal. Going from a 50 degree rainy morning to a 90 degree sunny afternoon after a mere 2 hours in the air was pretty incredible for the kids. I think they forgot what sunshine was like! We all wore Winter Jackets to the airport with Summer clothes on underneath then promptly crumpled them into our luggage upon arrival. Kind of hilarious really! Here are a few highlights and some family friendly destination recommendations.

We stayed at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and I could not recommend it more. It was Paradise really. If you are there with kids I would suggest swimming a ton, eating a ton, checking out the Cabazon Dinosaurs, doing a little shopping on the downtown strip, driving through the amazing mid-century neighborhoods (Elvis' Honeymoon House is there), and taking a hike through Joshua Tree National Park.

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Man it was nice to be warm again.

Man it was nice to be warm again.

Ryan and the kids walking along the shallow steps of the pool.

Ryan and the kids walking along the shallow steps of the pool.

Th Ace Hotel has amazing food at reasonable prices.

Th Ace Hotel has amazing food at reasonable prices.

I love these pink flowers. There was a really aggressive hummingbird that actually ended up chasing us away though. It must of had eggs nearby. I had never been chased by a hummingbird. It was literally after us!

We drove by Elvis' Honeymoon House. You can take a scheduled tour if you want to.

We drove by Elvis' Honeymoon House. You can take a scheduled tour if you want to.

The architecture in Palm Springs is so amazing.

The architecture in Palm Springs is so amazing.

We also spent 3 nights in Santa Monica. It was nice to be next to the beach and pier with the kids. We could easily walk to the Promenade and do some shopping, grab some dinner or just play at the beach.

When you travel with kids there is a limit to the number of things you can do per day without everyone getting too tired. We planned about 3 activities a day which was perfect. They force you to relax and have a little more downtime which is probably a good thing to have on vacation anyway. 

One of the major highlights of the trip was having tea service at the Huntington Library Tea room and then letting the kids run around the gardens. The Gardens there are huge and breathtaking. We met up with some East Coast cousins who just moved to the LA area. It was a great day.

First time meeting but these cousins were instant friends.

First time meeting but these cousins were instant friends.

We never leave LA without paying a visit to Canters Deli. It's just a classic place that makes you feel like you are walking into the 1950's. It's a great place for late night people watching (celebs tend to visit too).

The last leg of the trip included a day at Venice Beach. 

Here was my running list of family friendly things I wanted to do on this vacation. We only made it through a portion of this list though. Hopefully you can get through more! It's also important to note that this was the first trip to LA that we did not spot a celebrity! In the past we have seen a random mix. The mom from Everybody Loves Raymond shopping at the Grove, Nicholas Cage at LAX, The lead singer of Counting Crows on Sunset, and David Arquette at a Jenny Lewis concert.. haha. It's never who you'd really expect. What are your favorite things to do in LA? Have you ever seen a random celebrity?

The Grove

Getty Center

Griffith Observatory

Santa Monica Pier

Sunset Blvd

Olvera Streeet

Los Angeles Zoo

Runyun Canyon

Robertson BLVD

Melrose Ave

Venice Beach

Silver Lake

Huntington Gardens: Afternoon Tea/Kid friendly 

Canters

Lawry's

Grand Central Market

Pacific Hwy Roadside Seafood

Mulholland Drive

Stroll Malibu Pier and Eat Here

Pasadena Flea Market