One of the best places to take kids in Los Angeles is The Farmer’s Market. It is centrally located and really fun, with several food stalls and lots of small souvenir shops.
I think I have bought a beaded name bracelet (they make it while you wait) for every child I have taken there because that’s what I always wanted when I was a kid.
There is also a nice mall called The Grove right next door to The Farmers Market at 189 The Grove Drive. You can get information by calling before you go, which is important because there are always special events. I remember that every Thursday afternoon in summer and fall there were puppet shows, magic shows and other live performances.
In general, The Grove is open from 10am – 19pm weekdays, till 10pm weekends if you’re going to take the teens, and even from 11am – 7pm on Sunday. It’s a modern shopping area, with many shops along an outdoor promenade. Because there is no traffic, it is very safe to let children walk ahead and look in the windows. There are a lot of kids’ clothing and toy stores, too.
One of the most unusual things is the large outdoor playground. I like to go with my granddaughter now because we can be entertained, play safely and not have to spend any money.
If you are a young girl or young at heart, you might be interested in Mattel’s American Girl Place, with the chain’s dolls – historical, contemporary and dolls geared to little ones. Your girls can admire authentic historic doll costumes, accessories and furniture, or bring their dolls to the Doll Hospital for repair or to the Doll Hair Salon for a change of hairdo. The cafe is cute too.
Sometimes after lunch there, we go to one of the branches of Cold Stone Creamery, an ice cream store where they mix in all the fixings you want. It’s fun to watch how the counter boys and girls mash the ice cream on a marble slab, then fold in M&Ms or Oreos or whatever, but I get embarassed when they start to sing — which they always do if you give them a tip.
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