Free and (Relatively) Cheap Kid-Friendly Things to Do in L.A.

That was probably my longest title ever on here.

So, last week, I mentioned a small list of free and cheap things to do with your kid this summer. This week, I’m going to tailor it to be more L.A.-inclusive. While a lot of these items mentioned are only in L.A., check your local surroundings to see if there are equivalents in your area.

Ready? Let’s go!

First things first, let’s start with the FREE list:

Grand Park.

Talk about your local watering hole, this is it. Located in Downtown L.A. (DTLA), Grand Park has a watering hole for the kids to play in and also a small playground on the other side. And because this is so L.A., Grand Park also has a Starbucks located inside the park.


Local Parks.

There are a ton of local parks in the area. My personal favorites are Sycamore Grove Park, Brookside Park, Garfield Park, and Central Park for their amazing playgrounds. Some parks you will have to pay for parking so bring some quarters or cards with you.

The California African-American Museum.

You don’t even have to be black to attend this. I know, crazy, right? Come get your culture on and learn about black history in a month that’s not February. They do ask for a small donation but it’s optional. More information is located here.

The California Science Center

Located in the same complex as the CAAM, this is also free (donations are optional). They have a ton of exhibitions and are super dope to experience. Plus, it’s a fun way to have your child learn about science. More information is located here.

Summer Reading Programs.

Every local library offers one and there are some pretty cool prizes at the end of it. It’s also good for the child to read and be prepared for the upcoming school year. Win-win for everyone.

Travel Town.

This is a small museum dedicated to everything trains. If you have a child who loves train (or better yet, you just want to get out of the house for an hour), go here. They have picinic areas to bring snacks. Plus, admission is FREE. If you want to ride on the train, it’ll cost you less than $5 per ride and that’s for two people. More information is located here.


Now we saw the free, let’s go with the CHEAP:


While this might be considered as a ‘Well, duh’ for many, the actuality of it is that it’s cheap to go considering you might have to pay for parking. However, if you want to eat nearby, that will cost you some fundage.


Farmer’s Markets.

L.A. offers a plethora of farmer’s markets and some are pretty dope. Check out the Farmer’s Market in South Pasadena every Thursday evening or the Original Farmer’s Market in my old stomping grounds, Highland Park.

Rose Bowl Flea Market

This is the premier flea market in seemingly all of Southern California. Over 2,000 vendors from all over attend this and they offer a variety of items like food, toys, and knick knacks. Tickets are $9. More information located here.

Kidspace Children’s Museum.

This is a cool indoor/outdoor museum located in the heart of Pasadena. You can bring your own lunch and snacks. Admission is relatively cheap and if you have a AAA card, it’s discounted by a couple of bucks. Your child can get their science on with a ton of fun activities. More information is located here.


The L.A. Zoo.

I was actually surprised to see how cheap it was going to the zoo and had I known, I probably would’ve gone to it more often. It’s pretty big and you can easily spend the entire day here. I even got to feed a giraffe for my birthday! More information is located here.


Indoor playgrounds.

We’re a big fan of indoor playgrounds because sometimes Mommy needs to rest and work while Bear has at it. I’ll break the list down my favorites:

Giggles N’ Hugs.

This is located inside the Glendale Galleria. Kids are free, but adults pay $15 admission. Now, I have to say, although I have never experienced this, it’s rumored you’re expected to buy something to eat or drink while you’re there. I’ve always had something to eat and drink, so I never had that issue. And their menu is pretty bomb-ass. More information is located here.

The Awesome Playground.

We’ve been coming here for years and it’s one of our favorites. During the summertime, they have a water slide for kids on certain Fridays. They also have a really good deal where you can purchase a bundle of visits for a small price. More information is located here.

Underwood Family Farms.

Located in Moorpark, this farm is a drive from anywhere in L.A. However, with admission being relatively inexpensive ($5 during the weekday, $8 during the weekend for all), it’s super fun to enjoy. Plus, you have the option to pick your own fruit and veggies (you pay what you pick). If you’re able to do that, they have a small farmer’s market set up where you can just pick up a few items. More information is located here.






Family-Friendly Review: Giggles N’ Hugs


Sometimes, you just want to kick back and enjoy yourself while your kid goes HAM.

I live near the Glendale Galleria and Bear and I had always passed this place called Giggles N’ Hugs several times. He always wanted to go inside but it was always after we ate somewhere else.

Finally, Bear convinced me to go to Giggles N’ Hugs when we were about to eat at our usual spot. I’m always up for a challenge so I figured, ‘Hey, why not?’

Now, let’s keep it one hundred – Giggles N’ Hugs is what I like to call Chuck E. Cheese for hipster kids and the parents who love them. While you don’t have the freedom of tickets and hugging a giant mouse as he does his best Bruno Mars impersonation, you do have something like a giant mosh pit full of balls:

The kids’ entertainer for the night; He was really good and had a lot of energy. Kudos to him!

There is a bit of a calm chaos within Giggles N’ Hugs. You can actually sit down and eat, while your kid plays and makes new friends. It’s an open play area so you can watch your child from where you are at any given time. That’s a huge bonus because if you’ve ever been in a Chuck E. Cheese, your eyes are everywhere:


One thing I will say I loved about Giggles N’ Hugs was the fact they had a very impressive menu – one could order beer, wine, soda as well as some really yummy food like a cheeseburger, pizza, and even some vegetarian options (sorry, vegans; I did not see any vegan options here).

What I do love about Giggles N’ Hugs is that they have a play on tricky delicious food where they hide veggies in it. I haven’t tried those yet, but I heard there were pretty good.

And our food came out great! (And it tasted great, too!):

Bear spent most of his night playing with the other kids and I caught up on my reading. He was supervised by two workers inside the play area as well as I watched him from a small distance.

We spent a total of three hours in there but it went by pretty fast. I was never bored and clearly, Bear wasn’t. Now that we know the players and how the game is played, how did Giggles N’ Hugs score?


  • Open play area. You can see your child at any given time.
  • Staff providing supervision in the play area.
  • They serve food and beverages (including alcohol at a premium).
  • If you’re a LA local, it’s located in the Glendale Galleria. The other location is in Topanga.
  • They have a strict anti-bullshit rule that I love: if you and another party get into a tiff – EVERYONE INVOLVED GETS KICKED OUT. This enforces a safe environment and for everyone to be on their best behavior.


  • It’s pricey. Adults are free admission, but children cost $14 per child. The prices have gone up from the past when it was only $11 so I expect they’ll go up again in the future. This is something to consider if you’re on a budget.
  • The food is good but yes, it’s also pricey. Our order came out to $30.
  • There are only two locations, though Giggles N’ Hugs is talking about expanding.
  • While I didn’t mind being there for a long while, some parents might have an issue being there for hours as their kids burn energy.

Overall, I do recommend it. It was fun for Bear and I had a good time to just relax for a little while.