If you don’t have your family calendar in front of you right now, go get it. I’ll wait … Great! Now if the next couple of months look anything like ours, you’ll see some weekend sports activities, a bit of after-school fun and maybe a birthday party celebration or two sprinkled in.
Where exactly are you supposed to squeeze in all that fun fall stuff you’ve been hearing about? Oktoberfests. Food fests. Pumpkin patches. Fall festivals. Halloween haunted houses, hayrides and more.
I can’t be the only one who feels like it’s all just a bit too much.
As a mom – and as your family guide to the outdoors in Los Angeles – I consider it my job to sort through all that’s out there, choose a few of the best outdoor activities for families and share them with you. So here are our top fall play trip ideas for Los Angeles families.
No, this isn’t a comprehensive list of every possible activity happening in L.A. this fall. Who needs that? What you need is permission to choose just those activities that fit your family’s interests and schedule.
Pick one or two or choose them all. Whatever you do, don’t put something on your calendar just because all of your kids’ friends are doing it. Choose things that give you that special fall feeling – the warm and fuzzy one you long for this time every year. Then put them on your calendar and go have fun!
CicLAvia: Heart of LA
If you like bike riding with the kids, CicLAvia is a must-do. Six miles of streets are closed to traffic but open to explore by bike, foot, skateboard, wheelchair and other non-motorized traffic. The October, Heart of LA route will take you through Boyle Heights, the Arts District, Little Tokyo, Civic Center, Chinatown, Historic Core and as far west as Macarthur Park.
When: Oct. 18 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Underwood Family Farms Fall Festival
Yes, it’s crowded. And yes, it’s usually really, really hot. But it’s always a big hit with the kids – especially the corn maze. So pack your patience and don’t try to see it all. (And read our tips for navigating your way around the festival before you go!)
When: The Underwood Family Farms Fall Festival runs Oct. 3 through Oct. 31, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns
“The Rise,” as it is affectionately known, is a nighttime display of 5,000 professionally carved pumpkins lit up and artfully arranged along a 1/4-mile walking path. We’ve never seen anything like it! (Here’s our review of last year’s Rise.) This year, there are two locations in Los Angeles to choose from: Descanso Gardens and Santa Anita Park. Advanced tickets required.
When: The Rise runs through Nov. 1
Spider Pavilion at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
OK, before you go getting yourself all creeped out, read about our Spider Pavilion experience. This really is a one-of-a-kind, totally safe nature experience. And perfect if you’re looking for something a little “spooky” but safe.
When: The Spider Pavilion is open through Nov. 8 (weather permitting), from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fall Mountain Getaway
When the excitement of Halloween has passed, we look forward to cooler, crisp weather. If we can’t find it in L.A., we head to the mountains. Our two favorite fall play trip ideas:
- Oak Glen: In about two hours’ time, you can reach the calm, cool mountains and try your hand at apple picking, which often continues into November. But even if it’s over by then, there’s lots more to see and do here. Walk a nature trail, enjoy the fall colors, and grab an apple pie or cider donut!
- Yosemite: This is an annual pre-Thanksgiving tradition in our family. In fall, the park is cooler, quieter and simply gorgeous. No two trips are ever the same. Here’s a guide to exploring Yosemite with kids in the fall.
Camping at Vista Hermosa Natural Park
Did you know you can go camping in the city, in the heart of downtown L.A.! That’s right – the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority (MRCA) hosts campouts at Vista Hermosa Natural Park. The next event is in November. Sign up for the MRCA newsletter for details as the event gets closer.
When: Sat. – Sun., Nov. 21-22
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