Urban light at LACMA. Photo by Christina Champlin/We Like LA

We are almost a month into the summer. Are you already out of ideas for you and the little ones to do together? Do you need ways to beat the heat? Stick to your budget? Educate and entertain?

All good. I have some new suggestions below, hopefully some of them were totally off your radar. Hope this helps.

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Things to do with kids in Los Angeles this summer

Free entry for children at LACMA (ongoing) -> One of the best deals in town for kids is a free membership to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, courtesy of NexGenLA. The program is free registration for any child (even infants) 17 years of age or younger who resides in LA County (they MUST be residents of the county). Benefits include free admission to the museum as well as a ticket for one guest (such as a relative or friend), as well as special discounts on camps and classes. If you have never heard of NextGenLA membership, I suggest you browse this FAQs to get acquainted. A fantastic program.

$5 tickets on Tuesdays at AMC theaters (until October) -> Five bucks for a new theatrical release makes me think it’s 1997 again and I’m driving my 16-year-old self to the matinee at the local Edwards cinema. But now AMC has a summer deal on Tuesdays that I call my own time machine. To take advantage of retroactive pricing, you’ll need to sign up to become an AMC Stubs Insider, which is free. Also, you will be charged extra for premium seats or special events, so keep that in mind. The deal runs until the end of October, so you’ll want to get into it during the summer to get the most out of it. Get more information here.

Free First Fridays at Kidspace (various dates) -> Kidspace Children’s Museum, Pasadena’s educational and interactive recreation space is now offering free admission every first Friday of the month. Tickets for the free slots are limited and can be reserved two weeks in advance. If you plan on going, be sure to set a reminder on your calendar so you can pick up tix.

Echo Park Lotus Festival (July 9-10) -> The 41st Annual Lotus Festival honors the people and culture of India for 2022 with a special pavilion, live music, children’s activities, lantern throwing, parade dragon boats, and more. Free to attend. An ideal place for a walk for you and the family. Operates from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. More information here.

CicLAvia South LA (July 10) -> CicLAvia’s next open streets event arrives in South Los Angeles on July 10 with a route that covers parts of Vermont Square, Harvard Park, Chesterfield Square, Exposition Park and King Estates. With the streets closed to vehicular traffic, guests of all ages can cycle, skate, run, walk or skateboard as they please and experience contextual activities along the route. Runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Free and open to the public. More information here.

¡FIESTA! at the Bob Baker Puppet Theater (July 9 to September 18) -> Bob Baker’s South of the Border puppet extravaganza was performed over half a century ago, and starting this month, a new, reimagined production of the hour-long show appears with an all-new Día de Muertos Sequence and a newly outfitted mariachi band. It should be a ton of fun. Tickets are $20 and shows are on weekends until September 18. Learn more here.

Getty’s summer lineup -> The Getty Center has Garden concerts for children planned for three weekends in August, but what really caught my attention was the Middle Ages-themed programming in support of the exhibition The Fantasy of the Middle Ages. Among these are Medieval martial arts sessions where knights from Chivalry Today will demonstrate medieval weapons and answer questions about fighting techniques. Sounds like something that a 10 year old me would love.

Getty 25 Festivals (various dates) -> Can’t make it to the Getty? Bring the Getty to life this summer through a series of free community festivals throughout Los Angeles County. Each event highlights curated experiences reflecting the host community, including interactive workshops, live music and performances, a craft market, food trucks, giveaways, photo booths, and more. Weekend-long events are still to come in Reseda (July 9-10), San Gabriel Valley (July 16-17), Wilmington (July 30-31), Crenshaw (August 13-14), and Watts (July 27 -August 28). Get more information here.

Summer at the library -> The Los Angeles Public Library is offering a ton of activities suitable for kids, toddlers, and teens this summer, including LEGO builds, take-home art projects, live story readings, movie screenings, and more. movies, mini golf and more. I’m just going to come out and say it’s shocking how many free programs they offer. To take advantage of! Events run through August 6 at branches across the city. More information here.

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Programming for children at the Hammer (various dates) -> The Hammer Museum has three children-specific programs coming on the schedule, including a pop-up artist workshop from LA Zine Fest (July 9) as well as a pair of Family Flicks matinee screenings : wolf walkers July 17 and waja August 14. All free and no tickets required. More information here.

Parks after dark -> The LA County Department of Parks and Recreation is offering a wide range of family-friendly programs at 34 Los Angeles parks through August 6. Events include fitness classes, free concerts, and movie nights. Learn more about Parks After Dark hereand since we’re talking about free outdoor events, be sure to check out these free concerts and free movie screenings cheat sheets to expand your potential options over the summer.

sandcastle competition (until July 24) -> Are you good at building sand castles? If you’re hitting the beach this summer with the kids, you might want to team up for an epic build, photograph the creation, then enter it in the Round House Aquarium’s summer sand sculpture contest. Admission is $30, so if you’d rather just build the castles and skip the contest, I won’t tell anyone. If you’re up for the challenge, registration closes July 24. More informations here.

Museum days (various dates) -> If LACMA, Kidspace or The Getty aren’t your thing, there are still dozens of great cultural institutions in the county to explore. Among the ones I would point out if you have little ones in tow are Skirball Cultural Center (the Noah’s Ark exhibit is awesome) and the California Science Center. If you end up doing the science center, the fairgrounds campus also includes the Natural History Museum and the California African American Museum, so it’s easy to plan a whole day there. Get more information on all of your free museum options here.

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Representations of the Skirball Family Amphitheater (July 10, 17, 24, 31) -> Speaking of Skirball, they’re launching a series this month highlighting artists who use music, dance, and storytelling to keep their cultural traditions and family stories alive. The shows are interactive, with performers encouraging the audience to sing, dance and interact. The series is included in general admission tickets on the dates listed above. More information here.


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