Los Angeles Culture for City Kids
I grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles and rarely went into the “city.” Now, my family lives in the city, but since Los Angeles is basically just a connection of small cities, it is easy to fall into the habit of never leaving your part of the city.
I remember when my husband and I lived in the South Bay. We were chatting with some new friends and mentioned that we recently went to Olvera Street for lunch and they looked at us like we said we flew to Italy for pizza.
I’ve always been big on exploring various Los Angeles neighborhoods, even before I had kids, so it isn’t surprising that I take my kids on adventures all over Los Angeles. Recently, my mom had tickets to The Broad so we decided to take my 7 year old to check out the hugely popular museum. We planned a special downtown Los Angeles day and my son loved it.
Here’s a rundown of our day in downtown Los Angeles.
Using the Metro to Get Around
We opted to take the Metro into downtown so that we wouldn’t have to worry about parking and traffic. If you are in the Los Angeles area and haven’t taken the Metro with your kids, you must hop on the “train.” Both of my boys love it! In fact, they almost love it more than our destination!
We take the Culver City Metro at La Cienega/Jefferson. There is a ton of free parking and I have never been there and not been able to find parking.
We take the Metro Rail Expo Line to 7th Street Station and change to the Metro Rail Purple Line (East – Union Station) to Pershing Square Station.
Thanks to Google Maps, once we exit the train station, we plug in Grand Central Market walking directions and are guided to our destination.
Dining at Grand Central Market
I highly recommend having lunch at Grand Central Market, at some point while in Los Angeles, preferably on a cool day since there is no air conditioning and there are a ton of food stalls cooking up delicious food. We made the mistake of going last year on a record-breaking hot day and it wasn’t fun. We were hot and uncomfortable and no one felt like eating. Don’t make that mistake. There are way too many delicious things to eat!
My son is a fairly adventurous eater, but he loves a grilled cheese sandwich. We headed over to DTLA Cheese and Kitchen to get him a fancy grilled cheese sandwich, made with brioche bread, brie and fontina cheese. I was planning to eat a pupusa from Sarita’s Pupuseria but I caught sight of an open face burrata, fig and prosciutto sandwich from DTLA Cheese and Kitchen that I couldn’t resist. My mom had authentic soft shell chicken tacos from Ana Maria. Since it was a nice day, we took our lunch outside and ate at the outside picnic tables.
Playing at Grand Park
Since we arrived in downtown well before our museum ticketed time, we decided to walk off our meal and head over to Pershing Square and Grand Park.
The park is super clean and had a lot of fun climbing activities for my little monkey. We were there on a weekday so the park was completely empty so I’m not really sure how crowded it gets. It is pretty cool to see such a fun, clean park in the middle of all of the high rise buildings.
After we left Grand Park, we plugged in The Broad to my Google Maps and followed the easy walking directions to the museum. Aside from having to climb a very steep hill, it was no trouble getting there.
Exploring The Broad
I have been wanting to get the The Broad for quite a while but I don’t have the brain power to remember to request tickets online during the small windows they have for available times each month.
While the general admission is free, The Broad is still really popular (even one year after opening), so weekend tickets can be hard to come by. Thankfully, my mom is retired and has a lot more time on her hands to figure out timing for ticket requests and got our tickets the month prior to our visit.
The Broad also has paid special exhibits, which we didn’t view. We were really happy with what we saw and it was a great kid-friendly museum. The Broad features tons of giant sculptures, which is fun for kids to look at, as well as cool modern work by artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Takashi Murakami. Fun fact – before I was pregnant with my oldest, my husband and I went to a Murakami exhibit at MOMA and loved his work so much that we bought prints for our not-yet-conceived yet future child’s nursery.
Back to Grand Central Market for Dessert
Before getting back on the train, we decided to make one more stop back at Grand Central Market to reward ourselves for walking the very steep hill to get to The Broad. We treated ourselves to the classic McConnell’s Ice Cream, which has operated in California since 1949. We also picked up pastries from Valerie Confections Bakery & Café to share with the husbands who didn’t join us on our tour. No one was disappointed by the sweet treats.
Since we took the Metro, hopping on at 4 p.m. was a breeze. We didn’t have to contend with traffic on the 10 freeway and were back in Culver City before my youngest needed to be picked up from daycare.
All in all, a super successful day in downtown Los Angeles.