CicLAvia- Check this off your Biking Bucket List!


Imagine – LA’s major thoroughfares wide open and car-free. Bikers glide through greenlit intersections while parents stroll their babies along the streets with little worry; toddlers pedal their trikes furiously on the pavement instead of the sidewalks. It may seem like only a dream, but this dream comes true several times per year in Los Angeles.

We recently experienced the last CicLAvia of 2017, a trip down iconic Wilshire Boulevard. This 8-mile route extends from between Western in Koreatown and Fourth Street downtown, with MacArthur Park marking the mid-way point.  With 6- and 7-year-olds, we easily made it from Western to MacArthur Park where we stopped for a snack and took advantage of the play structures.


All of the cross streets are blocked off so no need for bikers to stop at any lights or stop signs. However, there are a few main intersections that open intermittently for cars to pass. At these lights, police officers are there to halt bike traffic and make sure cars are stopped before opening up the bike route again.

Non-motorized traffic flows in both directions, so bikers of all levels will find plenty of space to ride. There is no race involved, and pedestrians are welcome, too!

CicLAvia takes place on Sunday, but many stores and cafes along the route that would normally be closed open up to take advantage of all the business. Additionally, food trucks hang out along the route, particularly at the mid-way point.

Metro sponsors the event and offers pop-up bike rental tents at each end of the route, in case you need to rent a bike.IMG_5396.jpgIf you bring your own bikes, consider taking a Metro train to the stop nearest on of the ends of the route. It’s important to plan the parking/ getting there part of your trip well, particularly if you have kids in tow, because with many streets blocked off, parking can be difficult. If you do drive to the route and plan to go the entire distance, consider taking two cars, parking one at each end of the route. Or there’s the option of driving to the route and taking the metro back to your car.

With younger kids, it probably won’t be  about going the distance but instead about experiencing the rare beauty of LA with no traffic, no fumes and no honks!

The details:

Time: 9am – 3pm, several Sundays throughout the year

Good for: Kids 4+

Watch out for: Traffic on the side streets (on your way to or from the main bike route); Streets reopen promptly at 4 pm

Get there: Varies, depending on location

Bring: Bike locks, helmet, tire pump, bike tools, water, snacks, cash/card, Metro card

For info and upcoming events, visit:

Monster Tour @ Descanso Gardens

October is almost here, and that means a whole month for little ones to get their fill of spooks, pumpkins and Halloween cheer. Raise your hand if you love Shakespeare, botanical gardens, wearing costumes and looking for monsters? If you said yes to at least half of that sentence (and your kids for the other half), the Monster Tour at beautiful Descanso Gardens is a perfect fall event for the entire family.

The Ensemble Shakespeare Theatre puts on a not-so-scary production that starts on the stage and takes a short tour through the woods in search of goofy spooks. Along the way, kids learn a bit  about botany and conservation.

Admission to the show is free with admission to the gardens, and kids and grownups are encouraged to come in costume. After the show, you can tour the gardens, ride the train and have lunch at the garden cafe.


The details:

Best time to go:  Late October; Oct. 21 & 22; 28 & 29

Time: 11 am

Good for: Kids 3+

Wear: Halloween costume; good walking shoes

Bring: Water, snacks, layers

Nearby eats: Cafe Descanso

Address: 1418 Descanso Dr, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011

Chinese New Year Parade

LA’s Chinatown is a great place to visit with kids anytime, but it’s even better when giant dancing dragons and martial arts performers take to the streets in the annual Golden Dragon Parade.

The fun starts with getting there. Hop on the subway and take it to Union Station. From here you can either walk to Chinatown, or you can transfer to the Gold Line. Either way it gives you an excellent opportunity to check out Union Station and its gorgeous art deco and mission revival architecture that you’ve likely seen in movies. If you opt for the Gold Line, or happen to be arriving on the Gold Line, get off at the Chinatown Station, and from there it’s short walk latern-lined walk to the Grand Plaza.

Secure a spot along Hill Street or North Broadway. Typically it’s less crowded on Hill Street as you get closer to the beginning of the parade. Note that if you have little ones with noise sensitivity, bring ear plugs and warn them there will be loud noises. There will be lots of startling poppers going off in addition to police officers on motorcycles at the beginning of the parade. The parade tends to be long with many dancing dragons, performers from all over the city, civic leaders and an overall incredible display of colorful costumes.

Before or after the parade, make sure to visit the Grand Plaza shops for trinkets and the Phoenix Bakery for almond cookies and other Chinese sweets.

Now to the best part… where to eat. On the day of the parade, you’ll want to be strategic with your timing when it comes to lunch. Chances are if you go before or during the parade, you may be able to get a table at Yang Chow. If you need a quicker option, head to Philippe, an LA landmark which serves sandwiches in a no-frills environment.

Brick Fest Live (a.k.a Lego Heaven)

Technically not an LA-specific attraction, Brick Fest Live visits the area for one weekend in August each year at the Pasadena Convention Center. If you’ve got a Lego lover on your hands, you’ll not want to miss this. Dads are sure to geek out here, too, so make it a family event.

Brick Fest features live shows all day, interactive Lego exhibits, contests, shops and areas for free building. With tens of thousands, if not millions, of Lego pieces just waiting to be stacked, kids will be occupied for hours. Come prepared with water and snacks because there’s no food in the exhibit hall, and it will be difficult to convince the little ones to leave this Lego heaven for a restaurant.

Follow the golden rule on this one: go early, be prepared, and have fun!

IMG_3684For more information, visit