5 Days in LA: The Ultimate Family Vacation Itinerary

Planning a trip to California with the family? A 5-day LA family vacation can be as easy and breezy as this!

Follow along as we break down how to create the perfect 5 days in LA itinerary!

Building a Los Angeles vacation itinerary from scratch is no easy feat! From all the incredibly attractive and interesting places you want to explore, it can be challenging to choose where to take the family. Fortunately, you don’t have to start planning from scratch! Instead, we’re here to help inspire you with the best family-friendly places to go on a 5-day vacation to Los Angeles.

From a day at Disneyland to ending your vacation with an unforgettable dinner and entertainment show, we’ve got you covered with the ultimate 5 Days in LA Itinerary.

What to Do in Los Angeles for 5 Days

Day 1: Take It Easy with a City Tour

Wherever you go, it’s always a good idea to spend at least a portion of the first day exploring the new town. Taking a Hop-On Hop-Off Los Angeles Bus Tour or a Big Bus Tours Los Angeles allows the family to ease into the location and map out the place. This is an opportunity to go sightseeing at your own pace while also discovering attractions that you might want to explore further later on.

Alternatively, there is always an option to do a walking tour around Los Angeles’ famous neighborhoods. Start your day exploring Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, the beautiful Venice canals, walking down the famous Sunset Boulevard, people-watching at the Grand Central Market, hiking to the Griffith Observatory, or admiring an unobstructed view of the Hollywood sign with these private walking and biking tours:

Of course, if you prefer not to walk or bike along the streets of LA neighborhoods, a Private Half Day Highlights Driving Tour of LA is an equally attractive option. Sit comfortably inside an air-conditioned car with the family while listening to a local tour guide share more information about the places where you drive by.

If you have more time, a Private Foodie Tour of Downtown LA is also recommended. After all, you can’t say you’ve fully immersed yourself into LA’s culture without tasting a fusion of cuisines inspired by the cross-cultural communities that make the City of Angeles a thriving place to live in.

Day 2: Spend a Day at Disneyland Resort Theme Parks

Is it really a 5 day LA itinerary if there isn’t a trip to at least one theme park in it? The best family vacations in Los Angeles include at least spending a day at the theme park, and most often, families choose to get a One-day ticket to Disneyland Resort Theme Parks.

Spending a day in Disneyland goes by quickly. To maximize your time, read up on insider tips and know-before-you-go articles.

Please note that a ticket and a reservation to the theme park you will visit are required. In addition, downloading the Disneyland Mobile App on your phone is a must, as this is where you can book seats for on-site restaurants and even order food in advance.

There are also tons of must-try restaurants just outside Disneyland. For instance, The FIFTH Rooftop Restaurant & Bar is a famous contemporary rooftop bar in Anaheim near Disneyland. Here, you can order delicious food, and craft cocktails and enjoy stunning views from above after a long day with the family at Disneyland.

people riding in the tea cups at Mad Tea Party at Disneyland in Los Angeles, California, USADay 3: Explore with a Warner Bros. Studio Tour + Guinness World Record Museum

Los Angeles itinerary 5 days is not complete without a Warner Bros. Studio Tour. This is a place where many of our all-time favorite movies and TV series were created, including Friends and the Big Bang Theory. For this reason, a family trip to California itinerary should, at the very least, include a 3-hour studio tour experience.

There are opportunities to spot celebrities at work during the tour. More than that, however, it’s really a fun and immersive family-friendly activity to be able to experience seeing the sets and props together.

After touring and having lunch at the Friends Boutique & Cafe inside the Studio, head over to the Guinness World Record Museum! The car ride from Warner Bros. Studio is approximately 10 minutes. Then, in the Museum, spend an hour or two checking out the world records and trying out the super cool activities.

Check your whole party’s weight against the world’s heaviest person, see how far your skin will stretch, try your hand at breaking one of four real Guinness world records, and so much more!

Day 4: Enjoy Universal Studios Hollywood

A family vacation to Hollywood, California, is not complete without a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood. Complete your Hollywood itinerary with Universal Studios Hollywood discount tickets for the entire family.

If you’re planning to go during the yuletide season, Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is magical. The kids will not forget this experience as the entire park is filled with seasonal shows, holiday-themed characters, holiday treats, Who-tacular festivities with the Grinch and Max during Grinchmas, and so much more.

For Harry Potter fans, don’t forget to enjoy a cold mug of Butterbeer. Then, visit Ollivanders Wand Shop to find the wand meant for you!

Tourists having fun at Universal Studios' Hogwarts.
Photo Credit: Universal Studios Hollywood via Facebook

Day 5: Don’t Miss the Aquarium of the Pacific + Medieval Times Dinner

It’s raining 5-star reviews from people who have visited the Aquarium of the Pacific! That means it’s an attraction worth including in a family trip Los Angeles itinerary. Guests of all ages enjoy face-to-face interactions with the ocean’s ultimate predators in Shark Lagoon, hand-feeding colorful lorikeet birds, and watching the Magellanic penguins, among other fun experiences.

When you’ve had your fun exploring the 19 major habitats and 32 focus exhibits in the Aquarium of the Pacific, look forward to the most unforgettable Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament Show!

This live show takes place in an elaborate 11th Century-style castle and features two hours of thrilling swordplay, spirited horses, and a no-silverware four-course feast fit for a king. There is really no better dining experience for your last evening with the family in Los Angeles to complete your 5 days in LA itinerary.

The people are watching the aquarium with the girl inside and the shark.
photo credit: Aquarium of the Pacific via Facebook

Helpful Tips for a Family Trip to Los Angeles

Grab Money-Saving Bundles

5 days in Los Angeles can be costly if you don’t know where to look for discount tickets, ticket combos, or vacation packages. Fortunately, you can stay within the budget for a family vacation to Los Angeles with money-saving bundles.

Check out Los Angeles packages and special deals on Tripster to know which attractions and LA things to do are available for less than the regular price. For instance, if you plan to visit Disneyland and Universal Studios during your family trip to LA, it’s a smart move to choose the Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood Ticket Combo on Tripster. There are dozens of ways to save money and time when planning a Los Angeles family vacation, and this is one of them.

Rent a Car

Los Angeles is a vast city, and the top attractions in the City of Angels aren’t necessarily central. All of them are scattered from end to end in LA. For instance, the kids may wish to go to Disneyland for a day, while the adults want to tour the Warner Bros. Studio. These top attractions are located more than 36 miles away from each other.

Rent a car to save time and money, especially if you have a big family. You will save big on paying for one vehicle per day instead of opting to buy bus and tram tickets. In addition, you get peace of mind as the person behind the wheel.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to drive but are not keen to wait for bus schedules (that are frequently late), Uber and Lyft is always an option.

Lily pond filled with lily pads and flowers in Beverly Hills, California, USA with Beverly Hills sign in the background with trees in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California
photo credit: BHPCUSA via Facebook

Pack Light

Southern California vacations for families are full of possibilities for adventure. You have multiple beautiful beaches, thrilling theme parks, immersive museums, and so much more. For this reason, it can be tempting to bring so many things–from extra sunscreen to bulky camera lenses.

However, if you want to move around as quickly as possible (especially if you plan to switch hotel accommodations every few days), we recommend packing as little as possible. Pack only the essentials, and you’ll enjoy a restful, worry-free vacation with the family. In addition, we recommend bringing a suitcase instead of a carry-on so children can help roll them effortlessly instead of worrying about who will carry all those bulky carry-ons.

Stay Near Attractions You’ll Visit

Whether you plan to stay in West Hollywood or somewhere near Anaheim, we highly recommend choosing an accommodation nearest to the places you plan to visit. There are multiple benefits to doing this, the most important of which is that the attractions will only be a walking distance from where you’ll stay.

If the kids forgot something and you need to come back for it or if one of you wants to take a quick nap in the middle of the day, both will not be a big issue since the hotel is just a few minutes away. In addition, you might not have to rent a car or worry about transportation!

aerial view of santa monica pier with people, ferris wheel and other rides and view of shore and water and buildings and palm trees in background
photo credit: Heliberto Arias via Unsplash

Focus on One to Two Attractions Per Day

The best family vacations California are the ones that aren’t rushed. There is no way to go around Los Angeles and the surrounding counties while still being able to enjoy the experience other than to stay for a few days. A trip to the Santa Monica Pier can take a full day, considering all the things that you can do in the area.

Sure, day trips to Los Angeles are totally possible, but that’s only if you plan to see just one to two attractions. Planning to experience three things to do in Los Angeles is already a bit of a stretch unless these are just sightseeing, so you can see more in one day.

Where to Stay in Los Angeles

Planning a family vacation in Los Angeles? How about daydreaming of the best Hollywood vacations for families? While you list all the attractions and places that the family will enjoy exploring, it’s also important to choose the right hotel.

Choose a comfortable and spacious place that you can proudly call home for a few days. If you are only planning to explore Hollywood and the surrounding neighborhoods, staying in one hotel for the entire vacation is totally acceptable. However, if you plan to explore the wider Los Angeles county, it might be best to transfer accommodations according to your itinerary.

Here are some of the best hotels for families in Los Angeles, considering the abundance of facilities, amenities, and proximity to top family-friendly attractions:

Renaissance Newport Beach Hotel
Hyatt Regency John Wayne Airport Newport Beach
Sonesta Irvine
Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City

View of the upstairs pool and lounge area at Ace Hotel on a sunny day with the cityscape in the back ground in Los Angeles, California, USA
photo credit: Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles via Facebook

Los Angeles Vacation Packages

Whether it’s a Southern California family vacation itinerary or an itinerary for Los Angeles that you’re building, we recommend checking out all of the Los Angeles family vacation packages that are available on Tripster.

You might just find special deals and vacation packages that make planning a family vacation Los Angeles easier, from choosing your choice of hotel to purchasing all the tickets you need to multiple attractions in a single transaction.

Los Angeles vacation packages on Tripster continue to inspire thousands of Los Angeles itineraries for families. Start building your Los Angeles dream family vacation today!

What Did We Miss?

Do you have suggestions for our 5 days in LA itinerary? Share with us below!

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Written by Nicole King

There are only two things that make Nicole really happy–books and travel! When her head’s not buried in a book, she’s most likely...

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