Entertaining Activities That’ll Save Your President’s Day Weekend

Happy Birthday, Mr. President(s), and thanks for the long weekend! What will you do with your three days of family togetherness? We’ve got plenty of ideas, and in the spirit of the holiday, they all have a distinctly American approach.

These are our favorite spots to pick up pies.

  1. For Abraham Lincoln, the early champion of the rights of all, who fought to free African Americans brought here in slavery, we recommend a visit to the California African American Museum. Exposition Park is a great place to spend the day and also visit the California Science Center or the Natural History Museum. Note: the museum is closed on Mondays, so make this visit on the weekend.
  1. For Reagan, we’ve got an obvious pick—spend President’s Day at our closest Presidential Library—the Reagan Library. With music, storytelling, history and food, there’s fun for people from all parties.
  1. Harrison’s nickname was “Tippecanoe”. You won’t need to “tip your canoe” when you go fishing at Troutdale, as the pond is stocked with trout and you fish from the shores.
  1. Pick a Patriotic day trip: we found six local adventures that will leave you saluting the red, white and blue.

LACMA NexGen membership, kids get in free and they can each bring an adult with them. Pretty amazing deal, especially when you realize that at LACMA there are art exhibits that appeal to kids (mummies and rad modern art sculptures: we’re talking Michael Jackson and his monkey, art in an elevator and what many kids call the “playing in spaghetti” installation), there is also a painting studio in the Boone Gallery, and story times and tours several times a week. Did we mention that the tar pits are literally the museum’s back yard? Bring a change of play clothes and you can let them poke and play in the patches of tar that bubble up. If you can’t find street parking (it’s tough on weekends) you can always park in the underground lot and take a ride up on the glass elevator—just like in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

5900 Wilshire Blvd.
Miracle Mile
Online: lacma.org

photo: Meghan Rose

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Get Historical
Our local forefathers (and mothers) leave us with a history that goes from covered wagon to space ships. Check out one of LA’s historical offerings.

  1. See how the Wild West was settled at the Autry Museum. California Continued is the newest permanent exhibit that is just what every parent loves: something that manages to be loads of fun, while teaching a few lessons along the way.
  1. Pop Quiz: What American President officially created NASA by signing the NASA Act into law?* At the California Science Center, kids can see a real space shuttle that was built right here in LA and learn all about space travel. (*Answer: Eisenhower.)
  1. Over at LACMA you can visit the Art of the America’s building (and all the other buildings, too) for free on this holiday Monday.
  1. Take part in Presidential arts and crafts on Sunday at the Zimmer Museum.
  1. It’s the USS IOWA’s 73rd Birthday with a free day long festival. Explore the history that the Battleship tour has to offer (at an additional price) or just enjoy the food, music and festivities by the boat.

Topanga Park or Descanso Gardens.

  1. Keep those oceans white with foam, not trash! Lend a hand at this month’s Heal the Bay beach clean up.
  1. Learn about what creatures live in our local cityscape, and what plants grow and thrive here. Our favorite spot that blends hands on learning with lots of fun is the Nature Labs at the Natural History Museum.
  1. The recent rains means the hills are green and the waterfalls flowing. Take a trek to where you can splash in some crystal clear falling water.
  1. From the mountains, comes the Air + Style event, where they bring the mountain, and the very American sport of snowboarding, to the city center.

websitebanners820x370-lasantaceciliaphoto: La Santa Cecilia

We Are a Melting Pot
The very nature of America is the way we welcome immigrants and blend new cultures and traditions into our beautiful mélange. So celebrate festivities and cultures of other people this weekend!

  1. Scotsfest brings the burr of the Highlands to the decks of the Queen Mary. Plus some kilts, sheep, haggis and more!
  1. The Shaolin Warriors demonstrate the history of over a thousand years of Chinese martial arts culture and show off amazingly athletic Kung Fu mastery. Get ready to enroll your kids in karate after watching this show!
  1. La Santa Cecilia is an LA based Mexican-American band who play a blend cumbia, bossa nova and boleros. They rock, and kids love ‘em.
  1. The easiest healthy kid approved food is hummus. Hands down. Now it’s time to introduce them to some other Middle Eastern delights at these restaurants that will quickly become family favorites.
  1. This land is our land (all of us!), but it started out their land. Take a trip to the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center and Natural Area to see how the first settlers here lived in harmony with nature and each other.

How will you be spending the weekend with your kids? Tell us what’s on your long weekend to-do list in the comments below.

–Meghan Rose

It’s the Super Bowl, Family Style

Whether your MVP pick is Ryan or Brady, you love all sports or you’re just in it for the killer wings, Super Bowl Sunday means time to party. We’re all about ways to watch where football fanatics, supportive spouses and kids can each find something to love. So throw on that jersey, grab the kiddos and get your game on.

Lazy Dog Café
This Thousand Oaks spot offers the perfect environment for all ages, and has stool seating around the bar area (where the TVs are), so the whole family can hang out. There’s even a dog-friendly patio dining area. There’s a doggie menu (yep, it’s called “Bone Appétit!”) and every dish comes with a complimentary bowl of water, so even the furriest members of your family will be right at home. The kids menu has interesting options like steamed edamame and zucchini fries, and the grown-ups will enjoy crispy wings and mahi-mahi fish tacos while watching the game. Open Sunday from 9 a.m.–11p.m.

172 West Hillcrest Dr.
Thousand Oaks
Online: lazydogrestaurants.com

Golden Road Brewing2 via Facebookphoto: Golden Road Brewing Company via facebook

Golden Road Brewing Company
With ping-pong for kids and bored-by-football grownups, sports screens and 20 revolving taps featuring a variety of beers, this place has it all. Kids and grown-ups alike will love the huge Bavarian-style pretzels, and the whole family may want to taste the croissant bread pudding for dessert. There are numerous vegan options on the menu too (even vegan grilled cheese), so this Glendale/Atwater Village spot is perfect for the Super Bowl. Open Sundays from 10 a.m.-midnight.

5410 W San Fernando Rd.
Atwater Village
Online: goldenroad.la/atwater

courtesy of Islands Restaurants

If you’re looking to score for your family while you watch the Super Bowl, Islands Restaurants is hosting an NFL Happy Hour all day long, so you can catch the game here, or swing by and fill up before or after you watch.  Appetizers like loaded nachos, sliders, quesadillas and cheddar fries are all discounted, and while everyone eats their way to linebacker size, parents can relax with tropical cocktails, wine and IPAs for under $6. They’re also hosting more football fun, like bartender-call-it specials, games and trivia for a chance to win gift cards and swag. Plus, if you haven’t had these fries in a while, you’re due, and Super Bowl Sunday is the perfect excuse.

Islands has 20 locations in the greater Los Angeles area, which mean one has to be near you!  Check the website for locations and directions.
Online: islandsrestaurants.com

Rock & Brews
Shout out to reader Francesca Q. who turned us onto this Bowl watching spot with the tip: “At Rock & Brews in El Segundo there is a rubber matted huge play area for kids. Open air play with tons on large TV Screens and good food for families. And the sports noise drowns out the kids noise!” So we investigated and it turns out she’s right! Plus, the menu has a range of options, from wings and ribs to kale salads and mac & cheese—something for everyone. Open Sundays from 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

143 Main St.
El Segundo
Online: rockandbrews.com

Bludso’s BBQ

Bludsoe’s Bar and Que
If it’s not a Super Bowl Sunday without BBQ, then you have to hit some of the best in town. You haven’t tasted barbecued brisket until you’ve sunk your teeth into Bludso’s tender, melt-in-your-mouth fabulous brisket. Your kiddos will devour their gooey mac-n-cheese while cheering on your team playing on one of the many TV’s and you can sit back and sip on a tasty cocktail or craft beer. Heck, they even have Champagne, so if your team wins, you’re all set. Open Sundays from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
609 N LaBrea Ave.

Online: barandque.com

M Street Kitchen
Not in the mood for wings and fries? Here you can watch the game, get sushi or salad, sip a cocktail and relax. Kids are welcome and may want to munch the brunch options (like chocolate chip pancakes). There’s an entire gluten-free menu for those who need it (and for those who don’t, the house-made English muffins are fabulous). If your sweet tooth needs nurturing, stop by the bakery inside and pick up some die-and-gone-to-heaven cookies. Oh, and if you hanker for burger and fries, or nachos and chili, they’ve got that, too. Plus, if you’ve still got energy after the game, the beach is just a couple minutes away, so kids can practice their tackles in the soft sand. Open Sundays from 8 a.m.-10 p.m.

2000 Main St.
Santa Monica
Online: mstreetkitchen.com

Original Farmers Market
Kids not yet skilled in the art of sitting still? This place offers ample room to roam. The TVs in the market will all be turned to the game, there’s every kind of food imaginable, and when the kids get antsy you can take them to the toy store, the fountains, American Girl or a tram ride. Once they’ve gotten their sillies out, return to grab a coffee or a cone and catch the rest of the game Open Sundays from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

6333 W. 3rd St.
Online: farmersmarketla.com

plan-checkphoto: Meghan Rose

Awesome Chains
These 4 fantastic spots all feature plenty o’ TVs, have super kid friendly food & atmospheres and have locations all over the city, so you don’t have to think hard or drive far on game day. Check websites for locations and hours.

Pitfire Pizza
Online: pitfirepizza.com

Plan Check
Online: plancheck.com

Dog Haus
Online: doghaus.com

Barney’s Beanery
Online: barneysbeanery.com

For super fans, this is well worth the drive. There are over 120 HDTVs and you actually don’t have to worry about overcrowding because on Superbowl Sunday they serve a reservations only buffet from 2 p.m.-8 p.m. ($65/adult and $25/child, kids 3 & under are free) that keeps it from getting too packed. That’s not to say it’s sedate; this is definitely a rowdy place to see the game. With TVs in the bathrooms, you’ll never miss a minute of even the commercials and if kids get antsy, there’s the 10,000-square-foot sports arcade with 4-Way Air Hockey, Hoops Hysteria, Roller Ball and over 40 games and 80 stations. Call Disney Dine to make your reservations.

Downtown Disney
1545 Disneyland Dr.
Online: disneyland.disney.go.com/dining/downtown-disney-district/espn-zone-restaurant

Take a trip on the Metro to Exposition Park. This area was called Olympic Park for the duration of the games in 1932, and the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was known as Olympic Stadium. The Olympic Cauldron (also known as the Olympic Torch) was built here and used for both Olympic games (we also hosted the games in 1984). Fun fact #2: the torch is still lit during the fourth quarter of USC football games, and while the Olympics are being held in other cities.

Exposition Park
Exposition Blvd. between Vermont Ave. and Figueroa St.

Pigskin Fun Beyond the Bowl
Forecasting Football at the Zimmer
Perfect for kids who aren’t into football (yet?). Super Bowl Sunday is also National Weatherperson’s Day. Combine the two and make paper foam-finger weather pointers, pendants and tissue paper pom poms to cheer on your favorite weather and your favorite team. Super Bowl Sunday from 2-4 p.m. Event details.

Sea Star Bowl V at the Santa Monica Aquarium
Those who are more Jacques (Cousteau) than jock will love the annual Sea Star Bowl; an exciting 3 minute experience where you will actually cheer for a turnover. Watch as the armored sand star contenders go tube feet to tube feet. Super Bowl Sunday at 2 p.m. Event details.

Tour The Stadium
The Rams are back (sort of—what an abysmal first year!) at the LA Memorial Coliseum, and you can get a tour of the historic football stadium Wednesday-Sunday, including Super Bowl Sunday. If you can’t be at the big game, you can step into a real stadium and see where the big guys play and learn some history, while you’re at it.
Get the scoop on tours here.

Reserve tickets online: ticketmaster.com

Photo courtesy of Family Ever Afterphoto: courtesy of Family Ever After

Hosting at Home
If you’re hosting a viewing party at home, we’ve got loads of fun football activities for kids here, and lots of great football themed food, from football Rice Crispy Treats to crazy dip.
Find fun kids activities for Super Bowl Sunday.
Make party food for with and for your tots.

Enjoy the Super Bowl, family style! Who are you rooting for? Let’s talk football in the comment section.

—Elena Wurlitzer & Meghan Rose

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