Indoor Activities · Los Angeles · Outdoorsy Things · Summer · things to do in LA

Activities When It’s Too Hot Outside

This Labor Day was perhaps one of the most uncomfortably hot weekends of the year, and yet probably the most packed with visitors since it was a holiday weekend. It’s the California version of a “snow day” where you’re basically locked in your home because the weather is too bad to go out. Normally, this isn’t a problem, I’ll stay home laying around like a bum, but this weekend but I had 2 kids with me: girl (14) 👱🏽‍♀️/ boy (9)👦🏽.

With all that energy they had, I couldn’t convince them to just watch TV with me during the day – they wanted out. While nighttime was much easier for going out, I had to get creative. What do you do during the daytime when you’re visiting Southern California during one of its notorious heat waves? Here are some ideas:


  1. Water parks – Six Flags Hurricane HarborRaging WatersKnotts Berry Farm Soak City. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦
  2. The Mountains (hike or camp) – Angeles Crest or Big Bear really are a nice reprieve from the heat.  I also like the Gabrielino Trail. Bring water.👨‍👩‍👧‍👦🐶Free
  3. Boat ride – Do a boat cruise (some allow drinking!) or whale watching activity. See the deals Groupon offers. Some are adults-only while others are fine to even bring your dog.🐶👨‍👩‍👧‍👦
  4. Pools – if you don’t have one in your hotel or a friend with one, there are a few public pools you can use, including The Rose Bowl Aquatic Center, in Pasadena. Local YMCAs should also have pools, and here’s a Google search for other public pools.👨‍👩‍👧‍👦
  5. Beaches – They’ll be crowded and the traffic getting there will be intense, bring an umbrella, cool drinks, and SPF and hats.👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Free 
  6. Rooftop bars with a pool – Usually adults only: The Standard, W Hotel, SLS Hotel. There are more, but these are the ones I endorse.💃🏻🍸🍾

Indoor Stuff

carmen skating
Ice skating (or ice standing for some)
  1. Try and escape room! – We went to this Haunted Recording Studio, and it was fun! Or do the Skyspace Slide in Dowtown.👦🏽👱🏽‍♀️👩🏻👨🏻
  2. Museums – My top three are the Grammy Museum at LA Live (you could go here then bowl at Lucky Strike?), The Getty – my goodness the views are amazing (and it’s free) , and for the car enthusiast: Petersen Automotive Museum. Other fabulous ones are: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Norton Simon (another fave), Broad (so cool), Observatory (another one for great views), Museum of Contemporary Art, La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, California Science Center, Huntington Library! (There’s also the famous Museum of Ice Cream, but it looks like you have to have advanced tickets and this year they are sold out.) Museum of Broken Relationships seems fun too, though I haven’t been.👨‍👩‍👧‍👦
  3. Ice Skating – This is active and definitely cool. My favorite is Pickwick in Burbank.👨‍👩‍👧‍👦
  4. Bowling – You can double-down on your time at Pickwick, and go bowling next door. Also there’s a cool bowling alley chain called Lucky Strike at LA Live or Hollywood, or visit LA’s oldest bowling alley at Highland Park Bowl (my favorite)!👨‍👩‍👧‍👦
  5. ArcadesDave and Buster’s – three of them in the main Los Angeles area: Hollywood/Highland, Arcadia, and Culver City. Usually in shopping centers, you could stroll around the malls and play some games. (p.s. I used to waitress here.)👨‍👩‍👧‍👦
  6. Indoor rock climbing – I like Hangar 18. I haven’t been to the others. Even though it’s not very cold in this place, it’s still fun and relatively cheap to do.👨‍👩‍👧‍👦
  7. BilliardsBarney’s Beanery and Dave and Buster‘s come to mind, but there are plenty of billiards places all over every region of Southern California. Side note: Barney’s is not as fun for children👫 as Dave & Buster’s 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦.
  8. Movies/Show – Obvious, I know, but have you gone to the theater at Universal City Walk, the Grove, or LA Live area? You could watch a movie in the afternoon, then exit to cooler weather in an entertaining tourist area.Sometimes the Santa Playhouse has daytime shows. Check out the local library or bookstores for special guests during the day.👨‍👩‍👧‍👦
  9. Spa/Manicure – Treat yo’self, as they say. The niece and I and my sis got mani/pedis (hands and feet). If you’re kid-free, go get a facial or a massage.💆🏻💆🏽‍♂️👱🏽‍♀️

Practical Ideas 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

  1. Stay in your hotel – or in someone’s home if you’re visiting a friend. But only if they have air conditioning and a TV. Watch movies, play video games, cook or bake your favorite dishes, talk. Take your time getting ready for an evening activity, so you can go out once it cools down.
  2. Gym – Get a day pass or use the one in your hotel. Admit it: it’s always a good idea.
  3. Church! – Or any place of worship! You can never have too much of God anyway. Also free!
  4. A scenic train ride (or drive) – Don’t underestimate seeing Los Angeles from a window in an air-conditioned vehicle. Metro schedule here.

Basically anything indoors is a safe bet, although this last weekend was so bad, that even the restaurants and malls seemed a bit hotter than normal. It was quite awful.

Another thing: Always assume you’ll have to pay for parking in Los Angeles County. And if so,  always ask merchandisers if they can validate your parking ticket.


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