Five Cities for a Fun Family Spring Break

We’re almost through the winter and it’s time for some fun in the sun. If you’ve got little ones in tow, we’ve put together some great recommendations for a spring break in the city.

Los Angeles

In addition to the classic Hollywood attractions (find your favorite celeb on the Walk of Fame!), Los Angeles has plenty of fun for the kids.

Play: Spend an afternoon at the Santa Monica Pier. The vintage seaside boardwalk (which has been around since 1909!) offers a ferris wheel and other carnival-like rides, plenty of fun snacks and that gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean.

Learn: Part of the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles, the La Brea Tar Pits are the only actively excavated Ice Age fossil site in an urban area in the world–meaning little ones can learn about fossils and the ice age in person. They’ll also love the replicas of Woolly Mammoths on-site.

Immerse: The Super Mario Brothers from your childhood Nintendo console are back and more interactive than ever. Universal Studios Hollywood opened an immersive Super Nintendo World last year, complete with rides that put you inside the video games, meet and greets with characters and more.

Eat: Despite its location in a luxury hotel, Wolfgang Puck’s Ospero, inside the Pendry in West Hollywood, was deemed one of Los Angeles’ “perfect restaurants for discerning parents dining out with picky kids” by Eater LA. Parents can enjoy Puck’s delicious signature dishes, while kids can order chicken fingers, buttered rigatoni and other picky-eater approved foods. Bonus: Ospero also offers up kid-sized cookies and cake for pint-sized diners.

Sleep: The Magic Castle Hotel is a kid’s dream. Once a 1950’s Hollywood apartment building, the hotel offers 1- and 2-bedroom suites with full kitchens. For kids, there’s a heated pool with a ‘popsicle hotline.’ Kids can pick up the red poolside phone and have free popsicles delivered to them. They can also pick up free soft serve ice cream in the lobby and unlimited candy at the check-in desk! Next to the historic Magic Castle Club, families can also attend a magic show on select days and times. The Club is one of the hardest to get into in all of LA, so if your kids (or you!) are into magic, it’s the place to stay.

Want more ideas for your family spring break in Los Angeles? Visit California has lots of great itineraries here.

New York City

Being surrounded by skyscrapers can make NYC feel very big to the littlest tourists, but there’s plenty in the Big Apple that makes this city a best bet for spring break fun.

Play: There’s so much to see and do in Central Park, but perhaps one of the best ways to spend an afternoon there is to head to the Central Park Zoo. One of the nation’s oldest, the urban zoo features the famous sea lion feedings, a 3-D movie, and a chance to hang with the zoo’s penguins and puffins.

Learn: Half the fun of a tour of the Statue of Liberty for little ones is getting there. Only reachable by boat, ferries leave every 20 minutes from Battery Park. Once you’re on the island, take a stroll around and read the historical plaques. If your kids have the stamina, the family can take the staircase 146 steps up for views from Lady Liberty’s crown.

Immerse: LEGO fans will love the brand's flagship store on Fifth Avenue. More than just a place to by your latest set, kids (and adults) can make their own mini-figure, turn a family photo into a LEGO mosaic, or immerse themselves in the latest LEGO store fun, The Brick Lab, a 360-experience where the walls and floors come to life with light, sound and music in a LEGO virtual world.

Eat: It’s not exactly a meal, but we can’t help but recommend a trip to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. Take a family stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge and then treat yourself at this unassuming but iconic ice cream shop. Look back and get some great photos of the Manhattan skyline.

Sleep: The Millennium Times Square offers more than just staying in the middle of the action. The hotel brand’s new kid-friendly program, ‘Ask Alfred’ includes upon arrival a backpack with an Ask Alfred teddy bear, candy, a crayon activity set by Melissa & Doug and 12 collectible postcards, which they can mail for free at the concierge desk.

For more family-friendly ideas, check out this family-friendly visitor guide to NYC


Chicago in springtime can go either way weather-wise, but these indoor activities will ensure your family has a fun time no matter what the temps are.

Play: Housed on the Navy Pier, the Chicago Children’s Museum is always a hit among little travelers. Filled with interactive exhibits, like Circusville, which allows for acrobatics, and Cloud Buster, a massive climbable structure, there are hours of fun to be had. And that’s just the start of exploring the kid-friendly attractions on the Navy Pier.

Learn: Let’s learn about nature but make it extra pretty. At the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park, little ones can explore all sorts of hands-on exhibitions about animals and ecology. The most popular exhibit? The Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, where kids can interact with the colorful butterflies.

Immerse: Zoom up the elevator to the 94th floor of 360 Chicago (formerly John Hancock Observatory) for breathtaking views of the Chicago skyline. And for those who meet the height limit (and are brave enough), get strapped in to TILT, which literally tilts guests out fro the 94th floor to be surrounded by the skyline.

Eat: Start your day at Stan’s Donuts for some delicious and fresh-made donuts. With locations across Chicago, it’s a fave among locals and tourists alike.

Sleep: At the end of the day, most kids just want to splash in the hotel pool, and the Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk offers just that. The heated indoor pool–plus Sheraton’s cooking class for kids, Little Chefs–are both a hit among tiny spring breakers.

For even more Chicago spring break ideas, check out this multi-season family-friendly guide.


In Boston, history abounds, but that doesn’t mean little kids won’t love it. These sites will have them asking for more history lessons.

Play: After a visit to the New England Aquarium, pick up a ride on a Boston Duck Tour. These land and water vehicles let you see Boston’s historic sites from the road and the river–and the tour is always a hit among kids! Little passengers usually get a plastic quacker to say hello to passing cars, and then watch their eyes widen as the Duck transforms from a truck to a boat!

Learn: Also departing from the New England Aquarium, hop aboard a Boston Harbor City Cruise for whale watching. Sailors will get up close and personal with humpbacks, finbacks, minkes and the critically endangered right whales. It’s a city experience they’ll never forget!

Immerse: We’ve all read about the Boston Tea Party, but at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, visitors are put into the historical action. Period actors, full-scale replicas and interactive exhibits make the Boston Tea Party come to life. Visitors even get to participate in tossing tea into the harbor.

Eat: Let the kids take a history lesson break with a night at Kings Dining and Entertainment. The upscale bowling alley offers 10-pin bowling, billiards, shuffleboard and all the arcade games your kids could dream of. For the adults, the elevated food and drink menu makes the kid-focused outing worth it.

Sleep: The Westin Copley Plaza offers an array of amenities for kids, including a Westin Kids Club backpack filled with goodies upon arrival, plus a heated pool and a Nintendo can be rented by the hour (kids may have to fight parents for the joystick with this perk). Plus, if kids are having trouble calming down after a long day of sightseeing, the Westin has a number you can dial from the room for a pre-recorded bedtime story.

Want more ways to see Boston’s historical sites? Check out Visit Boston’s family-friendly guide to sightseeing here.

San Francisco

San Francisco is only 49-square-miles, but in those small city limits, there’s so much for family spring breakers to discover.

Play: You could spend a full day at PIER 39 on Fisherman’s Wharf exploring all that it has to offer. Start by saying hello to the resident sea lions (the cute creatures mysteriously made it their home following San Francisco’s 1989 earthquake). Street performers like magicians, jugglers and comedians add to the atmosphere, while the Museum of 3D Illusions, Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze and a vintage San Francisco Carousel add hours of fun to the day. There are also the famous musical stairs–or hop onto a Bay Voyager and see San Francisco from the water.

Learn: Fans of the Disney theme parks can see how it all started at the Walt Disney Family Museum. An expansive memorabilia collection puts together a story of how Disney as a cultural icon came to be. For the little ones who may be wishing there were actual rides, keep them busy at the museum’s Little Open Studio (age 7 and under) with themed arts, crafts and stories.

Immerse: It’s hard to decide where to start first at the California Academy of Sciences. In one place, you’ll find an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum, and rain forest–together the habitats are home to 40,000 animals. Depending on your little one’s interests, whether it’s space or the sea or dinosaur bones or all of the above. Get there early and make your way around. You want want to miss any of it!

Eat: Perhaps the most famous Chinatown in the U.S., make sure to have a meal in this thriving neighborhood while in town. For little ones, they’ll love the tour and custom cookies at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory.

Sleep: Kids will love laying their head at the Hotel Del Sol in the Marina District. The colorful rooms offer bunk beds, while the courtyard has an outdoor heated pool. The staff often has beach balls on hand and, for parents, bonus, the hotel comes with a free breakfast every morning.

Want even more San Francisco family fun? San Francisco Travel has more ideas right here.

The Related Life is written and produced by the Related Life Editorial Team. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest events, news, and announcements in your area, and tag us for a chance to be featured @therelatedlife and #therelatedlife