If there was ever the opportunity for a well-rounded family vacation, it's a trip to L.A. There are plenty of cultural and educational attractions developed with kids in mind (i.e., Kidspace Children's Museum, Noah's Ark exhibit at the Skirball Cultural Museum, the Griffith Observatory) and an amazing landscape for the nature lovers in the family (the beaches at Santa Monica and Malibu, the gardens of San Marino, the Hollywood Hills). Of course, L.A. is the capital of pop culture, too. Kids love to see the stars on Hollywood Blvd. and teens especially delight in getting a first-hand look at Venice and Beverly Hills.
Like all big cities, L.A. gets touristy in the summer, though it's actually not the best time to go since the city can be smoggy and the beaches foggy (the latter mostly in June). Unless your kids have their hearts set on a lot of beach days, September and October are perfect (and you actually can still go to the beach on some days). Indian summer and early fall tend to be warm and clear, and the crowds have died down. Spring is also a great time to come (though May can be gloomy down by the beach). Los Angeles does cool off in the winter months, but it never gets very, very cold, and you can usually spend plenty of time outdoors.
The daytime temperature in L.A. hovers in the mid to upper 60s December through March. Come spring, temperatures edge up into the 70s, then in summer, the 80s (and into the 90s in July and August). One thing to remember about L.A. is that even when the days are hot, the temperature drops anywhere from 20 to 30 degrees at night. Bring sweaters. Get more weather info.
Los Angeles International (LAX) is as big as it sounds, but it probably offers the most flight options. If possible, consider smaller airports: Burbank (BUR) and Long Beach (LGB), both of which are about a half hour's drive from the city center. Amtrak is serviced by the city's Union Station in downtown L.A.
Los Angeles is a car town, so plan on renting one when you arrive. The good news is that a car will allow you to really see the city in all its varying shades of glory: Just driving Sunset Boulevard, beginning at the beach and following it past UCLA, through Beverly Hills and Hollywood all the way to downtown, will give you and your kids a real taste of L.A.
Get more information on the city's official website.