Pre-Trip Fun for Los Angeles, California
"The Muppet Movie" -- Typical: An agent convinces Kermit and his fuzzy band they can make it in Hollywood, so they trek across the country to pursue their dreams. It's a good-vibe ride for all ages. (Toddlers and Up)
"Hannah Montana" -- Teen queen Miley Cyrus is Hannah Montana, just your average school kid living a dual life as celebrity pop star in Malibu. Kids get to live vicariously through Hannah, and identify with Miley's daytime dramas. (School Age and Up)
"Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" -- In Tim Burton's gleeful road comedy, Pee-Wee crosses the country in pursuit of his beloved stolen bicycle. Along the way he hits tons of iconic places, including the towering Cabazon dinosaurs, which you can see from the 10 Freeway near Palm Springs. (School Age and Up)
"Fresh Prince of Bel Air" -- Before Will Smith was a superstar, he brought Philly street smarts to one of L.A.'s most exclusive neighborhoods in this popular rags-to-riches sitcom. (School Age and Up)
"Beverly Hills, 90210" -- The '90s teen-soap smash made a zip code famous, following small-town twins Brandon and Brenda and their friends as they struggle to fit in with the "in" crowd. (Pre-Teens and Up)
"Back to the Future" -- You can see the famous clocktower square and Doc's Delorean in person at the Universal Studios lot, where much of the Spielberg smash was filmed. (School Age and Up)
"Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure" -- Two spaced-out yet lovable L.A. students travel back in time, gathering famous historical figures to help them pass history class. Excellent! (Pre-Teens and Up)
"Clueless" -- Alysia Silverstone plays dumb in this hilarious comedy that pokes fun at wealthy "valley girl" types. Smart writing and a sweet message make it a classic even adults will enjoy. (Teens)
"Rebel Without a Cause" -- Older film buffs will appreciate James Dean as a troubled teen in the role that made him a star. Almost as famous is the film's climax, shot at the iconic Griffith Observatory. (Teens)
Mock Sushi -- L.A. is known for some of the best sushi in the country. It can be tricky to make the real thing, but this candy version is easy, tasty and oh-so cute.
Lime-Chicken Tacos -- Mexican food is extremely popular (and accessible) in the Southland. For even more authentic taste, try these with corn tortillas.
Bean Burritos -- Use fresh cilantro and salsa to get the full Mexican flavor.
"Sock Monkey Goes to Hollywood" by Cece Bell -- What better place to get a makeover? Parents say this bathing adventure gets wee ones giggling. (Ages 1-4)
"City of Angels" by Julie Jaskol, Brian Lewis and Elisa Kleven -- A funky LA guidebook for kids, with brilliantly detailed pictures of the city's diverse highlights, from glam Beverly Hills to downtown's Blessing of the Animals. Bonus: Angels are hidden in every picture. (Ages 4 to 8)
"Eloise in Hollywood" by Kay Thompson -- The beloved east-coaster gets the star treatment with glitzy tours of movie studios and the Hollywood Hills Hotel. (Ages 4 to 8)
"Surf That Wave!" by Christine Ricci and Susan Hall -- Fans of the Backyardigans get personal instruction from Pablo on one of California's favorite sports. (Ages 4 to 8)
"Sammy Keyes and the Hollywood Mummy" by Wendelin Van Draanen -- Fans of the mystery series will get a kick out of the depictions of L.A. and the satirical take on succeeding in Tinseltown. (Ages 9 to 12)
Water Purse -- Made from an onion bag, this super-easy tote captures that bohemian SoCal vibe; perfect for stashing beach must-haves.
Little Squirt -- Have the kids make a bunch of these water toys for the beach. The water's surprisingly cold in L.A., so these can keep them running around in the sand.