Best Theme Parks in L.A. for All Ages
A guide to help you decide which theme park to visit in L.A.
Nomad team, Nomad Team
Mar 24 · 4 min read
Los Angeles, California, is home to some of the world's best theme parks. There are 6 major amusement parks and a few smaller ones, each having a wide range of attractions and experiences. If you only have time for one theme park, this guide will help you to identify which one you should go for!
🎢 Visit Disneyland if…you are travelling as a family, you are a fan of Disney’s franchises, rides are not entirely your kind of thing
No list of the theme parks in LA would be complete without mentioning the happiest place on Earth, Disneyland. The Disneyland Resort comprises two parks — the iconic Disneyland Park that has been entertaining guests since 1955, and the younger Disneyland California Adventure. On top of the classic Disneyland experience and familiar Disney characters, the Disneyland Resort at California also a features dedicated areas for Pixar characters and animations (Pixar Pier), Avengers (Avengers Campus), and Star Wars (Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge) — which are must-visits if you are a fan of the franchises.
Disneyland is known to be very family-friendly with its rides and stage shows that are suitable for visitors of all ages. If you are seeking adrenaline and a fan of rides that are more thrilling, there also is a fair share of options that you could check out, such as the classic Space Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain.
To celebrate the 100th year of Disney, Disney has debuted new attractions, shows, exhibits, and merchandises. There are also events lined up over the year to celebrate this incredible milestone.
Six Flags Magic Mountain
🎢 Visit Six Flags Magic Mountain if…you are looking for the most thrilling rides, you are not travelling with children
Six Flags Magic Mountain is located just north of LA in Valencia. While there are some family rides that are available, the park is best known for its many thrilling roller coasters, including Full Throttle, North America’s fastest and tallest looping roller coaster. Six Flags has a few of rides and experiences themed around the DC franchise, but the theming in itself wouldn’t make a strong reason for a visit to Six Flags.
The queues at Six Flags tend to be rather long, but the rides are definitely worth the wait, and you are bound to get an adrenaline rush from the rides!
Universal Studios Hollywood
🎢 Visit Universal Studios Hollywood if…you are travelling with older children, you are a movie buff, you are looking for something exciting but not too scary
Universal Studios Hollywood is located in Universal City, just outside of LA. The park is at a sweet point between the magical charm of Disneyland Resorts and the intense adrenaline-inducing Six Flags Magic Mountain. Universal Studios offer a variety of rides and attractions centred around popular movies and TV shows, including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic World, and The Simpsons. Super Nintendo World has also very recently just opened at the Universal Studios Hollywood, injecting much more colours and energy to the park.
The rides at Universal Studios are generally more exciting than those at Disneyland, but not as scary as those at Six Flags, making it very suitable for families with older kids.
If you are already planning to visit Hollywood Studios (which you should, if you are in L.A.), why not complete your experience at the Universal Studios Hollywood! Alternatively, you can also plan to catch some live studio recordings while you are in the area — check out our guide on how you can participate in one!
LEGOLAND California Resort
🎢 Visit LEGOLAND California if…you are travelling with very young children, you have time to travel out
LEGOLAND California is a theme park located in Carlsbad, California, and is closer to San Diego than to L.A. As the name suggests, the park is centered around the beloved building blocks that have been a favorite toy for generations. In addition to the theme park, LEGOLAND California also has a water park and a sea life aquarium.
The rides at LEGOLAND is great for young children and kids, but is unlikely to interest older children and adults. However, for adults and older children who are interested in LEGO, the park also features an impressive array of LEGO-themed exhibits. In particular, Mainland USA features amazing scenes of USA made of millions of LEGO bricks.
Knott’s Berry Farm
🎢 Visit Knott’s Berry Farm if…you are travelling on a tighter budget, you are travelling with children
Knott's Berry Farm is a theme park that's been around since the 1920s. Today, the theme park has four themed areas inspired by the history and culture of California, and you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of old-school vibes at the theme park. One of the park's most popular attractions is Ghost Town, a replica of an old western town complete with cowboys, saloons, and more.
The rides and shows are mostly family-friendly and suitable for kids, so if you are looking for something very thrilling, this might not be for you. However, if you were travelling on a tight budget, Knott’s Berry Farm is definitely an option to consider!
🎢 Visit Pacific Park if…you are looking for something more casual, you are also visiting Santa Monica Beach
Pacific Park is a small, traditional amusement park located on the Santa Monica Pier. While it is probably more of a carnival than a theme park, and the rides are nothing to shout about, Pacific Park has a charm all its own. If you are looking for something more casual and classic, this is the place to be. The Ferris wheel and roller coaster also offers offers stunning views of the ocean and the coastline, so be sure to check those out!