CCUPATION: Developmental Psychologist and Co-founder of Seedlings Group
MY STYLE: I’m working on transition from my New York uniform of blazer and jeans to casual LA, but I’m not there and end up in a lot of sweatpants. I would describe my décor style as eclectic.
I LOVE LA BECAUSE: Even though I love the changing seasons in New York, the weather here is hard to top. The beach, the mountains, and the relaxed pace make Los Angeles great for kids.
Brentwood Country Mart
This retail complex on Los Angeles’ West Side has been open since 1948 and maintains its classic American charm. Built in barns and farm houses, expect to find much more than stuffed animals, fudge, and other kitchy standbys of a usual country store. In 2011, the New York Times reported on a up-market renaissance occurring in Brentwood that has populated the mall with design shops, high end clothing boutiques, and restaurants from world-famous chefs. In such a quaint atmosphere, you don’t need to come ready to splurge. “At the risk of sounding really boring,” says Aliza Pressman, “we love taking the kids to the picnic tables.” It doesn’t sound boring at all!
The Little Door
It may be hard to spot (marked only by an umbrella on the valet booth), but it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled for this L.A. eatery. With four dining rooms, each with a different theme, The Little Door allows for a unique escape. We recommend the heirloom tomato and farro salad with white sea bass, lamb shank tajine, and other inclusions in the French Moroccan Sunday special.
California Science Center
Located in downtown Los Angeles, the California Science Center is a free institution hosting hundreds of exhibits, an IMAX movie theater, and a “Fun Lab” featuring hands-on games and activities that teach about science. Aliza Pressman loves to come here with her five and two year-olds: “The Museum of Science has such fun interactive indoor science and nature exhibits, and it is never crowded,” she says. Currently home to the ambitious and incredible exhibition Space Shuttle Endeavour, whose permanent home at the museum is still in the works. The retired NASA rocket is on display with an accompanying film exhibit that documents its construction and voyages. Visitors come away raving at the size and complexity of the machine. With free museum admission, a trip to the California Science Center is a no-brainer for the whole family.
La Brea Tar Pits
These naturally occurring tar pits have been trapping animals, plants, and insects for 40,000 years, thus generating preserved fossils as far back as the Ice Age. The permanent outdoor exhibit, part of the Page Museum, shows excavations in progress. You might even see some actively bubbling tar!
Beverly Hills Farmers’ Market
Open every Sunday (weather permitting), the Beverly Hills Farmers’ Market is an easy place to go to get fresh, seasonal California foods. “I just grab my tote and go,” says Kimora Lee Simmons. If you’re not trying to do a quick grocery trip, bring your kids to the Kid Zone where the Cookin’ Kids program offers free classes on nutrition and cooking every second Sunday. Attendees can even meet the farmers who produce the market’s featured item of the month and taste their crops. Kids can also ride ponies and play at the petting zoo every second and fourth Sunday. And don’t miss the annual pie baking competition and chili cook-off!
Located in the Topanga Canyon region, this beach is home to beautiful scenery and rough crashing waves. With shores that tend to attract mainly surfers, fewer of the large crowds that populate some Los Angeles beaches flock to Topanga. While waves that crash onto rocks and reef make the waters best for advanced swimmers, a tide pool and a wide sandy beach are perfect for the whole family to sunbath and frolic. LA mom Aliza Pressman’s husband likes to surf, and she brings the whole family to Topanga Beach. “My husband can surf and the kids can play in the tide pool.” She also jokes, “I’m trying to think what’s in the tide pool.”
Children’s Book World
Each year, Children’s Book World racks up a litany of awards for best Los Angeles children’s bookstore. The small shop on Pico Blvd. packs in a comprehensive and well-curated inventory and a packed calendar of author and children’s events. The store hosts a great series on Saturday mornings in which musical guests, authors, and storytellers entertain kids and their families. Its floor-to-ceiling shelves are stocked with any book anyone from baby to teen could desire, and if not, the helpful and knowledgeable staff is happy to order it for you. It also stocks a sizeable collection of DVDs, audiobooks, and craft and science kits.
Beverly Hills Hotel
We’d love to lounge for days on end on the green-and-white-striped pool chairs at this iconic Hollywood hotel. Despite its “throwback” aesthetic (pink stucco, marble bathtubs, you name it), the Beverly Hills Hotel is well equipped to attract today’s hippest crowds—kids included. “We’ll have Easter egg hunts and staycations here,” says Lara Shriftman. “It’s our home away from home. We love the pool and fountain coffee shop.”
“Beach chic” are the words this Santa Monica hotel uses to describe its aesthetic, and the white-washed suites, ocean blue trimmings, and wicker balcony furniture give visitors the feeling of a cottage on the shore. Gather for dinner served family style at One Pico—one of Shutter’s three restaurants—or book an evening for yourself at the hotel spa.