(credit: twilightseries.org)

My son entered into the double-digit age range recently and the changes are coming in leaps and bounds. Gone are the days when I get to decide what we do together. His opinion is loud and clear and I have found myself faced with new challenges of finding things we can do and both be happy. He is still too young to just be dropped off with friends but too old to not have a strong opinion on how he spends his free time.

Following are the best of the ideas we came up with along with our friends with girls in the same age range. Our focus was on things we could do together.

(credit: starlinetours.com)

Be a Local Tourist

Starline Tours

(800) 959-3131
More Info

We’ve watched the sightseeing buses drive by a million times and have yet to get on one! It’s time to take a bus tour (my son insists on a double decker and we sit on top) of movie stars’ homes, the Sunset Strip, Hollywood Boulevard, Rodeo Drive and the Hollywood sign. You can choose the Hop on/ Hop off option and stretch your touring fun. Just purchase a 24 hr or 48 hr pass and enjoy the freedom to experience Los Angeles on your terms. For example, hop on in Hollywood, hop off in Beverly Hills to shop, hop back on and head to Santa Monica to walk the pier and beaches and hop back on to come back and experience Hollywood and Downtown LA.

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Start with a free tour of the Marion Davies Guest House and gallery exhibits. Originally developed during the Gold Coast era of the 1920s by William Randolph Hearst for actress Marion Davies, the Beach House was a hot spot on Santa Monica’s Gold Coast, with Hearst and Davies entertaining luminaries from the Hollywood set, such as Charlie Chaplin, Louis B. Mayer, Samuel Goldwyn, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable and other stars of the time.

After your tour indulge in renting a canopy and sit back and relax beachside. During the summer, besides the pool, enjoy Monday Fun Day activities, beach games, and summer classes. Reservations are up for grabs – though not required -during the summer for the pool, parking, beach volleyball and tennis courts, soccer fields, and canopies.

Parking is available. The Beach House is also accessible by foot or by bike from the beach bike path.

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Sure, you have probably been to Pacific Park but it is time to explore it with new eyes. Ride the bigger rides, play video games and ski ball in the arcade, attend a concert during the Twilight Series and have a classic moment and ride the carousel.

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Visit an outstanding collection of vintage Hollywood memorabilia just steps away from Hollywood & Highland. Housed in the venerable Max Factor Building, where the wizard of movie make-up worked his magic on stars since 1935.

From the Art Deco lobby, the costumes by the stars in famous films of Hollywood memorabilia, the world’s largest collection of genuine Marilyn Monroe memorabilia, to a Roman bed from “Gladiator” enjoy a very large display of authentic Hollywood memorabilia!

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Take a walking tour through this downtown destination and find museums, restaurants, shopping, serene Japanese gardens and more. Visit the Japanese American Museum, one of the many Buddhist temples, eat some amazing sushi and try a little Karaoke fun.

Also, be sure to visit The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA this former police car warehouse was renovated by the noted California architect Frank O. Gehry.

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Try New Foods & Restaurants

Enjoy some “kaiten style” service at Afloat Sushi in Pasadena. Watch the sushi options float by on small sushi boats, and pull down your favorites.

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For an immersion into a communal dining experience, try one of the many restaurants in Little Ethiopia, located in a stretch on Fairfax a few blocks just south of Museum Mile (between Olympic and Wentworth) lined with restaurants serving traditional Ethiopian cuisine. The dining options consist of spicy meat and vegetable stew-like dishes, known as wat, served with injera, a sour flatbread which you use as a scoop instead of utensils to eat your food. Rosalind’s, Merkato, Messob, Nyala and Little Ethiopia Restaurant are a few local favorites.

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For authentic dim sum where the waiters bring carts to your table stockpiled with delicious plates of har gow, shui mai, pork bao, spare ribs and so much more. After eating, enjoy the local boutiques, a great place to seek out inexpensive, original gifts.

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Volunteer Together

Founded in 1973 as a non-profit environmental advocacy group, TreePeople’s headquarters in Coldwater Canyon Park at the peak of Mulholland Drive. It is a great place to have outdoor fun with a purpose? Help clear trails, remove invasive plants, spread mulch and plant seedlings…there are opportunities to help all year round.

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Make-A-Wish Foundation of Greater Los Angeles achieves its mission of “granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.” There are many opportunities to help grant wishes, raise funds, or assist with special events.

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Heal the Bay’s works to make Southern California coastal waters and watersheds, including Santa Monica Bay, safe, healthy and clean. Founded on the principle that one person can make a difference, Heal the Bay has a wide variety of options for volunteering. There are multiple options for Beach Clean-ups including monthly volunteering, groups and more.

Jeannine Chanin-Penn… xoj9 | event curator | smart & beautiful events… My son, my husband, lobster & the color purple make me happy.