Los Angeles is often overlooked as a family-friendly destination. Sure, the city has a thriving party scene and a huge concentration of high-end shops and restaurants, but beyond all the Hollywood glamour (and occasional grit), there’s tons for families to see and do. Universal Studios, Santa Monica Pier, and Griffith Observatory are just a few of the kid-friendly highlights. And while Los Angeles isn’t the cheapest city to visit, there are some hotel bargains to be found. Here are the best budget hotels in Los Angeles for families. Depending on the time of year, none of these properties should run more than $180 per night.
Sportsmen's Lodge Hotel does a good job of catering to both kids and adults while still providing iconic Los Angeles style and history. The six acres of garden space -- with a gazebo and quirky seating -- and a huge pool (no pool toys allowed) with a bar provide ample opportunities for outdoor fun. Rooms are bright and modern, with psychedelic bed accents. The Patio Cafe has a bakery section and there's a more elegant dining room for brunch and dinner. The free shuttle to Universal Studios is especially popular. And although the hotel is slightly tucked away from the touristy and more frequented parts of Hollywood, the area is not desolate -- a Ralph's grocery store, Starbucks, Pinz Bowling Center, and Five Guys Burgers and Fries are within a five-minute walk away.
Built directly off the boardwalk, the Venice Breeze Suites are ideal for beach-loving families who want to spend the entire day frolicking on the sand and in the Pacific Ocean. The 31 suites include stocked kitchenettes, dining areas, living room setups, dual showerheads, and hardwood floors (easy for sweeping up any tracked-in sand). Features, along with the nearby beach, include a rooftop deck with a barbecue grill and free parking in a secure garage three blocks from the hotel. Venice has a homeless population, but the area is gentrified and safe. Nearby Abbott Kinney is overflowing with high-end restaurants, art galleries, and shops.
Location, location, location. Los Angeles isn't usually a walkable city, but the Days Inn Hollywood/Universal Studios is an exception to the rule. There are family-friendly restaurants, such as IHOP and In-N-Out, right down the block. Expect a 10- to 15-minute walk to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Hollywood & Highland center, TCL Chinese Theatre, and the Jimmy Kimmel Show. The Red Line Metro station, a 10-minute walk away, goes to Universal Studios in 21 minutes or to the Staples Center in 40 minutes. The hotel itself provides free breakfast and a clean, heated outdoor pool. Rooms feature mini-fridges, flat-screen TVs, and microwaves.
Best suited to slightly older kids (especially culture vultures), the Miyako Hotel Los Angeles has a fun location in downtown Los Angeles, in the Little Tokyo neighborhood. The city's art scene, Dodgers Stadium, and Staples Center are within easy driving distance from the hotel. Dining options abound in the neighborhood, but there is also a convenient grab-and-go cafe off the lobby and an on-site Japanese restaurant with a breakfast buffet that includes both American and Asian dishes. The adjacent lounge doubles as a karaoke bar. Renovated rooms are decorated with subtle Asian accents and spacious bathrooms feature shower/tub combos.
For families who are in Los Angeles on a cruise layover, we highly recommend Sunrise Hotel San Pedro. The harbor-facing hotel is just a five-minute drive from the World Cruise Center and hotel rates won't break the bank. The Park & Cruise option lets guests park at the hotel for the duration of their cruise, and provides a free round-trip shuttle to the port. A free continental breakfast is included in the rate, and there's an outdoor pool where kids can play. The Double Queen Room sleeps four comfortably and provides free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, and coffeemaker.
The Travelodge Hotel at LAX is a little slice of Americana, just one mile from the airport. It's best suited to families who just need a place to rest and recuperate on a layover, but the motel-style property offers some lovely extras. Free hot breakfast includes waffles, eggs, and sausages. There's an adjacent 24-hour diner and a heated outdoor pool surrounded by topiaries and flowers. Self-serve laundry facilities are a godsend for parents on the go. Rooms are definitely dated, but they are clean, and some have walk-out patios that lead to the pool.