January 8, 2020

A Day in Pacific Palisades

One thing we love about living in Southern California is the proximity to so many cool spots. We can easily head to San Diego, inland to the mountains or LA for the day. The LA drive can be pretty brutal with traffic, but honestly when we commit to just getting through it we are never disappointed! Over holiday break we took a day to explore Will Rogers State Park and Palisades Village in Pacific Palisades. It was a great day trip from Orange County!

Will Rogers State Park is simply amazing! To have that much land in the middle of LA is quite something. It was once Will Rogers estate, and after he passed his wife donated it to the state of California to be used as a park. The park consists of his original home, a small information center, stables, trails and a polo field! With all of that open space it’s the perfect spot to stop after the long drive and let the kids get their wiggles out. We started by exploring the visitor center, grounds of the house and playing a game of tag on the lawn!

Then came our favorite part…the original stables. They are GORGEOUS. So much beautiful wood work, both inside and out. And the kids kept entertained by pretending each stable was a jail cell. So funny to watch them “lock” each other in their cells.

Owen snapped this picture of Brad and me….didn’t he do such a great job framing us in the doorway? Maybe I have a budding photographer on my hands (fingers crossed). Most of all I love that we have this image together as a reminder of the day, and it’s even better because our son took it!

We spent some time watching the horses out at pasture. Will Rogers State Park also offers horse trail rides and riding lessons. We just might have to make a trip back to try it out!

Next up was a tour of the main ranch house. Unfortunately no photos were allowed during the tour, but we all really enjoyed learning more about Will Rogers and seeing his home. The tour was about 45 minutes and they managed to keep our kids attention the majority of the time. I’m actually always a little surprised how much our kiddos enjoy this type of thing…they love learning about history and seeing how people used to live.

After the ranch house tour we left the park and headed over to Palisades Village. It is the most darling, walkable village filled with shops and restaurants…and a movie theater! We ate lunch at family friendly Hank’s where the kids ate burgers and shakes while my husband and I had the choice of salads, sandwiches, fish and more….definitely something for everyone!

I could have browsed the shops a lot longer, but with 4 kiddos in tow we didn’t want to press our luck. I couldn’t pass up checking out the Serena & Lily though. Their Newport store is one of my favorites and it was fun to see another location! I also enjoyed browsing through The Little Market, Jennifer Meyer and Botanica Bazaar. The kiddos enjoyed the Amazon Bookstore and we all love checking out new little grocery markets so Erewhon Market was a hit where we picked up some snacks for our drive home. We all agreed it was a fun day out!! See below for a few tips on visiting these spots!

Tips for Will Rogers State Park:

  • The ranch house tours are on Thursday and Friday (11am-3pm) and Saturday and Sunday (10am-4pm) only. Tours are once an hour, on the hour.
  • You’ll have to pay for parking at the kiosks
  • Bring snacks and water. There are no vending machines or any place to buy food or drinks.
  • Wear shoes that you don’t mind getting dirty! The stables and trails are dusty and can be muddy!

Tips for Palisades Village:

  • We were able to easily find parking in the surrounding neighborhood with no need to pay for a garage or valet.
  • The main concierge building has an amazing family bathroom that is stocked with diapers and wipes and large enough to bring in multiple kids.
  • Hanks is a great spot for a family friendly meal
  • If you have more time, Cineapolis is a fun theater to see a movie. They offer food and beverage service to your seat. This is a big treat for our kids and they always think it’s so amazing!

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elizabeth johnson

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