Blog 21 of Top 25 SoCal Mom Blogs

Taster Tots L.A. by Jessica Ritz 

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The Best Part of Living in Southern California

Innovation, diversity, new ideas, great weather, you name it: this region has it all, and people around the world look to Southern California to see what's coming down the pike. Unfortunately, the context might not always positive (e.g., the struggling economy, messy politics), but Los Angeles has always been an exciting place to live because we're not constrained by entrenched ways and traditions that define other parts of the country. "LaLa Land" myths and facts aside, we have a rich and fascinating history, contrary to popular belief! There's tons of cool stuff to do here. It's FULL of incredible surprises. Plus you can find anything and everything to eat that comes from just about every corner of the globe. It's also much easier to plan outings and playdates when we don't have to worry about rain and snow.

My Favorite Local Kid-Friendly Activity

We take advantage of being close to Griffith Park, where we ride the trains and ponies, Travel Town, the Trails Café, Observatory, and other perks of having a huge urban park with all these awesome cultural and recreational resources so nearby. We explore various neighborhoods, walk Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, take walks in the hills, go to local farmer's markets, watch trains from various locations, or ride on the Metro from Hollywood into Downtown and other neighborhoods. During the summer, we hit the Friday night wine tasting gatherings at Barnsdall Park which is always a super fun gathering with food trucks; then up on that hill at Vermont and Hollywood we see lots of friends, both planned and spontaneously. We have a ridiculous number of places in our neighborhood to get amazing ice cream and gelato, too.

The Biggest Challenge of Raising a Child Here

Managing distances and traffic in a decentralized city! So much of Los Angeles, which is geographically huge to begin with, feels off limits because it might take so darn long to get from one place to another, cliche as it sounds. Or visiting certain places and friends requires extra careful planning so that we don't get stuck in total bummer bottlenecks. Sometimes we go way too long without seeing friends just because it feels like such a trek, even if it's not really all that far. L.A. used to be much easier to get around when I grew up here. I also wish the air quality were better, and pedestrian life were stronger and more vibrant throughout town. Parks and public space are given unjustly short shrift, and kids especially suffer in certain communities where access to safe open space is limited. Which isn't to say there aren't plenty of neighborhoods with thriving public life and creative, connected folks.

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