Los Angeles, California, doesn't have that many rainy days in the year, but when it does pour down, it's a good idea to stay off the streets and freeways and find something to do near where you are. Even visitors from wetter areas are unprepared for how slick the dusty roads get when it rains. If possible, use the Metro or some other public transportation to get across town on a wet day.
If inclement weather hits, there are various interesting things to do in L.A. to keep the fun going, like choosing from more than 250 diverse museums or spending the day getting a pedicure and a facial at the spa. Or you may want to take the kids to try out an indoor electric go kart, or stroll around big shopping malls and the colorful, historic farmers market.
This one is a no-brainer for most people. Even people who don't naturally gravitate to museums will most likely find a way to entertain themselves with over 250 museums to choose from. L.A. museums cover everything from art and history to planes, trains and cars, and from bunnies to police memorabilia, to martial arts, to death, and the death of relationships, to name a few. There are also many great museums that can keep the kids entertained for the entire day.
Your photos from the bus or van won't be as pretty as on a sunny day, but if you have a limited amount of time in town, it's a good way to get an overview of the city or see some celebrity homes. You can kill a few hours, learn some interesting L.A. history, and stay dry, as long as you don't take an open-top tour.
Esotouric has some unique options that take place rain or shine via enclosed buses: Try the True Crime tour to hear about the gory and passionate history of some Downtown L.A. hotels and businesses.
Relax With a Spa Day
The closest thing to a destination spa in the L.A. area bordering Ventura County is at the Four Seasons Westlake Village, where you can easily spend an entire day or week being pampered with an outdoor serenity pool, numerous hot tubs, and the Santa Monica Mountains in the background.
But some of the top L.A. luxury hotels around the city also have lovely spas onsite, or relationships with nearby day spas. Treat yourself to a massage, manicure, pedicure, facial, or any of the other healing and pampering modalities, or just enjoy the hot tub, sauna, or steam room. You'll feel much more like you've been on vacation than when you are running around the city full force. Also, duos seeking relaxation can check out the Top Couples Spas in LA.
You can see a movie anywhere, so it may not be something you want to normally do on vacation. However, watching a family film at the classic Disney's El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood accompanied by pre-show music on the 1920s "Mighty Wurlitzer" organ, live character visits, and prop exhibits is something special, and a great way to spend a couple rainy hours with kids. You can extend the time with ice cream, coffee, and shopping for Disney gifts and sweet treats at the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolate Shop next door.
Most of L.A.'s top shopping locations have lifted the roof to become outdoor centers, but there are still some indoor malls where you can shop 'til you drop without exposure to the elements. The Beverly Center in West Los Angeles is the place to go for brand name shopping at more than 150 stores, or those closer to the Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach area can find about 200 stores and numerous food courts at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance.
The Original Farmers Market is a permanent indoor market in the Fairfax District on the west side of Hollywood; the popular tourist attraction and landmark is open every day. Have a blast checking out the produce vendors, butchers, gift shops, food stands with specialties from global hot sauces to Traditional Argentine empanadas, and sit-down restaurants. You can even take a food tour of the market. If you are in the Downtown L.A. area, Grand Central Market is another indoor farmers market.
If it's just an ordinary rainy day, and not a torrential downpour, it's actually a great time to visit Disneyland and the adjacent Disney California Adventure in Anaheim. You and the kids can ride the enclosed rides without standing in long lines. Open-air coasters will be closed, but since you won't waste a lot of time waiting, you'll be able to see most of the shows and do all of the many indoor rides at both parks in one day. So grab a rain poncho and have a Disney adventure.
Kart Racing at MB2 Raceway lets you and the family hit the track indoors in electric karts specially made in Italy which are said to limit toxic emissions. Speed demons can test out their track skills at locations in Sylmar or Thousand Oaks. Junior and adult karts are available; it is recommended to review age and height requirements before heading out.