9 Fun Theme Parks and Amusement Parks in Los Angeles, CA

What are the theme parks and amusement parks in Los Angeles, CA?

So, does LA have theme parks?

Yes. We have multiple theme parks and amusement parks between Los Angeles County and surrounding areas just a short drive away.

There are theme parks sprinkled throughout Southern California. You’re probably familiar with big names like Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood. But did you know there are also water parks?

While we have frequented many of these theme parks in Los Angeles, we didn’t realize the variety of choices until we had our nephew here for three weeks. It turned into three weeks of theme park and amusement park hopping!

It’s been quite an adventure revisiting some of our old favorite amusement parks and major theme parks in Los Angeles. And while there are plenty of things to do in Los Angeles, sometimes visiting a theme park or two changes the routine.

Plus, they are fun, exciting, and full of plenty of delicious food options.

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What’s great about many of these parks is that they are open year-round, with different events happening during the seasons.

For example, water parks are a hit during the summer and so refreshing on hot summer days. While in the fall and winter, many theme parks offer spooky Halloween events or holiday-themed experiences.

So, if you’re looking for theme parks and amusement parks in Los Angeles, CA, to check out with or without kids, here are our top picks.

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Which Disney park is best in LA?

The Disney theme parks in Los Angeles are Disneyland and California Adventure, which are technically in the OC. While both are great, depending on your interests. If you’re interested in classic Disney rides, characters, and Star Wars, then Disneyland may be the better choice. However, if you’re looking for more modern rides, Avengers, and Pixar themes, California Adventure is the place for you.

Is Six Flags or Universal Studios better?

It depends on what you’re looking for in a theme park experience. If you’re looking for more thrill rides, Six Flags is the place for you. However, Universal Studios Hollywood is better if you’re looking for a theme park beyond rides and perhaps some movie magic.

What’s the name of the amusement park in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles has many amusement parks, but some of the most popular ones in LA and surrounding areas include Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Knott’s Berry Farm.

What’s the name of the amusement park in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles has many amusement parks, but some of the most popular ones in LA and surrounding areas include Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Knott’s Berry Farm.

Is there Disneyland in LA?

Disneyland is located in Anaheim, California, about 30-40 minutes from Los Angeles.

Theme Parks and Amusement Parks in Los Angeles & Nearby

1. Universal Studios Hollywood

Driving Time from Downtown LA: 20 mins

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Universal Studios Hollywood is a film studio and theme park in Los Angeles, CA. The theme park features rides, shows, and attractions based on or inspired by Universal Studio’s films.

The studio was one of the first Hollywood studios and continues to be one of the most famous. The theme park attracts visitors worldwide and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Los Angeles.

While it is a fraction of the size of the one in Orlando, Universal Studios Hollywood remains to be one of our favorite theme parks in the area. You can get most of the rides done in a day unless it’s hectic, then those Front-of-the-Line passes are worth it.

And the studio lot tour is a bonus that we highly recommend, including classic rides like Jaws, Earthquake, and King Kong.

In addition to the theme park, Universal Studios Hollywood includes a working film studio. So when you go on the lot studio tour, you never know who you may see or what movie or tv show is being filmed. Although, the chances are slim because they have a scheduled routine for these tours.


You can’t miss the Wizarding World of Harry Potter even though it is not as expansive as the Harry Potter in Orlando. It’s missing Diagon Alley and the Hogwarts Express ride. It’s still pretty special.

Don’t forget to grab some butter beer and all the other delicious eats throughout the theme park.

You also can’t miss the new Super Nintendo World that opened in February 2023. You are transported via a Warp Pie into Super Mario Bros world. There are interactive games for you to play throughout, and you get to ride and play Mario Kart™: Bowser’s Challenge.

There are also many great restaurants in CityWalk, the pedestrian promenade outside of the theme park, which makes for a great place to walk around, window shop, and people-watch. You can find anything from fast food to sit-down restaurants. CityWalk is open to everyone.

Pro tip: Buy your tickets online to avoid long lines when arriving. 

Check for special offers as we recently were able to purchase "buy one get one day free" for the same price as a standard admission. 

A front-of-the-line pass may be worth the upgrade if you're only here for a day during peak season, but wait till you're in the park and see if they are running an upgrade special in the afternoon. 

Read more: Universal Studios Hollywood Best Rides Ranked

Universal Studios Hollywood | 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City | Google Map It

Book a Hotel Near Universal Studios Hollywood

2. Disneyland Park

Driving Time from Downtown LA: 40 mins

sleeping beauty's castle in disneyland

Disneyland is technically located in Anaheim, CA, which is affectionately called Los Angeles’s original theme park. The theme park was created by Walt Disney and opened in 1955.

It’s the only theme park designed and built under his supervision. The park has classic rides like the Matterhorn Bobsleds, Pirates of the Caribbean, and It’s a Small World.

The theme park covers approximately 85 acres and is divided into eight different lands: Adventureland, Critter Country, Frontierland, Main Street U.S.A., New Orleans Square, Fantasyland, and Star Wars Land.

Disneyland is a Los Angeles favorite as locals can easily make it into a day trip. We used to be annual pass holders who frequented the park until it closed down in 2020 for several months. It reopened in the Spring of 2021.

This is the happiest place on earth for a reason. There is something so magical about it, and you can’t help but smile when you’re there. Even if you don’t have kids -we don’t- we recommend going. It is a place for people of all ages. Be prepared for large crowds, as it is one of California’s most popular tourist destinations.

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Some popular rides include Indiana Jones, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, Star Wars Rise of the Resistance, and more. There are also great shows like Fantasmic. And don’t forget the fireworks!

Fall and Christmas are one of the most magical times to visit Disneyland. The decorations are on point, and the holiday theme is throughout the park. It’s worth braving the crowds for.

The foods at Disneyland are not to be missed. You can find unique options and classic favorites like Mickey Mouse pretzels, beignets, and Dole Whip.

Pro tip: Download the Disneyland App!

You can check the wait times and mobile-order foods in advance. Add the Genie+ for $20 per person to schedule times throughout the day, bypass lines to some of your favorite lines.

Check out Undercover Tourist's full Genie Plus guide for more info.

Make reservations at restaurants in advance!

Disneyland | 1313 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim | Google Map It

Book a Hotel Near Disneyland and California Adventure

3. Disney California Adventure Park

Driving Time from Downtown LA: 40 mins

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Disneyland California Adventure

California Adventure is a theme park adjacent to Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. The theme park opened in 2001 and is designed to celebrate California’s culture, history, and geography.

The theme park is organized into eight lands: Buena Vista Street, Grizzly Peak, Hollywood Land, Pixar Pier, Paradise Gardens Park, Pacific Wharf, Cars Land, and Avengers Campus.

Some popular rides include Soarin’ Around the World, Radiator Springs Racers, Guardians of the Galaxy (formerly Tower of Terror), and Incredicoaster. The theme park also offers shows like Frozen – Live, which is fantastic and as good as any Broadway show.

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Lobster nachos at Lamplight Lounge

The food in California adventure is also centered around some of California’s most known foods like Ghiradelli chocolate and ice cream, Boudin’s bakery, and wine country cuisine. You can also find unique items like the lobster nachos at Lamplight Lounge or the churro bites with dulce de leche at the Cozy Cone Motel.

Pro tip: If you're visiting Disneyland and California Adventure, get the Park Hopper tickets.

It's worth it to hop back and forth between the parks, especially if you want to catch a show or ride at California Adventure.
Foodie Tip: Reservations at Carthay Circle are a must. It's one of the best restaurants in California Adventure and Disneyland with the best drinks.

California Adventure Park | 1313 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim | Google Map It

Best Things to Do in Orange County

What are the best things to do in Orange County? Orange County is known for its sunny weather, beaches, and amusement parks. This list of the best things to do in the OC will help you discover and explore more of Southern California.

4. Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier

Driving Time from Downtown LA: 35 mins

colorful ferris wheel and coaster at pacific park in santa monica

Pacific Park Santa Monica is an oceanfront amusement park in Los Angeles located on the Santa Monica Pier, built-in 1909. The theme park is home to the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel, the Pacific Wheel.

This amusement park in Los Angeles is one of the most famous piers in California and a top tourist destination. You will probably recognize this park from TV or movies, as it has been featured in many. Any movie or show set in Los Angeles will almost always feature a clip of Santa Monica Pier.

The park is small and great for an afternoon or night out. Our favorite time to visit and start our time there is sunset.

The theme park has 12 fun rides, games, an arcade, and typical amusement park food options.

Admission to this park is free. So if you want to visit and walk around this iconic attraction, you can. Ride tickets are available for purchase.

Pacific Park | 380 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica | Google Map It

Book a Hotel in Santa Monica, California

5. Knott’s Berry Farm

Driving Time from Downtown LA: 35 mins


Knott’s Berry Farm is an amusement park and theme park in Buena Park, CA. It was once a family-owned farm that turned into a roadside berry stand and eventually into an amusement park. It is part of Los Angeles and Orange County’s history.

The theme park is known for its roller coasters, boysenberry treats, and Charlie Brown & Friends. We are suckers for Snoopy.

The theme park comprises over 57 acres of themed areas: Ghost Town, Fiesta Village, The Boardwalk, Camp Snoopy, Wild Water Wilderness, and Indian Trails.

Some of the most popular rides at Knott’s Berry Farm include GhostRider, Xcelerator, and Silverbullet. Our nephew has not stopped talking about how thrilling the Silverbullet ride was.

If you love food, this theme park is for you. The Knott’s Berry Farm Bakery is world-famous for its boysenberry pies and jams. You can also stop by Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner restaurant for some of the best-fried chicken at a theme park. The biscuits and boysenberry jam are our favorite!

Pro tip: Purchase your tickets online to avoid long lines at the ticket booth.

Knott’s Berry Farm | 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park | Google Map It

Book a Hotel Near Knott’s Berry Farm

5. Six Flags Magic Mountain

six flags magic mountain rollercoaster

Driving Time from Downtown LA: 45 mins

Six Flags Magic Mountain is an amusement park in Valencia, CA. The park features some of the most thrilling roller coasters and rides. The park attracts thrill-seekers worldwide and is one of the most popular amusement parks near Los Angeles.

This 262-acre amusement park has over 100 rides, including 19 world-class roller coasters. Some popular rides at Six Flags Magic Mountain include Apocalypse, Batman The Ride, Full Throttle, and Superman.

Six Flags Magic Mountain is the park for you if you love fast rides and roller coasters.

Pro tip: Purchase your tickets online to avoid long lines at the ticket booth. Arrive early to beat the crowds and heat. And wear comfortable shoes!

Magic Mountain | 26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy, Valencia | Google Map It

One Day in Los Angeles

There are so many things to do in Los Angeles that it can be tough to know where to start. This one-day in Los Angeles itinerary will help you maximize your time in Southern California’s biggest city. From tourist traps to local spots, these are the best places to visit in Los Angeles daily.

6. Legoland California

Driving Distance from Downtown LA: 1 hr 45 mins

legoland fun town

Legoland California Resort is a theme park, water park, and hotel in Carlsbad, CA. It’s the perfect amusement park for families with young children. While we do not have kids, we have only heard amazing reviews from our friends with children that have visited.

If your children are fans of Legos, it’s worth the visit. They will be in Lego heaven with over 60 rides, shows, and attractions. And the water park has over 20 slides and rides.

The hotel is also a family favorite, offering Lego-themed rooms and a pool with a pirate ship.

Some popular rides at Legoland California include The Dragon, LEGO NINJAGO The Ride, and LEGO Movie World.

Pro tip: Make this an overnight or weekend trip.

Book a hotel either at Legoland or close to the theme park and save yourself the long drive to and from on the same day.

In the Spring, you can take a break from Legoland and visit The Flower Fields nearby.

Legoland | One Legoland Dr, Carlsbad | Google Map It

7. Raging Waters


Driving Time from Downtown LA: 35 mins

Raging Waters is a water park in San Dimas, CA, in Los Angeles County.

This water park is excellent for all ages. Especially families with little ones looking to keep cool during hot summer days. The park has over 50 acres of slides and attractions, including the Wave Pool, Extreme H20 Zone, and Kid’s Kingdom.

This is the perfect escape for everyone on a hot summer day. We were there during a heat wave; that cool water felt amazing. Our nephew had a blast; it was better than standing on long rides at other theme parks.

Safety is a priority at Raging waters. Lifeguards are posted at every turn.

LA’s famous Pink Hot Dogs are in Raging Waters. Mini pizzas, burgers, funnel cakes, and Dippin Dots are the other food options. But the best frozen treat is the Dole Pineapple soft serve ice cream, worth buying on a hot day.

Pro tip: Premium parking is expensive at $50. However, you get to park by the main entrance, and it is worth it if you want to bring your lunch and save money (it's about $15 for a hot dog with fries or tiny pizza).

Coolers are not allowed in the park, but you can leave one in the trunk of your car with food and temporarily leave the park when you're ready to eat.

Read our top tips for a day at Raging Waters!

Raging Waters | 111 Raging Waters Dr, San Dimas | Google Map It

8. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor

Driving Time from Downtown LA: 45 mins

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is a water park in Valencia, CA. The water park is adjacent to Six Flags Magic Mountain and is a separate ticket unless you purchased a season pass or ticket that includes Hurricane Harbor.

As one of the theme parks in Los Angeles, Hurricane Harbor is a great place to cool off during the hot summer months. The water park features over 25 slides and attractions, including the Typhoon, Hurricane, and Splashwater Island.

Families with children of all ages will enjoy spending a day at the park. If you’re looking for even more excitement, you can purchase a ticket to the adjacent Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park. So you can spend your day hopping between roller coasters and water rides.

Hurricane Harbor | 26101 Magic Mountain Pkwy, Valencia | Google Map It

9. Knott’s Soak City

Driving Time from Downtown LA: 35 mins

Soak City is a water park in Buena Park, CA, part of the Knott’s Berry Farm family. The water park is open seasonally, usually from early May to early September.

Soak City features over a dozen slides and attractions, including the Shore Break, Tidal Wave Pool, and the Big Kahuna. Families with young children will enjoy the Gremmie Lagoon, designed for little ones.

Pro tip: You can purchase a combo ticket with access to Knott's Berry Farm and Soak City during the summer.

Soak City | 8200 Beach Blvd, Buena Park | Google Map It

Los Angeles has no shortage of theme parks to water parks for a fun time. What is your favorite theme park in Los Angeles or nearby?

Check out these other related articles:

Top Los Angeles Attractions To Experience As A Tourist

Explore Things to Do in Downtown LA

Discover Things to Do in Orange County, CA

Best Things to Do in Pasadena, California – From a Local

Fun and Best Things to Do in Solvang, CA

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Kathy Ava

Meet Kathy Ava, a food, travel, and cruise writer based in Los Angeles/Pasadena, and the owner and main writer of Tasty Itinerary. With over 20 years of experience planning trips and logistics at her full-time job and for herself, she's become a pro at crafting unforgettable tasty itineraries. She's always on the hunt for delicious, fun travel destinations and cruise itineraries. She firmly believes that life is short and we must make the most of it, so always say yes to dessert.

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