Bills, work and traffic: There's nothing that can make you wish you were a kid again quite like the challenges of adulting. If you've ever longed for the days of dosing up on candy, de-stressing with a daily nap and working out your problems over a game of laser tag, then you're in luck — these L.A. establishments are catering to the inner child in each and every one of us. From boozy arcades to tricked-out bowling, these 10 places are guaranteed to help you recapture the simple pleasures of being a kid — even if your mom and dad aren't footing the bill.
The newest of the Bowlero locations, this bowling and arcade center in Westchester perfectly balances the fulcrum between childhood nostalgia and adult entertainment. It's hard to know where to start at Bowlero, but a good bet is the bowling lanes, lit up by black lights and flanked by large TV screens playing surf videos. But the fun doesn't end there. Bowlero also features a large arcade center of games geared toward both kids and adults, such as the full-sized Mario Kart driving experience, the beer pong machine and an air hockey table that spits out hundreds of pucks at once. For the 21-and-up crowd, Bowlero boasts an extensive bar area, serving up a menu of craft cocktails, fishbowls and five varieties of Moscow mule. 8731 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester. (310) 670-0688, bowlero.com/locations/los-angeles.
The only thing better than mini-golf? Glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, which is GlowZone's specialty. But the putting courses are only one of many glow-in-the-dark attractions found at this family fun center, which also offers laser tag, rock climbing, a ropes course, arcade games, bumper cars and a laser maze. The facility often holds special events and competitions and offers deals on unlimited play — including adult nights, which cater to those 21 and older. 6051 De Soto Ave., Woodland Hills. (818) 595-000, wdh.glowzonefca.com.
3. K1 Speed
At K1 Speed's indoor go-karting tracks, everyone feels the need for speed. This facility is particularly committed to giving visitors an authentic and high-quality racing experience; to reinforce this principle, the courses are periodically reviewed by professional race car drivers including Boris Said, Travis Pastrana and Ron Capps. Visitors can drive one of K1's high-speed electric karts and test their skills in one of the adult or junior kart races; at K1 Speed, adults and kids never race together. From 10th-birthday parties to bachelor parties, K1 Speed covers the bases of thrill-seeking fun for visitors of all ages. 19038 S. Vermont Ave., Gardena. (310) 532-2478, k1speed.com/torrance-location.
4. Sky Zone
A relatively new type of family-friendly attraction, trampoline parks have recently experienced a boom in popularity with visitors of all ages. The trend was, in many ways, catalyzed by Sky Zone, which touts itself as the “world's first indoor trampoline park.” A blend of fun and fitness, Sky Zone's sprawling facility includes an open jump area, workout classes, foam pit, trampoline dodgeball and basketball courts. Sky Zone offers a packed calendar of events and programming, including those geared toward particular ages, ranging from toddler time to a 15-and-older mega jump Saturday night. 7741 Hayvenhurst Ave., Van Nuys. (818) 846-0054, skyzone.com/vannuys.
If ever there was a trend that belonged on this list, it's the arcade bar: an establishment specifically geared toward those who want their adult beverages with a side of childhood fun. Located in downtown L.A., EightyTwo features more than 50 classic arcade games and pinball machines charging between 25 and 50 cents per play. Patrons are encouraged to play with drinks in their hands, as EightyTwo boasts an extensive menu of craft cocktails and beers. EightyTwo is a worthy destination any night but also offers a series of events, including tournaments, meetings of the L.A. Pinball League and parties with live DJs and food trucks. 707 Fourth Place, downtown. (213) 626-8200, eightytwo.la.
6. Santa Monica Pier Playland
The O.G. arcade in L.A., Santa Monica Pier's Playland began serving up old-school nostalgia long before it was trendy — in fact, before it was nostalgic at all. A true classic, Playland is located within the Pacific Park amusement area and, thus, may not be especially easy to access or free from tourists, but it's worth a visit nonetheless. Games such as pinball, skeeball and air hockey reign supreme at this arcade, which also features a photo booth and plenty of Dance Dance Revolution machines. It's a little run-down and gritty, but it's a true artifact of beachfront gaming entertainment. 350 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica. (310) 451-5133, playlandarcadesmpier.com.
7. Neon Retro Arcade
Dedicated to celebrating the history of video games — and passing along a love for them to younger generations — the Neon Retro Arcade features more than 50 restored arcade and pinball machines. It's an ideal blend of old and new, and pays special attention to providing modern conveniences; instead of playing with quarters, an admission fee of $10 per hour includes unlimited play on all machines. Games featured include Frogger, Pac-Man and Tron, and there's a high-score board on the arcade's website. It's a true slice of classic Americana for the 21st century. 28 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. (626) 568-2924, neonretroarcade.com.
8. Ultrazone Laser Tag
Get ready to get competitive at Ultrazone Laser Tag, the ultimate spot for challenging your friends to a round (or 10) of laser tag. The 30-minute games are a face-off between two teams, where each player must navigate the blacklight-lit arena with one shared goal: to rack up a high score and overtake the opposing team's home base. Ultrazone also boasts an arcade, ideal for those looking to double down on the fun — or entertain themselves in between rounds. 14622 Ventura Blvd., #208, Sherman Oaks. (818) 789-6620, zonehead.com.
9. Sherman Oaks Castle Park
You may think you know what a public park looks like, but if you've never been to Sherman Oaks Castle Park, you're missing out on some of the best that L.A. County has to offer. The multi-attraction family fun center is iconically shaped like a castle — moat and all — and features mini-golf, batting cages and an arcade. For those looking to tee off (or at least putt off), Sherman Oaks Castle Park offers three 18-hole courses, each well-manicured and maintained. On-site batting cages and an arcade, which features a blend of old-school and new-school games as well as a laser maze called the Vault, round out the fun. 4989 Sepulveda Blvd., Sherman Oaks. (818) 756-9459, laparks.org/shermanoaks_castlepk.
Dust off your roller skates and make like it's middle school again. Skateland has been serving Northridge a healthy dose of family-friendly fun for more than 50 years, and it maintains its spot as one of the best roller rinks in the L.A. area. A 12,000-square-foot floor, laser maze and arcade area, as well as amenities including an on-site pizza kitchen and free Wi-Fi, make this a favorite of kids, teens and adults alike. The rink offers classes for those wanting to improve their skills, and open skate is held daily during the summer. It also offers nights specifically geared toward the older crowd, including 21-and-up nights, college nights and Revolution Skate “club nights” with a live DJ. 18140 Parthenia St., Northridge. (818) 885-7655, skateland.net.
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