This is NOT a sponsored post. I love sharing my positive experiences with you, whether I am paid for them or not!
With my work schedule right now, I am home with Squirt two to three days a week. I love so many things about our days together, but as he has gotten older, it has become somewhat of a challenge to keep ourselves busy. Squirt wants to be out of the house all. day. long. With the exception of his morning viewing of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, he is begging me to go outside from morning until bedtime. So we try (and by we, I mean me) to find lots of fun things to do together. Obviously we spend quite a bit of time at Disneyland, probably two to three days a month, depending on how crowded the park is. But Disneyland is a long drive for us now and we have to time it just right to miss rush hour traffic in both directions, so I have been on the hunt for places a little closer to home.
Enter the Americana at Brand. If you’ve never been to Southern California, we love our outdoor malls and the Americana is one of the newer ones. It was built by the same people who designed The Grove, which is a pretty popular destination for both tourists and locals (it is attached to the original LA Farmer’s Market, which has some of the best food in Los Angeles, definitely go there if you are visiting Southern California). I have been taking Squirt to Americana sine he was just a little baby (back in those two to three months of
hell sweet baby cuddles when he would only nap in the moving stroller), but now that he is old enough, we are starting to enjoy all the activities Americana has to offer.
Americana has a very accessible parking structure (gold in So Cal) and as soon as you step out onto the ground level, you see this beautiful fountain. They periodically have a water fountain show dealy with music and all kinds of cool water tricks, which Squirt is a huge fan of.
Our first stop tends to be at either Coffee Bean or Starbucks, because coffee. Coffee Bean has been our go to lately as it faces the street and Squirt’s favorite past time is watching cars drive by and squealing at buses. So we sit outside and enjoy our respective breakfasts.
After the caffeine kicks in, I am typically ready for some (small dose) of action, so we head over to Barnes and Noble and up to the third level where they have their kids play space (and you know, books). Squirt could literally sit there and play for hours (note to self: invest in Lego table) so typically the hardest part of our day is getting him away from the blocks and back into the stroller (typically this involves me buying a truck themed book). Most of the time there are a couple of kids playing together, which is nice as Squirt is an only child with no cousins and is not in daycare or preschool. It’s good for him to get some kid interaction time, I don’t want him to be a total mama’s boy (just a mostly mama’s boy).
By the time we manage to tear ourselves away from the wonder of Legos, it is time for a diaper change. The Americana has one of the best family areas anywhere and we used it a lot when Squirt was still breastfeeding. Underneath the parking structure and all the way at the end of the hallway is where the family room is located and it has everything you need to take care of your little ones. There are feeding rooms with rocking chairs, changing rooms, a play area, microwaves, couches, and a huge family restroom (which I love since I am usually on my own with Squirt when we go there and sometimes moms have to pee too). Everything is clean and comfy and welcoming and it is one of the reasons I go to Americana at least once a week.
After diaper, it is time for some running and playing. In the middle of Americana is a large, open grassy area that kids can run around on. On Tuesdays, this area is used for kid friendly concerts and activities, but it is just as fun every other day. Squirt likes to roam around the lawn, and it is also a great place to sit and have a snack.
In addition to all the kid stuff, Americana is home to some awesome shops and restaurants. They are even home to the first Disney Baby store, which I now avoid in order to save myself from bankruptcy. I try to squeeze in a stroll through some of my favorite stores once Squirt is worn out from all the activity.
Some tips for visiting Americana: weekday mornings are the least busy times (duh) and the best times for little ones; the Pacific Theater located at Americana offers Monday Mom movies, which are amazing (see this post for more info), you can find the schedule on their website; the first hour of parking is free, or the first 90 minute with validation from one of the stores or restaurants (Coffee Bean does not validate, but Barnes and Noble does); check the Americana website for info on special events and activities, there’s lots of fun stuff going on there.
If you’ve got a little one and are looking for a great local place to get outside and
kill some time before nap enjoy your time with your child, the Americana at Brand is a great place to be. I’m not lying when I say we go there once a week. Squirt and I both love it, and hopefully you will too!