Looking for tips on family friendly hotels and areas in Los Angeles. Will be there for 3-4 days in June. One obligatory day in Disney, but do not have to live in the Anaheim area. (Unless it’s a nice place to be). Kids are 3 and 4 years old, so a nice hotel with garden or parks nearby is what I'm looking for. Nightlife not interesting…
It seems to me that LA is a tough city for tourists. I've lived here for almost 10 years, and prior to that I never "toured" here, so that's just my impression. It's very spread out which makes choosing an area to stay both difficult and critical.
Here's my idea for your trip: First two nights in Anaheim. It's a long way from LA, so on the day you go to Disney you should be close. That way you don't bookend Disneyland (which will be a fun and exhausting day) with a long drive to/from to your hotel.
Second two nights in the LA area. Santa Monica would be a good choice. You get the beach, great restaurants, great shopping, and a relaxed, safe atmosphere. Another option is staying at Universal City. That way you can do Universal Studios and pop over to Hollywood to see that freak show. You're also close to Los Feliz/Silverlake for some funky culture and great restaurants.
Do not, I repeat, do not book a random hotel in Hollywood. It is getting better, but most of it really is a dump. I feel sorry for families walking out of the Holiday Inn on Sunset Blvd who must be saying to themselves, "THIS is Tinsel Town?"
Couple things to keep in mind. Traffic is a bitch. Try to avoid driving between 8-10am and 3-7pm. You'll be in for a world of hurt. Especially north/south on the 5 or 405 to/from LA and Anaheim. And look out for going east/west between Santa Monica and the Westside or Hollywood. That gets very congested, too.
OK, that's probably plenty of warnings. All that aside ... you should have a great time here. The weather should be very good at Disneyland, but expect "June gloom" near the beach. LA is a fun town with lots to see and do and eat. Feel free to PM me for more specific recommendations or with any questions.