11 Places To Get Your Culture Fix In Los Angeles

November 14, 2017 Hilary

11 Places To Get Your Culture Fix In Los Angeles

What do you do in Los Angeles after you’ve spotted the stars, seen THE Sign, and brushed off the sand? How about a museum! With over 100 museums to choose from, you’ll get a dose of culture while giving yourself a break from all that sun.

The Broad Museum Los Angeles California

The Broad Museum

Whatever your interests, art, architecture, entertainment, libraries, gardens, automobiles, or history I guarantee there is a museum in LA for you. I’m nowhere near making a dent, but I’ve checked off a few…


You might also be interested in: 50 Things to do In Los Angeles

Peterson Automotive Museum Los Angeles California


The Peterson Automotive Museum

Museum Mile

LA is a large city and many of it’s museums are spread out, but the area known as Museum Row on Wilshire Boulevard’s Miracle Mile has five wonderful museums all within steps of one another. If you were motivated it would be entirely possible to get a taste of all of them within one day.

#museumrow LACMA Los Angeles County Museum of Art Los Angeles California

LA County Museum of Art (LACMA)

They are: The LA County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Craft & Folk Art Museum (CAFAM), The Labrea Tar Pits, The Peterson Automotive Museum, and the Wende Museum exhibition of the Berlin Wall.

LACMA

It would take multiple visits to see everything the largest art museum on the West Coast has to offer, but if you’re short on time you can enjoy some of LACMA’s outdoor exhibits, like Chris Burden’s Urban Lights, Levitating Mass, or choose just one of the Museum’s many buildings and focus on that.

Urban LIghts at LACMA Los Angeles California

There is definitely something magical about Urban lights. The solar powered installation is made from 202 restored cast iron street lamps from 1920s and 30s Los Angeles. This is an incredibly popular place to take photos and hang out, so expect crowds.

The boys loved Penetrable by artist Jesús Rafael Soto, an interactive art installation just outside the entrance to the Ahmanson Building. Made of simple yellow tubing hanging from a steel grid, this installation was meant to be touched!

My older son and I visited the temporary Guillermo del Toro exhibition last year and loved it. You’ll want to check the Museum’s website for information on current and upcoming exhibitions.

lacma-9726.jpg

We loved the Guillermo del Toro exhibition.

The Peterson Automotive Museum

Los Angeles is famous for many things, but one of them is not waking! In fact, “Nobody walks in LA”, or at least that’s how the song goes, so it makes perfect sense that there would be an automotive museum in the heart of Museum Row!

#petersonautomotivemuseumLightening McQueen Peterson Automotive Museum Los Angeles California

At the Peterson Automotive Museum, you’ll find cars and motorcycles representing the history of the automobile, including racecars, concept cars, movie cars and custom built cars. My favorite part was viewing the movie cars including, the bat cycle, Stephen King’s Christine,  lightening McQueen and Herbie the Love Bug!

La Brea Tar Pits

Can you believe that at one time the bustling area that is now Museum Row was once the home of dire wolves, saber-tooth cats, and mammoths? It’s true! Of course that was 50,000 years ago, give or take a few thousand years…

#tarpits

The La Brea Tar Pits and the George C. Page Museum offer a glimpse into what life was like in the LA basin long before people came along. A few things to keep in mind: There is an entrance fee to the museum, but viewing the outside exhibits is free. You won’t see dinosaurs here, as they’d already been extinct for 65 million years when animals started becoming entrapped in the tar pits.


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Craft & Folk Art Museum (CAFAM)

The Craft and Folk Art Museum is housed in an adorable little building just opposite the Labrea Tar Pits. You can’t miss its cheerful black and yellow design. The exhibitions are revolving and feature current day artists with a unique twist or smaller exposure.

CFAM Los Angeles California

The museum offers crafting opportunities and we had the good fortune to visit during a Japanese paper making demonstration.

CAFAM is special because it is a place to both see art and make art.

The Berlin Wall

Did you know you can view part of the Berlin Wall in LA? The largest remaining stretch of the original Berlin Wall is located just across from LACMA on Wilshire Blvd.

Berlin Wall Los Angeles California

The Wall is part of the Wende Museum collection. Street artists from around the world were invited to paint blank segments of the Wall to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Wall coming down.

Paley Center for Media

Located in the heart of Beverly Hills, just one block off of Rodeo Drive, the Paley Center for Media exhibits explore the connections between media and society.

Paley Center for Media Los Angeles California

During our visit we saw the Cartoon Network exhibition: 25 Years of Drawing On Creativity. We loved learning about the creation of some of our favorite cartoons! A visit to the Paley Center will give you access to their collection of over 160,000 programs covering almost 100 years of television and radio from around the world. The museum’s exhibits are revolving, so you’ll want to check the website to see what’s on.

The Broad

The Broad Museum located in DTLA is easily one of my favorite museums. Entry to the museum is free, and the collection of contemporary art is top notch! Not only that, the building itself is a work of art.

The Broad Museum Los Angeles California

Advance reservations are required, however if you don’t have them there is a stand by line. Check the website for instructions on how best to visit and for information on current exhibitions.

The Getty Villa

Located on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, the Getty Villa is dedicated to the antiquities, and features 7000 years of ancient art. Even if antiquities aren’t your thing, The Villa itself is a site to see.

#gettyvilla

Built in the early 1970s it was modeled after the Villa dei Papiri, a roman country home that was located in Herculaneum, Italy.  Herculaneum, along with Pompeii, was buried in the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 AD.

The Getty Center

If you’ve been to LA you might have noticed the Getty Center, a large white building perched on the hillside above the 405.

#gettycenter

While the Getty Villa features antiquities through the fall of the Roman Empire, the Getty Center features American and European art from medieval times to the present. Not only is it considered an architectural masterpiece, but it’s surrounded by beautiful gardens and on a clear day the view of Downtown Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean are spectacular.


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Huntington Gardens

The Huntington Botanical Gardens has something for everyone! Museums, a library and acres of beautiful and unique gardens, including a fabulous children’s garden!

#huntingtonbotanicalgardens

Entrance tickets are all inclusive, but because the Huntington has so much to offer it would be tough to see everything in one visit.


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The Neutra VDL House

Architecture lovers won’t want to miss a visit to the Neutra VDL House located on Silver Lake Boulevard.

The Neutra House Los Angeles California

Built by the famed Modernist architect Richard Neutra 75 years ago, the VDL house was named a National Historic Landmark in 2017. Tours of the home and garden are available, and are given by architecture students.


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Tips & Advice:

#urbanlight

  • Try to time your visit to LACMA for sundown and you’ll see Urban Lights in action.
  • The Peterson Automotive Museum has a dedicated children’s area and parking lot.
  • If you’re short on time skip the George C. Page Museum at the Tar Pits and just view the outdoor exhibitions.
  • Be sure to check out CFAM’S calendar of crafting events for both children and adults.
  • Walk all the way around the Berlin Wall, so you don’t miss the fabulous art painted on the backside.
  • Entrance to The Paley Center for Media is free, as is parking in the building below.
  • Visiting the Broad? Consider eating lunch at Otium. Easily one of the best lunches I’ve had in LA.
  • Entry to both the Getty Villa and the Getty Center is free, but both charge a $15 parking fee. Entry to the Villa requires an advance reservation.
  • The Huntington Gardens aren’t technically in LA, but it’s worth the trek!
  • Admission to the Neutra House is $15 and tours are available on Saturdays from 11 am -3 pm.

Pin for later:

Museums in Los Angeles #thingstodoinlosangeles

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Hilary

I love to travel & explore the world both near and far! I do my best to make the most out of life each and everyday! I have two boys and wherever I go, they go! This means they are, at the ages of 8 and 14, world travelers and all around go along guys! There isn’t anywhere I can’t take them! It is my hope this blog will be a way to share the fun things I’ve learned while on our many adventures together!

Comments (52)

    • Thanks! You definitely should!! If you decide on the Broad, keep in mind you need a reservation, but it’s free!

  1. You’re so lucky Hilary having all these wonderful museums. My problem if I was on holiday in LA would be which ones to choose… they all sound great. I love that you can see everything from contemporary art to the Berlin Wall.

    • We are very lucky! We try to go whenever there’s a fun exhibit or if friends come to town… there are still so many to see…

  2. This is such a great roundup! I love all of these museums (that I’ve been to, definitely adding CAFAM to my list to try out next!), and there’s a fair amount of overlap in my two recent posts on “parent friendly LA attractions”! I profiled the east side (http://bit.ly/AWAYeastLA) and the west (http://bit.ly/AWAYwestLA), but still feel like I could write two more for each side! We’re definitely lucky to be in such a culturally-rich area!

    • We are so lucky! I’ll check out your posts! Make sure to look for a fun craft at CFAM the museum is tiny.

  3. I am not a museum person but several of these look like a lot of fun! I’ve only been to the Getty Museum many many years ago! I didn’t know the lamps were restored lamps! That makes them even more awesome! #CityTripping

    • Everyone’s a museum person if they find the right one! You just have to find the one that’s fits you! Xx

  4. I so wanted to go to The Broad when I visited LA, but I didn’t realise that it was so popular. There was a line out the door, round the corner and down the street. #CityTripping

      • katherinefenech2017

        I know for next time! What a massive oversight on my part.

      • Hilary

        I’m sure you saw some pretty neat stuff! I love here and even I have a tough time fitting it all in.

  5. Ruth

    I have to visit revisit some of these! It has been years since I have visited some of these places. My problem is that my husband doesn’t like museums that much. But, this are not your typical museums! I still need to go to the Broad. And, thanks for introducing me to the Neutra House. #citytripping

    • Hilary

      The Broad is wonderful I hope you make it there… maybe go with a friend?! Xx

    • Hilary

      All great choices!! I hope you enjoy! Don’t forget you’ll need reservations for the Villa, but jt is free!

  6. I definitely did not explore LA properly when I visited – it was my first trip so wanted to do the main touristy sights but ended up not loving it… but I do love museums so will add these to my list when I return! #FarawayFiles

    • Hilary

      Ooh! I do hope you’ll return and give it another chance! LA is such a big city it can be hard to know what and how, but it’s definitely got a lot to offer!

  7. My husband would love the auto museum. He’s obsessed with cars. I think my kids would enjoy seeing Lightning McQueen, too. I love the look of the Getty Villa and the Huntington Gardens. They both look so beautiful and I’m a big fan of fancy architecture and old estate homes. #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      My husband loves cars too! Surprisingly , I also enjoyed that one! The Huntington has the most amazing children’s garden!

    • Hilary

      It sure does! I love that one too!! I love when we have visitors because they always want to see it!

    • Hilary

      Ha ha! Yes, it’s been featured in a few, but I remember Volcano being one, right? Lots to choose from in LA!

  8. Clare Thomson

    Wow, there are so many great museums in LA, aren’t there? I love the sound of most of these. I reckon I could even get my father into the automobile museum (and we have a tough job getting him to visit any city) but he’s a veteran car fanatic so would love the ones there. The Broad particularly appeals to me – it looks so gloriously colourful. #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      Oh! If your dad is a car fanatic he’d love the Peterson!! They even have a vault with extra special cars in their basement… kids aren’t allowed tho, so we haven’t seen it yet. Yes, the Broad is wonderful!

  9. Jacki L

    Wow, I honestly didn’t know there were so many museums in LA. I love the Urban Lights, have seen so many stunning pictures from there. I also didn’t know that fact about the Berlin Wall, so interesting!

    • Hilary

      LA isn’t known as much for its museums as it is for its sandy beaches and celebrities, but we definitely have some good ones!!

  10. I love this post because it shows jut how much art there is to see in L.A. (and like you said, just scratching the surface), which still to this day many people don’t realize about L.A. I love the Getty, but have never been to the Getty Villa! Making a note of it for what I hope will be a visit soon…fingers crossed! #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      Oh! I would love it if you came for a visit! I’m thinking I need a trip to your neck of the woods as well! xx

  11. I’m afraid we just did the sign, stars and sand while we were in LA earlier this year! These museums look great though. It’s good to see a different side to LA #FarawayFiles

  12. Soooo many things to do! My husband adores cars so the automotive museum would have to be on our list – fortunately there’s Lightning McQueen for my daughter as well. And I have always been quite fascinated by the tar pits. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    • Hilary

      Believe it of not the automotive museum appealed to all of us, even though we aren’t all as car crazy as my husband! The tar pits are pretty neat… they’re just across the street from the Peterson!

  13. pigeonpairandme

    I’m a huge Guillermo del Toro fan so I’d have LOVED to see that exhibition. Sounds as though there’s years’ worth of cultural excitement to be had in LA. #FarawayFiles

    • Hilary

      It was pretty neat! There definitely is, but I’m doing my best to see as much of it as I can!

  14. Wow! I had no idea there were so many museums in LA. I’d totally be into The Broad, and the introvert in me loves that you have to have a reservation to go there. 😉 It’s also great that so many of the museums have outdoor exhibits that you can access for free. This is a great resource, if I ever make it back there! #farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      LA has so much to offer, but it’s such a big city things can easily get overlooked. I hope you’ll make it back one day!

  15. That’s amazing! I’ve never been to LA. Now I can see that when I get there I’ll have to get a bit fitter so that I can WALK up and down Wilshire Blvd. (I’ve pinned it in case I’ve got the street name wrong 😉 ), and do the museums justice. I am a big architecture fan so would love to see the houses as well. Heaps of information in this post, thanks 🙂

    • Hilary

      So glad you enjoyed the post! Lucky for you, the Wilshire museums are all on the same block!

  16. What a fun collection and photos! My daughter lives in LA so I’ve been to some of these but I have yet to visit others. The Getty Villa is one of my favorites. Not overwhelming, but more like you are visiting someone’s elegant home. I’ll be putting some of your suggestions on my list for future visits to LA!

    • Hilary

      The first time I lived in LA the Villa was closed for six years, and reopened just after I moved away… I was pretty excited when I finally got a chance to visit. It’s such a lovely place!

  17. I had no idea there were so many museums in L.A! I’ve never been to L.A. before and TBH, didn’t really have the desire as it just seems a bit too over the top to me, but thanks for showing us another side of the city! Might even have to add it to the list now! 🙂

    • Hilary

      Over the top? What ever Gabe you that idea?! LOL! seriously though… there is truly something here for everyone it’s a city of 4 million people, so it’s easy to steer clear of crazy if that one desired.

  18. Anisa

    I haven’t visited any LA museums since I was a kid. I have been wanting to go to the Broad for awhile but just haven’t had time. Hopefully next time I go to LA I will stay longer and get to go to the Broad and other museums! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    • Hilary

      You definitely have to get to The Broad, it’s wonderful and so close to many other fun LA places. Sounds like you have a whole new part of the world to explore these days, but hopefully LA will be on your list at some point.

  19. Your post reminded me that it’s been a while since I’ve been in any of these places. However, with the holiday season approaching, I think I’m going to head down to Disney Hall for some Christmas concerts. That’s another great place to get your culture fixed in L.A. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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