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    The best museums in Los Angeles

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    Lluis Enric Mayans

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    Are you planning a trip to Los Angeles, or do you plan to spend a few days in the Californian city during your on the road in the States? Then you are wondering: what there is to see in Los Angeles in addition to the villas of Hollywood stars?

    We are used to associating other American cities with museum art, exhibitions and displays, however on this front Los Angeles is richer than one might think. There are numerous museums and art centers that we can visit during our stay in the city of angels, as well as being very varied in typology. In this article we have selected those that we consider most relevant and among which we suggest you choose the one that best suits your preferences.


    • Griffith Observatory
    • Getty Center
    • Getty Villa
    • Los Angeles County Museum of Art
    • Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles
    • The Broad
    • California Science Center
    • Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
    • Petersen Automotive Museum
    • Madame Tussauds in Hollywood
    • USS Iowa Museum
    • Hollywood Museum
    • Heritage Square Museum

    Griffith Observatory

    The Los Angeles Astronomical Observatory is not just a place of science and certainly not a place that only astronomers enter. Inside the large building, which in itself stands out for its shape and position, we find a series of opportunities to make a visit or discover something new about the space.

    First of all it is located there the planetarium, which not only shows the characteristics of the solar system and all the surrounding space, but also hosts live presentations to deepen the different curiosities about the cosmos and does so with the highlight of the observatory: the Zeiss star projector. It is a digital projection system on an aluminum dome, which makes the planetarium a real space theater with 290 seats.

    Conferences, exhibitions and observation of the sky with telescopes are some of the initiatives to take part in inside the building, while around it don't forget to take a tour in the Griffith park. The latter is the largest urban and wooded municipal park in the United States: in addition to being full of trails, it offers the possibility to rent bicycles, go horseback riding and many other activities.

    Read the article dedicated to the Griffith Observatory

    The observatory is located north of the city, inside Griffit Park (2800 East Observatory Road). Here are some tours organized to visit it.

    Private and detailed tour of the observatory

    Tour of the whole city which includes a stop at the observatory

    Getty Center

    Are you looking for an art museum in every city you visit? Well, in Los Angeles you can't miss the Getty Center. Located in an enchanting natural setting, it hosts works that range considerably both as a genre and as a historical period. From ancient art to Post-Impressionism, passing through the Renaissance, all alternating paintings and sculptures with manuscripts, furnishings and photographs. In addition, the Getty Center regularly hosts large works borrowed from other museums, so it almost always has something new to show to its visitors.

    The Getty Center is located on top of a hill in the north-west of the city, from which, among other things, you can enjoy one splendid view of your Los Angeles and in particular on the area that ranges from Beverly Hills to Santa Monica.

    The address is: 1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049

    In our dedicated article you can find all the details about the museum and how to visit it.

    Read the article dedicated to the Getty Center

    Getty Villa

    Did you know that prior to the Getty Center, the respective museum was at Mr. JP Getty? Archaeological finds and precious works of art have been accumulated here for years. Since the Getty Center was opened in 1997, the villa has become a museum dedicated to Greek, Etruscan and Roman cultures. In addition to its content, it is the villa itself that deserves to be seen: inspired by the Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, looks like a residence with ancient characteristics, which makes the visit even more interesting, since it houses finds from past centuries.

    The address is: 17985 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

    Getty Villa: visiting guide

    If you are interested in a guided tour of the area, from Santa Monica to Malibu, admiring the homes of the stars and visiting the Getty Villa, you can take a look at the link below.

    Malibu Tour with Getty Villa

    Los Angeles County Museum of Art

    The LACMA is a large and varied museum which houses a large collection but it also alternates temporary exhibitions and events in its rooms. Here you can admire examples of Latin American contemporary art, as well as jewels from the Boardman collection; Greek pottery and Islamic art from the Middle East today; evidence of twentieth-century fashion and Korean portraits. In short, the variety is such that there is something for everyone. Also, don't forget to walk past the museum at night: you will be amazed by Chris Burden's creation “Urban Light”, an installation of 202 restored street lamps from the 20s and 30s.

    The address is: 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

    Read the article dedicated to LACMA

    Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles

    The MOCA also offers its visitors both a large permanent collection and a variety of temporary exhibitions. Unlike the previous one, however, here everything is focused on contemporary art. Over 6800 works make up this huge collection and the museum is constantly changing its exhibits, so be sure to check the official site ahead of time for what's to see on the days you're in Los Angeles.

    The museum is divided into three locations, the main one of which is located downtown, on Grand Avenue, a few steps from the Walt Disney Concert Hall. The other two sections of the museum are respectively the Geffen Contemporary, located in Little Tokyo, and the Pacific Design Center, in West Hollywood.

    The Broad

    Modern art is the protagonist of The Broad collection: over 2000 pieces today they make up that small private collection that from the 80s onwards began to grow until it became a real museum in 2015. In addition to the works on display, the structure of this museum is particularly interesting. A honeycomb roof envelops the entire building, allowing the light to filter inside and thus creating a truly unique atmosphere.

    The address is: 221 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

    California Science Center

    Especially if you are traveling with children, you will know that in the United States there is no shortage of interactive museums, where you can learn while having fun. California Science Center is one of them and does not leave visitors disappointed. The centerpiece of the museum is undoubtedly the Space Shuttle Endeavor: a space shuttle that has gone on 25 missions, spending a total of 299 days in space. In addition to the shuttle, the museum is set up with several permanent exhibitions, such as "Air and Space" about space, "Ecosystems" about the connection between living beings, which hosts live animals, "World of Life" which illustrates the vital processes of plants and animals, "Creative World" which focuses on scientific experiments and inventions.

    The address is: 700 Exposition Park Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90037

    Keep in mind that admission to this museum is included in the Go Los Angeles Pass: if you intend to visit more museums included in the pass, you could save a few dollars.

    Learn more about the Go Los Angeles Pass

    Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

    Undoubtedly America's most famous natural history museum is the one in New York, however its west coast cousin is also not to be ignored. What you seek dinosaur skeletons or an insect zoo, the rooms of the museum will fascinate you, whether you are adults or children. Like the California Science Center, this is also an educational museum, conceived not as a simple exhibition, but as a place where especially children can learn something.

    The address is: 900 W Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90007

    Again that admission to this museum is included in the Go Los Angeles Pass: if you intend to visit more museums included in the pass, you could save a few dollars.

    Read our guide to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

    Petersen Automotive Museum

    Are you a fan of cars and can't resist engines? If so, then definitely don't forget to visit the Petersen Automotive Museum during your stay in Los Angeles! It is about one of the largest automobile museums in the world and it is truly amazing for fans of the genre. Although at the time of its opening in 1994 it was housed in the Natural History Museum, today the exhibition is much larger and has a building that is, yes, quite four floors.

    It starts from the ground floor with vintage cars and the history of the automobile in America, to go up to the floor dedicated to exhibitions, which are partly permanent and partly temporary. Going further up you meet the floor dedicated to children, where even the older ones are fascinated by hot wheels track which accompanies the educational exhibitions. Finally, the top floor is used for conference rooms and the bar. Among the most curious cars on display at the Petersen, they certainly stand out those of the cinema, including the Bat Mobile.

    The address is: 6060 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

    The entrance ticket costs 15 $, but at the link below you can buy it online with a discount.

    Ticket on offer

    Madame Tussauds in Hollywood

    In the middle of Hollywood we find the most famous wax museum in the world, which now has numerous offices in Europe, America and Asia. Even in Los Angeles, Madame Tussauds does not fail to amaze with the care with which the characters are represented.

    From myths of cinema with ET to the Hollywood stars of today, from Marvel superheroes to the greatest music stars, each wax statue is a true work of art and we are often amazed at how similar they are to their counterparts in flesh and bone. Do you want to take a picture with one of your stars, but have not been able to meet him in the streets of Los Angeles? Well, maybe the statue of him won't deny you a selfie!

    The address is: 6933 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028

    Below you will find some options for purchasing tickets, often on special offers, with a slight saving compared to buying the ticket on site.

    Get Your Guide Ticket

    Ticket on Viator

    Furthermore, admission to this museum is included in some cumulative passes: if you intend to visit several museums included in the same pass, you could save a few dollars.

    Discover Los Angeles Passes

    USS Iowa Museum

    Where the warships go when are they no longer used? Well, some are saved from dismantling and become real museums. It is the example of the Midway aircraft carrier in San Diego, as well as the battleship USS Iowa moored off the coast of Los Angeles. After having served during both World War II and the Korean War, today this jewel of the US Navy is open to the public to be explored and to offer visitors a taste of what it means to live for months on board a military ship.

    The address is: 250 S Harbor Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90731

    The ticket price is $ 22,95, but below we suggest some channels on which to buy them with a discounted price.

    Get Your Guide Ticket

    Ticket on Viator

    Furthermore, admission to this museum is included in some cumulative passes: if you intend to visit several museums included in the same pass, you could save a few dollars.

    Discover Los Angeles Passes

    Hollywood Museum

    If you are a fan of cinema and this is one of the reasons why you have included Los Angeles among the stops of your trip to the States, absolutely insert the The Hollywood Museum in your city itinerary. Its halls house the largest collection of Hollywood memorabilia in the world: over 10 thousand pieces between costumes, props, photographs, scripts and much more. Do you want to see Hannibal Lecter's cell live or Marylin Monroe's dress? This is the museum for you!

    The Hollywood Museum is located in the neighborhood of the same name, to be exact in the historic Max Factor Building, the building where Max Factor, the king of Hollywood make-up, gave life to the stage looks of some of the biggest stars of the cinema.

    The address is: 1660 N Highland Ave, Hollywood, CA 90028

    Heritage Square Museum

    What California was like in the late XNUMXth century, when did your life as an independent state begin? And how did the small town El Pueblo de Los Angeles turn into the great metropolis we see today? By visiting this museum you have the opportunity to delve into a piece of American history, especially Californian, by better understanding the local culture and its evolution. Buildings with nineteenth-century features and period clothing are some of the things that will help you enter history at the Heritage Square Museum.

    NB: if you are passionate about history and are looking for other symbolic places to include in your itinerary in California, do not miss the Old Town of San Diego!

    The Heritage Square Museum is located in Montecito Heights, at the end of Homer Street with no background. The museum is open only on weekends, from Friday to Sunday.

    The address is: 3800 Homer St, Los Angeles, CA 90031
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