There’s way more to Los Angeles than Hollywood attractions, theme parks and celebrity home tours. The City of Angels is packed with fantastic museums, galleries and cultural institutions.
History lovers can explore the Natural History Museum Of Los Angeles County and encounter a wealth of ancient history and exciting exhibits of dinosaur bones, pre-Columbian artifacts from the Americas and much more.
The La Brea Tar Pits has been a super-popular tourist attraction for decades and is one of the best museums in Los Angeles for families. It has produced millions of fossilized Ice Age creatures and is possibly the country’s only active paleontological dig in a major urban city center.
Los Angeles has terrific contemporary art museums and world-class collections of works by historic artists too.
Check out Renaissance, Impressionist and Modernist masterpieces at The Getty and The Los Angeles County Museum. Explore immersive installations and digital artworks at The Broad and the Museum of Contemporary Art or discover the craft of color at the Museum of Neon Art.
A trip to the Hollywood Museum — located in the famous Max Factor Building, to see artifacts and props from famous movies is fun for all ages. Those interested in the history of film and the technical side of filmmaking can check out the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
Car fans are well catered for with excellent motor museums such as The Petersen Automotive Museum, Nethercutt Museum and Zimmerman Automobile Driving Museum. There is also the Museum of Flying, where visitors can see historic aircraft and the impressive World War II Battleship, USS Iowa to explore.
As you might expect of Los Angeles, there are also plenty of weird and wonderful museums that almost defy description such as The Museum of Jurassic Technology and the Museum of Dream Space. You will have to explore these spaces for yourself to understand their hidden treasures.
So, here are some of the best museums in Los Angeles.
1 – The Getty
Spread across two campuses the Getty Museum houses an extensive collection of art that dates from the medieval period to the present day
Its two locations are the Getty Center and Getty Villa — the latter of which was the museum’s original premises in Pacific Palisades.
Visitors can see paintings by European masters such as Rembrandt, Goya, Titian and Rubens. The collection also includes works by prominent Modernist and impressionist artists such as Manet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Gauguin.
One of the best museums in Los Angeles for art and history lovers, it also has a large collection of Medieval illuminated manuscripts from Germany as well as Greek and Roman antiquities, sculptures and decorative arts.
The museum offers a number of guided tours, including architecture tours of the Getty Center and garden tours of Getty Villa. Visitors can also take a tour of the art collections of each campus.
The Getty puts on courses and events throughout the year where visitors can join art classes and discussions and witness performances and much more.
Check out the Getty during your stay in Los Angeles for one of the finest and most eclectic art collections on the West Coast.
2 – Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The West Coast’s largest art museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art covers up to 6,000 years of art history.
With nearly 150,000 objects in its collection from all over the globe, LACMA presents diverse exhibitions which are often framed from a unique or distinct perspective.
Officially founded in 1961, the museum houses art objects from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific islands which includes paintings, prints, sculptures, carvings, jewelry, weapons and musical instruments to name but a few.
In its galleries, visitors can see paintings by some of the world’s greatest artists, including Titian, Rembrandt and Strozzi as well as Monet, Cézanne, Picasso and Renoir.
It also has ancient objects including Greek and Roman pottery from 3rd century B.C, decorative and functional metalwork from the 6th century B.C and gold jewelry from the 8th century B.C.
Visitors can also see an Assyrian relief that is nearly 3,000-year-old in the museum’s varied collection and modern silverware from Mexico and Peru which includes jewelry, decorative arts and cutlery.
There is a lot to see in this diverse and eclectic museum. Check out some of its temporary exhibitions for some of the best contemporary art in the city.
3 – California Science Center
Home to the Space Shuttle Endeavour, the California Science Center is a fun and fascinating place to visit for all the family.
The center has a collection of space-related artifacts and exhibitions to explore. As well as including objects that actually went into space with the Endeavour, there are also spaceship parts such as its huge fuel tank, rocket engines and more.
Visitors can walk around the historic spaceship — which completed 25 return journeys to space and see it from all angles. Learn a little about the missions it undertook and the crew that traveled in it.
Young visitors can explore the discovery rooms to get hands-on with science or investigate the gardens to see an A-12 Blackbird spy plane, which is the only one of its kind in the world.
California Science Center also has permanent exhibitions looking at Fire safety, the beginnings of life on Earth and our planet’s amazing ecosystems.
Why not check out a 3D movie in the center’s IMAX theater? Discover more about underwater worlds, ancient temples and the distant reaches of space with these educational big screen productions.
4 – The Broad
One of the leading contemporary art museums in the city, The Broad has a collection of over 2,000 artworks from the 1950s to the present day.
Founded by Eli and Edythe Broad — who built the collection, the museum contains pieces by Jasper Johns, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol to name but a few.
The Broad offers free admission and is housed in a state-of-the-art purpose-built gallery designed by the renowned architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro.
The building includes two floors of gallery space and also houses the vault which contains the artworks not currently on display. Visitors can peek through the special viewing windows into the vault to see the scope of the collection.
The collection includes works by over 200 artists, including some of the most prominent and influential of the last 50 years. The Broad often hosts expansive exhibitions around the works of one artist in its collection.
As well as paintings there are also some impressive installation pieces such as two of Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms.
The unique and thorough collection at The Broad is a must-see for contemporary art lovers while visiting Los Angeles.
5 – La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
For more than 100 years, La Brea Tar Pits have been one of the world’s most fascinating paleontological sites.
The tar pits, which actually produce natural asphalt, have yielded over 3.5 million fossils which were once prehistoric plants, animals and creatures.
Visitors can check out the museum where many of the best fossils are exhibited to the public. Here you can see the remains of giant sloths, Ice-Age mammoths and Saber-toothed cats which lived between 10,000 and 50,000 years ago.
See the Fossil Lab, where a team of scientists and volunteers patiently clean and prepare the objects and sort through the tiny microfossils that are excavated with the bones.
You can also visit the excavation site to see how the fossils are removed from the hardened asphalt and the extensive work that goes into documenting and measuring their positions for future analysis.
There is a lot to see on a visit to La Brea Tar Pits. Take a stroll around Hancock Park and the Lake Pit — which features a reconstruction of a mammoth being trapped in tar and sculptures of giant sloths.
La Brea Tar Pits has a lot to see and do and children and adults alike are sure to be captivated by the many exhibits on display making it one of the best museums in Los Angeles for families. Don’t miss this captivating excavation site right in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles!
6 – Hollywood Wax Museum®
Without a doubt one of the most fun museums in Los Angeles, the Hollywood Wax Museum has been welcoming guests for over 50 years.
Located on Hollywood Boulevard in the thick of the action, the museum is one of the city’s best and most popular family-friendly attractions. It has wax figures of the biggest stars from TV and film both past and present.
Grab a selfie with screen legends like Morgan Freeman, Samuel L. Jackson and Lucille Ball and pose with realistic props and costumes to really bring your photographs to life.
There are lots of opportunities to grab pictures with your favorite stars and different scenarios to explore. Mingle with the Tinsel Town elite at an A-list Hollywood party, climb onstage with your favorite pop star or even marry a Hollywood celeb.
Get up close with likenesses of some of the biggest stars in the world and experience the glitz and glamour of Hollywood at this terrific city center attraction.
This is fun the whole family will enjoy.
7 – The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens
A world-class research institute, The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical gardens is one of the best cultural attractions in the city and has, by far, one of the best museums in Los Angeles.
Though the library is only officially open to scholars, visitors can tour the Library Exhibition Hall to check out exhibitions and some of what it has to offer.
The Remarkable Works, Remarkable Times exhibit features some key items from Huntington’s collection of over 11 million artifacts. These include a historic manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and many prints, photographs, maps and rare volumes.
The Huntington Art Museum is home to a diverse collection of American and European artworks. Discover paintings by some of the great masters of European art, including one of the largest selections of British art outside of the United Kingdom.
The American art collection includes paintings, drawings and decorative arts with works by John Singleton Copley and Mary Cassatt. Its decorative art collection spans from the 18th to the 20th century and there are also many works of American sculpture to peruse.
A day at The Huntington wouldn’t be complete without time spent exploring its magnificent botanical gardens. Here visitors can see landscaped gardens representing the world’s drastically different climates from the desert to the jungle.
The Huntington is home to the largest Chinese Garden outside of China and an impressive Japanese Garden with a ceremonial tea house, zen garden and a collection of hundreds of bonsai.
8 – Norton Simon Museum
Located in a building remodeled by the notable architect Frank Gehry, Norton Simon Museum is home to one of the world’s most outstanding private art collections.
The Norton Simon Museum was founded in the mid-1970s when the Pasadena Museum of Modern Art merged its collection with the private art collection of the industrialist Norton Simon.
Its varied collection includes sculptures and paintings from America, Europe and Asia and includes works by many important artists.
Its modern art section has pieces by Marcel Duchamp, Edward Kienholz and Andy Warhol as well as post-war California artists such as Hassell Smith, Emerson Woelffer and Helen Pashgian.
Its collection of artworks from Asia and Southeast Asia is world-renowned and includes ancient sculptures from India as well as Japanese prints and paintings from Tibet and Nepal.
The Museum’s European art collection is considered to be one of the finest in the United States and covers the period from the Renaissance to the early 20th Century.
Here you can see works by artists such as Botticelli, Raphael and Zurbaran as well as Goya, Rembrandt and Rubens.
You can also check out impressionist works by Monet and Renoir as well as sculptures by Rodin and paintings by influential artists, including Picasso, Cézanne and Gauguin.
9 – World of Illusions Los Angeles
One of the wackiest and most fun museums in Los Angeles, The World Of Illusions is a great place to snap unbelievable photographs that will dazzle your friends. It has a whole bunch of themed rooms that are designed to astound and trick the eye.
Here you can visit fairytale worlds and colorful spaces that will give you some of the best holiday snaps around.
It has four themed experiences to try, including The Museum of Illusions, Giants House, Upside-Down House and Smash It.
The Museum of Illusions puts you in the center of the action. Snap some pics in front of the sinking Titanic, perch on the ledge of a skyscraper or steal treasure from a fire-breathing dragon.
Check out the Giant’s House and grab some photos with oversized props, including giant sneakers, cereal bowls and makeup. This is a colorful world that is custom-made for those who live to Instagram!
Grab some gravity-defying pictures in the Upside Down House where — you guessed it, everything is upside down. The seemingly ordinary rooms and objects are literally flipped on their head in this fun and mind-boggling world.
If you have a particular beef or grievance you just can’t seem to shake, Smash It is the room for you. Simply write whatever is bothering you on a piece of pottery and then smash it up to release your frustrations — who says therapy has to be hard work!
10 – Kidspace Children’s Museum
If you’re looking for fun things to do with the little ones while in Los Angeles, Kidspace Children’s Museum could be just the thing.
Kids, as well as adults, can enjoy the many creative learning experiences available here. Kidspace encourages children to experiment, play and have fun and provides the spaces and equipment to spark their curiosity.
In the Springtime, Kidspace hosts its annual Butterfly Season which features outdoor trails, activities and games. You also get the chance to adopt a caterpillar and take it home.
The Mighty Build Guild is a fun place for the whole family to create grand structures from cardboard or get a chance to contribute to one of the museum’s art installations.
Kidspace has over 3.5 acres of grounds to explore and plenty of outdoor games and fun experiments. Climb through a giant bird’s nest, play musical instruments or launch rockets and tennis balls while learning about forces and motion.
Kidspace Children’s Museum is more than just an entertaining space for kids to play, it’s a place to build memories you’ll remember forever.
11 – The Museum of Contemporary Art
One of the best-loved contemporary art museums on the west coast, MOCA is well worth a visit during your time in Los Angeles.
With two venues in the city, the Museum of Contemporary Art displays a wide range of artworks and media created between 1940 and the present day.
MOCA Grand Avenue is the smaller of the museum’s exhibition spaces and hosts its main galleries and permanent collections. The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA building is located in a more expansive warehouse space and hosts a range of installation and multi-media exhibitions.
Established in 1979 the museum houses over 7,000 objects and has introduced groundbreaking artists and shows to the city. It champions some of the most challenging art of the times and supports the production of art with a scholarship scheme.
It has hosted major retrospective exhibitions of work by artists such as Allen Ruppersberg, Barbara Kruger and Takashi Murakami.
Check out the website to see what is on show during your time in the city.
12 – Skirball Cultural Center
Skirball Cultural Center has a lot of fun exhibits and activities for the whole family.
The center is dedicated to sustaining and preserving California’s Jewish heritage but is open for everyone to enjoy. Visitors can take part in classes and programs aimed at families, see live music, join food tasting events and much more.
Kids can explore Noah’s Ark, one of the most unique and interactive play and learning areas in the city. Here they can climb, build, explore and bring the story of Noah’s Ark to life. This almost lifesize recreation of the biblical ship is packed full of fantastical animals, puppets and contraptions to spark children’s curiosity and imagination.
The Skirball Center also hosts a program of varied exhibitions, which have explored the cultural significance of Star Trek, the photography of Stanley Kubrick and the imaginative world of the puppeteer Jim Henson.
Why not check out one of the weekend Family Programs and try something new in Los Angeles. Take part in an archeology dig or join an outdoor art class and make memories you’ll keep forever.
13 – Hammer Museum
One of Los Angeles’ best free art galleries, The Hammer Museum at UCLA puts on eclectic exhibitions that address the most pressing needs of our times.
As well as prints and paintings the museum also exhibits sound and video installations and showcases works by emerging and relevant artists.
The Hammer Museum’s collections include European and American artworks collected by the museum’s founder Armand Hammer, The Grunwald Center Collection and the Hammer Contemporary Collection.
The Armand Hammer Collection features paintings from the 16th-20th centuries and includes works by Rembrandt, Titian, John Singer Sargeant and Goya to name a few as well as Gauguin, Degas and van Gogh.
The Grunwald Center Collection includes over 45,000 prints, drawings and photographs and is considered to be one of the country’s best collections of artworks on paper.
The Hammer collection includes contemporary artworks from 1960 onward and has a specific focus on local artists.
The museum also hosts a packed program of events and temporary exhibits throughout the year.
14 – GRAMMY Museum L.A. Live
Music lovers and audiophiles can enjoy exploring the GRAMMY Museum, created for people to deeply understand the history and significance of American music. It also hopes to inspire younger generations to appreciate and create music.
Located in downtown LA’s sports and entertainment hub, the museum displays musical instruments, videos, costumes, recording booths and other artifacts from Grammy Award winners. The Grammy is one of the top entertainment awards in the US, and has given recognition to a number of outstanding musicians since its first ceremony in 1959.
Aside from browsing award-winning records over the years, you can also visualize the unique process of every featured artist in creating music. These musicians include The Beatles, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse and Taylor Swift, among others.
See some remarkable costumes worn by artists during the awards night on the GRAMMY Red Carpet. It’s also a spotlight to fame for fashion designers to showcase their stunning collection of the year.
The current exhibit, Crossroads, showcases soundproof booths where they record and arrange commercial soundtracks. Experience recording your own voice covering a popular song inside these booths, and come up with a new remix.
The museum also promotes learning through music by providing education programs, alongside interactive and immersive exhibits, and workshops for students and teachers.
15 – Autry Museum of the American West
Located in Griffith Park, “the Autry” presents an inclusive history of the Western US, making you see Los Angeles from a whole new perspective as well.
Gathering stories from all generations of the people in the West, the museum curates historical and contemporary art, jewelry, weapons and implements, among other cultural artifacts.
The largest collection of its kind in the country, the museum has over 600,000 items portraying Native America, the history of California and pop culture to name a few.
The public can view these objects at the Resource Center in Burbank by 2022. Meanwhile, browse its online database to see what’s in store.
Current exhibitions include “The Silent West” showcasing posters from silent films depicting American West. Capture its style of cinema in the 1910s and 1920, as artists experimented in what was then a revolutionary art form.
Check out also the exhibition dedicated to Griffith Park to learn about its history and see the Yarnscape, a collage of crochet pieces made by the Autry community.
“Dress Codes” is another exhibition to look forward to in May, which collects iconic western styles of clothes — such as plaid shirts, fringed jackets and blue jeans. Find out how and why people wear them.
16 – Discovery Cube Los Angeles
Looking for kids to enjoy their time while in Los Angeles? Visit the Discovery Cube, a fun hands-on learning place for the youngsters.
While playing, they can discover about wildlife, robots, natural phenomena and everything else that involves science. They can touch all available objects and do their little experiments.
Let them be curious and get to know our world through social role-playing in miniature versions of grown-up scenarios, interactive displays and training courses.
Allow them to do their own shopping and make conscious choices at the Eco Market, and participate in conservation at the Race to Zero Waste area. See how they behave and deal with a tornado or experience adventure on a helicopter tour.
Children can easily spend a day here with plenty of activities and exhibits to tickle their imagination. Make sure they enter the Planetary Research Station where they can see up close a suspended replica of our blue planet.
This attraction demonstrates global warming and the impacts of climate change, teaching little fellows how they save the world in their own little ways.
Don’t miss the Discovery Theater and other areas where both kids and parents can have lots of fun learning how to make a difference.
17 – Japanese American National Museum
Wondering why many Americans love the Japanese culture, from kimono and anime to ramen and sushi — some have frequented or dreamt of visiting the beautiful country?
The rich heritage of Japanese ancestry in the US has played a significant part in the country’s cultural diversity, thanks to the extensive efforts of organizations such as the Japanese American National Museum.
The museum’s permanent collection consists of more than 150,000 pieces portraying the Japanese American experience during early settlement to the present day.
Picture out their everyday life through their work clothing, diaries and photographs, among other artifacts. Discover paintings of activities and landscapes based on the artist’s experience in a concentration camp in Utah during the Second World War.
Imagine the Japanese families thriving to live a normal life and achieve their American dreams through memorabilia like in the “Sakamoto-Sasano” collection. Browse photos, old yearbooks and school notes owned by teenagers who survived the prisons.
You can also view its online collections, including photos and digital copies of documents and other items — not only about war and suffering but also exciting experiences and success stories of Japanese Americans.
18 – California African American Museum
Discover the contributions of African Americans in the country through the art exhibits at the CAAM, with its permanent collection of more than 5,000 items from the 1800s to the present.
Aside from Victorian-era paintings and contemporary artworks, the museum also gathers historical artifacts, sculptures, films and photographs. Some works from its permanent collection such as in an exhibit called “Body + Text.”
It consists of painting, photographs, drawing and printed materials that illustrate a combination of a Black body and textual elements — encouraging social and political interpretations.
Current displays also include “Matthew Thomas: Enlightenment,” five-decade worth of multimedia works expressing the artist’s journey towards practicing Buddhism. A former art professor in Los Angeles, Thomas moved to Thailand where he continues his research about art and religious philosophies in different cultures.
At CAAM’s library, discover intriguing items in its special collection which showcases rare magazines, recordings and books such as “The White House Cookbook” published in 1907.
Families and children can have fun together in the museum’s various workshops dedicated to art-making and appreciation, especially for the younger generations. Keep an eye out for its upcoming and traveling exhibitions so you can time your visit to LA.
19 – Museum of Latin American Art
Bring your pencils and sketchpads, and get inspiration from the modern and contemporary artworks at the Museum of Latin American Art.
Explore drawings, paintings, sculptures, mixed media, videos and photographs collected in this first museum in the US that focuses only on Latin American and Latino art in the modern-day.
What started as a private collection of the Robert Gumbiner Foundation, the museum has collected more than 1,500 artworks — representing over 300 artists from 20 countries in Latin America since its opening in 1996.
Shows in 2022 include a comprehensive display of the magnificent works of world-renowned Judith Baca. She’s also known for designing one of the longest murals in the world, “The Great Wall of Los Angeles” which covers more than six blocks in the city.
Guided tours are available at 2 pm on Saturdays for current exhibits, while past exhibits can be viewed online.
Check out the Robert Gumbiner Sculpture and Events Garden where you can see sculptures from the museum’s permanent collection.
Bring the kids to a summer art and culture camp which happens every year as part of the museum’s educational program — to promote cross-cultural dialogues through art.
20 – Nethercutt Museum
One of the best museums in Los Angeles for engineering and auto enthusiasts, the Nethercutt Museum is packed with show-winning classic and vintage cars, antique furniture and mechanical musical instruments.
General admission to the museum is free which gives visitors the chance to see over 130 classic cars produced between the 1890s and the 1970s.
Visitors can also get a guided tour of the museum’s classic locomotive, the Canadian Pacific Royal Hudson and its private Pullman car, which was built in 1937.
There is a small fee to view the larger collection which includes over 50 American and European automobiles, including Duesenbergs, Cadillacs, Maybachs and more.
These are housed in the museum’s magnificent Grand Salon, which is styled like a New York showroom from the early 1900s with painted ceilings, mirror walls and marble fittings.
See the museum’s collection of historic hood ornaments and the many trophies that its vehicles have picked up in concourse d’elegance shows and competitions over the years.
Visitors can also explore the Nethercutt Music Room which houses an amazing collection of “automated mechanical instruments” such as music boxes, nickelodeons, pipe organs and much more.
21 – Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
With over 35 million objects in its collection, The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles has lots to see and experience.
Telling the story of Los Angeles and the changes in its natural landscape and creatures, the museum covers 4.5 billion years of the history of the region.
With three floors of permanent exhibitions, which include the history of the region’s Pre-Columbian cultures and over 600 rare objects from ancient American societies. See treasures of the Aztec, Maya and Inca including elaborate stone and metal objects and ceremonial items.
Children and adults alike will enjoy discovering the bones of prehistoric giants in the Dinosaur Hall. See the skeletons of full-grown and baby Tyrannosaurus Rex and discover the giant skull of an Ichthyosaur.
Discover the outdoor spaces of the museum’s Nature Gardens which are home to over 600 species of plants and act as a haven for wildlife in the city.
Visitors can also take advantage of the guided tours offered by the museum or catch a live theater show which brings to life dinosaur and Ice Age encounters.
The Natural History Museum also includes the La Brea Tar Pits and the William S. Hart House Museum — dedicated to the star of numerous silent-era cowboy movies.
22 – The Museum of Jurassic Technology
If you’re on the hunt for the surreal and unusual in Los Angeles, Your first stop should definitely be the Museum of Jurassic Technology.
The museum presents unique and obscure exhibits that fall somewhere between a Victorian-style curiosity cabinet and a circus sideshow. You are sure to be left awestruck and scratching your head in wonder.
Some of the fascinating exhibits that can be seen here include information on the Stink Ant of The Cameroon, elaborate fruit stone carvings and a “real-life” human horn.
This is a fun place to explore and you’re bound to leave the museum with more questions than you arrived with. It is left up to the visitor to decide how much of what they see is true and how much is expertly-curated nonsense, which is not as easy as you may think!
Take time to unwind in the second-floor Russian-style Tula Tea Room or catch a short movie in the Borzoi Kabinet Theater. For the most fun experience, visitors to The Museum of Jurassic Technology should definitely enter with an open mind.
23 – Long Beach Museum of Art
Founded in 1950, the Long Beach Museum of Art houses over 3,000 works in its rich collection.
Located in the historic Elizabeth Millbank Anderson House — which dates back to 1911, LBMA features paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints as well as decorative art pieces.
The museum features two expansive floors of gallery space which display a diverse program of temporary exhibitions, including solo artist shows and artworks from the museum’s permanent collection.
Some of the highlights include paintings by Vasily Kandinsky, Sherrie Wolf and Alexej Jawlensky and furniture by the industrial designers, Charles and Ray Eames.
Take a guided tour of the museum during your time in Los Angeles to discover a little more about its collection and see its stunning architecture for yourself.
Visitors shouldn’t miss the museum’s Sculpture Garden which represents 70 years of LBMA’s art collecting history. It features 12 sculptural pieces including works by American artists Claire Falkenstein and Peter Voulkos and European-born artists such as Harry Bertoia and Bordalo ii.
You can also take the time to grab a drink and a snack at the museum’s cafe, which has fantastic views of Catalina Island and the Long Beach Harbor.
24 – The Zimmerman Automobile Driving Museum
Calling all classic car enthusiasts, The Zimmerman Museum is a must-see!
With over 130 vintage autos, classics and muscle cars this is a dream come true for all you grease monkeys and gearheads.
The Zimmerman Automobile Driving Museum is not your average classic car museum. It collects and preserves these ancient autos while making them as accessible as possible.
You can take a guided tour of the museum to really get up close to the cars, touch them and, maybe even, take a ride in them. These are not just polished show-mobiles but fully-functioning down-to-earth classics and they are made to be experienced.
See cars that formerly belonged to the rich and famous including Howard Hughes and Eleanor Roosevelt as well as beautiful and iconic vehicles such as classic Fords, Buicks and Plymouths.
Visit on the second and fourth Sunday of the month to get the opportunity to ride in one of the museum’s cars. This is sure to be an experience you’ll never forget.
With a year-round program of car-related events including ride alongs, car shows and classic collections there’s always something new to see here.
25 – The Banning Museum
Constructed as a private residence in 1864 by Phineas Banning, the entrepreneur referred to as “father of the Port of Los Angeles”, The Banning Museum is one of the city’s hidden historic gems.
Generations of Banning’s family lived in the house until the mid-1920s when it was acquired by the City of Los Angeles and became a public park.
It fell into gradual decline but has been revived by the Friends of Banning since the 1970s and now houses a museum to its former owner. Where better to discover Banning’s pioneering spirit than in the home he built?
The house is considered to be one of the finest examples of Greek revival architecture in Southern California and visitors can explore 18 of its 23 rooms — which have been restored to their original style. See some of the home’s original furnishings and reproductions of Civil War-era decorations.
The museum is set in 20 acres of beautifully landscaped parkland for visitors to explore and hosts regular events and exhibitions.
The Banning house is thought to be one of the most culturally significant historic buildings in the Los Angles area. History lovers will not be disappointed.
26 – The Hollywood Museum
Located in the famous Max Factor building — where the Hollywood makeup artist created iconic looks for the big screens golden-era stars, The Hollywood Museum is both iconic and historic.
Some of Hollywood’s biggest starlets, including Joan Crawford, Katherine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Bette Davis have spent time in this building. Check out the Max Factor makeup rooms to see where the showstopping looks were created.
Featuring the largest collection of Hollywood memorabilia in the world, the museum houses over 10,000 authentic items, including props, costumes, posters and much more.
See the famous “cars of the stars” and personal items that were once owned by the Hollywood greats. See amazing costumes from yesteryear, including a dress worn by Marilyn Monroe and a bathrobe belonging to Elvis.
Glimpse items from modern-day screen legends such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Cruise and even Rocky’s famous boxing gloves. There’s no end of fun to be found at the Hollywood Museum.
Visit the “Dungeon of Doom” to see spooky sets from classic horror movies. Witness Hannibal’s prison cell from “The Silence of the Lambs”, Boris Karloff classics such as “The Mummy” and “Frankenstein” and Horror’s leading ladies, Elvira and Vampira!
27 – Petersen Automotive Museum
Featuring one of the most impressive automobile collections on the West Coast, Petersen Automotive Museum is a must-see for car buffs and aficionados.
With a collection of over 250 rare and iconic cars, motorcycles and trucks in “The Vault”, the museum cover 120 years of motoring history. See pioneering early cars and modern supercars side by side.
Discover some of the most outstanding classic vehicles from around the world from manufacturers such as Porsche, Ferrari, Rolls Royce and Bugatti. See iconic movie cars, including a 1989 Batmobile and the first-produced Back to the Future DeLorean.
The museum also hosts regular exhibitions such as Bond in Motion — the official collection of James Bond vehicles featuring classic Aston Martins, helicopters and the famous aquatic Lotus Espirit from “The Spy Who Loved Me”.
It also hosts regular exhibitions focusing on electric vehicle technology and modern supercars.
The Petersen Museum also has some awesome motorcycles in its collection including an early Harley Davidson 11-F fitted with a sidecar the 1932 Douglas Bulldog that was ridden by Robert Edison Fulton Jr. on his groundbreaking round the world trip.
28 – The Gamble House
Constructed in 1908 for David B. Gamble — the son of Procter and Gamble founder James Gamble, Gamble House has retained the original aesthetic and is a well-preserved example of American Craftsmen architecture.
After Gamble’s death in the 1920s, the house was inherited by family members and served as a residence until 1966 when it was gifted to the City of Pasadena. It is now a National Historic Landmark and considered to be a masterpiece of Arts and Crafts design.
Visitors can join one of a number of guided tours of the house and gardens to check out some of its unique features and well-preserved details. Designed by renowned architects Charles and Henry Greene, the Gamble House is one of the best surviving examples of their work.
Glimpse traditional American design elements and Japanese-inspired features throughout the house. See the outstanding joinery and hand-crafted wooden elements, which include the use of rare woods, that make the house so beautifully unique.
The artful stained glass windows and fittings that complete the house are also an amazing sight to see are sure to appeal to all lovers of great design.
Visit for yourself and see what makes The Gamble House such an architectural treasure of the city.
29 – Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
For a deeper look into the science and history of filmmaking, The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will not disappoint.
With over 13 million items in its extensive collection of memorabilia, there’s a lot to see here. The museum hosts a changing program of exhibits, including permanent and temporary exhibitions looking at the technical and cultural side of the movies.
Visitors can discover the work of pioneering directors from around the world and explore the “Stories of Cinema” exhibit which extends over three floors. Learn about some of the key moments in the history of film where the popular movies of the past are recontextualized for a modern audience.
There are also exhibits that celebrate often overlooked but crucially important items such as backdrop art. See an iconic piece of scenery from the Hitchcock classic “North by Northwest”.
Get the feeling of stepping out onto the red carpet in the “Oscars Experience”. Feel the glitz and glamor of the movie industry’s most prestigious award show and even get a commemorative video of the event.
Movie buffs get the chance to glimpse the Richard Balzer Collection, which exhibits early movie-making equipment and the mechanical optical devices that lead to the invention of the first camera. Explore over 9,000 objects from before the days of cinema from Europe, America and Asia, some of which date back to the 17th century.
30 – Museum of Dream Space
One of the first museums in the United States to exhibit only digital artworks, the Museum of Dream Space is a unique concept in Los Angeles and an innovative exhibition space.
The museum’s approach is inspired by the works of Yayoi Kusama — whose “Infinity Rooms” can be seen at The Broad in Los Angeles, and the wider digital art scene in Asia.
Using the latest digital technologies the museum displays a variety of light displays, projections and digitally produced and manipulated artworks to create visually interesting spaces.
The Museum of Dreamspace creates surreal environments and allows visitors to step inside them and become a part of the artworks. It also allows photography so, as you can imagine, this place is very popular with Instagram-ers and those looking to create stunning images for social media.
The Museum has two locations in Los Angeles, one in Beverly Hills and the other in Hollywood. This is a must-visit for Insta-addicts and social media devotees looking for that perfect stunning shot.
31 – Heritage Square Museum
Marvel at the elegance of buildings built during Los Angeles’ Victorian period. This is a time when European influences in art and construction were prevalent in the LA neighborhoods.
During the peak of the Industrial Revolution, the West Coast opened to people from all over the world. The region’s economic boom created a rise in the amount of luxurious architecture and the quality of interior design in the city.
See some of the best examples as they were in the 19th century when Europeans were first settling in Southern California. Instead of visiting various villages where these buildings still exist, just head to the Heritage Square Museum, a 10-minute drive from Downtown LA.
Over the past decades, the museum has preserved a number of historic houses and buildings — all beautifully restored and nestled within the square.
The museum features eight eclectic buildings which show some of the prominent design styles of the era, including Queen Anne, Eastlake and Carpenter Gothic architecture.
Many of the houses demonstrate the quality craftsmanship of the times such as the John Ford House, which has wooden interior and exterior decorations hand-carved by the owner.
32 – Travel Town Museum
Since first formed in the 1980s, Travel Town Museum‘s collection has grown from a single-engine to over 40 historic locomotives and railroad cars. There is no better place to discover the history of the Southern California Railroad than right here.
Explore 19th-century steam engines such as the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe from 1899 and the Stockton Terminal & Eastern #1, built in 1864.
See historic and luxurious passenger cars such as the Pennsylvania Railroad Dining Car and the Little Nugget Dormitory Car from 1937.
Discover the fascinating story of local entrepreneur Fred Harvey, known as “the civilizer of the West” who built a chain of restaurants, souvenir stands and hotels along the Santa Fe Railway System.
There are also a few historic Los Angeles trolley cars and interurban trams which operated in the city from the 1880s right up until 1963.
As well as taking tours of all the amazing engines, visitors to Travel Town Museum can grab a ride on the small gauge railway that runs throughout the site.
Don’t forget to visit the gift shop too to pick up all kinds of train-related items, including books, jewelry, toy trains and much more.
33 – Battleship USS Iowa Museum
An award-winning museum of naval history anchored in the Port of Los Angeles, the USS Iowa is a rare surviving example of its class and the only one found on the west coast of the United States.
The USS Iowa was commissioned in 1943 towards the end of the Second World War and served missions in both World War II and the Korean War.
It has welcomed a number of United States leaders on boards, including Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush — leading to the nickname the “Battleship of Presidents”.
Visitors can explore the ship through a series of guided and self-guided tours. Take a tour of the weapons systems or one focused on the engineering of the ship to pick up fun and fascinating facts.
Look out for the Vicky the dog scavenger trail as you explore, lead by the ship’s beloved mascot.
Discover feats of bravery by crew members throughout the ship’s lifetime and see artifacts and artwork related to the ship.
There’s a lot to see and do on this historic and magnificent US Battleship.
34 – Guinness World Records Museum
One of Hollywood’s most-visited attractions, The Guinness World Records Museum shines a light on the near super-human feats and achievements of its many record holders.
Discover the unusual and sometimes downright weird things that people attempt to make it into the hallowed Guinness Book of World Records.
Learn about outstanding sporting achievements and people who push the boundaries of human tolerance. Discover courageous individuals who went the extra mile to achieve what was thought impossible at this awesome Hollywood Boulevard museum.
Measure your height against the world’s tallest man and compare your weight against the world’s heaviest person. See which video game character is the world’s best-selling and many other record-breaking extremes.
Try your hand at beating some records yourself, including beating a drum as fast as you can, pulling super-speedy dance moves and scoring as many baskets as you can. Who knows you might just make it into the next edition of the book!
Kids also get the chance to try out record attempts for themselves. Test their strength and stamina in a series of fun and tricky challenges.
35 – Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum
For all your occult, sideshow and horror needs in Los Angeles, you have to check out the Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum.
Packed with oddities and vintage items related to the macabre and supernatural, this delightful museum will astound, dumbfound and disturb — but that’s why you’re going right?
Check out a spooky art show or one of the weird exhibitions on display. Grab some interesting photo opportunities around the museum in amongst the horror-styled stage sets and interactive props. Horror-movie fanatics will love this place!
Discover more about the supernatural arts and particularly Ouija boards and palmistry and maybe even pick up some magical items from the gift shop or get a Tarot reading.
There’s a lot of fun horror-related merchandise and paraphernalia available here too including stickers, books, novelties and oddities.
The Bearded Lady Vintage store is located right across the street from the museum and, it’s safe to say, if you like the spooky vibe of this place you’ll love the store. This is a must-see for lovers of the kitsch, kooky and terminally spooky!
36 – Cayton Children’s Museum
With over 21,000 square feet of interactive play equipment and exhibits, Cayton Children’s Museum is an ideal place to visit with younger children.
Formerly known as the Zimmer Children’s Museum, It has been creating fun and engaging activities for kids for over 30 years.
As well as a place to explore and have fun the museum also hosts a program of events, classes, workshops, festivals and more. The wide variety of experiences here helps to stimulate creativity, nurture children’s imagination and create a new kind of fun learning experience.
Little ones get to experience the world of adults through replicas of real-world places, including a firehouse, community market and an animal hospital. Here they can learn about responsibility and cooperation and discover the importance of community.
Kids can step onboard an actual helicopter or a coastguard lifeboat in the safety of a ball pool. Dance, crawl, climb and more in this colorful and interactive world designed especially for little people.
There’s a lot for kids and parents to discover here. Explore enticing contraptions together which teach valuable skills or grab the chance to immerse yourselves in the visual or theatrical arts. There’s all this and more at Cayton Children’s Museum.
37 – Museum of Flying
First opened in 1979, The Museum of Flying houses vintage aircraft and vehicles — many of which date from World War II.
Located at Santa Monica Airport, the museum features a collection that once belonged to Donald Wills Douglas Sr, the President and founder of the Douglas Aircraft Company.
The original collection did not include any aircraft but covered the history of the Douglas Company and the development of Santa Monica Airport. The museum now features over 50 historic aircraft — of which many were built in California.
Check out the Early Aviation Hangar Bay to see historical aircraft, such as a replica of the Wright Flyer and learn about early aircraft design.
The Display Gallery has a rotating collection of aircraft on display and the Interactive Area where kids get the chance to sit in a number of actual aircraft cockpits, including a Lockheed-T33 and Boeing 727.
Discover the museum’s Screening Room which allows visitors to catch documentaries and movies related to historical air travel, including test footage of early vehicles.
Visitors with a particular interest in the Douglas Aircraft Company can also visit the historic boardroom with its iconic table that celebrates the company as the first to succeed in around-the-world navigation by airplane.
38 – Forest Lawn Museum
The original Forest Lawns Cemetery in Glendale, California opened in 1906. It now has 10 other locations dotted around the state and is also home to a unique art museum and some very large and impressive pieces of religious art.
Forest Lawn is home to a stunning stained glass recreation of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous work, The Last Supper. This huge glass artwork is 30 feet in length and 15 feet high and took seven years to complete.
The Hall of Crucifixion Resurrection is another impressive must-see sight at Forest Lawns. It houses the enormous painting “The Crucifixion” created in the 1890s by Polish artist, Jan Styka. The picture is 195 feet long and 45 feet high and is the focal point of the auditorium.
The Forest Lawn Museum hosts regular exhibits of religious art, including the works of Julicka Lackner, Matthew Brandt and historic photos, drawings and paintings from the Forest Lawns Collection.
Admission to the Museum is free of charge and visitors can explore the parks to see a number of other sculptures and artworks located in the grounds.
39 – Museum of Neon Art (MONA)
Dedicated to displaying the finest neon art, including historic signs, artworks and innovative design pieces, the Museum of Neon Art is one of Los Angeles’ most captivating galleries.
If you’re on the hunt for something arty but just a little different, MONA might fit the bill. For over three decades the museum has celebrated and preserved the best of historic and modern neon creations.
It houses a permanent collection of technical and artistic pieces and also shows temporary works from independent artists and creators. Here you can find historic clocks, iconic signs, eye-popping artworks and antique equipment.
Join a class to see the whole process of creating neon artworks from start to finish or take one of the MONA Neon Cruise tours around the city with one of the museum’s neon aficionados.
Check out one of the museum’s exhibitions which include works by artists such as Tessy Dong, Gabby Miller and Kunio Ohashi.
Discover the fascinating history and cultural significance of neon and discover some of its most exciting emerging artists at this unique Los Angeles Museum.
40 – Museum of Selfies
Looking to take the best snaps and find amazing photo ops? Look no further than the Museum of Selfies.
This new Hollywood museum is packed full of Instagram-worthy sets and locations in which to take unique and attention-grabbing shots.
Gather up your family and friends for an afternoon of fun and frivolity in this lighthearted tourist attraction. Explore immersive installations and snap wild and colorful photos as you explore the glitzy “museum” space.
Ever wanted to walk down the red carpet at the Oscars? You can here! Want to sit on the famous GOT throne or lounge in a bath of gold? You can at the Museum of Selfies. There are so many great selfie opportunities to adorn your social media with.
This is great fun for kids and adults alike and will definitely spark your creativity. Challenge each other to take the craziest photo or most artistic snap in this fun Hollywood Boulevard attraction.
41 – Fort MacArthur Museum
Commissioned in 1888 by President Grover Cleveland, Fort MacArthur is a historic United States Army post in Los Angeles Harbor.
The fort remained in active use from 1914 up until 1974 and formerly housed large gun batteries which were placed to defend the coastline from attack. The guns were retired in 1948 after the Second World War.
In the early part of the 20th century, Los Angeles was home to a number of important manufacturing plants for aircraft and shipbuilding as well as the nearby oil fields.
Fort MacArthur’s Battery Osgood-Farley was one of the large gun batteries which protected this vital part of the coastline and are considered to be one of the best surviving examples in the country.
The museum has a number of exhibitions that cover the history of the fort and the military campaigns that took place there. There are also a number of physical exhibits including the fort’s Radio Room which are open for exploring.
Fort MacArthur has been a filming location for a number of movies and TV shows over the years, including A Few Good Men, Pearl Harbor, Torchwood and 24.
42 – USC Pacific Asia Museum
One of only a handful of North American institutions dedicated solely to the culture of Asia and the Pacific Islands, USC Pacific Asia Museum is a treasure trove of art and history.
The museum’s roots span back to the early 20th century and the enthusiasm of its founder, the entrepreneur and collector Grace Nicholson.
The building was constructed in 1924 as a residence and gallery space for Nicholson and her collection. It was also once the location of the Pasadena Art Museum.
It now houses more than 15,000 items in its collection which cover 4,000 years of human history.
Here visitors can see Japanese artworks on paper, including Edo-era pieces by Hokusai and Utomaro and over 160 woodblock prints from the 20th century. It also holds a large collection of East Asian ceramics, including a number of ancient items from China.
You can also see fine jade jewelry, Chinese textiles and clothing items from as far back as the 14th century and silk kimonos from the Japanese Meiji Period.
The museum also has over 200 sculptures, paintings and religious items some of which are 2,000 years old and hail from all over Asia, including Tibet, China, Vietnam, India and Nepal.
43 – The Paley Center for Media
Discover the art and talents behind America’s most beloved old and new TV shows! Listen to music and drama shows of the old days. Better yet, Grab the chance to see your favorite TV stars and celebrities while you are in LA!
Formerly named Museum of Television & Radio (MT&R) and founded in 1975 by William S. Paley, The Paley Center for Media is dedicated to preserving American television and radio programs, as its pride and duty to pass on for the generations to come.
The online archives and programs are available to view but the museums Beverly Hills Museum has since closed down. Choose from hundreds of archived films, TV shows, radio programs and the interactive Art of Television.
The center holds holistic research programs on the social impact of media, as it evolves into modern forms. It also openly and constantly hosts discussions on related topics.
Check out the Yearly PaleyFest, held at the state-of-the-art Dolby Theater to catch up on the latest from the world of TV, Radio and Media.
44 – Museum of Tolerance
The Museum of Tolerance is one of the city’s most unique and important institutes for those who want to learn more about the Holocaust and its historic contexts.
Established by Simon Wiesenthal and the Simon Weisenthal Center, the MOT lets visitors understand the discrimination and societal changes that lead to the persecution of Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe. It also helps us uncover the same prejudices that may still exist today.
Its founder, Simon Weisenthal, survived the concentration camps of the Second World War and spent the rest of his life collecting information and bringing over 1,100 Nazi officers to trial.
The museum’s Anne Frank exhibition is one of its most poignant and recreates the room in which the young girl spent nearly two years in hiding with her family. It tells her story in her own words and displays artifacts and a copy of the now-famous diary she kept.
The Holocaust Exhibit is a powerful visual representation of the era and recreates key events and scenes from the time. Visit a 1930s Berlin cafe and the Hall of Testimony to hear true stories of bravery and sacrifice.
See artifacts from the Auschwitz death camp and learn how allied leaders failed to stop the ascension of Hitler to power. A trip to the Museum of Tolerance gives a great overview of the political problems and dangerous prejudices in early-20th-century Europe that shouldn’t be forgotten.
45 – Los Angeles Maritime Museum
Watch different kinds of enormous ships and even take a ride on the tiny tugboats. Learn what it is like to be a sailor, pick up some maritime terminology and brush up on the history of vessels — from container tanks to army ships.
Visitors to the Los Angeles Maritime Museum get to discover all things about the Maritime Industry operations both on land and at sea.
If you are not afraid to test the waters and perhaps get a tad bit wet, take a ride on the ANGELS GATE — the small hard working tugboats that had been working hard towing boats and providing fun tours on the busiest port of Los Angeles.
Ever wondered what it is like inside the lighthouse? Take a quick peek at The Angels Gate Lighthouse (officially known as Los Angeles Harbor Light). The lighthouse has steadfastly served its purpose as a beacon of light and direction on the gates of the port for more than 100 years.
The history behind people who worked hard to build the harbor is also preserved. The museum pays its tributes to the fishing communities and canning factories in one of their permanent exhibits.
Tour groups for children are for free. But, adult tour groups are encouraged to shell out donations.
46 – The Fowler Museum
Found within the vibrant campus of UCLA’s School of the Arts and Architecture, The Fowler Museum houses more than 600,000 relevant historical artifacts and indigenous art — from Africa, North to South America, and the eastern Asia and Pacific islands.
The compelling exhibitions at the museum aim to raise the comprehension and awareness of the UCLA community and visitors on the diversity. They also encourage the unity of the cultures and traditions, religions, politics and differences of the peoples in the focused areas.
Bead arts of Africa, ceramics and paper structures from Mexico to Peru, textiles from Asia and the Pacific, and priceless silver by Karl Fabergé, among others — the visual journey is endless.
Fascinating, exotic and interdisciplinary exhibits include Art and Transformation which showcases how tribal art objects are also used in their medicine, religious rituals and social activities.
Amazing textiles produced traditionally and manually by the aborigines from the Top End region of Australia are on display. More than 70 unique and colorfully designed textiles manifest stories and expressions of the culture of the tribes.
Hand-made by the indigenous peoples themselves in their own art centers, the textiles can be purchased in the museum’s shop, as well as other souvenirs such as jewelry, art books and handicrafts.
The Fowler Museum is now open Wednesday to Sunday, from 12 pm to 5 pm. Admission is always free.
47 – The Wende Museum
Espionage. Nuclear Inventions. The Space Race. The Berlin Wall. What really happened in the Cold War of the United States of America and the USSR?
Head on to The Wende Museum and be inspired by the transformation of events leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall and life after it.
Founded in 2002, the museum holds a massive collection of everything and anything about the Cold War from 1947 to 1991. Browse from printed media archives, clothes, furniture, short films, diaries and notes — to tools, machines and fascinating photos of life captured during this uncertain time.
“Wende” means “change” in German. Thus, the museum actively participates in community empowerment and building alliances with non-profit organizations with the common cause of igniting change.
Plenty of souvenirs, artifacts, material records and important historical objects are on display here. The museum acknowledges the need for research into the politics, culture, struggles and the life and death of this era — which it preserves through its acquisition efforts. The museum now houses more than 100,000 relevant materials.
It’s open only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm. And yes, admission is free! Do make a reservation in advance if you are a group of six or more.
48 – Lomita Railroad Museum
Do you find miniature steam train toys amazing? Surely you will find the real ones more incredible!
Step inside the Lomita Railroad Museum, a unique reproduction of a 19th-century railway station and authentic and well-maintained steam locomotives.
Built in 1966, the museum is in fact a gift to the City of Lomita from Mrs. Irene Lewis in honor of his late railroader husband — along with various donations and efforts of railroad workers, operators, artists and steam engine locomotive enthusiasts.
The museum aims to raise awareness and further study on how these magnificent means of transport have continued to shape the present and history of California and the rest of the western states and perhaps give a glimpse of the future of the railway industry.
Guided tours take about an hour with the history of the museum, different train types and functions, and the 35 feet tall water tower essential in operating the locomotives.
So come on board the 1902 Southern Pacific Locomotive and 1910 Union Pacific Caboose, and let your traveling imagination take you on a classic train ride!
Open on Fridays to Sundays, 10 am to 5 pm. Children below 2 years old are free of admission. Parking is free.
49 – Los Angeles Police Museum
For those who are inspired by the works of police officers, as well as kids who want to become one in the future, the Los Angeles Police Museum is right for you.
Located in the Highland Park Police Station, the museum showcases the rich and interesting history of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Discover more about the police station that was built in 1925. When it was closed in 1983, it was ravaged by vandals, fires and water damages. It was later restored to its original Renaissance Revival style.
Founded in 2001, the museum offers research services for members and non-members in making the LAPD’s amazing past accessible for those interested in its history. You can find police radios and armored cars, as well as historical uniforms and badges, and interactive programs.
Drop by at the shop and pick up some LAPD hats, Robert Stewart Custom Challenge coins and other souvenir items.
50 – Holocaust Museum LA
Known to be the first-survivor founded holocaust museum in the United States in 1961, the Holocaust Museum LA aims to commemorate and honor those who were perished during the Holocaust.
The museum is a free cultural institution with the sole focus is to give emphasis to the horrific impact of the Holocaust. You can see a lot of photographs and documents before the war from a group of survivors.
One of the highlights is a display of various photos of Polish Jews and a portrayal when the Lados group imitated passports and documents to help Jews to escape from death.
The museum teaches students and visitors to think about the lessons of the Holocaust and its social relevance today. Museum admission is free for all students and California residents.
It also conducts customized tours, artifact-rich exhibitions, creative educational programs and conversations with survivors.
51 – Avila Adobe
Known to be the oldest house in Los Angeles, the Avila Adobe sits right in the heart of Olvera Street and is named after an architect, Francisco Avila, who built this house in 1818 — during the last days of the Spanish era.
With walls made of sunbaked adobe bricks, the house was designed to regulate the temperature, keeping the interior cooler even during summer. Visit and be amazed at its structure bringing you into the past.
Don’t forget to check “Infinity Room,” which a lot of tourists consider as the most interesting place in the house which showcases old paintings. Apart from enjoying the scenery while in the area, drop by at the local shops and restaurants.
Don’t hesitate to include this museum in your itinerary, and book your visit now to enjoy the place for free.
52 – Western Museum of Flight
Do you have childhood dreams of being a pilot? Are you one of the kids who enjoys playing with toy planes? This museum located at Zamperini Field, the municipal airport in Torrance, California, awaits you.
The Western Museum of Flight aims to capture the imagination and inspire achievement by looking back on the memorable experiences that celebrate the rich Southern California Aerospace Legacy.
Explore various aircraft, exhibits and many more displays, as well as over 300 models, including numerous wind tunnel models and hundreds of plastic scale models.
One of the featured aircraft is the Northrop YF-23A known as “Black Widow II.”
Include this museum on your bucket list and enjoy viewing the evolution of Southern California’s aircraft.
53 – Craft Contemporary
For those who love learning and making art pieces, Craft Contemporary is the best place to visit in LA. Founded in 1973 and located at Miracle Mile, this museum supports underrepresented artists and designers in the art industry.
It also aims to deepen the relationship of the people of Los Angeles with art, showcasing various contemporary arts made from craft media and processes.
This museum offers craft workshops by one of the best artists in Los Angeles. It also hosts talks and lectures, as well as amazing handicrafts at home.
It’s also open for after-school programs designed for teens who are interested in pursuing careers in art. They have the opportunity to work with and visit studios of various contemporary artists.
54 – Chinese American Museum
Are you one of those curious types who have an interest in the history of how Chinese-American relationships started?
Visit the Chinese American Museum, located at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, which is the oldest and last surviving Chinese structure in Los Angeles known to be the “Original Chinatown.”
It’s the first museum in Southern California dedicated to preserving and sharing the experiences and contributions of Chinese Americans in the United States. It also showcases the creativity of various Asian American artists through conducting exhibits.
Discover how Chinese communities began and settled in Los Angeles with one of the exhibitions, Sun Wing Wo. It’s a herb shop that shows the practice and availability of traditional Chinese Medicine at the time. The display replicates the original design of the store that was housed at the Garnier Building from 1891 to 1948.
For educational purposes, the museum facilitates art activities or workshops that engage students with Chinese American history, arts and culture. It also offers guided school tours to all levels of learners for free, and you can donate if you like.
55 – Pasadena Museum of History
Dedicated to preserving and sharing history, art and culture, the Pasadena Museum of History was founded in 1924, situated in Pasadena, California.
One of its highlights is the Feynes Mansion that majestically stands at Pasadena’s Millionaire’s row that will show you the rich culture of Pasadena.
Apart from that, the museum has the largest and most comprehensive collections of artifacts of Pasadena’s history that span the year from 1834 to the present. Browse through over a million historic photographs, books and maps, among the collections.
Within the vicinity, you can travel back to the 19th century at Finnish Folk Art Museum which showcases various furniture and objects prevalent at the time.
This museum expresses recognition to their donors, as well as those Contemporary History Makers by having commemorative tiles. The Commemorative Tiles Campaign aims to celebrate the donation of Ernest A. Batchelder Tile Collection and Archives by architectural historian and Trustee Emeritus, Robert Winter.
56 – Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum
The first Spanish land grant in California, the Dominguez Rancho Adobe Museum was granted in 1784 by King Carlos III to a retired Spanish soldier named Juan Jose Dominguez.
Learn about the Dominguez Family and Rancho San Pedro, while exploring its beautiful gardens, historical grottos, orchards and more.
Experience the magnificence and elegance at the Rose Garden filled with over 300 roses, which also plays host to some workshops. Then-President Franklin Roosevelt built this garden as a summer destination in 1940, as part of his program to alleviate the country from the Great Depression.
Don’t miss the Cactus Garden, where you can see a wide variety of cacti, as well as the Orchards which were planted in the 1880s and were maintained for 40 years.
Bring some souvenirs from the gift shop that offers unique items for kids and adults. The museum is also open for school tours and internships.
57 – Valley Relics Museum
Centrally located in Lake Balboa, this one-of-a-kind pop culture museum preserves the cool history of The San Fernando Valley — with various neon signs, books, bikes, automobiles, clothing and more, collected from the 1800s to the present.
“A trip down to memory lane” is one of the best reviews to those who had visited the Valley Relics Museum. Be fascinated by the photographs, vintage menus and a lot of bicycle collections of all time preserved over the years.
For vintage design lovers, this is the place to be! You can find several cool designs for shirts, mugs, hats, tote bags and even face masks in its huge gift shop.
Take the children who surely will love the playable retro arcade, and keep an eye out for events here in one of the coolest museums in California.
58 – FIDM Museum & Galleries
Calling on fashion police and enthusiasts! This museum houses over 15,000 fashion objects from the 18th century, and 200,000 special collection artifacts with the help of their generous donors.
Established in 1969, FIDM collects outstanding and meaningful fashion items and materials that represent a particular culture, era or designer.
Browse the special collections, including women’s haute couture and ready-to-wear, menswear, accessories, textiles, jewelry, fragrance, film costumes, and world dress.
You can also find fashion magazines, photographs and design archives. FIDM definitely brings everyone to the wonderful world of fashion.
For aspiring fashion designers, FIDM fosters learning and welcomes fashion students for their design inspiration, as well as researchers to use the museum’s resources for their research.
59 – Southern California Children’s Museum
More like a spread-out play zone for kids, the Southern California Children’s Museum is an all-in-one space.
From artistic installations and murals, a unique simultaneous day-care center and workspace for parents, private party venues to extraordinary early childhood learning classrooms — the museum houses them all.
It offers arts and crafts, picture cards storytelling, language exchange and discovery, sing-along and dances, scavenger hunts, and gardening! There is no limit to the imagination and activities available for the kids and tiny visitors.
As the museum highlights the essence of play, mindfulness and meditation exercises — Black History awareness and, of course, the Rose parade celebration party are also on top of the list of things to explore in the museum.
The museum was created thanks to the initiatives and common drive of concerned parents, who wanted so much more holistic early childhood education for their own kids and for the children of their community in Pasadena.
Pandemic times did not hinder the SCCM from extending its services and activities. Virtual classrooms were created so that the learning adventure of children does not come to a pause.
The museum truly is a special place for children to learn and play, and for adults to enjoy like kids even for just a day too.
60 – Vincent Price Art Museum
Named after the famed American actor, writer, gourmet chef, art collector and art historian, the Vincent Price Art Museum opens up to the public with ingenious and avant-garde exhibitions that showcase the variety and depths of visual arts.
Thanks to the initial donation of around 2,000 personal artwork collections of Vincent Price himself and his wife Mary, the museum now boasts of more than 8,000 art collections from different genres and periods from Europe, Native Americas and Africa, among others.
The collection includes ancient objects such as ceramics, textiles and paintings from modern-day Central and Latin Americas.
The museum also serves as an educational facility for the students and community members around East Los Angeles College. Situated within the ELAC campus, it is a venue for temporary and permanent collections, as well as international and multicultural exhibitions, visual performances, community theatres and projects.
The VPAM creates a milieu for artists and students to innovate, express and break new ground in the unlimited scope and multimedia facet of visual arts.
Shows are made public to inspire and encourage everyone, including tourists to explore the form of the visual arts. Admission is free of charge.
61 – Southwest Museum of the American Indian
Interested in the American West? Curious about the indigenous peoples of the Americas?
The Autry Museum of the American West has gathered an extensive collection of artifacts and ancient cultural objects, native souvenirs of various American tribes such as baskets, pottery, ceramics, artillery, jewelry, clothing, among others. Such collections are displayed per theme, region and timeline.
Aiming to spread awareness about the cultural diversity and history of the American west, the museum also gives out scholarships to deserving students, research grants and fellowships and awards.
The Autry Museum strongly cares about bringing these cultural treasures and works in cooperation with tribes to return the artifacts back to their roots. Repatriation of some collections is part of the museum’s mission.
Indians and Cowboys did coexist but visitors can learn more about their history and how they paved the way for modern-day America. Students can get out of their four-walled classrooms and step into the wild wild west (or way beyond that) through interactive and virtual tours as well as join students’ visual arts exhibits.
There really is a lot to see and understand in the Autry. They are doing excellent work in collecting the ancient beliefs and traditions of the American West and the rest of North, Central and South America for the education of present and future generations.
62 – International Printing Museum
Printing books, magazines and newspapers is made easy with high-tech machine printers nowadays. But why make books and how were they printed then?
The International Printing Museum houses a huge and extensive collection of graphic arts and printing machinery, such as the Lindner Collection of Antique Printing Machinery.
Founded in 1988, the museum highlights the beauty and importance of the printing press, and of how it spreads information across different media types.
The museum reaches out to students of different ages and walks of life through open house activities and school visits. Tours can be designed based on the schools’ and students’ study plans.
Interactive tours on the history of printing are a must, especially for groups. Young audiences surely can enjoy the spectacle of Benjamin Franklin’s inventions and contributions to science and the art of printing.
The graphic arts tour takes visitors back in time, starting from papermaking, typography and image printing. One can actually watch and take part in the printing process, as old-school printing is explained and demonstrated.
The museum admission fee is $12 and $10 respectively for adults and minors. It is open on Saturdays and per appointment on weekdays.
63 – Martial Arts History Museum
Want to learn about the roots of Kung Fu but do not have the time to travel to Asia? While watching all the Kung Fu Panda and Karate Kid series is also not a bad idea, why not visit the Martial Arts Museum?
No idea about martial arts? Learn about it through interactive presentations, films, animé exhibits, ninja and samurai relics — plus a lot more about how martial arts has influenced the culture, art, music and societies in America.
Not only is it an educational facility, but the museum also creates projects, fundraising drives, launching workshops that benefit the communities around Glendale where it stands.
Who could have thought that sushi-making workshops, martial arts technique shows, arts and crafts activities are efficient ways to spread Asian Advocacy, such as #StopAsianHate campaigns?
Take a unique guided tour, better yet, a group activity that may include an exciting scavenger hunt. The tour takes only an hour, but you will have enough time to wander into the exciting world of martial arts. Don’t forget to drop by the museum’s shop to grab some funky or exotic souvenirs.
The museum truly is the ultimate place for kids, parents and for the young at heart — to discover a different kind of Asia.
We hope you enjoyed this list of the best Museums in Los Angeles to help you plan your next vacation. If you are looking for more fun ideas for activities, make sure to check out our selection of fun things to do in Los Angeles.
Let us know in the comments below which place is your favorite one.
As always, happy travels!