Los Angeles is a treasure trove of history, culture, and art. Its museums are renowned worldwide for their captivating exhibits, innovative presentations, and engaging interactions. If you’re planning to explore the culture of LA, we’ve curated a list of must-visit institutions that are currently open and ready to offer you an unforgettable experience.
1. World of Illusions
Located in the heart of Hollywood, the World of Illusions is more than just a museum; it’s a journey into a realm of fantasy. This unique attraction houses four mesmerizing exhibits. The Museum of Illusions is the first, boasting dozens of 3D illusions painted onto the walls that will delight both children and adults. You might find yourself escaping a giant’s grasp, teetering on a skyscraper’s edge, or exploring exotic locales, all within the confines of a single room.
The Upside Down House, another exhibit, presents a bizarre reality with seven rooms, each meticulously designed to be completely inverted. It’s a perfect spot for unusual and fun photo ops. Then there’s the Giant’s House, where you’ll feel like Alice in Wonderland, navigating a world filled with enormous everyday objects. The final exhibit, Smash It, invites you to let off some steam by smashing plates against the wall. The World of Illusions is a testament to LA’s innovative spirit, offering an experience that’s both immersive and interactive. It’s a must-visit destination for all fun-loving explorers.
2. Getty Museum
The Getty Museum, one of the most well-known galleries in Los Angeles, is open again to the public. Nestled in Brentwood, it boasts an impressive collection of European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. The striking architecture, picturesque gardens, and breathtaking city views are added bonuses that make a trip to the Getty a day well spent.
3. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
LACMA, located on Wilshire Boulevard, is the largest art gallery in the western United States. Now open, it’s home to a collection that includes over 150,000 works spanning the history of art from ancient times to the present. Don’t miss the iconic “Urban Light” installation at the gallery’s entrance, a favorite among Instagram enthusiasts.
4. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
For those with a love for history and nature, the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park is a must-see. Recently reopened, it houses exhibits featuring dinosaur fossils, gems and minerals, and a live Butterfly Pavilion. The museum’s extensive collections offer a fascinating glimpse into our planet’s history.
5. The Broad
The Broad, a contemporary art museum located in Downtown LA, has once again opened its doors to art lovers. It’s home to nearly 2,000 pieces of postwar and contemporary art. If you’re a fan of artists like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, or Jeff Koons, this gallery is a must-visit.
6. Griffith Observatory
The Griffith Observatory, situated within LA’s beautiful Griffith Park, is a portal to the cosmos. Now open to star gazers and curious minds alike, the Griffith Observatory allows visitors to explore the wonders of our universe. The stunning views of Los Angeles from the observatory are a definite highlight.
7. Petersen Automotive Museum
For automobile enthusiasts, the Petersen Automotive Museum, located on Wilshire Boulevard, is a must-visit. Recently reopened, it displays an impressive collection of over 300 vintage and modern vehicles. Its interactive exhibits and immersive experiences are sure to thrill both young and old.
8. La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
Situated in the heart of Los Angeles, the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum is an open-air museum that displays Ice Age fossils. This destination, currently open, provides a unique opportunity to watch paleontologists at work as they excavate and preserve ancient fossils.
9. Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Downtown LA is the only artist-founded gallery in the city. Open to the public, MOCA showcases an array of contemporary and postmodern art pieces that provoke thought and inspire creativity.
10. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens
Located in San Marino, just outside of LA, The Huntington is an oasis of art, literature, and botany. Now open to visitors, it features an extensive collection of rare books, European and American art, and 120 acres of breathtaking gardens.
11. Norton Simon Museum
The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, a short drive from LA, is home to a remarkable collection of European paintings and sculptures. Open for art lovers, it also hosts a notable collection of South Asian art, making it a cultural gem in the greater LA area.
12. Hammer Museum
Located in Westwood, LA, the Hammer Museum is an art gallery and cultural center known for its artist-centric and progressive array of exhibitions and public programs. Open and free to the public, it’s a fantastic place to explore modern art and culture.
13. Skirball Cultural Center
The Skirball Cultural Center, located in Brentwood, LA, is not just a museum, but a place of meeting. Now open, it seeks to welcome and inspire people with exhibitions and programs centered around Jewish heritage and American democratic ideals.
14. Annenberg Space for Photography
Located in Century City, the Annenberg Space for Photography is LA’s premier destination for photography. Currently open, it features digital and print photography in an intimate setting, with a special emphasis on documentary and photojournalistic work.
15. Japanese American National Museum
Located in Downtown LA, the Japanese American National Museum is the largest institution in the United States dedicated to sharing the experience of Americans of Japanese ancestry. Open to visitors, its moving exhibits provide important historical and cultural insights.
What are some family-friendly museums open in Los Angeles?
Los Angeles, known for its vibrant cultural scene, offers a plethora of family-friendly museums that are currently open and brimming with enticing exhibits. The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, with its intriguing dinosaur fossils and a live Butterfly Pavilion, is a popular choice among kids and adults alike, offering a fascinating journey back in time. The Petersen Automotive Museum is another family favorite, showcasing an extensive collection of vintage and modern vehicles. However, if you’re looking for an immersive and interactive experience, the World of Illusions is a standout. This LA attraction features several exhibits, like the Upside Down House and the Giant’s House, that promise to captivate visitors of all ages.
Can I visit Los Angeles museums during weekdays or are they only open on weekends?
Most museums in Los Angeles are open throughout the week, offering flexible options for both locals and tourists. The World of Illusions, for instance, is open seven days a week, from morning until late evening, allowing visitors the flexibility to experience its unique exhibits at their convenience. Similarly, the renowned Getty Museum and the LA County Museum of Art (LACMA) also maintain extensive hours, including weekdays. However, it’s always a good idea to check the museum’s official website for the most current hours and any potential closures due to private events, maintenance, or holidays.
Are there any open-air museums in LA?
Yes, LA is home to several open-air museums that provide unique experiences, blending education and nature. The La Brea Tar Pits and Museum is one such attraction, where you can see Ice Age fossils, and watch paleontologists at work in an outdoor setting. It’s not just a museum, but a live-action excavation site, providing an exhilarating, hands-on learning experience. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens is another open-air gem, located in San Marino, just outside of Los Angeles. With its extensive gardens spanning 120 acres, outdoor sculptures, and open-air exhibits, it offers visitors a chance to enjoy art, literature, and nature simultaneously.