I understand if your immediate reaction to a list of museums is to run kicking and screaming in the opposite direction. I was like you, once. I had to be dragged through long tiled hallways past works of art I cared little about. I fought. But I evolved.Now it’s time to open your eyes, and realize that museums can actually be great fun. L.A.’s museums just have too much to offer to be ignored any longer. They’re cheaper than a movie – many are free – and they make a better date (it shows her you’re “intellectual”).
The Museum of Jurassic Technology
9341 Venice Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
Hours: Thurs 2pm-8pm; Fri to Sun 12pm-6pm
Suggested Donation: Adults, $5; Children (12-21), $3; Seniors (60+), $3.00; Children (12 & under), Free
Website & Reviews
It’s a natural history museum on drugs. It’s a schizophrenically curated, thought-provoking, nightmare collection of artifacts and oddities. While it ostensibly offers a collection of “relics of the lower Jurassic,” the hipster-favorite museum really feels more like a surrealist object exhibition. Also, they serve complementary Georgian tea and cookies in their tea room, and screen such films as “LEVSHA:The Tale of a Cross-Eyed Lefty from Tula and the Steel Flea” on loop from an hour after they open until an hour before they close It’s definitely bizarre, but it’s at least a little bit profound.
The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Hours: Tues to Fri, Sun, 10am-5:30pm; Sat 10am-9pm
Admission: Free (but parking is $15)
This is the only strictly fine-art museum on this list, because if you only pick one of them in Los Angeles, you should make it the Getty. The museum compound sprawls and spills down the leading edge of the Santa Monica mountains overlooking West LA. The venue is as important as the collections on display – its travertine walls, modernist lines, and elaborate gardens are an architect’s dream. The buildings are so carefully married to the ridges they sit on they seem to have been landscaped rather than constructed, and the exhibitions are always good – I’m a big fan of “In Focus: The Sky,” a spaced-out, centuries-spanning collection of sky photography.
“Dinosaur Hall” – The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 763-DINO (yes, really)
Admission: Adults, $12; Seniors and College Students w/ID, $9; Youth (13-17), $8; Children (5-12), $5; Members and Children under 4 are free
Hours: Daily 9:30am-5pm
Website & Reviews
Yup, it’s a dinosaur exhibit. But every man still has that little boy inside him that quickens his pulse when he sees the lumbering silhouette of the T. Rex. Indulge your impulse to regress. The amazing centerpiece, the “T. Rex Growth Series,” will blow your mind. Enjoy the rest of the museum – it’s huge (and rather creepy, in a cool, haunted sort of way). In the spring, they host Friday night indie concerts, accompanied by lectures on topics like astrophysics and ornithology. They even set up a bar so you can grab a beer while you get educated and rock out.
The Petersen Automotive Museum
6060 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Hours: Tue to Sun 10am-6pm
Admission: Adult, $10.00; Senior, $8.00; Student (with ID), $5.00; Children (5-12), $3.00; Children under 5 free.
Website & Reviews
Part eye candy, part history lesson, it’s the quintessential car museum – and what dude doesn’t love cars?. Petersen’s four floors of space house a permanent collection that traces the history of the automobile, cars of Hollywood, and alternative power, plus a supercar exhibit that runs through February 5 of next year.
Alex Stillman is a journalism student and freelance writer in Los Angeles. He is a devout follower of fashion, football, and independent music.