Despite those words New Yorker Woody Allen once stated that Los Angeles is devoid of culture, the movie maker was dead wrong. One way to prove that is to sample any one of the dozens of world-class museums thriving and teaching in the City of Angels. Following are five of the best to get you started on your quest to get attached to and educated by one or more of these enriching outposts where you are likely to become a regular.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
As art collections go, the LACMA stash is arguably the most extensive in the West. The pieces that come from all over the globe to LACMA start in prehistory days and go on through the years to the present. This campus filled with all kinds of art is enormous so take you time and pick your exhibits so that you aren’t overwhelmed during the visit. After all, you can always go back for more. If you’re hungry during your hunt for treasures, seek out one of four different outlets that can feed you right there on the premises and if you’re looking for something to take with you to remember your amazing experience, visit the gift shop. It’s a winner, too.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
900 Exposition Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
This is one huge outpost, now 100 years old and boasting more than 35 million artifacts in its ever growing collection. Needless to say, one visit won’t do this museum justice, so for the first time around, plan carefully to see as much as you can of what seems of most interest. Among the most important permanent displays at NHM, located in downtown’s lush Exposition Park, are Dinosaur Hall, The Nature Lab (it’s all about studying Los Angeles’ urban wildlife), and the very extensive Insect Zoo.
California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
Also in Exposition Park near NHM, this particular outpost is now known as the place where the Endeavor has retired. The illustrious space shuttle is a highlight in a place where you’ll get to learn all about space, including the people who went there and the aircraft that flew there. Meanwhile, for the younger members of your tribe, don’t forget to head to the Discovery Rooms for Little Learners. One of the rooms within this exhibit looks just like a miniaturized city street, complete with hardware store, construction company and even a TV studio where kids can create their own small screen offering, complete with costumes, puppets and a camera that records all this fun.
Museum of Tolerance
9786 W Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
This museum is a must for any human who seeks to become enlightened about what has happened in the past during the Holocaust and in other genocides and what continues to happen in contemporary times in terms of all sorts of injustices. Given the Global Peace and Tolerance Award from the Friends of the United Nations, the Museum of Tolerance puts an emphasis on the world’s ignorant acts including acts of racism in order to teach through example about such atrocities as bullying and hate crimes. At MOT, you’ll learn by example about The Holocaust in a dramatic exhibit that puts you into the story as you go about living as one of the characters who was alive in this atrocious time in the world during World War II. At the end, you’ll learn your character’s fate.
800 W. Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Operating in a city many know as the Entertainment Capital of the World, the Grammy Museum is all about music, the highest awards given to music, and the people behind the music, too. From videos of Grammy speeches of yore to recordings of music that span the decades to listening booths that surround you with music, this inviting outpost is both instructive and intimate. Expect to get the chance to mix a song, to record yourself singing and to work with tracks, all in the name of music. Also expect to lay your eyes on artifacts left by the greats such as Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, and expect to relive some of your memories of these late musicians who were gone too soon but who left us a legacy never to be forgotten.
Related: Best Museum Tours in Los Angeles