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The 23 Best Museums in Los Angeles, California [2023]

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Amar Hussain

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Los Angeles is known for a lot of things. It’s on the cutting edge of new lifestyle trends and the home of Hollywood. As a U.S. cultural hub, it’s not surprising that LA is home to some of the country’s best museums. From art to science, there are dozens of exhibits and galleries worth seeing while in Los Angeles.

The 23 Best Museums in Los Angeles

1. The Autry Museum of the American West

The Autry Museum of the American West
“Silent Forest” by Terri Kelly Moyers. Image Credit: The Autry Museum of the American West

The Autry Museum of the American West is the premier spot to learn about the U.S. westward expansion and the fascinating years that followed this territory’s settlement. Since 1988, it’s been dedicated to educating people about life in the western half of the country, and it even hosts a series of events each year to make the visiting experience even more engaging.

There are usually between 8 and 10 open exhibits in the museum covering topics from cowboy art to the modes of transportation that were used to take on the journey west. The museum even hosts theatrical productions and houses exhibits telling the stories of the West’s indigenous populations.

Admission is $16 for adults, $12 for seniors aged 60+ and students aged 13 to 18 with IDs, and $8 for children between 3 and 12. Children under 3 and military veterans with ID don’t require a ticket to enter. Additionally, admission is free for everyone on the second Tuesday of each month. The museum is open Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is the LA Zoo.

  • Address: Griffith Park, 4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027

2. Banning Museum

The Banning Museum
Image Credit: The Banning Museum

The Banning House Museum is a history museum honoring Phineas Banning, the so-called “father of the LA Port.” Originally built in 1854, it was a private residence until 1925 and opened as a museum in 1927.

The house is preserved as one of the oldest Greek Revival structures in this part of Southern California. Though many come to admire the unique architecture of the building, its interior houses numerous artifacts that once belonged to the Banning family.

The museum has 5 permanent collections showcasing the Banning Library and archives, 19th-century carriages, thousands of clothing items from the 1800s, dolls, and furnishings. It also regularly hosts temporary exhibits featuring art pieces and other historical items.

Admission to the museum is free. However, donations are welcome. Suggested donations for those visiting the home are $5 for adults and $1 for children.

Tours are held at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday, with an additional tour at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. General operating hours are 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. The nearest bus stop is Pacific Coast Highway and Eubank Avenue.

  • Address: 401 E. M St., Wilmington, CA 90744

3. Cayton Children’s Museum

Cayton Childrens Museum
Image Credit: Cayton Children’s Museum

Located in Santa Monica, the Cayton Children’s Museum is a favorite among local and out-of-town families. The museum is home to 5 separate exhibit wings that cover topics from imagination and creativity to learning about careers and the world.

Most exhibits are considered appropriate for kids under the age of 10, but even older visitors can have fun while walking through and testing out the hands-on displays. That means this is a perfect place for the entire family to have a day of fun.

If you’re traveling to Los Angeles for a special occasion, the museum even offers party spaces you can rent. It also hosts special events throughout the year. Visitors with children with particular sensory needs can also attend monthly “Sensory Days” for a more accessible and customized visit. These days do require an RSVP.

Children under a year old can visit the museum for free. Admission for all other visitors is $15, though yearly memberships are also available for $240, which can be cheaper for repeat visits. The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nearby bus stops are 2nd Street and Broadway or 4th Street and Colorado Avenue.

  • Address: 395 Santa Monica Pl., Suite 374 Level 3, Santa Monica, CA 90401

4. Fort MacArthur Museum

Fort MacArthur Museum
Image Credit: Fort MacArthur Museum

Fort MacArthur was once a military base that served to protect San Pedro Bay. It was first built in 1914. However, after much of the fort was decommissioned in 1974, it was later opened as a history museum in 1985.

Today, the fort houses a number of military exhibits. In particular, the museum commemorates the United States’ military campaigns in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The history of the LA Port is remembered in Fort MacArthur’s galleries. The museum exhibits also preserve California’s naval and military history.

Educational events are also held on the premises. In particular, a historical reenactment of the 1942 Los Angeles Air Raid is a popular event. Since the museum is spread out over both indoor and outdoor areas on nearly 40 acres of land, visitors are usually distributed in a way that doesn’t make the area feel crowded.

Fort MacArthur is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so admission is free. However, donations are welcome, and events may require a ticket purchase. The fort is open Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Pacific and 26th.

  • Address: 3601 S. Gaffey St., San Pedro, CA 90731

5. Guinness World Records Museum

Hollywood Guinness World Records Museum
Image Credit: Guinness World Records Museum

The Guinness World Records Museum is a family-friendly experience that showcases and celebrates record holders from history. The interactive displays allow visitors of all ages to fully comprehend the magnitude of its records, from the world’s fastest speed-drumming to the tallest man on record.

The museum first opened in 1991 and has been a staple in the city ever since. Since the museum is indoors, it can get busy on weekends, and the museum can limit the number of guests allowed in at once to prevent overcrowding. For the best chance of walking into the museum without lines, try to visit around opening time. Alternatively, you can reserve and purchase your tickets ahead of time.

Admission to the museum costs $19.99 for children aged 4 to 11 and $29.99 for all visitors aged 12+. Children under 3 are always free. There are sales and promotions that pop up periodically throughout the year for a discounted rate. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. The nearest rail stop and bus stop is Hollywood/Highland.

  • Address: 6764 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028

6. Hammer Museum

Hammer Museum
Image Credit: Hammer Museum

Located on the UCLA campus, the Hammer Museum first opened in 1990 to house billionaire Armand Hammer’s art collection. However, in the years since, it has expanded to become a cultural hub showcasing art worldwide. The museum is known for its focus on artists, with residencies available for aspiring and up-and-coming artists.

The Hammer Museum houses 5 permanent collections, the most famous of which is the Daumier collection, which is one of the largest from this French satirist. The original Hammer Contemporary Collection is another hallmark of the center, as this particular exhibit has been growing for over 60 years.

Due to its affiliation with the university, visiting the Hammer Museum is free for all visitors. Tours are held for the public on Saturdays at 1 p.m., and lectures are held on Wednesdays and Sundays at 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively. Private tours can also be booked at a cost. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Wilshire and Glendon.

  • Address: 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90024

7. Heritage Square Museum

Heritage Square Museum
Image Credit: Heritage Square Museum

The Los Angeles Heritage Square Museum is an open-air museum that conserves some of the city’s oldest architecture. The museum consists of multiple Victorian-style homes located in Montecito Heights. Though Heritage Square was officially established in 1969, the homes preserved in this area were built between 1850 and 1950.

The creation of the museum came after LA’s population boom in the 1960s led to many of the Victorian homes in the city being destroyed to build more efficient housing. The museum currently consists of 8 buildings, a train car, and a trolley car. The Hale House and the Palms Depot are among the most popular of the museum’s locations.

Exterior admission costs $5 for children aged 6 to 12 and $7 for visitors aged 13+. Children aged 5 and under are free. The museum is open Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can only enter the buildings when part of a tour. Tours are held on Saturdays and Sundays at 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. and require a separate ticket of $16. The nearest rail stop is Heritage Square.

  • Address: 3800 Homer St., Los Angeles, CA 90031

8. Hollywood Bowl Museum

Hollywood Bowl Museum
Image Credit: Hollywood Bowl Museum

Since its opening in 1984, the Hollywood Bowl Museum commemorates some of the great musicians who have performed at the Hollywood Bowl venue.

However, the museum isn’t just a testament to the stars who have graced the stage. Temporary exhibits are also regularly rotated, which help explore music and industry history. Past collections have celebrated the Los Angeles Philharmonic, jazz performers, and The Beatles’ 1964 and 1965 shows.

Your self-guided tour can also be enhanced with a printable map with museum facts about the 10 main exhibits and a 10-part history podcast about the venue and its greatest performers. Both of these tour enhancements are also available online if you’d like to use them in preparation for your trip.

Admission to the museum is free. From June to September 15, when concerts are more frequent, the museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. until the day’s concert and Sunday from 4 p.m. until the scheduled concert. From September 16 through the end of May, the museum is open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest rail stop is Hollywood/Highland.

  • Address: 2301 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90068

9. Hollywood Wax Museum

Hollywood Wax Museum
Image Credit: Hollywood Wax Museum

The Hollywood Wax Museum is the perfect place to go if you’re a fan of pop culture. First opened in 1965, it was promoted as the first museum of its kind dedicated only to A-list stars. Though there are 4 locations nationwide today, the flagship Los Angeles museum remains the most popular and features celebrities from Elvis Presley to Nicole Kidman.

The wax likenesses of the featured stars are displayed on sets like movie premiers and performance stages. These sets are changed regularly so you can visit multiple times and never have the same experience twice.

Unlike many museums, you’re free to take pictures up close with the statues for an immersive star-studded experience. Just please refrain from climbing on any sets that are noted as off-limits. A more recent addition is the Chamber of Horrors, which features replicas of horror monsters.

Admission to the museum is $19.99 for children aged 4 to 11 and $29.99 for visitors aged 12+. Children aged 3 and under can visit for free. The museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 12 a.m. The nearest bus stop is Sunset/Highland. The nearest rail station is Hollywood/Highland.

  • Address: 6767 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028

10. Holocaust Museum LA

Holocaust Museum LA
Image Credit: Holocaust Museum LA

The Holocaust Museum LA first opened in 1961. Founded by Holocaust survivors, it’s the oldest of its kind in the U.S. The museum aims to honor the memories of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. It’s also an educational center that teaches visitors about this part of history through its exhibits and events.

The museum didn’t have a permanent home until 2010, which consists of a mostly underground building surrounded by a large park. The outdoor area is used as a memorial for the children in the Holocaust and as a monument for non-Jewish men and women who aided in freeing others.

The museum’s exhibits include donated photos, testimonies, and artifacts that tell the stories of those who lived through the Holocaust and its aftermath.

Teachers, students with IDs, and children under 17 can visit for free. Admission for military members with ID and seniors aged 65+ is $10 and $15 for all other adults. All admission is free on Sundays. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Beverly and Curson.

  • Address: 100 The Grove Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90036

11. J. Paul Getty Museum

Getty Center
Image Credit: J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum is one of the most renowned art museums in the country. First opened in 1974, the original Getty Villa structure is found in Malibu. However, due to its popularity, the Getty Center campus opened in 1997.

The museum’s art at the Getty Center tends to focus on pre-20th century European art as well as photographs from Europe and the Americas dating back to the 1800s and 1900s. Due to its massive collection of over 40,000 pieces, there are 6 structures on the Getty Center campus.

One of the pieces that shouldn’t be missed while visiting is Vincent Van Gogh’s “Irises,” which has been part of the Getty collection since 1990. The Getty Center is also home to the expansive Central Garden, which was designed by installation artist Robert Irwin.

Admission to both J. Paul Getty Museum locations is free for all visitors. However, if you plan to park a car on the premises, the fee is $20, reduced to $15 after 3 p.m. and $10 for evening events and Saturdays after 6 p.m. Events may also require a ticket purchase. The Getty Center is open Tuesday to Friday, Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Sepulveda/Getty Center. The Getty Villa is open from Wednesday to Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Pacific Coast Highway and Coastline Drive.

  • Getty Center Address: 1200 Getty Center Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90049
  • Getty Villa Address: 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

12. La Brea Tar Pits and Museum

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
Image Credit: La Brea Tar Pits and Museum

The La Brea Tar Pits are one of the most fascinating paleontological sites in the world. The natural asphalt located in this part of Los Angeles has allowed remains from animals to be preserved over the course of millennia.

The pits are worth visiting, and the associated exhibits are, too, especially if you’re interested in natural history. The museum showcases the millions of fossils that have been uncovered from the tar pits, along with recreations of the ice age plants and animals these fossils came from.

Since the pits are an active research site, visiting the museum lets you observe scientists working in the fossil lab. The museum even has popular interactive areas, including a replica tar pit and question-and-answer sessions with experts.

Admission to the museum is $7 for children aged 3 to 12, $12 for students with ID and seniors aged 65+, and $15 for adults. Children 2 and under are free. The museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest rail stop is Expo/La Brea.

  • Address: 5801 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

13. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Image Credit: Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, also called the LACMA, is the largest art museum on the West Coast. First founded in 1961, the museum’s collection eventually got so large that multiple buildings were needed to store it. Today, it has over 150,000 pieces of art that range from ancient to contemporary and cover a multitude of mediums, from clay sculptures to fashion and film.

The museum has nearly a dozen permanent exhibits and frequently hosts temporary galleries to feature its collection. In its collection are important works from Picasso, Monet, and Rembrandt.

Admission to the museum is free for museum members and children under 2. Admission for children aged 3 to 17 is $10, seniors aged 65+ and students with an ID are $21, and adults are $25. There is a discount for those who live in the county.

Operating hours are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Wilshire Boulevard and Ogden.

  • Address: 5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

14. Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA)

Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles
Image Credit: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Also referred to as MOCA, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles is the city’s premier spot for lovers of art created after the 1940s. The museum was founded in 1979 but didn’t officially open until the following year.

Over 90% of the MOCA’s art was gifted by private collectors instead of being purchased. Today, the permanent exhibits feature 6,000 works of art. It’s also the only artist-founded museum in LA. The art showcased at the museum ranges in medium from sculpture to painting and even film. In fact, a large collection of Reynaldo Rivera photos has been recently added.

Admission to the museum is free for members and children under age 12. Seniors and students with IDs can get tickets for $10, and general admission is $18. The MOCA is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The nearest rail stations are Pershing Square and Civic Center/Grand Park.

  • Address: 250 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012

15. Museum of Jurassic Technology

Rotten Luck Decaying Dice of Ricky Jay
“Rotten Luck: Decaying Dice of Ricky Jay.” Image Credit: Paul N. via Foursquare

Opened in 1988, the Museum of Jurassic Technology is a hidden gem of a museum meant to educate visitors on a variety of topics, from science to history. What makes the museum special is how eclectic it is. The exhibits are inspired by the first natural history museums, which often showcased strange and curious items from nature.

Though a relatively small museum, it houses over 30 permanent exhibits, including a collection of decaying dice once owned by a magician, a gallery of portraits depicting dogs used in the Soviet space program, and microminiatures carved from strands of fiber. It’s advised to purchase your tickets ahead of time to select and reserve a visitation time.

Admission to the museum is free for children 12 and under and members. Tickets for active military personnel and those who are differently abled are $3 with proper ID, and tickets for seniors aged 65+, students with IDs, teachers, and unemployed visitors are $10. General admission is $12.

The museum is open Thursday and Friday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The nearest rail station is Culver City Station.

  • Address: 9341 Venice Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

16. Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)

Museum of Latin American Art
Image Credit: Museum of Latin American Art

The Museum of Latin American Art, also referred to as MOLAA, was founded in 1996 to honor Latin American art and artists. To this day, it’s the only museum of its kind in the country.

The museum is home to 4 separate exhibits, a sculpture garden, and a project space for rotating items. The permanent collection is made up of 1,500 works of art. However, the museum is also associated with the Smithsonian, which allows it to take part in various art tours of traveling exhibits. 

Through art, the museum is also able to showcase different cultures and the stories of people with other lived experiences. The MOLAA even hosted a collection of Frida Kahlo photos in 2014.

Admission to the museum is free for members and children under age 12, students with IDs and seniors are $10, and adults are $15. The museum also offers free admission on Sundays. MOLAA is open Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Buses also stop right in front of the museum, and the nearest rail station is 5th Street.

  • Address: 628 Alamitos Ave., Long Beach, CA 90802

17. Museum of Neon Art (MONA)

Museum of Neon Art
Image Credit: Museum of Neon Art

LA’s Museum of Neon Art, sometimes abbreviated to MONA, opened in 1981 and houses a collection of pieces that incorporate electricity, primarily neon signs and kinetic art. The museum was opened with the intent to educate visitors through the preservation of old signs. Today, the museum is home to over 300 items that are separated into 7 different collections.

However, the largest by far is the sign collection, which contains historic pieces like one of the original Brown Derby Lounge signs. In addition to the permanent exhibits, MONA also frequently hosts temporary galleries of electric art and historic signs from around the world.

The museum hosts exhibits and has a modern studio where guests can sign up for glass-bending classes to keep the art of sign-making alive. Participating in this class does require advanced notice.

Admission is free for members, children 12 and under, and veterans with ID. Local residential admission is $5, seniors aged 65+ are $8, and general admission is $10. The museum is open Thursday to Saturday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Address: 216 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA 91204

“MONA is filled with artworks and signs that shed light on history, science, art, and community. Visitors to MONA can often see neon artists at work and have in-depth conversations with our educators.”

Corrie Siegel, Executive Director, Museum of Neon Art

18. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Image Credit: Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County is the largest of its kind on the West Coast. Since its first opening in 1913, the museum has accumulated a collection of over 30,000,000 specimens dating back billions of years. The collection is so large that the original structure needed to expand 4 separate times between 1925 and 1976.

The museum isn’t just an important educational and preservation site, but it’s also an active research center, with collections and studies carried out in 15 separate scientific fields, from anthropology to mineralogy.

Of particular note is the museum’s impressive marine zoology collection. With over 5,000 specimens of marine mammals alone, it’s one of the largest exhibits in this field. Temporary exhibits are also regularly loaned to the premises.

Admission is $7 for children 2 and older, $14 for students with IDs and seniors, and $18 for adults. Members and veterans with ID can visit for free. The museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest rail stations are Expo Park/USC and Expo/Vermont.

  • Address: 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007

19. Petersen Automotive Museum

Petersen Automotive Museum
Image Credit: Petersen Automotive Museum

Opened in 1994, the Petersen Automotive Museum is one of the largest car collections in the world. Over 100 different automobiles are displayed in 25 separate exhibits, with 100 others kept in the museum’s vaults with more restricted visitation access. The museum is also divided into 3 main floors, each tackling a separate topic.

The museum opens with galleries dedicated to the art of car design; visitors can then learn about the engineering involved in creating them, and finally, the history of the automobile industry is explored.

The museum doesn’t just house elegant and luxury vehicles but also famous cars, such as the Batmobile from “Batman Returns” and a De Tomaso Pantera that was once owned by Elvis.

Basic museum tickets are $10.95 for children aged 4 to 11, $12.95 for children aged 12 to 17, $17.95 for seniors aged 62+, and $19.95 for adults. Visiting the vault requires an extra fee of $10 for children and $25 for adults. The vault also has an age limit for visitors, with children under 4 generally discouraged from visiting.

The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Wilshire/Ogden.

  • Address: 6060 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036

20. The Broad

The Broad
Image Credit: The Broad

Though The Broad officially opened in 2015, plans for this contemporary art museum began in 2008 when the Broad Art Foundation first began looking for its art collection. The museum features work from 200 contemporary artists from around the world, including the likes of Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons. The museum’s carefully curated collection of 2,000 pieces is on display in the museum and in its vaults.

The art showcased in The Broad spans a variety of mediums, from paintings to sculptures from established and emerging artists. The museum also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, many of which serve as educational or cultural opportunities and fundraisers.

Though general admission is free for everyone, donations are always welcome. Special events also generally require reservations and ticket purchases. The museum is open Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The nearest rail station is Grand Avenue Arts/Bunker Hill.

  • Address: 221 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90012

21. The Mystic Museum

The Mystic Museum
Image Credit: The Mystic Museum

The Mystic Museum is the perfect museum for scary movie fans. First opened in 2013, the museum began as a shop of curiosities that slowly grew into a museum featuring paranormal, magical, and horror-themed items.

As the museum began to gain popularity, it found its niche, particularly in the realm of classic horror films of the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s. The museum regularly rotates its museum exhibits, with one main “scary movie” theme taking center stage at a time. However, the museum area can be categorized into 2 sections:

  1. Magical and mystical artifacts and antiquities
  2. Nostalgic horror films of the 80s

Favorite exhibits and galleries often display replicas of sets and monsters from popular and obscure horror films and authentic pieces used in the movies. Some of the exhibits and events also use fog, flashing lights, or other effects that could irritate medical conditions (please check warnings first).

The main museum is free. However, the immersive special exhibits require a ticket. General admission for these is $18, and they’re not considered appropriate for children. Premium tickets are also available at a higher cost, including perks like collectible CDs or other memorabilia. The museum is open Sunday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Magnolia/California.

  • Address: 3204 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505

22. Valley Relics Museum

Valley Relics Museum
Image Credit: Valley Relics Museum

Opened in 2013, Valley Relics Museum is an eclectic collection of over 20,000 items that can be traced back as far back as the 1800s and as recently as the 1980s. Country music signs, rodeo memorabilia and costumes, BMX bikes, musical instruments, and even the Tail o’ the Pup hot dog stand are all displayed in the museum. This collection is meant to preserve moments in history for future generations.

Most of the artifacts in the museum originated in the San Fernando Valley, though a few pieces have come from further away. In addition to the larger and more recognizable items, personal artifacts like postcards, yearbooks, and clothing are also displayed. Since the collection is so large, less than half is displayed at any given time, and exhibits are often rotated.

Admission to the museum is free for kids and $15 for all other visitors over the age of 10. The museum is also a registered charity, so other donations are always welcome. The exhibits are open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Balboa/Valerio.

  • Address: C3 and C4 Entrance on 7900 Balboa Blvd., Stagg St., Van Nuys, CA 91406

23. Wende Museum

The Wende Museum
Image Credit: Wende Museum

Since opening in 2002, the Wende Museum has acted as an art and history museum centering on the Cold War. The name, in fact, comes from German and is used to refer to the period between 1989 and 1991.

The museum houses one of the largest Cold War-era art and artifact collections, which is displayed to educate visitors about the past and help guide change in the future. Though pieces from the entire Cold War era are displayed, the museum can be roughly divided into 4 exhibits:

  1. Pieces that were brought from East Germany
  2. Items used in average everyday life during this time
  3. Documents of pivotal moments during the Cold War, like the Warsaw Pact
  4. Artwork from and commemorating that time.

In addition to these exhibits, Wende also displays temporary works of art from this era. These galleries have showcased the Cold War’s effects on Vietnam, celebrities as they traveled through the Soviet Union, and more.

Admission to the Wende Museum is free, though donations are welcome. The museum operates Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Culver City.

  • Address: 10808 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230

How To Get Free or Reduced Admission to LA Museums

We’ve indicated with each museum whether or not children, students, seniors, or military personnel receive free or reduced admission. There are also several other programs that offer similar concessions.

The Museums for All program offers free or reduced admission to museums through the U.S. for those receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits). Participating attractions in the greater Los Angeles area include Agape Children’s Museum, Cayton Children’s Museum, Kidspace Children’s Museum, Orange County Children’s Museum, and Southern California Children’s Museum.

Bank of America’s Museums on Us program offers cardholders free general admission to the following LA museums on the first full weekend of every month: Autry Museum of the American West, Discovery Science Center, DiscoveryCube OC (Sundays only), LACMA, Laguna Art Museum, Museum of Latin American Art (Saturdays only), and Skirball Cultural Center.

Capital One cardholders can enroll in a complimentary 6-month membership with The Cultivist (through June 22, 2024) and receive access for themselves and a guest to MOCA and LACMA.

Participation is subject to change; please verify participating museums and entry conditions before your visit.

Final Thoughts

Clearly, Los Angeles is a place full of art and culture. Whether you’re interested in learning about world history or are more of a pop-culture fanatic, this corner of California has a museum for you and anyone you might find yourself traveling with. With any luck, this list has helped you plan your trip so you know which museums to add to your itinerary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Los Angeles have good museums?

Los Angeles has some of the best museums in the country. The area is particularly known for its contemporary art, as well as media. Los Angeles has both large and smaller exhibits covering a wide variety of topics and mediums for guests to enjoy.

How many museums are in Los Angeles?

Los Angeles has over 100 museums within its borders. These range from large complexes to smaller, independent exhibits. The topics of these museums also range greatly from traditional art to more scientific and educational topics, ensuring there’s an option for virtually all guests.

Are museums free in LA?

While not all museums in Los Angeles are free, there are a number of them that don’t require a fee for admission. Some of these museums are free all year, while others waive their ticket price on the second Tuesday of each month.

Do you need a ticket to visit LA’s museums?

Some of Los Angeles’ museums, like those that allow free admission, don’t require tickets upon entry. However, most do require visitors to pass through the ticket office before entering. It’s also recommended to purchase tickets early if you’re visiting the most popular museums.

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About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

The Ultimate Lounge Playbook!

Discover the exact steps we use to get into 1,400+ airport lounges worldwide, for free (even if you’re flying economy!).

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