The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Courtesy of Chris Burden/ Museum Associates/ LACMA

L.A. Museums

L.A. Museums
See masterpieces and innovative contemporary works

With its diverse collection of museums, Los Angeles has grown into one of the world’s great cities for art lovers. From the dramatically modern Getty Center high above West L.A. to The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, housed in a onetime police warehouse in downtown’s Little Tokyo, the city offers a unique assortment of places and ways to view unforgettable works.

Start with locations made possible by philanthropist J. Paul Getty, who created two remarkable—and free to the public (parking extra)—museums that are art pieces in themselves. At the Getty Center, snow-white travertine buildings designed by famed architect Richard Meier display works from Medieval-era illuminated manuscripts to photographic masterpieces. The lush gardens descending down adjacent hills offer some of the best views in L.A. In Pacific Palisades, just east of Malibu, Getty created another gem, the Getty Villa, a recreation of an ancient Roman country house showcasing a world-renowned collection of Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities.

Along Wilshire Boulevard, LACMA (the popular acronym for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) is a sprawling complex displaying everything from pre-Columbian works in the Art of the Americas Building to recent masterpieces at the Broad Contemporary Art Museum. Snap a shot of Chris Burden’s Urban Light, an outdoor assemblage of 202 vintage L.A. street lamps that has become one of the city’s most photographed sites, and walk under Michael Helzer’s Levitated Mass, a 340-ton granite boulder that’s dizzyingly suspended above an outdoor walkway.

UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) is another treasure trove of museums. Visit The Hammer for a remarkable collection of envelope-pushing art. The Fowler has a globally significant collection of historic and contemporary works from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas.

For an adventure that is custom-designed to be Instagram gold, visit the Museum of Illusions, where guests are not passive observers but instead become fully involved with the 3D works of art. Inspired by current events, movies, and other streams of pop culture, the simulated experiences include stealing treasure from bloodthirsty dragons, walking on the edge of a skyscraper, and other heart-stopping endeavors.

Insider tip: Many of Los Angeles’ museums are free to the public, or have a free-admission policy one day a week. Check their sites before you go.

 

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Ryan Killackey

Southern California

Discover Los Angeles County

See a movie star. Sip a cocktail on a rooftop bar at sunset. Slip on a pair of designer shoes in an ultra-luxurious boutique in Beverly Hills. Play at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, explore world-class museums, or dance the night away in a starlet-filled club. Welcome to California’s liveliest city, entertainment capital of America, with megastar wattage and nonstop activities.

“You know, you’re really a nobody in L.A. unless you have a really big door.”  –comedian Steve Martin

The main hub is the City of Los Angeles, with legendary Hollywood northwest of downtown, the San Fernando Valley to the east, and the inviting beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu to the west.

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Hotel Bel-Air

A perennial favorite of the Hollywood elite, this residential-style resort enchants with tropical gardens and breezy bungalows

Once part of the original Spanish land grants in 1843,...

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Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

California Questionnaire: Matt Walsh

The sitcom and improv star loves his San Fernando Valley home, from the sushi to Bob’s Big Boy

When Matt Walsh settled in Los Angeles 15 years ago, he set his sights on making it onstage, not on the big screen. As a co-founder (with Amy...

Fred Segal
Courtesy of Visit California

Where to Shop Now in Los Angeles

From Venice Beach to Beverly Hills and beyond, L.A. boasts some supremely shoppable neighborhoods

For discerning travelers interested in fashion and style, Los Angeles offers unparalleled shopping opportunities. From established luxury brands...

Koreatown is just south of downtown Los Angeles
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Koreatown

This small neighborhood with 24-hour energy packs in some of the best restaurants and nightlife in Los Angeles

Just south of Hollywood and west of Downtown Los Angeles lies...

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Courtesy of Visit West Hollywood

Spotlight: West Hollywood

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See L.A.’s creative side in WeHo’s design shops, architecture, and edgy nightlife

West Hollywood has been dubbed “The Creative City,” and for good reason. Bordering ...

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Courtesy of Stan Lee

California Questionnaire: Curtis Stone

The Australia native has planted his roots in Los Angeles, where he runs two acclaimed restaurants and lives the California dream

Award-winning chef Curtis Stone was born in Melbourne, established his culinary chops in London, and rose to fame on TV, appearing on multiple...

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Courtesy of Gwen

Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant

Fire-based cooking techniques fuel the culinary innovation at Curtis Stone’s Hollywood hotspot

Curtis Stone and his brother Luke both began their culinary careers in an Australian butcher shop, so it makes sense that their joint venture,...

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Cara Robbins/Getty Images

California Questionnaire: Zoey Deutch

The up-and-coming actress loves life in the Valley, road trips up the coast, and old-school deli food

For Zoey Deutch, movies are the family business. Her mom, Lea Thompson, starred in Back to the Future, and her dad, Howard Deutch,...

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Spotlight: Los Angeles

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Bright lights, A-list celebrities & diverse culture

Welcome to the bright lights and big-city allure of California’s largest metropolis. Here, A-list celebrities really do walk the sidewalks, triple...

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Shaun Clark / Getty Images

California Questionnaire: Giovani dos Santos

The LA Galaxy forward talks about living in West Hollywood, In-N-Out Burger, and enjoying the chill vibe in Malibu

When Giovani dos Santos joined the Los Angeles Galaxy in the summer of 2015 he immediately became one of the biggest Mexican stars in Major League...

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Zachary Miller/Getty Images

Angeles National Forest

Discover the wilder side of Los Angeles, just minutes from the city in the San Gabriel Mountains

Barely 30 minutes from the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles, and just north of Pasadena, the urban jungle gives way to the forests, rugged...

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Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

California Questionnaire: Margaret Cho

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The Emmy- and Grammy-nominated stand-up comic, actress, and singer clues us into her love of Los Angeles and California culture

Margaret Cho has been doing stand-up since high school, and her ability to make audiences LOL has afforded her opportunities in all genres—from...

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Burbank

The entertainment industry’s home base offers a microcosm of stars, shopping, and cool tours

If you come to Los Angeles wishing to see where movie magic gets made, look on the other side of Hollywood—literally.

...

Watch celebrity chefs in action at this annual event in downtown Los Angeles

If you’re a foodie, your definition of “celebrity sighting” in Los Angeles has little to do with movie stars. Instead, the annual All-...

A delicious snack prepared at the All-Star Chef Classic in Los Angeles
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The genus of the state’s official flower, the California poppy (Eschscholzia californica) is named in honor of Dr. J. F. von Eschscholtz, a surgeon and naturalist who explored the California coast with Russian expeditions from 1815 to 1818.
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Walter Bibikow/Getty Images

La Brea Tar Pits

Find fossils and family-friendly fun at this prehistoric excavation site

Your idea of old may be 100, but that will undoubtedly change after you spend several hours at the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum. You will learn...

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Photograph by Peggy Sirota

California Questionnaire: Gabrielle Reece

The former volleyball champion and model—now an author and fitness guru—shares her California favorites

After retiring from a successful beach volleyball career, Gabrielle Reece didn’t slow down—instead, she kept adding to her résumé: mother,...

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"The Squaw Man" was filmed in 1913, and was the first feature-length film made in Hollywood.
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Neil Kremer/ Flickr

Spotlight: Hollywood

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Showbiz, celebrities, & endless possibilities

Tinseltown, where starlets are discovered on every street corner (or at least we like to think they are), and the tinted windows of that stretch...

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Courtesy of West Hollywood

Sunset Strip Nightlife

Welcome to L.A.’s home of rock ‘n’ roll

Few roads have as much history as this 2-mile-/3.2-km-long section of Sunset Boulevard, bounded by Havenhurst Drive and Doheny Drive. In the 1960s...

For me, returning to Los Angeles annihilates the memories of where I have just been with an astonishing speed.
Henry Rollins
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Thomas H. Story/ Sunset Publishing

Malibu

Explore a fabled beachfront town with real star power

Stretching for more than 30 miles along the Pacific and Highway One, Malibu has achieved...

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Sharon Mollerus/ Flickr

Los Angeles County Shopping

Go boutique to bargain in one of the world’s fashion (and shopping) capitals

You’ll definitely want to leave room in your suitcase for L.A. shopping.

If you’re ready to whip out the platinum card, head to Rodeo Drive...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Make memories at some of California's family-favorite beaches

Sand, water, and kids—it’s a natural combination for easy family fun. This sandy dozen offers appealing, family-friendly features, such as calm water for new swimmers, tide pools for intrepid...

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Alex Farnum
SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisanal cheeses, golden-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers markets are...

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Laura Flippen
SPECIAL FEATURE
Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind-the-scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of worth-the-...

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Michael Saechang/Flickr
SPECIAL FEATURE
World-class accommodations in world-class locations

Head to the heart of California’s cities for luxurious stays at world-class accommodations. From San Francisco’s historic hotels to celebrity hot spots in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, California’s...

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Lynn Gately/Flickr
SPECIAL FEATURE
Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you're in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you'll find it here. Want to sample fresh produce? Try our farmers...

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Discover quintessential sun and fun at these coastal charmers

Take one part water, one part sand, one part sun-soaked coastal charm, and you’ve got the recipe for some of the Golden State’s most appealing destinations....

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Lucas Himovitz
SPECIAL FEATURE
Taste the delicious dishes from these amazing California chefs

From a candy-colored pastry shop to Michelin-starred dining rooms, top restaurants run by celebrity chefs dot the Golden State. And even if you don’t know these chefs from the TV...

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Harriot Manley/Sunset Publishing

Spotlight: Santa Catalina Island

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An island retreat off the Southern California coast

Swaying palms, white-sand beaches, warmest water in summer, and melt-your-heart sunsets—that’s what you’ll find at pretty-much-perfect island...

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Jen Judge

Venice

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Surfers, skateboarders, and stars

Venice is the ultimate L.A. neighborhood where the surf meets the human circus. Spend a day along Venice’s palm-lined, beachfront boardwalk and...

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Jen Judge

L.A. Architecture

See eye-catching icons and stately landmarks

While Los Angeles is still a young city when compared to places like, say, Rome, it still boasts a unique architectural tradition that spans a...

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Lancaster's Civic Musical Road is the only "musical" or "singing" road in the United States.
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Hands-on fun for all at farms, ranches, and fields statewide

From almonds and olives up north to avocados, oranges, and dates in the south, the Golden State has a crop (or 10) for nearly every stretch of terrain. After all,...

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Tai Power Seeff
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Unleash the kid within at California’s ultimate playgrounds

From Disneyland classics to beachfront carousels, the Golden State’s best-in-class theme parks deliver something for everyone. Take a tram ride to tour movie back lots at Universal Studios...

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Lucas Himovitz
February or March

You certainly won’t be the only one celebrating the Lunar New Year at this colorful event in L.A.’s Chinatown. Join thousands of revelers lining the parade route as lion dancers and giant dragons...

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Jorge Gonzalez/Flickr
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Ian McDonnell/Getty Images

San Pedro

L.A.’s busiest port town is a haven for maritime enthusiasts and seafood lovers

Located at the southern point of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, between Manhattan Beach and Long Beach, is...