- Things to do
California’s top museums demonstrate how the spirit of innovation has always thrived here. Some began as private art collections—such as the Getty Center in Los Angeles and The Crocker in Sacramento—while others, like the Oakland Museum of California, help bring the state’s history to life. For almost any interest you’ll find an institution that explores it, from the hands-on fun at The Tech Interactive in San Jose to two presidential libraries and the mind-blowing 17 museums within San Diego’s Balboa Park.
19 Cool California Museums
Add these cultural treasure troves to your next trip
Cheech Marin: High on Art
The comedian and art collector is enhancing the cultural scene in Riverside while also boosting appreciation for Chicano art
10 Family-Friendly Museums for All Ages
Thanks to their interactive exhibits, these institutions encourage kids and adults to indulge their curiosity for arts, culture, history, and science
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
See a treasure trove of artifacts and discover the magic of the movies at this incomparable film museum in Los Angeles
The Getty Center
Gleaming architecture, fabulous gardens, and breathtaking city views nearly upstage the world-class art at these Los Angeles County museums
This interactive science center in Santa Barbara is equally fun for kids and kids at heart
California Science Center
Let your curiosity roam free at this Los Angeles museum celebrating space travel, human biology, and the natural world
This private collection sheds new light on downtown L.A.’s museum scene
Maritime Museum of San Diego
Explore the historic ships at this open-air museum along the Embarcadero
The de Young Museum
This stunning Bay Area cultural marvel has been delighting art and architecture fans for more than 125 years
San Bernardino Museums
Discover local and natural history and see art from around the world at area museums
- Arts & Culture
- California Colleges
California Academy of Sciences
See three museums in one at this San Francisco institution in Golden Gate Park
Oakland Museum of California
Get the big picture on the history, art, and biodiversity of the Golden State
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
View some of the world's most famous paintings, ancient objects, and public installations at the West Coast's largest art museum
Turtle Bay Exploration Park
This 300-acre Redding attraction boasts an arboretum, museum, sculpture park, and forest camp
Experience geek culture year-round in San Diego—no convention badge required
10 San Diego Museums Worth the Price of Admission
Although this Southern California city is home to beautiful beaches and boasts ideal weather, it’s worth stepping inside for these San Diego museums.
Science becomes play overlooking San Francisco Bay
Top Bay Area Museums
Explore the cultural fabric of the Bay Area
- Arts & Culture
- Outdoor Adventure
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LGBTQ+ Travel in California
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Charles M. Schulz Museum
See comic strips, visit the artist’s studio, and skate at this Santa Rosa museum
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California sites administered by the National Park Service showcase Native Americans’ dynamic history
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Learn more about the destinations and attractions featured in the latest Visit California commercial
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The actor, comedian, and Chicano art collector reveals his favorite California song, culinary experience, and an unforgettable dream day
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