10 Must-See Museums in Los Angeles

The Best Museums in LA

Los Angeles has so many museums that it's hard to figure out where to start. Here are LA's best museums overall. You can also explore LA's top museums by category. If you want to delve deeper into LA's vast collection of museums, start with our annotated LA museums overview, which breaks down all LA area museums by type, or if you already know what you're looking for, check out our A to Z list of LA Museums.

  • 01 of 10
    Getty Center
    Kayte Deioma

    Los Angeles is blessed with an abundance of outstanding art museums, but if you only have time for one, the Getty Center combines an outstanding collection of classic and modern art and photography with stunning architecture and one of the best views in town. It's also one of the top free things to do in LA, although there's a fee to park.

  • 02 of 10
    Getty Villa
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    This stunning hill-top villa houses the J. Paul Getty Museum's antiquities collection. They also have hands-on activities for kids and a variety of public programs and performances. Like the Getty Center, admission to the museum is free, but there's a fee to park.

  • 03 of 10
    Kids on a tour of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
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    The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is considered the largest encyclopedic art museum in the western United States. Its collections encompass the history of art from ancient times to the present, and from all corners of the world.

  • 04 of 10
    California Science Center at Exposition Park in Los Angeles
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    The California Science Center in Exposition Park makes learning about science fun for the whole family. This is a great museum for families with kids of any age from pre-school to teens. Grown-up kids will find it entertaining and enlightening as well.

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  • 05 of 10
    The Dinosaur Hall at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
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    Who can resist massive dinosaurs, animated birds, gems and minerals, bugs and a Discovery Center where kids can get their hands on all kinds of furs and fossils? A museum expansion doubled the exhibit area, adding live animal exhibits, extensive garden habitats and an exhibit on the evolution of Los Angeles. The Natural History Museum is right next door to the California Science Center at Exposition Park.

  • 06 of 10
    The Broad
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    Opened in 2015, The Broad jumped right onto the list of must-see museums for anyone who appreciates contemporary art. 

  • 07 of 10
    The Autry Museum of the American West
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    Although Gene Autry and his fellow TV cowboys are recognized at the Autry Museum, this museum is dedicated to the real story of the American West, not just the TV version. The Autry National Center (Autry Museum) in Griffith Park has been moving the collection of the Southwest Museum of the American Indian to the same location so the full story of the American West will be in one place.

  • 08 of 10
    The Hollywood Museum in Los Angeles
    Kayte Deioma

    This being Hollywood, there are plenty of museums and exhibits interpreting the history and culture of various facets of the entertainment industry from the tiny Hollywood Heritage Museum to the glitzy Grammy Museum, but the Hollywood Museum in the historic Max Factor Building is the richest glimpse into Hollywood movie history, from its restored hair-color-themed makeup rooms to the collection of movie sets and memorabilia, including an extensive Marilyn Monroe exhibit and Hannibal Lecter's cell from Silence of the Lambs.

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  • 09 of 10
    Griffith Observatory
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    The Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park contains exhibits on planets, stars and the exploration of space via multiple super-powered telescopes for day and night viewing. There's also a planetarium show and super views of the Downtown LA skyline.

  • 10 of 10
    The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles
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    It used to be just average, but after a complete makeover, the new and improved Petersen Automotive Museum is currently one of the top museums in Los Angeles even if you're not a car person. What's inside is as stunning as the new exterior.