10 Must-See Museums in Los Angeles

Road In City Against Sky, Los Angeles
Alexander Turnbough / EyeEm / Getty Images

Los Angeles has so many museums that it's hard to figure out where to start. Here are LA's best museums overall. 

  • 01 of 10
    The Getty Center - Los Angeles, CA

    Micheal Muraz / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

     

    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 (Inner Peristyle)

    Michael Chen / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 

    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
    The Ancient Maya World: Masterworks from the Permanent Collection.

     LACMA

    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
    Endeavor Space Shuttle

    melfoody / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 

    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.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10
    Natural History Museum of LA County

    Ray Bouknight / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

     

    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 Photogenic Broad Museum

     joey zanotti / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

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

  • 07 of 10

    david Merett / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 

    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
    Corner of Hollywood & Highland, next to the Max Factor Building

     brian wallace / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    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.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10
    Griffith Observatory

    Todd Lapin / Flicr / CC BY 2.0

     

    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
    Petersen Automotive Museum

    Dave Pinter / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

     

    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.