Museum Row on the Miracle Mile - Background
Miracle Mile is the name given to a stretch of Wilshire Boulevard between Western Ave and Fairfax Ave and the areas immediately north and south. The Miracle Mile was the first commercial strip designed specifically to cater to automobile traffic rather than foot traffic. That influenced the scale of the architecture and signage, both created to be appreciated through the windshield of a car. The project's success garnered it the name Miracle Mile and spawned linear commercial districts around the country.
The area has seen a lot of changes over the years. The Los Angeles County Museum of art now occupies a huge swath of real estate, including the former May Co. Building at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax, stretching over to the La Brea Tar Pits. Other museums moved into the area creating a density of cultural institutions known collectively as Museum Row from Fairfax on the west to Curson on the east.
Click through the following pages for a preview of sights to see on Museum Row and links to more in-depth coverage of specific venues.
Los Angeles Museums on Museum Row on the Miracle Mile
The anchor of Museum Row is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, whose campus on the north side of Wilshire covers the equivalent of three and a half blocks compared to the opposite side of the street. The last half block on the north side is taken up by the La Brea Tar Pits and the Page Museum.
On the south side of the street, you'll find the Craft and Folk Art Museum across from the La Brea Tar Pits. Moving east, you'll come across a piece of the Berlin Wall that is part of the Wende Museum's Wall Project. Next up is the Edward Cella Art and Architecture Gallery, followed by the Petersen Automotive Museum on the southeast corner of Fairfax.
Page Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits
The La Brea Tar Pits in Hancock Park next to LACMA are one of the richest sources of Ice Age fossils in the world. The bounty from the La Brea Tar Pits can be found in museums around the world, but you don't have to go far to see some of the treasures unearthed in the pits. The on-site George C. Page Museum of La Brea Discoveries has an extensive collection of artifacts from the ongoing dig, as well as a fishbowl lab where you can watch archaeologists at work.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Museum Row
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is the west coast's pre-eminent encyclopedic art museum. It's extensive campus on the north side of Wilshire Blvd between Fairfax Avenue and Curson extends the equivalent of three and a half blocks on the other side of the street and extends from Wilshire north to 6th Street.
Petersen Automotive Museum
Across from LACMA West (the former May Co Bldg) is the Petersen Automotive Museum on the southeast corner of Wilshire and Fairfax. A car lover's Mecca, the Petersen Automotive Museum has everything from antique cars to some of the most famous vehicles from TV and movies. It got a complete makeover in 2015 with a shiny new exterior and gleaming new exhibits inside.
Edward Cella Gallery
The Edward Cella Gallery of Art and Architecture is not a museum, but their high-quality exhibits of world-famous artists and architects make them worth a quick stop if you're on the south side of Museum Row.
Edward Cella Art and Architecture
6018 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Berlin Wall on Wilshire Blvd in Los Angeles
In front of the Variety building at 5900 Wilshire are ten sections of the Berlin Wall, the largest segment outside of Berlin. Painted by French-born Berlin artist Thierry Noir, the segments are part of The Wall Project of the Wende Museum in Culver City. The Wende Museum holds cultural artifacts and archives related to the Cold War in Eastern Europe.
Craft and Folk Art Museum
The easternmost museum on the south side of Museum Row is the Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) which celebrates art "created with an awareness of, and a connection to tradition and community."
The Craft and Folk Art Museum is a small museum with rotating exhibits ranging from Hmong headdresses from Laos to Southern California tattoo art. Since there's no permanent collection, I can't tell you what to expect.
Craft and Folk Art Museum
5814 Wilshire Boulevard (at Curson)
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Museum Square on the Miracle Mile
Museum Square on the Miracle Mile does not house any museums, but its collection of restaurants is the nearest permanent place to eat outside of LACMA's own restaurants and a restaurant inside the Petersen Automotive Museum. Callender's Grill, Johnny's New York Pizzeria, Baja Fresh, Toshi's Asian and Mixt Greens cater to a variety of tastes and budgets. The office building is also the home of SAG and AFTRA offices, so it's not uncommon to recognize actors stopping in. Museum Square is located on the northeast corner of Wilshire and Curson.
Primavera Sculpture by Aristedes Demetrios
The 1971 Primavera sculpture and fountain by Aristedes Demetrios is located in front of the Museum Square office complex at the east end of Museum Row.
Food Trucks on Museum Row
An international festival of gourmet food trucks appears each weekday for lunch, so if you're visiting Museum Row museums, you can get a taste of this very LA experience.