25 Best Museums in Los Angeles | 2024 (with Photos)

Andreas Rukovski

Andreas Rukovski - Travel Writer

Published: June 29, 2023

Hey there! I'm Andreas, an avid explorer with an insatiable passion for museums. In this article, titled "25 Best Museums in Los Angeles | 2024 (with Photos)", I've handpicked the top museums in LA based on my own experiences, so you can make the most of your trip and indulge in the city's vibrant cultural scene.

 Los Angeles 

Los Angeles is home to some of the most renowned museums in the world, showcasing everything from ancient artifacts to contemporary art.

Whether you're a local or a visitor to the city, there are countless museums to explore and discover. Many of them have stunning outdoor campuses with hilltop views and sculpture gardens.

To help you plan your next cultural excursion, we've compiled a list of the 25 best museums in Los Angeles. Whether you're interested in art, history, science, or pop culture, there's something for everyone on this list.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Top Choice Hotel

The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles

Our Top Choice Restaurant


Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

The Edison

Best Time to Visit

Sunny weather, mild temperatures; choose spring or fall.

Average Temperature

Mild with occasional fluctuations throughout the year.

Transportation Options

Car, bus, metro, bike, scooter, rideshare, taxi, walking.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

Los Angeles, the city of dreams, has so much to offer for every kind of traveler. From the iconic Hollywood Hills to the sun-soaked beaches, there are endless possibilities to explore and enjoy. One of my top recommendations would be to start your day with a hike up to the Griffith Observatory. As you ascend the trails, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the cityscape and the iconic Hollywood sign. Once you reach the top, take some time to soak in the beauty of the observatory and learn about the mysteries of the universe. Afterward, make your way to Venice Beach, where you can experience the vibrant and eclectic atmosphere that this city is known for. Take a stroll along the famous Ocean Front Walk, filled with street performers, artists, and quirky shops. You can also rent a bike and cruise along the bike path, or simply relax on the sandy shores and enjoy the Californian sunshine. From picturesque views to cultural experiences, Los Angeles has it all – be ready to create unforgettable memories in the City of Angels.

Los Angeles is not only famous for its glamour and entertainment, but also for its diverse culinary scene. If you're a food lover like me, you must make a stop at the Grand Central Market in Downtown LA. This historic food hall is a paradise for foodies, with a wide array of vendors representing different cuisines from around the world. From mouthwatering tacos and juicy burgers to artisanal coffee and freshly baked pastries, you'll find something to satisfy every craving. After indulging in some delicious treats, take a leisurely stroll through the sunny streets of Beverly Hills. Marvel at the luxurious shops on Rodeo Drive and imagine yourself living the glitzy Hollywood lifestyle. End your day by catching a mesmerizing sunset at the Santa Monica Pier, where you can ride the Ferris wheel, play games at the arcade, and enjoy the gentle ocean breeze. In Los Angeles, every corner is bursting with adventure and flavor, giving you an unforgettable experience that combines both the thrill of the city and the relaxation of the beach.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Comfortable walking shoes
  2. Lightweight clothing for warm weather
  3. Sunscreen and sunglasses
  4. Hat or cap for sun protection
  5. Camera or smartphone for capturing memorable moments
  6. Portable charger for staying connected on the go
  7. Reusable water bottle to stay hydrated
  8. Travel guide or map of Los Angeles
  9. Money or credit cards for expenses and shopping
  10. Positive attitude and open mind to fully enjoy the city's diverse culture and attractions.

What Not to Miss

  1. Hollywood Walk of Fame
  2. Griffith Observatory
  3. The Getty Center
  4. Santa Monica Pier
  5. Universal Studios Hollywood
  6. Rodeo Drive
  7. Venice Beach
  8. The La Brea Tar Pits
  9. The Broad Museum
  10. The Hollywood Sign

What to Avoid

  1. High crime areas: Skid Row, South Central Los Angeles
  2. Rush hour traffic: Avoid traveling during peak commute times
  3. Dodger Stadium on game days: Heavy traffic and limited parking
  4. Street vendors without permits: Opt for licensed and certified food vendors
  5. Unsafe neighborhoods: Compton, Watts
  6. Tourist traps: Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood bus tours
  7. Beaches during heatwaves: Crowded beaches and limited parking
  8. Late-night visits to unfamiliar areas: Stay cautious and be aware of your surroundings
  9. Unregulated street performers: Be cautious when interacting with performers on the streets
  10. Driving under the influence: Follow the laws and don't drink and drive.

1. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is the largest art museum in the western United States. Its permanent collection includes works by notable artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Rembrandt, as well as art from ancient Greece, ancient Rome, Latin America, Asia, and Islamic art.

LACMA's campus is a work of art in itself, with stunning architecture and outdoor spaces, including the famous Urban Light installation, which features a collection of vintage streetlights.

2. The Getty Center

The Getty Center

The Getty Center is a world-renowned art museum designed by Richard Meier. The museum is known for its stunning architecture, beautiful gardens, and impressive collection of European paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts.

Visitors to the Getty Center can see Renaissance, Impressionist, and Modernist masterpieces. The place hosts works by some of the most significant artists in history, including Rembrandt, Monet, and Van Gogh.

The museum's collections also include American and European modern art, decorative arts, and manuscripts.

Related to the Getty Center is the Getty Villa in Malibu, with artwork inspired by ancient Greece and Rome, which will make you feel as though you took a trip to another country.

3. The Broad

The Broad

The Broad is a contemporary art museum that has quickly become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Los Angeles.

It features an impressive collection of postwar and contemporary art, including works by artists such as Jeff Koons, and Yayoi Kusama.

The Broad is particularly known for its impressive collection of works by artists associated with the Pop Art movement, including Roy Lichtenstein and Jasper Johns.

The museum also features engaging and interactive installations, such as Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room and Jeff Koons' Balloon Dog.

4. Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is a world-class contemporary art museum with an impressive collection of over 7,000 works of art, spanning from the 1940s to the present day, and featuring a diverse range of mediums and styles.

The museum has three locations -MOCA Grand Avenue, MOCA Pacific Design Center, and The Geffen Contemporary.

MOCA's permanent collection includes works by notable artists such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Andy Warhol, as well as art by emerging and established contemporary artists from around the world.

The museum also hosts regularly rotating temporary exhibits.

5. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in Exposition Park is a fascinating destination for anyone interested in the natural world.

The museum's historic building, built in 1913, is a stunning example of Beaux-Arts architecture and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Natural History Museum possesses a vast collection comprising over 35 million specimens, including plants, animals, fossils, and minerals. Some exhibitions include immersive and interactive experiences, such as the Dinosaur Hall, the Gem and Mineral Hall, and the Discovery Center.

A visit to Los Angeles is incomplete without a trip to its Natural History Museum.

6. The Grammy Museum

Grammy Museum

The Grammy Museum in the heart of downtown LA is just steps away from the Staples Center and the LA Live Entertainment District.

It houses a collection of over 30,000 artifacts, including rare recordings, instruments, and costumes, as well as personal items belonging to some of the most influential musicians of our time.

One of the most popular exhibits at the Grammy Museum is the Clive Davis Theater, which features intimate performances and conversations with some of the biggest names in the music industry.

Visitors can also attend film screenings and concerts, and even record their own songs in the museum's recording studio.

7. The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens

The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens is a world-renowned cultural institution in San Marino, LA.

It houses an extensive collection of rare books, manuscripts, and photographs, including the first edition of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales," a Gutenberg Bible, and original manuscripts by Shakespeare, Austen, and Dickens.

It also has a vast collection of American and European art, including works by Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Hopper.

The Botanical Gardens at The Huntington span over 120 acres and feature a diverse range of plant collections, including the famous Japanese Garden, the Chinese Garden, the Desert Garden, and the Rose Garden.

8. Norton Simon Museum

Norton Simon Museum

The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California, is one of the most renowned art museums in the United States.

The Norton Simon Museum features an impressive collection of over 12,000 works of art from Europe and Asia. You can see works by celebrated artists, such as Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt van Rijn, and Edgar Degas.

Visitors can also explore a vast array of Asian art, including pieces from India, China, and Southeast Asia.

The Norton Simon Museum was designed by architect Frank Gehry and features an open floor plan that allows for easy navigation and a seamless flow between the different galleries.

9. Museum of Neon Art

Museum of Neon Art

The Museum of Neon Art (MONA) showcases an extensive collection of neon and kinetic art, including vintage signs, sculptures, and installations, as well as works by contemporary artists.

The museum's exhibits highlight the history and evolution of neon art, from its origins in advertising to its current status as a respected art form.

One of the most popular exhibits at MONA is the Neon Cruise, a guided tour of neon signs throughout Los Angeles.

The tour takes visitors on a journey through the city, highlighting some of the most iconic neon signs and landmarks while providing historical and cultural context for the art form.

10. Autry Museum of the American West

Autry Museum of the American West

The Autry Museum of the American West in Griffith Park offers a fascinating look at the history, art, and culture of the American West. Visitors can learn about the lives of Native Americans, the history of the California Gold Rush, and the legacy of Hollywood Westerns.

The museum also features a variety of special events throughout the year, including live performances, workshops, and film screenings.

Visitors can see artefacts from famous cowboys such as Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, as well as learn about the lives and struggles of ordinary people who lived and worked in the West.

11. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures is a new and exciting museum located in Los Angeles that is dedicated to the art, science, and history of film. It has an extensive collection of Oscar-winning films and artefacts, including costumes from classics like "Gone with the Wind" and "The Wizard of Oz."

The museum's exhibits provide a behind-the-scenes look at the making of some of the most beloved films in history and offer insights into the creative process that goes into making a movie.

The Academy Museum also features a state-of-the-art theatre that will screen classic films, as well as new releases, providing visitors with an immersive cinematic experience.

12. The MOCA Pacific Design Center and Geffen Contemporary

MOCA Pacific Design Center

The MOCA Pacific Design Center is a satellite location of the MOCA, which is dedicated to design and architecture.

The museum is housed in a blue, glass-clad building designed by Cesar Pelli and offers visitors the opportunity to explore design objects, furniture, and architecture from the 20th and 21st centuries.

The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA located in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles is housed in a former police car warehouse that was converted into a world-class art space by architect Frank Gehry.

The museum's collection includes cutting-edge contemporary art by famous and emerging artists.

13. The Museum of Flying

Museum of Flying

The Museum of Flying is a must-visit destination for aviation enthusiasts in Los Angeles, California. Located at the Santa Monica Airport, the museum offers visitors a comprehensive look at the evolution of aviation in Southern California and beyond.

The Museum of Flying hosts a vast collection of aircraft, including planes from the early days of aviation up to modern commercial and military aircraft. Visitors can explore the inside of a Boeing 747, a replica of the Wright Brothers' Flyer, and the impressive World War II Battleship, USS Iowa.

The museum also features exhibits about aviation pioneers such as Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes.

14. Petersen Automotive Museum

Petersen Automotive Museum

Next up on our list of museums in Los Angeles, it's The Petersen Automotive Museum. This museum was founded in 1994 by publishing magnate Robert E. Petersen, to showcase the beauty and engineering behind some of the world's most iconic and rare automobiles. This museum houses over 300 vehicles across its four floors of exhibits.

At The Petersen Automotive Museum, you can see everything from classic hot rods and vintage cars to one-of-a-kind concept cars and cutting-edge supercars.

You can explore exhibits that focus on a variety of themes, such as Italian sports cars, Hollywood cars, and racing cars, and learn about the stories and people behind each vehicle.

15. California Science Center

California Science Center

The California Science Center in LA offers visitors a unique and engaging experience exploring the world of science.

Whether you want to explore the inner workings of the human body, simulate a space shuttle mission, or learn about the science of earthquakes, the California Science Center has something for everyone.

Admission is always free and the four permanent exhibitions are Creative World, Ecosystems, World of Life, and Air and Space, which has housed the Endeavour space shuttle since 2012 (a retired NASA space shuttle that was flown on 25 missions to space).

Visitors can explore the shuttle up close, learn about the science of space exploration, and even experience what it's like to be inside a space shuttle cockpit.

16. Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory is located within Griffith Park and is a popular destination for those interested in astronomy and space exploration. The Griffith Observatory was first opened in 1935 and has since become one of the most iconic landmarks in Los Angeles.

Its state-of-the-art planetarium offers visitors the opportunity to experience immersive, high-definition shows that reveal the wonders of the universe.

Visitors can also explore the workings of telescopes and even touch a real meteorite.

17. The Museum of Dream Space

Museum of Dream Space

The Museum of Dream Space (MODS) is a unique and immersive art museum. From interactive projections and LED lighting to virtual reality and augmented reality, each exhibit is designed to transport visitors to a dreamlike world of color, light, and sound.

A highlight in MODS is the Infinity Room, which is a stunning display of mirrors and LED lights that creates the illusion of infinite space.

Another popular exhibit is the Dream Waves room, which features a floor-to-ceiling projection of ocean waves that visitors can interact with using their body movements.

18. The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust and the Skirball Cultural Center

Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust

The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust is a powerful and moving experience that serves as a testament to the atrocities committed against the Jewish people during the Holocaust.

It also hosts special exhibitions that explore Jewish heritage and different aspects of the Holocaust and its impact on the world.

The Skirball Cultural Center offers a wide range of programs and events that explore Jewish art, music, literature, and cuisine.

Visitors can participate in workshops, lectures, and performances that celebrate the richness and diversity of Jewish culture.

19. The Hammer Museum

 Hammer Museum

The Hammer Museum is a contemporary art museum with a vast collection of over 2,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, photographs, and installations.

The amazing collection emphasizes the diversity and richness of contemporary art and has a specific focus on local artists.

Visitors can explore works by well-known artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, and Ed Ruscha, as well as temporary exhibitions on emerging artists who are shaping the contemporary art scene.

The Hammer Museum's courtyard is a popular gathering spot for visitors and locals alike, offering a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city.

20. The Hollywood Museum

Hollywood Museum

The Hollywood Museum is a museum dedicated to the history and heritage of Hollywood and the entertainment industry.

It was established in 1985 and has since become a popular destination for visitors interested in the glamour and history of Hollywood.

Visitors can see iconic costumes from classic films such as Marilyn Monroe's white dress from "The Seven Year Itch" and Audrey Hepburn's black dress from "Breakfast at Tiffany's".

You can learn about the evolution of the movie industry from silent films to the present day, as well as the role of Hollywood in shaping American culture.

21. The California African American Museum

California African American Museum

The California African American Museum (CAAM) in Exposition Park is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in African American history, art, and culture.

It was founded in 1977 and has since become one of the most important cultural institutions in the region.

The museum's collection includes over 4,000 objects, which highlight the struggles, and contributions of African Americans throughout history.

Some notable exhibits include "California Bound," exploring the experiences of African Americans who migrated to California in the 19th and 20th centuries, and "The African American Journey West," which examines the contributions of African Americans to the development of the American West.

22. The Museum of Jurassic Technology

Museum of Jurassic Technology

The Museum of Jurassic Technology is a unique museum in Culver City, California. The museum is dedicated to exploring the intersection of art, science, and history.

It features a wide range of exhibits that are unlike anything you will find in a typical museum.

The exhibits are designed to challenge your perception of reality and blur the lines between fact and fiction. For example, one exhibit features a collection of letters purportedly written by a woman who could see through her skin.

Another exhibit explores the history of Soviet space dogs, including Laika, the first animal to orbit the Earth.

23. Japanese American National Museum

Japanese American National Museum

The Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles is dedicated to preserving and sharing the story of Japanese Americans in the United States.

It was founded in 1985 and has since become a significant cultural institution. The museum hosts a range of permanent and rotating exhibitions that explore Japanese American history and culture.

Visitors to the Japanese American National Museum can explore a range of exhibits that cover everything from Japanese American art and music to the experiences of Japanese Americans during World War II.

One of the most popular exhibits is "Common Ground: The Heart of Community," which explores the history of Japanese Americans in Southern California from the early 20th century to the present day.

24. The Museum of Death

Museum of Death

The Museum of Death is a unique museum located in Hollywood, Los Angeles, that is dedicated to exploring the history and cultural significance of death.

It was founded in 1995 by J.D. Healy and Catherine Shultz and has since become one of the most unusual and fascinating museums in the city.

The Museum of Death is not for the faint of heart, as it contains exhibits and artifacts that may be unsettling or disturbing. It features exhibits on a wide range of topics related to death, serial killers, autopsy procedures, as well as personal belongings related to infamous murderers such as Jeffrey Dahmer and the Manson Family.

The "Suicide Room" showcases a collection of letters, artwork, and personal effects from individuals who have taken their own lives.

25. The Museum of Tolerance

Museum of Tolerance

The Museum of Tolerance is dedicated to promoting respect, understanding, and acceptance of people of all races, religions, and cultures. The museum was established in 1993 by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading international Jewish human rights organization.

The Museum of Tolerance offers visitors a powerful and immersive experience that examines the Holocaust and other atrocities of the 20th century.

The museum's exhibits use state-of-the-art multimedia technology to explore the history of prejudice and discrimination and encourage visitors to reflect on their attitudes and take action to promote social justice and human rights.

FAQs About the Best Museums in Los Angeles

Let's explore some common questions about museums in Los Angeles.

What is the big museum in LA?

The big museum in LA is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). It is the largest art museum in the Western United States and features a collection of over 150,000 works of art ranging from ancient times to contemporary art.

LACMA's permanent collection includes works from various cultures and periods, including American, Latin American, Asian, Islamic art, and European art. Additionally, LACMA hosts numerous rotating exhibitions throughout the year.

What day are museums free in LA?

Many museums in Los Angeles offer free admission to their permanent collections and temporary exhibits on certain days of the week or month.

The Getty Center and The Getty Villa offer free admission every day, but you need to make a reservation in advance.

LACMA offers free admission to LA County residents every weekday (Monday-Friday) from 3-5 pm. General admission is also free for everyone on the second Tuesday of each month. Also, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County offers free admission on the first Tuesday of every month, except in July and August.

Does LA have good museums?

Yes, many Los Angeles museums are worth visiting. Los Angeles is home to The Getty Center with the Getty Villa, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the California Science Center, the Griffith Observatory, and ****several other contemporary art museums.

Summing Up: Best Museums in Los Angeles

Los Angeles offers an incredible range of museums for visitors and locals alike.

We hope that this list of the 25 best museums in Los Angeles has inspired you to explore the city's rich culture.

So, next time you're looking for something to do on a weekend or a day off, consider visiting one of these incredible institutions.

You might just discover something new and amazing that you never knew existed before.