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Best Museums in Los Angeles

By: Cityseeker
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Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)

Japan's top architect, Arata Isozaki, built the Museum of Contemporary Art, or MOCA as it is called by locals, in 1986. The series of bright galleries with exposed vaults display some of this century's finest artwork. Works by Mark Rothco, Franz Kline, Claes Oldenburg and more are displayed year-round. In addition to the curators, artists and critics frequently give guided tours. Inside the museum is a great restaurant called Patinette serving great Mediterranean cuisine.

Los Angeles, CA, United States
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The Broad

Located in downtown L.A., The Broad is a modern two-story building with an extensive collection of post-war and contemporary art. Local billionaires and benefactors Eli and Edythe Broad have provided the collections as well as allowed for admission to be gratis in perpetuity. This sprawling art house covers an expanse of 120,000-sq. ft., and in addition to the Broad Family's donations, some of the art can be sourced from different artists such as Joseph Beuys, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Richard Artschwager. While entry to the museum is free of charge, there is a small fee for self-guided tours and certain rotating exhibits.

Los Angeles, CA, United States
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California Science Center

The California Science Center is anything but a regular museum! In addition to being one of the biggest museums in the city, the center helps kids and adults learn about science through exciting interactive displays and demonstrations. Try not to get splashed as you learn about river ecosystems, then marvel at spacecrafts, including the Space Shuttle Endeavour. For a reasonable fee, you can visit the IMAX Theater to catch a movie about nature. Anyone who loves to learn and explore is sure to love the California Science Center!

Los Angeles, CA, United States
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Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Since 1913 this museum has been delighting people of all ages with entertaining exhibits about our world, both natural and cultural. Visit such wonders as the rarest shark in the world, a zoo full of insects and 20 complete dinosaur skeletons. A number of special exhibits are presented throughout the year.

Los Angeles, CA, United States
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MONA Museum of Neon Art

If you thought that the only place you'll find neon lights would be in a nightclub or bar, think again. The Museum of Neon Art is filled with exhibits and documents of contemporary fine art in electric media as well as some very creative neon signs. Make sure you take the night tour provided by the museum, which provides a historic insight into the culture of neon lights by bus. If you're into visiting places that are unconventional tourist spots, then a visit to this unusual museum should be on your agenda.

Los Angeles, CA, United States
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Resnick Pavilion

The latest addition to LACMA's sprawling grounds, Resnick Pavilion dazzles art lovers with its architectural elegance and brilliant contents alike. Conceived and designed by the renowned Renzo Piano of the Centre Pompidou fame, this building beautifully completes the western wing of the LACMA vast campus and in itself constitutes an ‘acre of arts'. Come here to browse a considerable collection of art and artifacts from all over the world, spanning the time period from the ancient eras to present day. Whether you make a day of it by selectively exploring the treasures of the main LACMA collections and the neighboring BCAM (a.k.a. the Broad) along with your visit to the Resnick, or focus your attentions on the pavilion alone, your experience is bound to be rewarding.

Los Angeles, CA, United States
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The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Since its inception in 1961, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has been devoted to collecting works of art that span both history and geography. Today, the museum features particularly strong collections of Asian, Latin American, European, and American art, as well as a contemporary museum on its campus, Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM). With this expanded space for contemporary art, innovative collaborations with artists, and an ongoing transformation project, LACMA is creating a truly modern lens through which to view its rich encyclopedic collection of more than 100,000 works. With this much to explore, they encourage you to spend an entire day with them.

Los Angeles, CA, United States
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Petersen Automotive Museum

Aside from development deals, the Petersen Automotive Museum is probably best known for its love of wheels. This museum chronicles the simpatico relationship of Angelenos and their cars, housing more than 150 models from classics to hot rods in its permanent galleries. It also hosts year-round special exhibitions. Of special interest to families is the Children's Discovery Center, which offers hands-on interactive exhibits. There are also various tour options available.

Los Angeles, CA, United States
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Museum of Tolerance

The Museum of Tolerance is a world-renowned museum that delves into the dark world of racism and prejudice while highlighting the Holocaust as the most extreme example of man's inhumanity to man. Interactive exhibits, two theaters, a research floor and gallery for special exhibitions within the Simon Wisenthal Center are just part of the experience and soul you will find here. Tours are self-guided and typically last two and a half hours. Some exhibits are recommended for those 12 years and above.

Los Angeles, CA, United States
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Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens

The Huntington, the former home of a railroad tycoon, is many things—an extensive library filled with rare books, a large art collection containing numerous European prints and paintings, botanical gardens of almost unmatched splendor and a forum for regular lectures and other activities. You will also find a fine bookstore, cafe and tea room on the grounds. Come and wander through the 150 acres of colorful gardens, lily ponds and beautiful sculptures. The rare books and manuscripts in the library include some of the earliest editions of Shakespeare's works, a copy of the Gutenberg Bible on vellum and the Ellesmere manuscript of one or more of Chaucer's greatest works. Please note reservations are required in order to visit and prices vary depending on the day of the week.

San Marino, CA, United States
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J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center

The Getty Center is a museum you can't miss. With lofty skylights and original architecture, it is one of the best museums in Los Angeles. The center stores a multitude of art, sculpture, and photographs from Europe and America. You can also check out old manuscripts and decorative arts here. Highlights of past years consist of Italian manuscripts from the Middle Ages and Renaissance and Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits. Set aside a day for this museum, its Central Gardens and popular restaurant, which are sure to leave you breathless with their beauty.

Los Angeles, CA, United States
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J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa

A multimillion-dollar restoration process has breathed new life into the original site of J. Paul Getty's first museum. A trip to this visionary's realm is an educational experience set in an enthralling and awe-inspiring environment. Take in the marvelous architecture as you explore the halls housing Greek, Roman, and Etruscan art collections and antiquities. Over 1,200 works are on display in various galleries devoted to the permanent collection, with additional galleries for rotating exhibitions. The Villa prides itself on its jewelry assortment and coin collection. The iconic, bronze kouros, Victorious Youth is a great crowd drawer.

Los Angeles, CA, United States
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