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Best Museums in Los Angeles

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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.

J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center is an unmissable attraction in the city. A cultural and artistic landmark, the center houses varied art forms, sculptures, and photographs from various periods and regions such as Europe and America. You can also check out old manuscripts and decorative art here. Its highlights consist Italian manuscripts from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits, among others. Set aside a day for this museum with its Central Garden, awe-inspiring landscapes, interior architecture, and also its popular restaurant—all of which are sure to leave you breathless with their beauty.

Since its inception in 1961, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) has been devoted to collecting works of art spanning both history and geography. Today, the museum features exceptionally notable collections of Asian, Latin American, European, and American art and houses 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 comprehensive fine collection of more than 100,000 works. With this much to explore, it is an ideal spot to spend an entire day at the museum.

Since 1913 Natural History 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 dinosaur skeletons. Several special exhibits are also presented throughout the year.

Located in downtown L.A., The Broad is a modern building with an extensive post-war and contemporary art collection. Local billionaires and benefactors Eli and Edythe Broad have provided the collections as well as allowed admission to be gratis in perpetuity. In addition to the Broad Family's donations, some of the art has been sourced from talented artists such as Joseph Beuys, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Richard Artschwager. A sprawling art house covering an expanse of around 120000 square feet (11148 square meters), it is the best place to lose oneself for hours. Also, while entry to the museum is free of charge, there is a small fee for self-guided tours and some rotating exhibits.

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.

Spread across 100,000 square feet (9290 square meters) of exhibition space, Peterson Automotive Museum is one of the world's largest automobile museums. From Porsche to Batman's iconic Batmobile, the museum has it all for ardent car fans. It also hosts year-round special exhibitions. Of special interest to families is the Children's Discovery Center, which offers hands-on interactive exhibits. Apart from cars, you will also find an impressive collection of motorcycles and trucks, which can be explored on an immersive guided tour of the museum.

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.

This lavish pantheon of fame and glamor captured in wax is one of Hollywood’s crown jewels. Hailing from London, Madame Tussauds brings to Hollywood its world-class interactive viewing entertainment, great for all ages. Located on Hollywood Boulevard, just next to TCL Chinese Theatre, the museum is hard to miss due to its open-air façade with a few wax figures casually spilling out on the sidewalk. Come in and stroll the vast grounds populated with the rich and famous (as well as the infamous) and the beautiful and formidable. Whether it is shaking hands with President Obama or wrapping your arm around Mae West, you will be exhilarated by the lifelike, vivid portrayals and infinite photo ops.

The La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, located in Los Angeles, showcase a unique glimpse into the prehistoric world. This site was once a Mexican land grant known as Rancho La Brea. Today, it stands as a remarkable museum, renowned for housing one of the world's most significant deposits of Ice Age fossils. During the summer months, visitors can observe the ongoing excavation from Pit 91 and get an insight into the excavation where scientists discovered the new Ice Age specimen.

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.

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 spacecraft, 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!

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