We know exactly what we are going to do after 76 years of working 50-60 hours a week!
1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049; Tel: 310.440.7300
Perched high above the Sepulveda Pass as an unofficial northwest gateway into the city, this Los Angeles museum received most of its early publicity because of Richard Meier’s stone and glass design. Ironically, from below, the Center actually looks more like a hospital or convention center than a world-class art museum. But it’s about the art, stupid, and once in the womb of this creative mothership, the peaceful grounds, airy exhibition spaces, and extensive collection all makes for a breathtaking SoCal afternoon.
Museum of Tolerance
9786 West Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035; Tel: 310.553.9036.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center sponsors this high tech, hands-on experiential L.A museum that has a dual purpose: to focus on the dynamics of racism and prejudice in America and to continue to shed light on the history of the Holocaust. Along the way, visitors encounter moving, creative exhibits that force them to reflect on their own humanity. With more than 100,000 children visiting every year, its mission is surely making a difference. A truly unique experience.
California Science Center
700 State Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90037; Tel. 323.724.3623.
Part of a larger Los Angeles museum complex near the USC campus in Exposition Park, the CSC is 245,000-square-feet of interactive fun for the whole family. The first thing that catches the eye is the spellbinding 50-foot “Hypar” kinetic sculpture in the main lobby. Daredevils in the clan can take a wobbly high-wire bicycle ride–it’s like pedaling E.T. home after a night of partying with Robert Downey Jr. There is a chick hatchery and Tess, a 50-foot replica of the human body and its inner workings. If your brain starts to short-circuit, get lost in a screening at the IMAX theater, which has spellbinding giant-screen films on everything from monkeying around in Africa with Jane Goodall to a 2001 space-walking odyssey with NASA’s finest.
Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108; Tel: 626.405.2141
Tucked away in the Pasadena, this pristine oasis is a mystery to most Angelenos. The library and art collections at this Los Angeles museum are featured acts to be sure, but the gardens are the real star. Afternoon tea in the lush foliage is as nice an afternoon as can be found in L.A. This is where the Angels of the city come to frolic.
L.A. County George C. Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits
5801 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036; Tel: 323.857.6311.
There’s a girl we know who is obsessed with this place. She is transfixed by the stuffed, saber-tooth tiger whose flesh magically appears over its skeleton. She is mesmerized by the scientists in the glass-encased Fossil Laboratory, as they sift through recently excavated debris–one of the most unique living exhibit found anywhere. And, of course, she cannot get enough of the tar pits themselves: gooey, bubbling, pools of black ooze which after capturing a plethora of 40,000 year-old ancient mammals and birds, now provides us clues into the past.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036; Tel: 323.857.6000
A defeat of a recent bond measure unfortunately scrapped an ambitious plan to completely renovate this deserving L.A. museum. Even though most Angelenos bash (or simply ignore) Los Angeles’ primary art museum, the rest of the globe continues to consider it fit enough to send its world-class art exhibits. Added features at LACMA include free Friday night jazz concerts in the courtyard and Friday and Saturday night screenings in a great classic-film series.
Museum of Jurassic Technology
9341 Venice Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232; Tel: 310.836.6131
This obscure LA attraction is to museums what the Blue Man Group is to theater. It is the offspring of a collision between science and the ridiculous, and its unusual, offbeat exhibits are nothing if not unique. What other museum features exhibits on the Stink Ant of the Cameroon and Selected Collections from Los Angeles Area Mobile Homes and Trailer Parks?
Museum of Contemporary Art
250 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Tel: 213.626.6222.
Even though most locals probably have no idea this oasis of modern art exists in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, it is a major force in contemporary art in this country. Case in point: In the summer of 2002, the first major Andy Warhol exhibit in more than a decade made LACMA its only North American stop. The museum’s permanent collection, covering work after 1940, is nothing to scoff at, with major pieces by de Kooning, Hockney, Lichtenstein, Pollock, and Rauschenberg.
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
900 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036; Tel: 213.763.DINO (3466)
Okay, so the faded and dusty stuffed beasts, fowl, and varmints in this Los Angeles Museum’s distressed dioramas should be a clue that it has seen better days. There is a kitschy quirkiness, however, to this largely ignored part of Exposition Park. Don’t miss the Megamouth shark encased in glass in one of the lobbies that was captured off the coast decades ago… spooooky. And you won’t miss Sue – the largest T-Rex ever found towers over visitors.
Norton Simon Museum of Art
411 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105; Tel: 626.449-6840
Norton Simon was one rich dude. We know this because the Botticellis, Rembrandts, Van Goghs and Matisses we all have in our houses are on calendars, in cheap frames, and on cards in our Masterpiece board game, Mr. Simon’s are originals. Throw in 2,000 years of Asian sculpture and this guy was to art collectors what Basquiat was to taggers. A 1999 Frank Gehry renovation has made this Los Angeles museum even more accessible.
Petersen Automotive Museum
6060 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036; 323.930.CARS
Honk, if you love this L.A. museum. This popular attraction features the best things found on four wheels, from the Caped Crusader’s Batmobile to Austin Powers’ “Shaguar.” Its SoCal history of the automobile is groovy, baby, offering the lowdown on everything from lowriders to high-end luxury rides.