A Culture Lover's Guide to Los Angeles

The Best Cultural Spots in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is home to a thriving arts community, drawing from a rich and diverse history. From museums to galleries, from dance to music, Los Angeles has no shortage of arts and culture. Here are some of the best cultural sites and attractions in L.A. for your next visit.

Museums in Los Angeles

The Broad Museum
The Broad Museum
This free museum is full of contemporary art. It's most famous for the immersive mirror rooms in which you will see yourself multiplied in Yayoi Kusama's modern art installations. If the line is long, don't worry, plenty of other modern exhibits are on display, including some from Andy Warhol and other famous artists. Also, relax in the beautiful courtyard or dine at Otium, the on-site restaurant.
221 South Grand Avenue, Bunker Hill, LA, California, 90012
Interested in more travel advice for Los Angeles? Check out A Movie Enthusiasts Guide to Los Angeles and A Fashion-Lovers Guide To Los Angeles.
Petersen Automotive Museum
Petersen Automotive Museum
Focusing on all things automotive, this car-themed museum has a lot to offer. When visiting, you can see supercars, vintage historical vehicles, and famous cars from the movies. Other exhibits focus on the history of the automobile and how it shaped communities and culture.
6060 Wilshire Boulevard, Carthay Circle, LA, California, 90036
Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory
The Griffith Observatory lies on the south-facing slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park. With a gorgeous view of Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, this spot is a popular tourist attraction for a variety of reasons. From here you also have a great view of the Hollywood Sign, too. Inside, visitors can find a variety of space and science exhibits, as the building is a stellar observatory after all. Admission is free. A planetarium is on site with fun shows that educate the public about astronomy, too. (Planetarium tickets are not free.)
2800 East Observatory Road, LA, California, 90027
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
Boasting a huge collection that is second only to the Smithsonian, the Natural History Museum of LA Country will take you quite some time to explore every level. From dinosaurs to gems to animal skeletons to an outdoor natural area, kids and adults will love spending the day here learning about a variety of topics. Even the building itself is a bit of a masterpiece.
Adams Normandie Historic District, LA, California
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
This large art museum has a variety of exhibits inside and outside. Inside visitors will find a variety of modern and historical art by famous names such as Andy Warhol, Picasso, Cezanne, and more. The exterior artwork of the museum has become somewhat famous recently due to a very photographic sculpture, Chris Burden’s Urban Light, which brought old streetlights from around town back to life. This area of the museum is free, but admission is required for entry to the inside galleries.
5912 Wilshire Boulevard, Miracle Mile, LA, California, 90036
Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier
This large and vibrant pier is an iconic destination in Los Angeles. It's located at the foot of Colorado Avenue along a beautiful golden sand beach in Santa Monica. The pier is more than just a pier - there's a small amusement park, concession stands, and plenty of places to take in the views or enjoy some fishing. Perhaps the most notable attraction at the pier is the iconic Ferris wheel.
200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California, 90401
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
This free museum features contemporary art from 1940 to the present by artists such as Jackson Pollock as well as plenty of lesser known names. In addition to the main location, the museum actually has two other locations in L.A., so don't miss those, either.
250 South Grand Avenue, Bunker Hill, LA, California, 90012
If you're looking for more information about Los Angeles, read Los Angeles for Music Lovers and The Best Playgrounds in Los Angeles.
Getty Villa
Getty Villa
This art museum, styled like an ancient Roman villa, was the former art museum of wealthy oil tycoon J Paul Getty's collection of art before it was moved to the Getty Center. Now, the villa is still a museum showcasing some of the works of art as well as numerous murals, plus beautiful gardens and a terrific view out to sea. The views and gardens make this worth the trip, and the world-class art is an added bonus. It's just north of Santa Barbara on the way up to Malibu. Admission is free, but you'll have to pay to park.
17985 Pacific Coast Hwy, Los Angeles, California
Getty Center
Getty Center
This art museum, which has beautiful architecture and gorgeous gardens, is the home of a huge collection of art. The works are part of the J. Paul Getty Trust's collection which were formerly housed at the Getty House, but moved to this new location after its completion in 1997. The galleries are extensive, and visitors can peruse the impressionist paintings, works by French artists, an outdoor sculpture garden, and plenty more. Any art lover will feel right at home here. Admission is free, but parking is not.
1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, California, 90049
Museum of Neon Art
MONA, the Museum of Neon Art, showcases a variety of artwork and signs made of neon lights and other electric lights. It describes artwork made with neon lights as part science and part artwork. Some of the exhibits are modern sculptures created in neon, while others focus on historical neon signage.
Glendale, California, 91210
The Hollywood Museum
Located in the historic Max Factor building, this amazing museum is one of the most visited in L.A. Visitors can see a variety of memorabilia, props, costumes, and other paraphernalia from their favorite movies and TV shows. The collection has more than 10,000 items such as Marilyn Monroe's famous dress to costumes from Star Trek, I love Lucy, Glee, and more. Part of the museum also includes makeup rooms where movies stars were prepped for their shows and films.
1660 Highland Avenue, Hollywood, LA, California, 90028
California Science Center
This is one of the largest science museums on the west coast, and it has an impressively large list of exhibits, many of which feature fun, hands-on experiences which are great for kids and adults alike. Visitors can also see an aquarium, various ecosystems featuring a variety of animals, plenty of air and space vehicles (some are outside), and even more rotating exhibits about biology, chemistry, physics, and more. On site is also an IMAX theater.
700 Exposition Park Drive, Adams Normandie Historic District, LA, California, 90037
California African American Museum (CAAM)
The California African American Museum (CAAM), found in Exposition Park, has a focus on the history, heritage, and cultural of African Americans. Specifically, it covers topics related to African Americans in California and the western region of the United States. Visitors will find a variety of art exhibits as well as events for adults and children. Public educational programs, rotating exhibits, and concerts and film screenings are all part of this museum's programming.
600 State Drive, Adams Normandie Historic District, LA, California, 90037
Interested in more travel advice for Los Angeles? Check out An Art Lover's Guide to Los Angeles and Educational Places and Activities in Los Angeles.
Japanese American National Museum
With a goal to preserve and showcase the culture and history of Japanese Americans, this museum is located near downtown L.A. in Little Tokyo. Many of the exhibits are dedicated to Japanese immigration, the internment during WW2, and various artwork from historical and current artists in the community. An admission is normally charged, but it's free on Thursdays.
369 East 1st Street, Little Tokyo, LA, California, 90013
La Brea Tar Pits
Centered around pits that were bubbling up from an underground lake of oil, scientists discovered a number of fossils and animal remains here. Now it's a museum focusing on the fossils, bones, and the general topic of paleontology. Kids love it, adults enjoy it, and it's a terrific learning experience for everyone. The indoor section of the museum requires a ticket for admission, but the outdoor section of this museum is free, and is quite interesting to see.
Wilshire Boulevard, LA, California, 90036
Hammer Museum
With an emphasis on local artists, the Hammer Museum is partnered with UCLA to showcase modern art, design, photography, and works from Armand Hammer's collection before he died. Admission is free. Lectures, film screenings, and concerts are also on their calendar of events, which are quite popular.
10899 Wilshire Boulevard, Westwood Village, LA, California, 90024
Hollywood Wax Museum
With a large number of was replicas of famous movie stars and characters, kids and adults alike will enjoy visiting this fun museum and experience where they can see all of their favorite movies and TV shows come to life before their eyes. Located in Hollywood along the walk of fame, it's fun for the whole family.
6767 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, LA, California, 90028
Museum of the American West
This museum, as the name implies, focuses on the history of the western United States. Their overall goal is to provide an inclusive view of this history, so many of the exhibits focus on Native Americans as well as minorities and their contributions to American history and culture. A large portion of the museum also focuses on the culture of cowboys and the idea of "the wild west" as a frontier which was tamed by explorers. Children and adults enjoy this museum, and it's located in Griffith Park. It's free on the 2nd Tuesday of every month.
Western Heritage Way, Griffith Park, LA, California, 91201
Skirball Cultural Center
This Jewish cultural center is also a combination of an art museum, culture museum, children's museum, and public events and educational space. Fostering a sense of welcoming and inclusion within the community, the center showcases a number of events and exhibitions throughout the year. Some of the exhibitions focus on history and religion, while others center on pop culture, children's education, food and cuisine, and more. Normally an admission is charged, but it's free on Thursdays.
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd, Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California, 90049
Interested in more travel advice for Los Angeles? Check out How to Spend One Day in Los Angeles and The Best Art Museums in Los Angeles.
Hauser & Wirth
Located near downtown, this large art gallery is an extension of the New York gallery under the same name. Set up in a former flour mill, the space here is intriguing as it feels both industrial and natural. In addition to the art, visitors can experience events and temporary exhibitions.
901 E 3rd St, Downtown, Los Angeles, California, 90013
Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)
Highlighting works from Latin American artists, this well designed art museum features a large indoor space as well as an outdoor sculpture garden. The museum actually features a work from every single Latin American country in a variety of mediums and forms. Also check out the cafe while you're there, as well as the numerous events and temporary exhibits.
628 Alamitos Avenue, Long Beach, California, 90802
Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
If you love the movies, this museum is just for you. Featuring exhibits that house a variety of props, costumes, clothing, and items from famous movies, visitors will get to peruse R2D2, the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz, the only remaining shark from Jaws, and many more. Other exhibits focus on historical filmmakers, contributions from African American filmmakers, and technical and production exhibits that focus on how movies were made throughout history.
6067 Wilshire Blvd, Miracle Mile, Los Angeles, California, 90036
Discovery Cube Los Angeles
The Discovery Cube LA is a kids museum focused on STEM activities, environmental sciences, and healthy lifestyles. There are a number of kids activities that include a grocery store with a scavenger hunt and a simulated helicopter ride through California.
11800 Foothill Blvd, Sylmar, CA, 91342
Battleship Iowa Museum
This impressive battleship educates visitors on what daily life was like at sea for sailors. There is a self guided tour and a scavenger hunt for the kids. There is also a behind the scenes tour available for those who want to see the ship on a different level.
250 S Harbor Blvd, San Pedro, Los Angeles, CA, 90731
Spring Arts Tower
Located in Downtown L.A., this building is home to a number of art galleries where visitors can peruse works from various artists. They also host the Spring Arts Collective event to showcase new and emerging artists. A terrific bookstore is on the ground floor, too.
453 S Spring St, Downtown, Los Angeles, California, 90013
Los Angeles has plenty more to offer, so see also our other articles: The Best Children's Museums in Los Angeles and The Best History Museums in Los Angeles.
The Nethercutt Collection
This collection of classic cars includes European and American automobiles from the 1890s to the 1990s. This is a diverse and impressive collection that is in pristine condition. Also at the museum is a collection of antiques including furniture and mechanical musical instruments.
15151 Bledsoe St, Sylmar, CA, 91342
Barnsdall Art Park & Hollyhock House Photograph
This historic park serves as a public art gallery, architectural exhibit, and entertainment venue. It was donated by Aline Barnsdall and today it remains a unique cultural park that hosts cinema nights, wine tastings, and a number of other events that bring together young adults, couples, and families in one unique setting.
4800 Hollywood Blvd, Los Feliz, Los Angeles, CA, 90027
How much does it cost to visit the museums in Los Angeles?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $15 to $150. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $44. A few of the best options are below.

Historic Sites in Los Angeles

Venice Beach
Venice Beach
Venice Beach is a famous tourist destination for its narrow canals and one-lane bridges. The community has grown into one of the wealthiest parts of the city, but it still has it's original surfing town charm. Today Venice has an excellent restaurant scene, impressive shopping, and plenty of opportunities for celebrity sightings. Head to Main Street to see the eclectic architecture of the area, but the famous Ocean Front Walk is where you'll have the quintessential Venice Beach experience. With it's Mardi Gras style street performers, the area is sure to entertain.
466 Sherman Canal Ct. Odd Numbers) / Howland Canal Ct. (Even Numbers), Venice, LA, California, 90291
Walk of Fame
Walk of Fame
Located along Hollywood Blvd, the popular Walk of Fame is a series of stars embedded into the sidewalk with the names of famous people from the movie industry. Visitors can see more than 2,600 brass stars that honor movie and TV stars, producers, musicians, directors, and even fictional characters. With millions of visitors every year, this is a very popular attraction in Hollywood. The streets of the Walk of Fame are also lined with shops, restaurants, and other Hollywood tourist attractions.
Hollywood, LA, California, 90028
Little Tokyo Historic District
Located in downtown L.A., this is the largest official Japantown in the U.S. and was declared as a National Historic Landmark District in '95. It's commonly referred to as Little Tokyo, and offers plenty of activities. Visitors can go shopping or enjoy various Japanese restaurants. There are also a number of art galleries including the Union Center for the Arts which focuses on both visual and performance art. Also, don't miss the James Irvine Japanese Garden, the Kyoto Gardens on top of the Double Tree, the Japanese American National Museum, or the Koban Center. And go shopping at the Japanese Village Plaza and the Galleria.
LA, California, 90012
How much does it cost to visit the historic sites of Los Angeles?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $7 to $125. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $49. A few of the best options are below.

Food & Cuisine in Los Angeles

Santa Monica
Santa Monica
Many visitors enjoy staying in the beautiful Santa Monica area. This region has some of LA's best beaches, cooler summer temperatures, and an escape from the smog of the city. Many of the communities in the area are connected by a bike path. In the heart of Santa Monica, you'll find the Santa Monica pier as well as many oceanfront hotels. The community has a charming, artsy vibe and Santa Monica is famous for its shopping. Head to the Third Street Promenade to make the most of the experience. This a a pedestrian-only outdoor mall that is filled with shops and restaurants. Throughout Santa Monica you'll find a number of famous restaurants as well with each offering its own style and cuisine.
Little Tokyo
Little Tokyo
For an authentic experience, excellent food, and a number of unique shops, head to LA's Little Tokyo neighborhood. The neighborhood maintains its genuine charm and still services as a gathering place for the city's Japanese population. Whether you're looking for ramen, udon, sushi, or more, this is the place to go.
Westwood is home to the renowned University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). The area has long been a popular nightlife destination, but in recent years its become overcrowded and a bit less secure. The neighborhood does have an impressive restaurant scene and a young vibe with the many students who live in the area.
Koreatown is a close knit community that is home to the largest Korean population outside of Korea. The neighborhood has a number of great restaurants, dive bars, and karaoke. Whether you're looking for Korean BBQ, ramen, or even sushi, there are a number of options available here. This neighborhood is filled with personality from it's dynamic population to it's buzzing live music scene.
Hollywood will always be tied to the film industry, even though many studios has moved to nearby neighborhoods such as Burbank and Westside. Hollywood still has many of its original attractions that bring tourists from around the globe. This is where you'll find the Walk of Fame, Kodak Theatre, and Grauman's Chinese Theatre. The area has been going through a major revitalization in recent years and there are a number of movie houses and nice restaurants and clubs here.
Located in the LA Historic Park, Chinatown is a touristy area with great restaurants, authentic dim sum, and small family-owned shops that sell souvenirs and trinkets. The neighborhood is filled with Chinese art and culture, from the famous Chinatown Gateway Monument to the many lanterns and street art. Whether you're a foodie looking for a taste of authentic Chinese cuisine, or a culture lover who wants to surround yourself with diversity, this neighborhood is a must-see in Los Angeles.
Brentwood is an upscale neighborhood that is family-friendly and relaxed. There are a number of fine dining restaurants in the area mixed in with some strip malls and lounges. Brentwood was also made famous as the setting of the famous O.J. Simpson drama.
Culver City
To the east of Santa Monica, Culver City has excellent shopping, world class restaurants, and trendy bars and clubs. The area is entrenched in Hollywood's film industry history with studios still located here today. The area is large, and a favorite destination is Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, which has a number of good hiking trails.
Melrose Avenue
For eclectic shopping, second hand stores, and a fun youthful vibe, head to Melrose Avenue. The neighborhood has a number of great restaurants and an authentic atmosphere that feels a bit rough around the edges.
Silver Lake
Silver Lake is known for its hipster vibe and great restaurants. Head here for everything from Thai street food to Cuban cafes. There are also a number of community theaters, flower shops, and music venues. This is a very diverse and multicultural area with old school architecture, an active art scene, and many unique places to explore.
Glendale is a residential area that has grown into an interesting neighborhood with shopping and dining that is surprisingly diverse. The area was historically Armenian and there are still a number of Armenian and Middle Eastern restaurants. There are also Japanese, Mexican, and Mediterranean options to choose from as well. The neighborhood also has Forest Lawn, which is a cemetery where a number of classic television stars have been buried.

Religious Sites in Los Angeles

Music & Concerts in Los Angeles

Los Angeles State Historic Park
Located right next to Chinatown, this 32 acre park offers impressive views of Los Angeles's downtown. It regularly hosts festivals and events including craft fairs and music festivals making it the perfect place to take in the local culture. There's also a nice bridge with a scenic overlook, as well as an orange grove and landscaping that is designed to thrive in the desert environment. Head to the park to explore for a bit, then hit up one of the many restaurants nearby.
North Spring Street, Chinatown, LA, California, 90012
Echo Park
This lively neighborhood has a thriving nightlife scene with local music venues, eclectic food trucks, and fun bars. The neighborhood brings together locals and tourists in a lively setting. During the day there is Echo Park Lake and Elysian Park, which offer nice outdoor settings to enjoy the weather.

Theater in Los Angeles

How much do theater tickets cost in Los Angeles?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $14 to $29. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $24. A few of the best options are below.

Art & Art History in Los Angeles

How much does it cost to see the artwork in Los Angeles?

Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $39 to $144. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $92. A few of the best options are below.

Where to Stay in Los Angeles

More Ideas for Los Angeles

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