A Learning Experience
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, located at the Santa Monica Pier, is run by the nonprofit Heal the Bay. Kids under 12 are free. Visitors can see touch tanks and a variety of aquarium exhibits featuring the marine environments from the local ecosystems. Jellyfish, sharks, reef fish, and numerous other sea creatures are on display. It's a great place to visit for the whole family.
1600 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica, California, 90401
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
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
Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Located in Griffith Park and featuring a wide variety of animal and plant exhibits, the L.A. Zoo is huge (and also entirely owned by the city). With a focus on preserving wildlife and educating the public about nature, animals, and the environment, the zoo is fun and interesting for everyone from kids to adults. See elephants, tigers, fish, exotic birds, primates, reptiles, snakes, and more. In the botanical gardens, visitors can also plants both native to southern California and more exotic areas of the world. Some exhibits also highlight endangered plants.
Zoo Drive North, 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
Kidspace Children’s Museum
The Kidspace Children’s Museum spans 3.5 acres and offers a number of kid-centric exhibits including the Robert and Mary Galvin Physics Forest, which is a fully outdoor play space that has hands-on exhibits and interactive area for kids of all ages.
480 N Arroyo Blvd, Brookside Park, Pasadena, CA, 91103
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
With a focus on both oceanography and marine life, this terrific aquarium has been around for awhile. It's family-friendly and very popular with the local communities, as school trips come here frequently. Visitors can see large aquarium tanks featuring a variety of marine environments with sharks, fish, and a variety of other undersea creatures. Touch tanks are always a favorite with children and adults, too, and you'll find them here as well. The aquatic nursery is another fun spot, as visitors can see actual ongoing research about the local marine habitats right off shore.
3720 Stephen M. White Drive, San Pedro, California, 90731
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
Drescher Planetarium at Santa Monica College
With live shows a few nights a week, visitors can learn about various topics in astrology while in the large dome theater that seats about 60 people. Other events are organized here too such as star watching evenings.
Drescher Hall, 2nd Floor, 1900 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, California, 90405
The UCLA Planetarium is open to the public and plenty of fun for kids and adults. Providing a variety of shows, visitors can learn about astronomy combined with geology as well as history. Some of their shows are even in Spanish. It's a small venue with 49 seats and a large dome, so the shows here are intimate and educational. There's also a 14-inch telescope on the roof that is also open to the public.
UCLA Mathematical Sciences Building, Los Angeles, California
Pretend City Children's Museum
Pretend City pretty much sums up what this unique kid's museum offers. There are 17 interactive exhibits that let kids explore and learn about how the real world works. Popular areas include the art studio, a post office, a grocery store, and a cafe. This museum is sure to bring out any kid's imagination.
29 Hubble, Irvine, CA, 92618
Cayton Children’s Museum
The Cayton Children’s Museum educates kids on being global citizens of the world. It teaches about culture, self-expression, and art through interactive exhibits and hands on programming.
395 Santa Monica Pl Suite 374 Level 3, Santa Monica, CA, 90401
Travel Town Museum
Travel Town is the perfect spot for kids who love trains. It's located in Griffith Park and explores the history of the railroad in Los Angeles. There are railroad passenger cars as well as a miniature train that you can ride for $2.75 a person. The museum is free of charge to explore.
5200 Zoo Drive, Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA, 90027
Mt. SAC Randall Planetarium
Located in Walnut, the Mt. San Antonio College Planetarium and telescope puts on shows several times per week. Designed for both kids and adults, their goal is to educate and entertain everyone about the cosmos, stars, atronomy, and more. Tickets are very affordable and the dome theater is lots of fun for all ages.
Building 26C, 1100 Grand Ave, Walnut, California, 91789
The Los Angeles Valley College provides affordable and educational shows for visitors several times per week. Guests learn about interesting topics, naturally centered around the stars, space, and other scientific topics. Kids and adults find the shows to be very educational and interesting.
5800 Fulton Ave, Valley Glen, California, 91401
Located on the campus of Santa Ana College, this dome theater seats 100 people and usually provides shows several times per month. Visitors here can learn about a variety of topics around astronomy in a fun, entertaining setting.
1530 W. 17th Street, Santa Ana, California, 92706
Aquarium of the Pacific
Located in Long Beach, this fairly large aquarium has plenty of terrific exhibits that will entertain and educate adults and kids alike. From coral reefs to sharks, to sea otters to various marine ecosystems from around the world, the Aquarium of the Pacific offers a wide range of undersea creatures to learn about and observe. The sea turtles, jellyfish, and the penguins are just some of the favorites of visitors. The aquarium also hosts a number of events, too.
100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, California, 90802
How much does it cost?
Prices for activities, things to do, and tours range from $15 to $288. The average cost for a tour or tickets is $144. A few of the best options are below.
Where to Stay in Los Angeles
More Ideas for Los Angeles
The Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in HollywoodThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in West Hollywood in Los AngelesThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Beverly HillsThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in the Hollywood HillsThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in MalibuThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Santa Monica by the Pier and BeachThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Ocean Park by Santa Monica at the BeachThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Venice Beach in L.A.The Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Manhattan Beach in L.A.The Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Redondo Beach in L.A.The Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Hermosa Beach in Los AngelesThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Long Beach, CaliforniaThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Belmont Shore and Naples Island near Los AngelesThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals around Sunset Beach & Bolsa Chica State Beach near Los AngelesThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Huntington Beach, CaliforniaThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Newport Beach, CaliforniaThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Laguna Beach, CaliforniaThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Mission Viejo, CaliforniaThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Anaheim near Disney Land, CaliforniaThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Downtown Los Angeles, CaliforniaThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Little Tokyo, Los AngelesThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Bel Air, Los AngelesThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Pasadena, CaliforniaThe Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Westwood by UCLA?The Best VRBO Vacation Rentals in Century City in L.A.?The Best VRBO Vacation Rentals by the Ram's SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles?The Best VRBO Vacation Rentals by Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles?