If you have the chance to travel to the West Coast of the United States, Los Angeles is without a doubt a city to discover and explore. Because the heat is sometimes overwhelming (32 ° on average in summer) and the famous “LA traffic” sometimes makes you lose your mind, it is always good to know places where you can relax… Thankfully, Artsper can help you plan your stay and guides you through the 10 best art museums in Los Angeles!
1. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Without a doubt, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LAMCA) is THE best must-see museums in Los Angeles, along with the Getty Museum. Built in 1910 by architect Renzo Piano, you will be sure to find a period, artist, or medium that suits you. With its 150,000 works, the LACMA contains paintings whose notoriety is well established: the famous “This is not a pipe” by René Magritte, the Great Wave by Kanagawaga from Hokusai, or Still Life with the Dish of cherries by Paul Cézanne. LACMA traces millions of years of art history, from prehistory to the present day.
Be careful, it is easy to get lost among the many collections! The museum is divided into five buildings, each dedicated to a particular art. Modern and contemporary art is concentrated in the Ahmanson Building. American, Latin American and pre-Columbian arts are brought together in the Art of the Americas Building. In the Hammer Building, you will find Korean and Chinese art, as well as Egyptian and Mesopotamian art. For the sculptures and ceramics of Japanese art, you will have to go to the Pavilion for Japanese Art. Finally, the Resnick Pavilion is dedicated to contemporary temporary exhibitions.
Where? 905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, United States
2. Getty Center
When considering the best art museums in Los Angeles, the Getty Center is in the top 3! In addition to its collection of art, which is as rich as the world’s greatest museums, the Getty Center is also visited for its grand architecture and lush green gardens. All this makes an area of … 88,200m²! Located on a hill in the Brentwood district, the Getty offers many masterpieces, produced by artists of all eras and nationalities: Poussin, Titien, Rembrandt, Watteau, Manet … the greatest masters are gathered there.
Besides, the place does not only function as a museum. It is in fact a true cultural campus, made up of the Getty Museum, the Getty Research Institute and the Getty Conservation Institute.
Where? 1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049, United States
3. Hammer Museum
Founded in 1990 by businessman Armand Hammer, the Hammer Museum is next door to the famous University of Los Angeles. Originally, the museum was intended to house the personal collection of its founder, a great lover of 19th-century masters. So within this LA museum, you will find emblematic French artists: Corot, Manet, Van Gogh, Sisley, Gauguin, or Pissarro. By partnering with UCLA, the Hammer Museum broadens its collections and ambitions. Thanks to a program called “Hammer Projects”, it regularly offers exhibitions dedicated to international contemporary artists, which complement the 200 works already exhibited.
Why go there? Because the collection of this Los Angeles museum is very rich and what’s more, the museum is free! You will also have the chance to discover contemporary artists little known on the international scene, or well underestimated by the merciless art world. The motto of the museum? “Believe in the promise of art and ideas to illuminate our lives and build a more just world”. That’s why this venue has rightfully earned its reputation as one of the best art museums in Los Angeles.
Where? 10899 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90024, United States
4. Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
Next to the Broad Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is the eldorado of contemporary art! It is notably recognized for housing the most developed collection of contemporary art in the world, with no less than 5,000 works. Here, find an endless variety of paintings, sculptures, and installations post-1940s. A daring mix of styles and genres guaranteed! Approximately every three months, this Los Angeles museum offers retrospectives on artists. Big names in the art scene have had the privilege of being the subject of a temporary exhibition, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jackson Pollock. If you only want to visit the permanent collection, you will see the creations of Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein, Cy Twombly, or even Andy Warhol.
Where? 250 South Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
5. Japanese American National Museum
Initially, the primary goal of JANM was to reflect Japanese influence on the art and culture of the United States. Through multiple works of art, the story of Japanese immigration to this country is told, as well as the human experience linked to this displacement of the population. Covering a vast historical and artistic period, the JANM is the largest museum dedicated to this subject in America. Many mediums are presented, such as moving photographs, original paintings, and above all, splendid fabrics in a thousand colors.
Where? 100 N Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012, United States
6. The Hollywood Museum
If you are a fan of the 7th art or a fan of Hollywood glamor, the Hollywood Museum is the best Los Angeles museum for you! It is the ideal place to satisfy your thirst for history and curiosity. It is also housed in a splendid Art Deco style building that was owned by Max Factor (the makeup artist to the stars of the red carpet in the 1930s) and contains an exceptional collection. Posters, scripts, costumes, props, and photos of the biggest stars are displayed on four floors. In all, more than 10,000 cinematographic objects are offered to the public.
Do you seek jaw-dropping costumes and iconic outfits from the most famed celebs? The Hollywood Museum not only unveils the most glamorous dresses of Marilyn Monroe, but also the bathrobe of Elvis Presley or even pieces of clothing of George Clooney and Angelina Jolie! Since cinema is not all about glitter, you are also able to go in the basement to see the prison cell of Hannibal Lecter, the character of the film “The silence of the lambs”.
Where? 1660 N Highland Ave, Hollywood, CA 90028, United States
7. Norton Simon Museum
American industrialist and philanthropist Norton Simon (1907-1993) has collected a large collection of 8,000 works of art for over 30 years, ranging from the Renaissance to the 20th century. Among the canvases for which this institution is famous, you will find Picasso’s “Woman with a book” (1992). While the majority of the gallery focuses on European art from the 16th, 17th, and 19th centuries, it also brings together multiple artifacts from South Asia.
If you decide to visit the Norton Simon Museum, be sure to allocate time to contemplate its gardens! The visit continues outdoors with magnificent statues and exotic trees, making it one of the best art museums in Los Angeles.
Where? 411 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105, United States
8. The Huntington Library
Give yourself a break from your hectic stay in Los Angeles. What’s better than a visit to The Huntington Library, located slightly outside of the city (Pasadena district). In this 84 hectares cultural center, you will not only find a library rich in works of all styles and eras, a collection of European art, and above all, exceptional gardens. Founded in 1919, The Huntington Library has built its notoriety over the years on its incredible botanical diversity and its facilities, making this place a truly peaceful haven. The library holds invaluable treasures, such as a copy of Gutenberg’s vellum from the Bible and a few original editions by William Shakespeare.
Where? 1151 Oxford Rd, San Marino, CA 91108, United States
9. Los Angeles Center for Digital Art
Although not a museum, but rather a gallery, the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art (LACDA) is one of the most famous American art galleries. The LACDA showcases artists from around the world, which owner Bruce Rex likes to define as “high end” artists. Initially, this gallery was created in 2004 to highlight the digital art scene, then evolved into full-on advanced technological development. LACDA frequently launches calls for applications and “open” exhibitions, where selected artists freely present their work. The institution considers itself ultra-contemporary and presents uniquely digital art. It offers an impressive diversity of digital arts, from video, to sculpture to new media, making it one of the best in the business!
Where? 104 East 4th St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, United States
10. Spring Arts Tower
In the famous “downtown LA” you can visit the Spring Art Tower, which has a large number of galleries. In total, there are 100 artists exhibited; whether they are painters, architects, photographers, or sculptors. This venue is particularly famous because it hosts the “Spring Arts Collective”, a group of five artists who organize shows and receptions in their studio, highlighting established and emerging artists! Such success has earned the Spring Arts Tower its rightful place on the best art museums in Los Angeles. Furthermore, at the foot of this tower is the magnificent bookstore, “The Last Bookstore”, which is undoubtedly a place to visit during a stay in Los Angeles!
Where? 453 S Spring St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, United States
Thus, the City of Angels is filled with must-see art venues. With its incredible variety of cultural spaces, the city will not stop surprising you. Whether you love ancient, modern, or contemporary art, the many museums and galleries of the capital of glamor will amaze you! If you wish to visit the best art museums in Los Angeles or lose yourself in the city’s millions of shops and restaurants, there is always something for everyone!