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Must-See Museums in Los Angeles

Must-See Museums in Los Angeles

There’s more to Los Angeles than sunny beaches and Hollywood stars. From Ice Age fossils and high-tech stargazing facilities to classical and contemporary art, here are a few of LA’s must-see museums.

The J. Paul Getty Museum

This museum comprises the Getty Center and Getty Villa. Both locations offer cutting-edge architecture and an outstanding collection of art; the Getty Center focuses on European and American art, while the Getty Villa exhibits art from ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.

How to Visit: Both locations are free to enter, but you can secure a timed entrance slot online to save waiting on the day, or opt for a tour with an art historian for deeper insight. City highlights tours often stop at one or both locations.

Griffith Observatory

Located in Griffith Park, the hilltop Griffith Observatory offers panoramic views of both the city and outer space through high-powered telescopes. Enjoy planetarium shows and exhibits that detail the science behind the cosmos and space exploration—don't miss the Foucault’s Pendulum and Tesla Coil exhibits.

How to Visit: Admission is free, though there is a charge for planetarium shows and special exhibits. The majority of sightseeing tours—including walking, hiking, e-bike, and evening tours—feature a stop here.

The Broad

One of the newest museums in Los Angeles, the Broad houses more than 2,000 pieces of contemporary art from the likes of Warhol and Koons. Rotating temporary exhibitions and interactive installations, such as Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrored Rooms, make the Broad a popular and fun museum to visit.

How to Visit: Admission is free but reservations are recommended to avoid waiting in line. A number of city sightseeing tours pass by the Broad; visit as part of a hop-on hop-off bus tour to create your own itinerary.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Home to one of the largest art collections on the West Coast, LACMA features more than 135,000 works that span antiquity to modern times. There’s a rotating series of special exhibitions, but don’t miss the iconic Urban Light installation.

How to Visit: Explore on your own or join the free, docent-led tour, which is available daily. Some guided city sightseeing tours and nearly all hop-on hop-off bus tours stop here.

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum

Experience the world’s only active, urban Ice Age excavation site. Observe scientists excavate fossils and put them back together in fossil labs. See more than one million fossils from 650 species.

How to Visit: Visit independently, as part of a hop-on hop-off bus tour, with a multi-attraction sightseeing pass, or on a guided tour. Join the free docent-led Excavator tour for deeper insight.

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7 Tours and Activities

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Los Angeles Hop-On Hop-Off Double-Decker Bus Tour

Los Angeles Hop-On Hop-Off Double-Decker Bus Tour

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823
Two routes in Hollywood & Beverly Hills, Santa Monica & Venice Beach. You can start and end of the tour at any of the stops along with routes. You can take the tour in your own pace and your own itinerary. Starline Tours’ Hop-On Hop-Off, City Sightseeing buses showcase the very best Los Angeles has to offer. Visit famous sights, attractions, museums, from classic Hollywood to the stunning coastal landscapes and legendary beaches of Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Unlimited use the 24-hour, 48-hour and 72-hour passes, giving you the freedom and flexibility to see the city on your own schedule while enjoying the comfort and convenience of our open-air double-decker bus service, delivering incredible adventure and great value for your money.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$49.00
From
$49.00

Grand City Tour of Los Angeles

Grand City Tour of Los Angeles

star-5
251
Get an in-depth introduction to Los Angeles on this grand city tour. Ideal for first-time visitors and those with limited time, the tours start in downtown Los Angeles then continues to Hollywood, the Sunset Strip, Rodeo Drive, and Beverly Hills.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$79.00
From
$79.00

Private Tour of Griffith Observatory

Private Tour of Griffith Observatory

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6
Griffith Observatory is a landmark that even locals don’t know enough about. Called “the hood ornament of Los Angeles,” it serves as a public observatory, planetarium, and exhibition space. Designed by some of its former employees, this tour will give you an introduction to the city that you’ll never forget. When Griffith J. Griffith first viewed the moon from a telescope he exclaimed, "If all mankind could look through that telescope, it would change the world!" For the remainder of his life, he toiled to realize his vision for a public observatory that would benefit future generations. Now, the Griffith Observatory is the most popular attraction of its kind in the world. Join us as we discover not just an L.A. landmark, but a place where you’ll have the chance to make memories. As fellow travelers, astronomers, and Angelenos, we at LA Tour1 will help you make the most of your time at Griffith Observatory.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$149.00
From
$149.00

Los Angeles Beginnings Walking Tour

Los Angeles Beginnings Walking Tour

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27
Explore Los Angeles’ vibrant past and glamorous downtown on a walking tour through the heart of the city. See the murals and vaulted ceiling at Union Station, browse souvenirs as you stroll historic Olvera Street, then visit the concert halls, cathedral, and park that have reenergized Downtown L.A. See the site of the Angels' Flight funicular, which once ferried Los Angeles’ elite into the city’s most sought after neighborhood.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$30.00
From
$30.00

Culture, Food, Art Tour of Downtown LA with Angels Flight Ticket

Culture, Food, Art Tour of Downtown LA with Angels Flight Ticket

star-4.5
10
Discover an authentic side of Los Angeles beyond the glitz and glamour of Hollywood on a walking tour of downtown. Admire an eclectic mix of architecture in landmarks like the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Bradbury Building, and Union Station, and learn how to navigate the city like locals do—on the Metro. See LA’s oldest street, hear tales of famous former residents that weren’t movie stars, and learn about the impressive behind-the-scenes systems of this sprawling cultural hub.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$35.90
Price varies by group size
From
$35.90
Price varies by group size

La Brea Tar Pits Tour by Segway

La Brea Tar Pits Tour by Segway

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5
Discover the prehistoric fossils of the La Brea Tar Pits on this Segway tour in Los Angeles. Led by a local guide, you’ll cruise through this ancient site to learn about the science behind the tar pits. See the remains of mammoths, mastodons, and saber-toothed cats as your guide provides historical commentary. Both morning and afternoon departures are available for this excursion.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$152.83
From
$152.83

Los Angeles City and Getty Museum Tour

Los Angeles City and Getty Museum Tour

Discover the best of Los Angeles on a private sightseeing tour through the city with a stop at the Getty Museum. Visit popular landmarks such as the Hollywood Sign, the Sunset Strip, and Griffith Park before heading to the modern Getty Museum. Take a 2-hour tour with your guide to explore the modern art of the museum including the outdoor sculpture garden.
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  • 5 hours
From
$288.00
From
$288.00