Miracle Mile Museums and Much More: L.A.'s Top Museum Experiences

Perhaps the words "culture" and "world-renowned museums" may not come to mind when you think of Los Angeles (we know that more often your first thoughts are of Hollywood movies, beautiful beaches, surfing and Walt Disney), but culture and world-class museums are an important part of the very fabric of this city with the sunny disposition. From the huge Getty Center perched high up in the Santa Monica Mountains (and its sister museum in Malibu, the Getty Villa) to the iconic Los Angeles Museum of Art (LACMA) on the Miracle Mile of museums on Wilshire Boulevard, then on to downtown's California Science Center and Natural History Museum and all the way to the fantastic Griffith Observatory and Autry National Center, L.A. has so many different types of world-class museums it is actually a bit mind boggling. Each one has its own unique personality, focus and ambiance, so be sure to plan to devote plenty of time to seeing every one on this list. Then make a plan to delve deeper, for only naming ten museums does not do the city justice; there are at least ten more that are equally grand. You could easily spend a whole week in the City of Angels just visiting terrific museums!

Norton Simon Museum


With its curved exterior and dramatic, Frank Gehry-designed interior, the building that houses the Norton Simon Museum is a work of art in itself. The museum, home to businessman Norton Simon's incredible private collection, features top-notch...  Read More

Griffith Observatory
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


If you believe, like Colonel Griffith J. Griffith, in the transformative power of observation, then the Griffith Observatory is the L.A. museum for you. Located in the park that also bears that philanthropist's name, the observatory was recently...  Read More

Autry Museum of the American West
Photo courtesy of The Autry


The Autry National Center in Griffith Park is the brainchild of Gene Autry, the famed singing cowboy of film, radio and television. Autry believed that the experience of the taming of the American West had an impact on the whole world and he...  Read More

Petersen Automotive Museum


The Petersen Automotive Museum anchors the eastern end of the famed "Miracle Mile," that length of Wilshire Boulevard that boasts numerous world-class museums. Located on the corner of Fairfax Avenue since 1994, the museum's collection...  Read More

California African American Museum


The California African American Museum (CAAM), founded in 1977, explores the African-American artistic and cultural experience, with a particular focus on California and the western U.S. Stroll through the permanent and continuously changing...  Read More

Museum of Contemporary Art
Photo courtesy of MOCA/Marissa Roth


Since 1979, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) has been the only museum in Los Angeles devotely solely to contemporary art. The museum has three locations (MOCA Grand Avenue; MOCA Pacific Design Center; and The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA on...  Read More



One way or another, this museum of science and technology has been in operation since 1912, when it began as the State Exposition Building. It was remodeled in 1951 and rechristened the California Museum of Science and Industry, then it was...  Read More



The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles boasts a 14,000-square-foot Dinosaur Hall, an incredible gallery with those not-to-missed dinos including the Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops and Stegosaurus. Well-known for its detailed exhibits of North...  Read More

Getty Center
Photo courtesy of Getty Center


The Getty Center is the legacy of billionaire J. Paul Getty, a gorgeous paean to the arts. Perched high in the Santa Monica Mountains, the Richard Meier-designed complex is stunningly beautiful both outside and in. The museum's vast collection...  Read More

Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Photo courtesy of Los Angeles County Museum of Art


The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is the largest art museum in the Western United States. Its large complex houses a permanent collection that spans the globe, covers every historical era and features everything from European to Asian and...  Read More


Meet Jenny Peters

Jenny Peters – aka Jet Set Jen – is a Los Angeles-based freelance journalist, editor and party columnist specializing in travel, entertainment, film, food, wine, fashion and the other good...  More About Jenny