Los Angeles Museums and Galleries
10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood
There’s always something excellent on display at this UCLA museum—it’s also nicely manageable, making it the perfect way to spend a few idle hours. The adjacent museum store is one of the best in the city: The bookstore is gigantic, and they have some great gifts from L.A.-based designers, but they win the biggest points for their kids room in the back, where you’ll find art and design-specific tomes for little ones, along with a handful of well-conceived toys.
MOCA Pacific Design Center
8687 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood
Before the Broad, MOCA was LA's only museum wholly dedicated to contemporary art. As always, there's something great exhibiting at their downtown location, outpost in the Pacific Design Center, and the super rad Geffen Contemporary, housed in a former police car warehouse in Little Tokyo.
835 N. Kings Rd., West Hollywood
R.M. Schindler’s 1920’s home is the headquarters for this Art & Architecture Center. There are exhibitions and events throughout the year, but the main pull is visiting the house that Schindler designed as a communal live/work space. It’s an icon of modern design.
The Eames House
203 Chautauqua Blvd., Pacific Palisades
While it will cost you (a lot) to take a tour of the inside of Charles and Ray Eames’ house/studio, it’s pretty incredible to see how warmly this husband and wife team lived, as well as their iconic, modern furniture in situ. While indoor tours range from $275-$400 (depending on group size), it’s only $10 to walk the grounds and see its iconic, Mondrian-esque exterior. Reservations for both are required.
The Getty Villa
17985 Pacific Coast Hwy., Pacific Palisades
Modeled after a first-century Roman country house, J. Paul Getty originally built the Getty Villa to house an art collection that was quickly outgrowing his house. Now, beyond touring the exquisite home and gardens, you can see his collection of 44,000 antiquities, with treasures that range from 6,500 B.C. to A.D. 400.
5905 Wilshire Blvd., West Hollywood
Undeniably, LACMA pulls LA's biggest art exhibits—and many of them. The campus is huge, the permanent exhibits are great, and it's all kid-friendly, too. If you have little ones in tow, definitely head to the Boone Gallery, which is located on the second floor of the Hammer Building. There, you'll find a space where little ones can actually put brush to paper and make art. While on-site, sign them up for a free LACMA youth membership—they can visit the museum for free whenever they want (and bring one adult guest along).
Petersen Automotive Museum
6060 Wilshire Blvd., West Hollywood
Though it's an equal draw for car-obsessed adults, this museum—immediately across the street from LACMA—has huge kid appeal. For one, in the third floor Discovery Center they can climb aboard a California Highway Patrol Motorcycle, a Ford Model T, and a racecar. They can also race Hot Wheels and pick up a few tidbits about what makes a car tick.
250 S. Grand Ave., Downtown
Until the opening of the Broad across the street, MOCA was LA's only museum wholly dedicated to contemporary art. As always, there's something great to see at their downtown location, their outpost in the Pacific Design Center, and the super rad Geffen Contemporary, housed in a former police car warehouse in Little Tokyo.
The Annenberg Space for Photography
2000 Ave. of the Stars, Century City
A view of the Century Plaza Towers from below (the duo were designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the architect who designed The World Trade Center, and the visual similarities are eery), and free admission are just bonuses: The photo exhibits here are both excellent and manageable.
1200 Getty Center Dr., Brentwood
COVID-19 update: While the Getty is temporarily closed their catalogue of online exhibits is excellent and the digitial experience is well worth a try. Offering some of the city’s best views, you can spend a good half-day picnicking on the lawn above the central gardens, or wandering around the Richard Meier-designed exterior (construction employed about 1,200,000 square feet of travertine) before you even head inside. The exhibitions are always varied and interesting, the permanent collection is important, and there are excellent hands-on activities for kids. You only pay for parking at the bottom; admittance is otherwise free. COVID-19 disclaimer: We are working hard to keep our listings as up to date as possible (deliveries, outdoor dining, etc.), but given the evolving nature of local COVID-19 restrictions, we recommend double-checking the information in this guide with any business you plan on visiting. Also, please note that we have not vetted any businesses listed within our guides for their compliance with applicable safety regulations.