February 15, 2021
People are often surprised to hear that Los Angeles has so many free museums. These are world class museums that rival anything in major cities like New York or London.
If you're looking to save money, or just want to get a great deal, review this list of six free museums in Los Angeles.
1. The Broad
The Broad opened to much fanfare in 2015 in a striking, honeycomb building in downtown Los Angeles. Prepare to be dazzled by instagram-worthy giant sculptures and paintings across 12,000 feet of gallery space, spanning the last 70 years from the 1950s.
There are some big names in the collection here like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Koons. Best of all - it's FREE! However, it's recommended you register for an advanced timeslot, to avoid the long line outside The Broad.
Learn more about The Broad.
2. Getty Museum
The FREE Getty Museum is another Los Angeles treasure, situated high on a hilltop in Brentwood on the Westside, directly off the 405 highway. It's the wealthiest art museum in the world, funded by a generous $700 million endowment in 1976 by oil magnate J. Paul Getty.
Prepare to be transported to another world, as you are whisked up to the top of the hill by tram, with soaring views over the city. Upon arrival you will be greeted by expansive plazas, fountains, and exquisite gardens lined with sculptures. This is one of the most breathtaking museums in Los Angeles.
The Getty Museum houses an impressive European Art collection, including Blue Irises by Van Gogh, and original furniture from the Palace of Versailles.
Learn more about the Getty Museum.
3. Getty Villa
The FREE Getty Villa would be quite at home in Ancient Rome. It's located on bluff-top off the Pacific Coast Highway, overlooking the sparkling blue ocean of Malibu. It was built by oil magnate J.Paul Getty in 1974, and is a replica of a Roman Villa destroyed in the Mount Vesuvius eruption in AD79.
The Getty Villa is a feast for the senses, with a striking 90-meter ornamental pool in the Outer Peristyle, surrounded by lush, fragrant gardens. The path then leads to the secluded Inner Peristyle and the exhibition rooms.
It houses precious antiquities from the Greek, Roman and Etruscan eras, and some Bronze Age pieces dating 6500 BC.
Learn more about the Getty Villa.
4. Griffith Observatory
Visitors often take the trip up to Griffith Observatory for the best views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign. However, this FREE Observatory has so much more to offer, and is one of the best museums in Los Angeles. Where else can touch a real piece of the moon brought back by Apollo 14 astronauts, or see a meteorite from Mars?
Step inside the stunning art deco interior of the Griffith Observatory, to see two floors of astronomy exhibits, and a free giant telescope with a close-up view of the sun (a fee is required for the planetarium shows).
Learn more about the Griffith Observatory.
5. California Science Center
The FREE California Science Center is a fabulous day out, located on the attractive grounds of Exposition Park in South L.A.
You'll need a full day to cover the two floors of exhibitions. There are three space capsules from the 1960s and 70s (the Mercury Redstone 2, Gemini 11, and Apollo Command Module), a 28-foot high kelp tank with shows narrated by scuba divers, touchpools and aquariums full of starfish and sea anemones, an earthquake shake table and so much more! There's even a dedicated play area for kids under age 7.
For a small, additional fee, you can get a close-up look of the Space Shuttle Endeavor, that flew 25 times between 1992 and 2011.
Learn more about the California Science Center.
6. Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust
The Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust is conveniently located near The Grove. This poignant museum will leave an indelible impression on you.
This museum documents the horrors of the holocaust, with first hand accounts from 51,000 survivors. The museum is fashioned like a concrete bunker, with lights that dim as you venture deeper into the building to observe audio-visual exhibits capturing the darkest period of human history.
See fascinating exhibits at one of the most evocative museums in Los Angeles, like a letter written by Albert Einstein praising a friend for helping Jews escape Nazi Germany.
Learn more about the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust.