I came in search of Christian art on Holy Thursday and found some high above the 405 parking lot. I'll say it now: I'm hopelessly biased toward the Huntington, but it cannot be denied that the Getty has the more extensive and wide-reaching collection and the better views. This sidetrip was, without a doubt, far superior to class. But it's just so freaking busy! There's no such thing as quietly pondering the interplay of light, shadow, and subject when you're stepping on busloads of kids and listening to 30 foreign languages a minute. The museum is famous for its labyrinth, but in reality the whole place is just one big labyrinth, designed to allow the visitor to completely lose himself in a raptured state of mind. It's an island of white travertine rising above a sea of scrub brush on an LA mountaintop, and indeed stepping off of the tram and into its massive courtyard does elevate the spirit a bit. And there are more than a few steps to climb. And yet for all the effort everywhere you turn you find something beautiful, something thought-provoking, or something just plain strange (for this last point that's usually the architecture of the place itself.) For the benefit of the uninitiated, there are several galleries each covering a swath of history, ranging from before 1700 to the present day, as well as a selection of photographic works and furniture. Hand illuminated Byzantine Bibles, stained glass, and holy ornaments are to be found in one, while furniture, romantic portraiture, and landscapes are to be found in another. A "terrace" containing a deceptively large selection of photographic art (including a lovely Ansel Adams exhibit) is also to be found hidden off of the main cafe deck. And everywhere you look there seems to be a view - whether it's a gorgeous vista or a precious work of art. They have a wide array of food and drink to offer, including wines and beers. But because of the impossible lines that proliferated at all hours of the day (and the fact that I prefer to enjoy my artwork while sober) I did not partake and therefore cannot comment on their quality. The scope of the complex is positively massive, befitting the extensive collection of art that resides within. An intriguing blend of modern architectural sensibilities and eons old stone, for what it lacks in comforting welcoming quality it more than makes up for in distinction and energy. Like any great gallery, the Getty invites a spirit of adventure and exploration. It may at times feel a little sterile, and the surroundings a bit spartan for some of the more opulent and religious artwork contained within the collection, but its breadth and the promise of more discoveries around the corner make that shortcoming an easy one to overlook. The crowds, however, are insane. Even on a Thursday. You have been warned.
My girlfriend took me on a date here for my birthday (yes we are that kind of couple). I loved it and could have spent hours in their reading all of the information. They have paintings from many of the famous serial killers including the world famous John Wayne Gacy clown painting, victorian era autopsy and burial tools, crime scene photos, taxidermy animals, an actual severed head, and more. I imagine some people may be turned off by the more gory exhibits but if you have even spent an hour on reddit nothing here should surprise you that much. Instead take in the information on natural death, and the terrible murderers/psychopaths who pervade society. Aside from the picture of the smiling couple mutilating a corpse I would take my mother here.
I absolutely adore LACMA!!!! There are a ton of different exhibits, and while you can always count on some exhibits remaining the same, the museum seems to be ever-changing. I love how everything is laid out and it's close proximity to the La Brea Tar Pits and plenty of food options. Food trucks line the street frequently, so you can eat something different every time you come. My favorite part though is the NexGen program, which allows children up to age 17 to enjoy the museum for free and bring one adult guest for free with their entry.
Ok, I'm not going to rate the facility and amenities because this museum is just a store front on a Chinatown side street. The exhibit signage is often just notes, hand-written with a Sharpie on notebook paper. Yes, this is a museum dedicated to black velvet paintings. So is this place worth the $10. Heck yes. The Unicorn Birthing Room (yes, really) alone is worth the $10. Meeting the owner, Carl, is worth the $10. This is museum is a delight: a real celebration of the low-brow, kitchy, common and fun. Go!
One of our favorite museums. The exhibits change often enough that you can go back many times during the year. The docents are extremely knowledgeable and always ready to answer your questions even if you're not part of a group. Everyone who works there is very helpful. There are a huge number of activities planned throughout the year that are very family friendly. They just had the Hahamongna native plant nursery there and we are now the proud owners of a Tecate Cypress and 2 other drought tolerant plants.
With a few exceptions, this place is an interesting and fun spot to take kids. There's an audio-guided tour that leads you through the old police station, and there are squad cars and a helicopter in back that they can actually climb around in. Be aware that a few of the exhibits (Watts riots, etc) may not be appropriate for children, but it's pretty easy to steer them to what's age-appropriate. I thought it offered up an interesting history of the LAPD.
I love LACMA! This museum is constantly changing their exhibitions and has a huge collection of ancient and historical art and artifacts. I really enjoyed the ancient Buddhist and Hindu collections. The museum is very large and each building has multiple floors so it's easy to spend an entire day here. During the week, LA county residents are free after 3pm. Also, there is ample free street parking if you go at a less busy time during the week.
One of the most fun museum experiences I've had and now tops the list I give visitors when they ask what to do when they are in LA. The collection is eclectic and fun. Some art has history and others is as recent as 2015. One of the more moving pictures was a giant photograph taken at the Ferguson riots. Gave me a new appreciation for all works of art and I left really excited by a few exhibits. Highly recommended.
If you or your kids are even remotely interested in cars you need to make at least one visit here. They have a great Hot Wheels section that kids love. Nice tours as well with plenty of cool old cars, movie cars to see. I would suggest some more patient tour guides though - kids can be a bit excited and tour guides need to realize they don't have the listening patience most adults may have.
The La Brea Tar Pits are a fun place to visit for free in LA. It is a relatively small museum, but that is actually what I love about it. We are able to go to the Tar Pits and then hit up LACMA for a few hours in the afternoon or go find yummy food at one of the many food trucks that parks outside. The huge lawn allows for plenty of people to picnic and have fun...just keep an eye out for tar.