If you’re a budding Picasso or simply appreciate the arts, the city of Angels ranks as a veritable paradise. From museums to cultural centers to theaters, you could spend several lifetimes exploring all the city of L.A. has to offer.
What if you only have a few days of holiday time to explore the city? You still can absorb much of the location’s iconic art scene. Here are 10 of the best destinations for art lovers in one of America’s biggest west coast cities. Enjoy your cultural explorations!
1. The Arts District Street Art
In case you ever needed another reminder to “kiss the one you love every chance you get,” check out WRDSMITH’s classic street art in L.A.’s famous art district. While galleries line the avenue, the street itself is a dedication to everything artistic, perfect for strolling along with an ice cream cone while taking in the sites (and doing some people-watching).
The great thing about the street art murals is they change from year to year, so every visit brings the opportunity to see something new. Given the ephemeral nature of the designs, make sure your cellphone is well-charged before you go to take dozens of pictures. That way, your favorite works can live on eternally on your social media wall.
WRDSMITH also has hidden message all over L.A. If you look closely, you can find them all over Hollywood in places like Runyon Canyon Yoga!
2. The Brewery Arts Complex
Ever wonder what life in an arts colony is like? Visit the Brewery Arts Complex, dubbed the largest live-and-work artists colony in the world. Located in 21 former warehouses, the complex houses not only living quarters but also galleries, restaurants and studios.
At least twice per year, the complex features afternoon-long art walks, so plan your trip around these fun events. They feature great food, drinks, entertainment and more.
3. Museum of Contemporary Art
Founded in 1979, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) houses one of the most extensive collections anywhere and their catalog continues to grow. Now celebrating its 40-year anniversary, this marks the perfect time to check out the exhibits.
If you’re on a limited schedule, book a museum tour which lasts only 45 minutes on average. Got more time? Catch screenings of artistic films or hit a guided dance party.
4. J. Paul Getty Museum
The Getty Center actually consists of two campuses. The Getty Center, located in L.A.’s Brentwood neighborhood, contains collections from the Middle Ages through the present. The Getty Villa, located in Malibu, displays works from ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria.
Love ancient animals and all things cryptid? The museum currently hosts “Book of Beasts” a visual bestiary of medieval times. Learn how real-life and imaginary creatures alike influence the world of art.
5. Marciano Art Foundation
Looking for contemporary art in the heart of downtown L.A.? Look no further than Marciano Art Foundation. The center hosts over 40 works of art by 30 artists as well as rotating exhibits featuring new talent. Currently, the foundation features art from female artists Donna Huanca and Anna Uddenberg, among others.
6. The Kabbalah Center
Art forms part of many spiritual journeys and many artists find their works an expression of the divine. The Kabbalah Center in L.A. holds spiritual artistic classes every few months, sometimes more often. Learn how to harness the energy of the universe to bring your own unique creations to life!
7. Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Located in the Miracle Mile District, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) arranges its galleries with a global perspective. The organization currently features an exhibit dedicated to the artistry inherent in Korean writing with its elegant, calligraphy-like characters. For those who enjoy learning the history of art as well as gazing at great works, the center offers a full research library on site. They also offer a host of learning programs for those fortunate enough to live in the area.
8. The Broad
The Broad requires advanced reservations so plan your trip well ahead of time. However, those who don’t require private tours of specific exhibits can take advantage of group tours which run daily except for Mondays when the facility closes. The museum focuses on contemporary art from the 1950’s forward.
9. Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens
The Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens offers an art gallery and so much more. The facility hosts 120 acres featuring 16 distinct themed garden areas with citrus groves to rose bushes. The galleries feature American and European artwork dating from the medieval period forward.
10. Third Street Promenade
Who says fashion doesn’t qualify as art? The designers featured along Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade beg to differ. So do the chefs featured at the area’s delectable restaurants.
For art lovers, you’ll find galleries, too, as well as street art vendors peddling their wares along the pier. The neighborhoods surrounding the pier feature a host of street art murals for lovers of artists inspired by Banksy.
11. Hollywood Cemetery
You don’t have to embrace goth culture in order to enjoy an artistic visit to the Hollywood Cemetery, and you can do so much more than simply grave rubbings (although TBH, grave rubbings are so interesting!). The organization offers guided historical walking tours as well as Segway tours for those who want to learn about the more famous residents. And while picnicking among the headstones may sound macabre, the beautifully maintained grounds make events like the Friends of Hollywood Cemetery Annual Picnic, which features local bands and artists. Special indeed!
12. Improv for the People
Ever wanted to perfect your public speaking skills and rivet your audience with a TED-style talk on YouTube? Look no further than Improv for the People, which teaches performance arts skills entrepreneurs and professionals can use in everyday life. Don’t worry if you’ve always dreamed of singing in a musical — the Improv focuses on building skills for the theater stage, too, of course. Let your inner ham shine!
Exploring the Best of L.A.’s Art World
The city of Angels hosts more venues dedicated to the art than most cities given its sheer size. The weather invites tourists to saunter from gallery to gallery. Next time you visit L.A., check out all the artistry the city has to offer.