7 Things Every Fan of Culture and the Arts Needs to Do
Traveling to Los Angeles may conjure up images of selfies with the Hollywood sign, visiting Universal Studios, and seeing the Chinese Theater, but in this vibrant city there is much more to do. As the cultural capital of the west coast of the United States, there is much art to discover in Los Angeles and many cultural sites to visit.
Whether you love ancient Greek sculpture, ultra-contemporary art, or alternative street art, Los Angeles will find something for you. Architecture fans will also appreciate the wide variety of building styles LA offers, from the iconic Neo-Greek structure of the Griffith Observatory to the contemporary façade of The Broad.
Do you love culture and the arts? These are 7 places in Los Angeles that you cannot miss.
Whether you want to soak up the work of the impressionist master Degas or admire the minimalism of Piet Mondrian, a visit to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is a must. With a collection that houses more than 150,000 pieces of art — from ancient masterpieces to incredible contemporary works — there is something for everyone. As the largest museum in the western United States, LACMA prides itself on constant innovation and many outdoor installations that visitors can admire, in addition to its permanent collection and temporary exhibits. This includes the Hello Girls kinetic piece by Alexander Calder and Chris Burden’s installation of more than 200 vintage lanterns from and around Los Angeles.
Tip: Take a look at LACMA’s gigantic digital archive , which has more than 20,000 works available for download. This will help you plan your visit.
A visit to the iconic Griffith Observatory will not only bring you closer to the stars; it will also give you incredible views of downtown Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign. The beautiful neo-Greek building opened to the public in 1935 and — thanks to its benefactor, philanthropist Griffith J. Griffith — the building and its grounds are free to enter. The planetarium was used to train astronauts on the first lunar missions of the Apollo program and has appeared in many films, such as Rebel Without a Cause and more recently, La La Land.
Tip: For a truly unique experience, enjoy a private tour of the Griffith Observatory, where an expert will guide you through the history of the building and its Greek-inspired murals, as well as the various astronomical exhibits and the planetarium.
Street Art and Graffiti in the Arts District
Located on the eastern edge of downtown Los Angeles, the Arts District is a vibrant hub of creative activity. The 20th century industrial buildings in this area have been transformed into art studios and contemporary art galleries. However, the real star is the wide variety of graffiti and street art that brings the streets to life. Here, it is possible to learn more about the history of West Coast graffiti and enjoy the creations of world-class urban artists.
Tip: Get to know the Los Angeles Arts District like an insider on a graffiti and mural tour led by local artists. They will help you unravel the history of this area and guide you through the best works from among more than 100 murals that color the Arts District.
J. Paul Getty Museum
The J. Paul Getty Museum has an unrivaled collection of Western art divided into two locations: the Getty Center in Brentwood and the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades. In addition, the design of the building is based on the famous Villa of the Papyri in Pompeii. If you like European art, the Getty Center will just blow your mind. Rembrandt, JMW Turner, Edouard Manet, Paul Gauguin, and Vincent van Gogh are just some of the great masters present in this collection.
Tip: Admission to the Getty Center and Getty Villa is free. However, if you plan to visit the Villa, you need to call ahead and reserve an entrance ticket.
Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens
If you’re looking to escape the chaos of the city and enjoy some greenery, the Huntington Library is just a 20-minute drive from downtown Los Angeles. While the Huntington Library has an extensive collection of European art from the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as American art from the 17th to 20th centuries, the real star here is the botanical gardens. Stretching over almost 50 hectares, the botanical gardens are designed to display plants from around the world. This includes the Chinese Liu Fang Yuan Garden – the largest outside of China – as well as a desert garden, a Japanese garden and an Australian garden.
Tip: The Huntington Library offers free tours of the gardens with your admission ticket. Ask for visiting hours at the box office.
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Designed by acclaimed architect Frank Gehry, the Walt Disney Concert Hall is home to the Los Angeles Philharmonic. This 2,265-seat venue is home to the orchestra from October to June.
Architecture lovers will appreciate Gehry’s impressive design, while music fans will want to catch a concert to experience the incredible acoustics, which was designed by Minoru Nagata and completed by his protégé Yasuhisa Toyota. The elegant exterior contrasts with the warm interior decorated with Douglas fir.
Since its opening in 2008, The Broad has established its status as one of the best contemporary art museums in the world. Focusing on art dating from 1950 to the present day, this museum has carved out a niche for itself with its world-class collection. Jeff Koons, Cindy Sherman, and Jean-Michel Basquiat are just a few of the artists in their collection, so The Broad should be on any contemporary art lover’s list of places to visit in Los Angeles.