Art Museums in Los Angeles

Art Museums in Los Angeles – Top Art Collections to See in L.A.

Los Angeles is known for its sunny climate, and most visitors usually have a list of outdoor activities they would like to partake in. However, for the more discerning art lover or intellectual tourist, a visit to the art museums in Los Angeles is a must. But, which L.A. art museums are worth checking out? With so many art museums in L.A. to choose from, we have tried to make things easier for you by compiling a list of the best L.A. art museums for you to explore!



The Best Art Museums in Los Angeles

Despite the image most people have of the city, there is more to Los Angeles than just the glitz of the Hollywood stars and the sunny beaches. L.A. art museums and the art scene, in general, are regarded as world-class. Many renowned masterpieces can be seen in person in some of the best L.A. art museums. Let’s take a virtual tour of some of the finest art museums in L.A.


Spring Arts Tower (1915)

ArchitectJulian Ellsworth Garnsey (1887 – 1969)
Date Completed1915
Art Styles FeaturedContemporary art
LocationSpring St, Los Angeles, California, United States

The Spring Art Tower, located in the famed “downtown L.A.”, features a huge number of galleries. There are 100 artists on display, including architects, painters, photographers, and sculptors. This location is especially well-known for hosting the Spring Arts Collective, a group of five artists that arrange exhibits and parties in their studio, showcasing recognized and young artists. Such achievement has given the Spring Arts Tower a due place among Los Angeles’ top art institutions.


Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (1919)

ArchitectMyron Hunt (1868 – 1952)
Date Completed1919
Art Styles FeaturedBritish, European, American, and Asian art
Location1151 Oxford Road, Los Angeles, California, United States

One of the area’s most alluring attractions is due to the legacy of the businessman Henry E. Huntington. A whole day is required to completely explore the area since there is so much to see, including the art, library collections, and expansive outdoor areas. Most of it is best enjoyed slowly rather than a few hours worth of hurried exploration. Almost every inch of the estate’s grounds and collection is important, from a Gutenberg Bible to an artistically built Chinese garden.

Huntington Art Museum Los AngelesThe Huntington Mansion and Art Gallery at the Huntington Library; Mfield, Matthew Field,, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Pacific Asia Museum (1924)

ArchitectMarston, Van Pelt and Maybury (est. 1922)
Date Completed1924
Art Styles FeaturedAsian American art
LocationLos Robles Avenue, Los Angeles, California, United States

The Pacificulture Foundation created the museum in 1971 after purchasing The Treasure House of Oriental Art from the City of Pasadena. Grace Nicholson, a trader in Native American and, subsequently, Asian artwork and antiquities, presented the building to the town for artistic and educational purposes in 1943. It houses 15,000 unique and significant artworks from the Pacific Islands and Asia.

The museum became a component of the University of Southern California in 2013. The structure was closed from the 27th of June 2016 until the 17th of December 2017 for a seismic upgrade and refurbishment. It reopened with revised opening hours on the 8th of December 2017.

Pacific Asia Art Museum Los AngelesPacific Asia Museum; Minnaert, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Bowers Museum (1936)

ArchitectFrank Lloyd Wright (1867 – 1959)
Date Completed1936
Art Styles FeaturedNative American art, pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, the art of Africa, Asia, and Oceania
LocationMain St, Santa Ana, California, United States

The Bowers museum’s permanent collection has over 100,000 pieces, with noteworthy strengths in pre-Columbian Native American, Mesoamerica, African, Asian, and Oceanian art, as well as California Plein-air art. The Bowers organizes and finances notable worldwide exhibitions as well as local and international touring exhibitions.

Kidseum, a children’s museum with an emphasis on artwork and archaeology, is located a couple of blocks to the south of the main structure.

When federal authorities raided four Southern California institutions in 2008, the museum was embroiled in a high-profile issue. Investigators recovered items reportedly unlawfully unearthed from locations across the Americas and Southeast Asia, transported them into Los Angeles, and donated them to museums based on evidence acquired during a five-year undercover investigation.

Bowers Art Museum Los AngelesThe Bell Tower Entrance at the Bowers Museum; Mobilisdeus, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Norton Simon Museum (1942)

ArchitectThornton Ladd (1924 – 2010)
Date Completed1942
Art Styles FeaturedEuropean paintings and sculptures
LocationColorado Blvd, Los Angeles, California, United States

The late 1990s renovation by Frank Gehry and Norton Simon enhanced the museum’s visibility, but it also helped to grow the museum’s collection by providing it additional room and creating a peaceful, uncomplicated setting. The museum is most recognized for its magnificent collection of Old Masters, including works by 17th-century Dutch artists Brueghel, and Frans Hals. Manet, Monet, and Renoir are among the most well-known French impressionists.

After you’ve seen the temporary exhibits, visit the magnificent sculpture garden. Other noteworthy possessions include a large number of unappreciated Degas ballerina bronzes, as well as some fine contemporary pieces.


Long Beach Museum of Art (1950)

ArchitectEdward Killingsworth (1917 – 2004)
Date Completed1950
Art Styles FeaturedEarly 20th century European and American art
LocationLong Beach, California, United States

Over 4,000 drawings, paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts artifacts are all part of the museum’s renowned collection. Particular strengths are American decorative arts artifacts, early 20th European artwork, California Modernism, and contemporary art. Elizabeth Milbank Anderson, a rich philanthropist, and heir of banker Jeremiah Milbank erected the mansion that now houses the Long Beach Museum of Art in 1912 as a vacation residence.


Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1961)

ArchitectRenzo Piano (1937 – present)
Date Completed1961
Art Styles FeaturedAsian, medieval, Islamic, Latin American, European, and modern art
Location5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, California, United States

Urban Light (2008) by Chris Burden, a work composed of 202 cast-iron street lights collected from throughout Los Angeles and restored to functional order, has swiftly become one of the city’s iconic symbols. But you’d be missing out if you didn’t go beyond the photogenic installation; the L.A. art museum’s collections include large-scale contemporary works, modernist masterpieces, traditional Japanese screens, and L.A.’s most superb special exhibitions.

Just a heads up: the museum’s eastern part is mainly shut while it prepares for a big overhaul known as the David Geffen Galleries, which is set to open in 2024. However, the Resnick Pavilion still houses a half-dozen special exhibitions and a vibrant display of the contemporary collection.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1965Photograph of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art taken in 1965; GeorgeLouis at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


The Fowler Museum (1963)

ArchitectArnold C. Savrann (1937 – 2013)
Date Completed1963
Art Styles FeaturedAsian, Africa, and Pacific Island art
LocationCharles E Young Drive, Los Angeles, California, United States

The Fowler Museum at UCLA is a museum on the UCLA campus that focuses on the arts and material cultures from Asia, Africa, the Pacific, and the Americas, both past and present. The Fowler hosts three to six art exhibitions every year and also serves as a place for cultural lectures, musical concerts, art classes, family activities, festivals, and other events. The Fowler is in the northern area of UCLA’s Westwood Campus, between Glorya Kaufman Hall and Royal Hall.

Fowler Art Museum Los AngelesArchitectural sketch of stage one of the Fowler Museum Construction at UCLA; Fowler Museum at UCLA, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Craft Contemporary Museum (1973)

ArchitectGilbert Stanley Underwood (1890 – 1960)
Date Completed1973
Art Styles FeaturedContemporary art
LocationWilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, California, United States

Craft Contemporary, which opened as a museum in 1973, demonstrates the power of craft to inform, engage, question, and inspire. Craft Contemporary showcases dynamic exhibits by known and emerging artists and creators who are frequently underrepresented in bigger art institutions, with an emphasis on contemporary work created using craft media and methods. Craft Contemporary’s shows are complemented by a diverse lineup of educational events, including hands-on workshops taught by expert artists.

Craft Contemporary fosters an atmosphere in which individuals in Los Angeles may enhance their connection to art, innovation, and one another.

Craft Contemporary Art Museum Los AngelesFacade of the Craft Contemporary Museum, painted by the artist Shrine in Fall 2014; Ratbabyjones, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Getty Villa (1974)

ArchitectNorman Neuerburg (1926 – 1997)
Date Completed1974
Art Styles FeaturedGreek, Roman, and Etruscan art
LocationPalisades, Los Angeles, California, United States

In 1974, oil mogul J. Paul Getty created a museum of his possessions in Malibu, modeled after the Villa Dei Papiri in Herculaneum. Criticism and derision from art experts ensued, but the Getty evolved into a popular local attraction. The paintings and decorative arts were relocated to the Getty Center in 1997, and the villa was shuttered in order to be converted into an exhibit showcasing J. Paul Getty’s inventory of Mediterranean antiquities. The press was friendlier when it opened again in 2006, partly restored and partly transformed by architects Rodolfo Machado and Jorge Silvetti.

Getty Villa Art Museum Los AngelesGetty Villa Museum; Gary Todd from Xinzheng, China, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons


California African American Museum (1977)

ArchitectVince Proby (1928 – 1987)
Date Completed1977
Art Styles FeaturedAfrican American art
LocationState Drive, Los Angeles, California, United States

This beautiful museum, research library, and conference center, which is larger than it appears from the exterior, concentrates on the aesthetic and historic accomplishments of African Americans.

The ongoing exhibit uses a variety of textiles, paintings, photographs, ceremonial artifacts, and other memorabilia to convey the story of African Americans’ path from Africa to freedom through to the 21st century.

Throughout the year, there are also curated and touring exhibits, as well as screenings and seminars. The collection varies from African artworks to 19th-century landscapes. CAAM holds specifically erected exhibitions selected from its own collection, as well as touring exhibits from other museums.

African American Art Museum Los AngelesCalifornia African American Museum with Wishing on a Star by Charles Dickson at the entrance; Jllm06, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


MOCA Grand Avenue (1979)

ArchitectArata Isozaki (1931 – present)
Date Completed1979
Art Styles FeaturedContemporary art
LocationGrand Avenue, Los Angeles, California, United States

The main branch of Los Angeles’ Museum of Contemporary Art displays thousands of works created between 1940 and now, and it serves as an excellent tutorial on postwar artwork. Enjoy anywhere from half an hour to a full afternoon enjoying modern works by lesser-known artists, interspersed with glimpses of works like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. Select of the museum’s most fascinating shows are shown at the adjacent Geffen Contemporary; both venues notably converted to free entry (save for some special exhibits) in 2020, making the experience that much more convenient.

Gifts from many significant private collectors comprise the core of MOCA’s collections of almost 6,000 pieces, accounting for well over 90% of the gallery’s artworks. Most of it was received from board members who have donated or left major pieces or whole collections to the museum, or who have sold art to the museum at very good prices.

Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary ArtThe Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Dietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Los Angeles (California, USA), South Olive Street — 2012 — 8” / CC BY-SA 4.0


Autry Museum of the American West (1988)

ArchitectWidom, Wein, and Cohen (est. 1972)
Date Completed1988
Art Styles FeaturedNative American and Western American art
LocationGriffin Park, Los Angeles, California, United States

This museum, located in the northeastern corner of Griffith Park, highlights the past of the American West. You may anticipate a cheesy investigation of famed singing cowboy Gene Autry’s life and legacy, but the museum delivers a far more intriguing overview of the West, describing its background and detailing the mythology that surrounded it.

Discover more about Native Americans through their artwork and artifacts, and brush up on your cowboy skills with the museum’s collection of over 500,000 items.

After that, visit their Cross Roads West Café, research library, and store. Keep a close eye on the museum’s calendar because it also serves as a location for film screenings, seminars, music, and other activities.

Autry Art Museum Los AngelesAutry Museum of the American West; Jllm06, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Hammer Museum (1990)

ArchitectMichael Maltzan (1959 – present)
Date Completed1990
Art Styles FeaturedContemporary art
LocationWilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, United States

This institution was founded by the notorious oil mogul Armand Hammer, great-grandfather of the controversial actor Armie Hammer, in 1990, primarily to house his growing art collection, and it opened only a month before his passing. The free UCLA partner venue now presents fascinating exhibits of contemporary art, design, and photography, with an emphasis on regional artists. The exhibitions are supported by a little permanent collection and the Hammer’s public activities program, which is undoubtedly the greatest in the city, with free talks and films.

The Libros Schmibros book club, a regular meditation session, and the Hammer Conversations, which bring together prominent political, cultural, and intellectual luminaries, are all popular programs featured at the museum.

Hammer Art Museum Los AngelesHammer Museum; King of Hearts / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Japanese American National Museum (1992)

ArchitectGyo Obata (1923 – 2022)
Date Completed1992
Art Styles FeaturedJapanese art
LocationCentral Avenue, Los Angeles, California, United States

The Japanese American National Museum is regarded as one of the best in the city and covers the narrative of Japanese immigration to the United States in a clear and engaging manner. The expertly crafted pictures will captivate you even if you have no previous knowledge of the topic.

Aside from the permanent exhibition, the museum hosts a variety of documentary and art exhibits, including a heartbreaking yet beautiful show of photos and relics from the internment camps.

Thousands of Japanese people flocked to the Wester Coast of the U.S., with many settling in the San Joaquin Valley and becoming farmers. However, the Japanese were then banned from American life in much the same manner that the Chinese had been before them: they were denied the right to own land in 1913.

Japanese American Art Museum Los AngelesJapanese American National Museum; Justefrain, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


The Hollywood Museum (1994)

ArchitectSimeon Charles Lee (1899 – 1990)
Date Completed1994
Art Styles FeaturedFilm-related props and art
LocationHighland Ave, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States

If you enjoy the seventh art or Hollywood glitz, the Hollywood Museum is the greatest Los Angeles museum for you! It’s the perfect spot to quench your desire for culture and curiosity. It is also situated in a magnificent Art Deco-style structure owned by Max Factor and features an excellent collection. On four stories, posters, screenplays, props, costumes, and artworks of the biggest stars are on exhibit. Over 10,000 cinematographic items are available to the public in total. Do you like to witness jaw-dropping outfits and legendary clothing from famous celebrities?

The Hollywood Museum not only displays Marilyn Monroe’s most exquisite gowns, but also Elvis Presley’s bathrobe and items from Angelina Jolie and George Clooney!

Hollywood Art Museum Los AngelesHollywood Museum in the Max Factor Building; Jllm06, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Museum of Latin American Art (1996)

ArchitectManuel Rosen Morrison (1926 – 2018)
Date Completed1996
Art Styles FeaturedLatin American Art
LocationLong Beach, California, United States

MOLAA was founded in 1996 and extended in 2007 by Manuel Rosen, whose gorgeous extensions more than quadrupled the museum’s overall display area and included a pristine sculpture garden.

The Long Gallery houses the permanent collection’s heart, which includes work by one creator from each Latin American country.

A bit more description in the captions would be helpful, especially as the bulk of the artists would be new, although many of the paintings speak for themselves. A variety of temporary exhibits and a special events program add to the appeal, as does the Viva Café, which serves Latino versions of American classics.

Museum of Latin American Art Los AngelesMuseum of Latin American Art; nsputnik, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Getty Center (1997)

ArchitectRichard Meier (1934 – present)
Date Completed1997
Art Styles FeaturedPre-20th century European art
Location1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, California, United States

The J. Paul Getty Trust’s extensive art collection was held for many years at what is currently recognized as the Getty Villa, a beachfront estate packed with treasures that is also well worth a trip. However, the Getty Center opened in 1997, and the finished product is a stunning complex of white metal-clad pavilions and travertine housing opulent French furniture, well-known Impressionist paintings, and periodic exhibitions.

The free admittance and stunning views, which reach from the hills and the seaside in the west to the city area in the east, more than make up for its relative inaccessibility.

If you are thinking about going, be aware that it is closed on Mondays. Otherwise, you won’t be disappointed.

Getty Center Art Museum Los AngelesThe Getty Center Museum; Jelson25, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Los Angeles Center for Digital Art (2004)

ArchitectBen Allen (unlisted)
Date Completed2004
Art Styles FeaturedDigital art
LocationEast 4th St, Los Angeles, California, United States

The Center for Digital Art in Los Angeles LACDA is one of the most well-known art galleries in the United States. The LACDA exhibits “high quality” artists from throughout the world, as defined by owner Bruce Rex. This gallery was founded in 2004 to emphasize the digital art scene, but it has now expanded into a fully-fledged sophisticated technical advancement. LACDA routinely issues calls for applications and “open” shows, in which selected artists can showcase their work freely.

The institution fancies itself ultra-modern and exhibits exclusively digital art. It provides an astonishing range of digital arts, ranging from video to sculpture to new media, making it one of the greatest in the industry!


The Broad (2015)

ArchitectDiller Scofidio & Renfro (est. 1981)
Date Completed2015
Art Styles FeaturedContemporary art
LocationGrand Avenue, Los Angeles, California, United States

It’s always regarded as a significant event when a new museum debuts in Los Angeles. The Broad proved to be a watershed point in recent Los Angeles cultural history, due to its free entrance, unique architecture, and incredible collection.

It’s yet another symbol to the globe that Los Angeles is a city full of notable artistic institutions.

Edythe and Eli Broad’s collection of nearly 2,000 postwar artworks are housed in the museum. Even though just approximately 250 of those works of art are displayed at the same time, there is never a lack of art to enjoy.

The Broad Museum Los AngelesThe Broad Museum; Eric Garcetti, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Marciano Art Foundation (2017)

ArchitectKulapat Yantrasasat (unlisted)
Date Completed2017
Art Styles FeaturedModern art
LocationWilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, United States

Marciano Art Foundation, which debuted in 2017, is the newcomer to the scene in the Los Angeles art museum landscape. Paul and Maurice Marciano wanted to build a museum to share their enormous personal collection of modern art with the community. They bought the Masonic Temple, a historic Los Angeles landmark, and fully rebuilt it for the purpose of showcasing art, frequently enormous works. The first level of the museum was once the Masonic Temple’s theater, and as such provides a vast room for the presentation of major works.

Ai Weiwei, an internationally renowned activist, and artist, recently presented his newest work, Life Cycle (2019), there.

Marciano Art Museum Los AngelesMarciano Art Foundation in a former Scottish Rite Masonic Temple; Ken Lund from Reno, Nevada, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


With that, we conclude our list of the best L.A. art museums. All of the art museums offer something unique, so if you ever find yourself in the area, be sure to check out these incredible art museums in Los Angeles! As there is so much choice, we suggest doing some research regarding which museums house the artists and styles that you would most like to see.




Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Best L.A. Art Museum?

It all depends on what you are after! As one can see from our list, there are many options available. Art museums in L.A. offer everything from classic masters to contemporary artworks from both America and abroad.


Why Are There So Many Museums That Feature Art from Outside of America?

Los Angeles is a very cosmopolitan city. This means that there are people who represent cultures from all over the world. Therefore, it only makes sense that so much of the art reflects that diversity in culture.


Cite this Article

Jordan, Anthony, “Art Museums in Los Angeles – Top Art Collections to See in L.A..” artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source. March 23, 2023. URL:

Anthony, J. (2023, 23 March). Art Museums in Los Angeles – Top Art Collections to See in L.A.. artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source.

Anthony, Jordan. “Art Museums in Los Angeles – Top Art Collections to See in L.A..” artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source, March 23, 2023.

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