The best museum in California is a must-see

It’s easy to spend a day or more exploring the many museums and art galleries that call California home. Please take note of Wanderlust Tips’ recommendations, like as visiting some of the state’s most well-known institutions.


The Getty Center in Los Angeles

  • The admission fee: Free entrance
  • Add. 1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049, USA

In Los Angeles, California, you’ll find the Getty Center, home to the Getty Museum and other Getty Trust initiatives. In a setting of contemporary architecture and breathtaking views of Los Angeles, the Getty Center in Brentwood displays works by European masters. The Getty Villa Museum is a coastal attraction that features displays of Greek and Roman antiquities within a replica of a Roman villa.

The $1.3 billion Center, famous for its design, gardens, and views overlooking Los Angeles, first opened to the public on December 16, 1997. The Center is located on top of a hill, with a parking garage for guests at the base of the hill accessible via a cable-pulled, three-car hovertrain people mover. The J. Paul Getty Museum’s Brentwood Center is one of two venues in Los Angeles and has about 1.8 million visitors per year. The Getty Mansion in Los Angeles’s Pacific Palisades is the other. European artworks from the pre-modern era, including paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts, can be found at the Museum’s Center location, together with pictures from all over the world dating from the 1830s to the present day. The Museum’s outdoor sculpture collection is on view in the Center’s gardens, terraces, and the expansive Central Garden, all of which were created by Robert Irwin. Irises, a painting by Vincent van Gogh, is featured in the exhibition. The Getty Research Institute (GRI), Getty Conservation Institute, Getty Foundation, and J. Paul Getty Trust are all located on the campus, which was designed by Richard Meier. Design considerations for earthquakes and fires were integral to the construction of the Center.


The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco

  • The admission fee: It depends on the service you select.
  • Add. Golden Gate Park, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San FranciscoCA 94118, USA

The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco is one of the world’s largest and most visited scientific museums, having opened its doors to the public all the way back in 1853. The institution’s grounds feature a rainforest and a planetarium in addition to a tropical aquarium and a museum of natural history.

Museum buildings in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park that were constructed between 1916 and 1977 were severely damaged in the Loma Prieta earthquake of 2008. California Academy of Sciences’ new home, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano and easily recognizable by its wave-shaped green roof, was one of the world’s most environmentally-sustainable buildings when it was completed, with a total floor area of 410,000 square feet and a construction cost of nearly half a billion dollars.

To “discover, explain, and support life on Earth” is the stated goal of the California Academy of Sciences. The Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium, Osher Rainforest, and Kimball Natural History Museum are the four main exhibit halls of the museum.

The Steinhart Aquarium is one of the largest and most diverse aquariums in the United States, housing some 40,000 living creatures from 900 different species across its many pools, tanks, and reconstructions devoted to things like California’s marine flora and fauna, sharks, African penguins, the coral reefs of the Philippines, alligators, and sea turtles.

The Osher Rainforest is a recreation of four separate tropical habitats, including a Bornean forest, a Madagascan forest, a Costa Rican forest, and an Amazonian forest, all contained behind a giant glass dome built to provide a controlled temperature and humidity environment.

The Morrison Planetarium, one of the most cutting-edge facilities of its kind, with a 75-foot-diameter dome screen onto which a detailed visual simulation of the cosmos is projected.

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles

  • The admission fee: It depends on the service you select.
  • Add. 250 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90012, USA

Is a modern art museum with two locations in Los Angeles, California. The main branch is near the Walt Disney Concert Hall on Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles. MOCA’s original space, which was intended as a “temporary” exhibit space while the main facility was being built, is now known as the Geffen Contemporary, and is located in downtown Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo district. It ran a satellite facility at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood from 2000 to 2019.

The exhibits at the museum are primarily of American and European contemporary art created after 1940. MOCA’s programming has been defined by its multidisciplinary approach to contemporary art since its inception.

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