The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), set within L.A.'s Hancock Park beside the La Brea Tar Pits, is an exciting place to explore both the world of art and the art world. Here you can purchase a ticket to the latest big-budget show (like lily-pad-loving Monet or local anti-hero Tim Burton), take a comfy seat in the busy lecture/movie hall, or immerse yourself in rare and varied collections.
Much of LACMA's art represents the area’s diverse citizenry. Mayan sculptures honor the city's huge Mexican community; the spiral-path Asian wing reflect three of L.A.’s most influential populations — Japanese, Korean and Chinese; Persian tile-works and intricate paintings allude to the city’s thriving Beverly Hills community of Iranian expats; and mysterious carvings and totems from Tonga, Papua New Guinea and more are a nod to L.A.’s often-direct-flight proximity to the islands of the Pacific Rim.
Wander through historically important European artworks, then take a spin through the Broad Contemporary Art Museum, LACMA’s newest section, to experience the state of modern art collecting. Established in 2008 and resembling a futuristic sailing vessel, this wing of the museum was funded by LACMA founding chairman and real estate magnate Eli Broad and his wife Edythe. Many of the Broad's works are by controversial art stars Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons; be sure to see Koons’ beautifully detailed Train, a miniature cast from pure silver and bourbon.
Outside the Broad, Chris Burden's Urban Lights invites you to wend your way amongst cast-iron street lamps salvaged from across the city. To the left of these lights, you can wander amongst Rodin castings in the sculpture garden, and back on LACMA's north lawn, stroll without fear beneath Michel Heizer's enormous Levitated Mass, a 340-ton granite boulder suspended over a concave walkway. After exploring the museum and grounds, take a seat at the resident Ray’s & Stark Bar, which offers lunch, dinner and one of the best happy hours in L.A.
LACMA is open daily except for Wednesdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas.