Last weekend, I had the chance to visit LACMA for the first time. It is a stunning museum, so I thought I’d share my experience with those who might be interested in visiting themselves someday.
What is LACMA?
LACMA stands for Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It is the largest art museum in the western United States. It holds nearly 150,000 objects spanning 6,000 years of art and history. The museum draws from the culture and history of Los Angeles and the surrounding area to showcase diverse perspectives and points of view. In 1910, the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science, and Art was founded. In 1965, LACMA became its own separate entity and opened its Wilshire location. The museum is built on 20 acres and houses several different buildings including Broad Contemporary Art Museum, the Lynda and Stewart Resnick Exhibition Pavilion, the Anderson Building, which houses modern and contemporary art, the Bruce Goff-designed Pavilion for Japanese Art, and the May Company department store building at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax, which is now home to the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
What to Expect When You Visit
I visited the museum on a Saturday morning at 10 am when they opened. Since there are timed slots, it was never too crowded. I personally avoided the rooms that seemed to have lingering guests. The museum is quite big and there are multiple buildings to visit. I chose to visit only a few of the buildings, so I was there for about an hour. I’ve traveled to museums all over the world, so I do go through them pretty quickly. If you prefer to spend a lot of time at each piece, reading each of the descriptions, you could certainly spend all day at the museum. There are a few places outdoors where you can get food and refreshments. There was also some outdoor seating, so it would be a nice place to enjoy the lovely LA weather. LACMA is also extremely close to the Holocaust museum and the Grove, so there is a lot to do in that area of the city.
What I Loved Most about LACMA
There were a few different areas of the museum that I especially loved. There was an entire Picasso room. He is one of my favorite artists. I’ve actually been to the Picasso museum in Paris, so I love when I get to experience some of his pieces. Another area of the museum I loved was an entire collection of Black American portraits. There were about three different large rooms all geared toward Black Americans and some of my favorite pieces were in this collection. This specific exhibition is open until April 17, 2022. I was really impressed to see the diversity of the collection at LACMA and that they represented many different cultural perspectives. There was also an entire exhibit on Chinese contemporary art. I’m excited to visit again in April because there is a new Alexander McQueen exhibit coming.
Is LACMA Kid-Friendly?
The short answer is no, especially if your children are fairly young. I didn’t see anything interactive at this museum and all of the signage clearly indicated you could not touch anything. That can be hard for little kids. I would highly suggest the California Science Center or the Natural History Museum if you want to bring your children. I have been to both, alone, and with my kids, and I feel both are much better suited for kids of all ages.
My longer answer though is yes. Always take your children to museums, no matter if they are kid-friendly or not. Why? Because there is cultural capital in exposing your children to art. Even if it’s a quick trip, even if you have to constantly keep them from touching things, there is a familiarity and comfort they will develop by being in museums from an early age. I do plan to take my kids to see the Black American Portraits exhibition because I think it is important for them to see their culture so positively represented. Even if we only stay for 10 minutes, something will resonate with them, I’m sure of that.
How to Get to LACMA
Getting to LACMA will depend on where you live. Their website outlines how to get there via bus, bike and car. I simply used google maps and typed in their address. The search results gave me the option of the museum itself and also the parking garage. I chose the parking garage and it worked perfectly. Here is their address:
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Where to Park at LACMA
There is a parking structure directly under LACMA. It is very convenient to park right there. Then you can take an elevator right up to the ground level and enter the museum buildings. I chose to park in their lot because it was my first time visiting, so I thought it would be very convenient. However, in the future, I will try to find street parking. There were meters along the main streets near the museum, so I do think street parking might be an option, depending on when you arrive and how far you’re willing to walk. I arrived at 10 am, right when the museum opened, and I did notice some open street parking. If you do opt to park at the museum, prepared for a hefty fee – I believe it was $18 to park.
Hours, Tickets, and Pricing
LACMA is open every day from 10 am -5 pm. Tickets must be purchased in advance. You can call the museum or purchase tickets online. Prices vary depending on if you’re a resident of Los Angeles County or a non-resident. Children under 2 are free. Children and youth under 17 who also reside in Los Angeles County are free. LA county adults are $20 and seniors (65+) and students (valid ID) are $16. Out-of-county adults pay $25, seniors and students pay $21, and youth pay $10. Based on LACMA’s website, they said the quietest time to visit is 1 to 4 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Just make sure you book your advanced tickets!
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