Treasure Quest

Finding Awe, Inspiration and Reflection in LA’s Smaller Museums


Most visitors know LA’s flagship museums — the Getty, LACMA, MOCA and more — but LA’s other museums (102 others at last count!) offer equally rewarding experiences for adventurous and curious travelers eager to witness the wealth of exhibitions spanning time and place that LA has to offer. Here is a sampling of a few jaw-dropping options:

Annenberg Space for Photography (Century City) — Some of the world’s most famous photographers have their digital and print photography displayed here. The gallery also has works by emerging artists.

*Craft and Folk Art Museum (Downtown) — Folk art from around the globe gives visitors a cultural experience without leaving LA. Exhibits change often. Also, check out the poetry readings, folk singers and craft workshops.

Dominguez Ranch Adobe Museum (South Bay) — Manuel Dominguez built this home on his 75,000-acre ranch in 1826 for his lucky new bride. The California Historical Landmark is open for tours.

*El Pueblo de Los Angeles (Downtown) — The birthplace of Los Angeles (1781) starts on Olvera Street where visitors can see LA’s oldest residence, the Avila Adobe (1818); the Plaza Church (1822); and the restored Siqueiros Mural (1932). The Mexican marketplace on Olvera is full of shops and restaurants.

*Fowler Museum at UCLA (Westwood) — On the campus of UCLA, the Fowler contains artwork and 600,000 archeological objects from prehistory to the present from Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

*Heritage Square Museum (Los Angeles) — Take a walk back to the Victorian Era with museum interpreters in period costume. Eight historic homes and buildings help educate visitors about the everyday lives of Southern Californians at the end of the 1800s.

*Japanese American National Museum (Downtown) — Preserving the history and culture of the Japanese in America, the Little Toyko museum’s exhibits include artifacts, films, art and textiles.

*LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes (Downtown) — Interactive exhibits highlight the history of Los Angeles and its Mexican-American community. The museum occupies the first two floors of the 1888 Vickrey-Brunswig Building. The 1883 Plaza House is part of the tour.

*Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust (Westside) — The oldest Holocaust museum in the U.S. has actual film footage, interactive displays and visual timelines about the rise of Nazism and the aftermath of the Holocaust.

Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana (San Fernando Valley) — Built in 1797, this 17th California mission was home to Catholic missionaries and 1,000 Indians who raised cattle and produced hides, leather goods and tallow. Now it’s a museum with original artifacts and beautiful surroundings.

Museum of Jurassic Technology (Culver City) — A unique chance to ponder weird, random, and eclectic relics and art pieces. And just when you think you are going to lose your sanity from contemplating so many mind-blowing items, there are free cookies and tea upstairs.

*Museum of Tolerance (Beverly Hills) — Interactive exhibits tell the story of intolerance and bigotry around the world but especially during the time of the Holocaust (1930s-’40s).

*Pacific Asia Museum (Pasadena) — Classic and contemporary art from all over Asia and the Pacific Islands gives visitors a mind-expanding view of Eastern culture. Even the early 20th century building the museum is housed in is something to see. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

*Pasadena Museum of California Art (Pasadena) — Only 10 years young, you can see the talent of Californian artists and designers who view life with a little more color and pizzazz than the rest of the world. Exhibits are always changing.

*Santa Monica Museum of Art (Santa Monica) — A pink tree trunk, a clown face in cement, stacks of lumber, upside-down photographs, and color-filled abstract paintings. Contemporary art, perhaps? Yes, and it’s from artists around the world.

Wende Museum & Archives of the Cold War (Culver City) — Remember the Cold War? The masses will enjoy looking at old Communist party memorabilia and archival documents from Eastern Europe and Russia. Displays include the personal library of East Germany’s Berlin Wall builder and leader Erich Honecker, top-secret Stasi documents, kitschy Soviet posters of happy peasants working on collective farms, and espionage equipment.

*Museums Participating in Museums Los Angeles Program

About Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board

Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board is a private, nonprofit business association whose primary mission is to market and promote Los Angeles as the premier site for leisure travel, meetings and conventions. Though not part of City government, LA Tourism is recognized as the City’s official tourism marketing organization. For more information, visit the official visitor information website of Los Angeles at, or go to Twitter @discoverLA.

Media Contacts

Susan Lomax
Vice President
Phone: 213.236.2397
Fax: 213.624.9746
[email protected]

Carol Martinez
Associate Vice President
Phone: 213.236.2357
Fax: 213.624.9746
[email protected]