Looking for an affordable way to have fun? Recently moved to Los Angeles as a UCLA student and love art museums? Want to see the art taught in the classroom? Within the radius of UCLA, you will find museums and change your perception of art. If you don’t have a car on campus, all the museums on this list go no further than the westside and you can reach them by bus, Uber, Lyft or snagging a ride with your car-owning friend.
Don’t miss out on all these LA museums have to offer.
1. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Global art lovers rejoice, the LACMA has permanent collections of art from Asia, The Americas, Middle East, Africa, The Pacific Islands and Europe. Exhibitions at LACMA mostly include modern art, photography and textiles. The current exhibition on view, Power of Pattern: Central Asian Ikats from the David and Elizabeth Reisbord, presents cloud–patterned textiles from Central Asia during the 19th and 20th centuries. “The Japanese section was very interesting with its painting and sculptures, it transports you in another place and time. As a European person I really love the American Art section, it helped me in understanding better the American culture and the American art during the American revolution,” Santa Monica College senior Greta Pazzaglia said. General admission is $20, however after 3 p.m. all California residents get free admission. Keep in mind, the museum stays closed on Wednesdays.
2. The Getty Center
The Getty Center focuses on European art from antiquity to the post-impressionism period. Richard Meier designed the gallery buildings, whose white, geometric architectural designs give a modern take on historical art. After the gallery spaces, don’t forget to visit the Central Garden where you can observe the circular hedges from an aerial view or walk within them during an afternoon stroll. The Getty Center has free admission but charges a $15 parking fee. Make sure you bring all of your friends to get the full bang for your buck.
3. Getty Villa
Admirers of antiquity, you can now call the Getty Villa your new sanctuary. Like the name, the museum literally resembles a country Italian villa on a hill of the Pacific Palisades. Showcasing treasures such as Roman gold coins, busts of Greek Gods, gems of Ancient Greece and Rome and the Peristyle Garden, the museum provides an enriching, ancient experience. “The Getty Villa is in no way like a typical museum. The architecture—based on that of a typical Roman villa as found buried under the volcanic ashes in Herculaneum and Pompeii—is something to experience in its own right. Add on top of that a rich collection of statues, pottery, art and other artifacts from around the classical Mediterranean,” Santa Monica College junior Hongtau Liu said. The museum requires an online reservation beforehand, but it won’t cost you a penny to get inside.
4. Marciano Art Foundation
Want to find the perfect space for a selfie that will get tons of likes? The contemporary art museum, Marciano Art Foundation, is housed out of a former Masonic Temple. The monumental polka-dot art pieces by Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama gives you the chance of physically entering the work. Essentially, you make the artwork come to life. There are no replicas between your experience and your friends. Californian art students who aspire to have their work hung locally will find inspiration in the “California Artists Collection,” an exhibition space dedicated to California-based artists. Keep in mind, the Marciano Art Foundation requires free online reservation in advance.
5. Annenberg Space for Photography
Love art found with a camera? The Annenberg Space for Photography displays photography spanning the humble beginnings of the photography art form in the mid-nineteenth century to the present day. Every genre of photography from photo-journalism, nature, sports, history and fashion inspires anyone to find their next post on Instagram. “Last year, I went to Annenberg for the first time on my 27th birthday. It was a great experience; the place is not a museum or a gallery. It was more like a passage through photography history,” Santa Monica College senior Roy Hyglesias Petit-Frere said. Like the photographic creations on your phone, there’s no additional charge.
6. Hammer Museum
Take a stroll down Wilshire Boulevard of UCLA to find the Hammer Museum, a free contemporary art museum with changing exhibitions every three months. The new artists exhibited constantly bring something new and radical to see at each visit. If you love to revisit favorite pieces, the Armand Hammer collection has Baroque, Impressionism, post-Impressionism and symbolist art from artists like Gustave Moreau, Claude Monet and Rembrandt van Rijn on display year-round.
7. Fowler Museum
Too lazy to get off the UCLA campus or looking to have some fun in between classes? The Fowler Museum offers a unique perspective of archeological exhibitions from all around the world. Current showings include indigenous Guatemalan masks depicting animals, and architectural photography of India captured by photographer, Victoria Lautman. The Fowler stands out in between Royce Hall and Glorya Kaufman Hall. If you can’t find the building, the exhibitions posters that transcend cultural stereotypes decorate its facade.
8. Petersen Automotive Museum
Not a fan of traditional fine arts but love seeing the fine rolls of the street? The Petersen Automotive Museum exhibits the beauty of vehicles. The museum houses famous cars from cinema, as well as luxury cars from Italy, the United States and Japan. These vehicles should mark a new chapter of art history for their synthesis of form and function. “The Peterson Automotive Museum has an impressive collection of vintage and rare cars. The vault tour can’t be missed. It contains a number of picture cars including the original Batmobile,” City of Hope graduate student Alberto Herrera said. Tickets cost $16, but you can get $2 off if purchased in a group of 10 or more, so grab all your buddies and classmates to go with you.
9. MAK Center
Have eyes for fine, modern homes in Los Angeles? The MAK Center includes the Schindler House, the Mackey Apartments & Garage Top and the Fitzpatrick-Leland house. All properties were designed by the Viennese architect Rudolph M. Schindler, known for innovating futurist architecture which combines innovative technology and cheap materials in the 1920s. The museum is a multi- day experience with properties spread out into different parts of Los Angeles. The Schindler House sits within North Hollywood, the Mackey Apartments & Garage Top occupies the greater Los Angeles area towards the direction of Ventura County and the Fitzpatrick-Leland house settles between Laurel Canyon and Mulholland Drive next to the Santa Monica Mountains. General admission costs $10, but Friday afternoons you can get in for free.
10. The Paley Center for Media
A museum dedicated to cinematography, The Paley Center for Media exhibits costumes and props from TV shows and dramas like The Crown and Star Trek while creating an interactive experience. Located within Rodeo Drive, its free admission makes it quite an affordable spot to visit. The perfect location means a nice window-shopping stroll after your visit to the museum.