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Los Angeles, CA, USA

Exploring Museum Row

Five major L.A. museums, tar pits and unique sidewalk art on Wilshire Boulevard

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    This guide contains photos
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Difficulty: Easy
Length: 1.0 miles / 1.6 km
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly
 
Overview: Museum Row on the Miracle Mile houses a handful of L.A.’s most popular museums on a stretch of Wilshire Boulevard between La Brea Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue.

A “Museum Row on the Miracle Mile” sign posted in the middle of a median on Wilshire Boulevard marks the spot where the cluster of museums begins.

The museums, all within walking distance of each other, include the Page Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Craft and Folk Art Museum, Petersen Automotive Museum and the Architecture and Design Museum. The famous La Brea Tar Pits are on the same grounds as the Page Museum.

You can also walk up to sidewalk art, tar pits and excavation dig sites for free. And when you work up an appetite, there’s no shortage of restaurants adjacent to Museum Square and inside some of the museums.


Tips: To make this a half day outing, arrive early to spend about an hour at the Page Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits. Next, allow about 90 minutes to peruse galleries at LACMA, then scoot over to the Petersen Automotive Museum. Grab lunch at LACMA, Museum Square ot Peterson Automotive Museum. Make a pit stop at the Berlin Wall. You'll probably have time to pop into the small Craft & Folk Art Museum.

Before you go, check a museum’s website for special exhibits, which usually require a separate ticket. If you’re short on time, visit the special exhibit and save the permanent galleries and exhibits for another day.

Bring a camera. There's a lot to photograph, although flash photography is not allowed inside the galleries.

Two centrally located lots offer paid parking: the Page Museum lot at Curson Avenue between 6th Street and Wilshire Boulevard, and the lot across from LACMA on Spaulding Street and Wilshire. There’s also paid parking at the Petersen Automotive Museum.

Points of Interest

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Page Museum

The Page Museum houses the Earth’s richest and most important Ice Age fossil collection. Before exploring the exhibits, however, consider watching at least one of the two continuously-playing 10-minute videos explaining how the tar pits were formed and how paleontologists dig and clean fossils.

Animals, such as mammoths and saber tooth cats that got stuck were easy prey for predators, which in turn became entrapped as well.
These bones were buried by the asphalt, which also preserved an entire ecosystem from the smallest plant fragments to the largest mammals. Crude oil has been seeping out of the ground for the past 40,000 years.

Be sure to visit the working paleontology laboratory, referred to as the “Fish Bowl’ because you can watch scientists and volunteers clean, examine, restore and catalog fossils after they have been excavated from the asphalt.

More than 30 complete skeletons of fossil mammals and birds are on display in the museum. Exhibits include a “tar pull” where you can tug on a handle to feel the thickness of the asphalt that entrapped so many animals.

Page Museum
5801 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323-934-PAGE
www.tarpits.org

General Admission
Adults: $12
Children (ages 5-12): $5
Children age 4 and younger: Free
Admission is free on the first Tuesday of each month.
Tip: If you plan to visit the Page Museum and the Natural History Museum (not on Museum Row) within two weeks of each other, you can buy a combo ticket and save 15 percent.

Hours
Daily 9:30am-5pm
Closed Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day

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Hancock Park

The Page Museum, the La Brea Tar Pits and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) are located in Hancock Park, which has picnic tables, grassy areas and walkways.

The park is popular for its free exhibits, most notably the gated Lake Pit Walk exhibition featuring the world-famous model of a Columbian mammoth trapped in the gooey lake, while her mate and offspring watch helplessly from the shore. On the opposite end of the lake there is a life-sized model of an American mastodon. Even before you see the tar pit you smell it from a distance.

Follow the signs and walkway to the Pit 91 excavation site and the Project 23 compound, located behind LACMA. Numerous fossils continue to be excavated in the area. The Project 23 excavation team has uncovered over 700 measured specimens including a large pre-historic American Lion skull, lion bones, dire wolves, saber-toothed cats, juvenile horse and bison, coyotes, lynx, and ground sloths.

Also among recent findings: a well-preserved male Columbian mammoth fossil, about 80 percent complete, with 10-feet long intact tusks.

5801 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323-934-PAGE
www.tarpits.org
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Los Angeles County Museum of Art

It would be easy to spend an entire day admiring LACMA’s 100,000-plus art collection housed in six mega buildings. The museum campus, which spans about three city blocks, encompasses the Pavilion for Japanese Art, Art of the Americas, Ahmanson Building, Broad Contemporary Art Museum, and the Resnick Pavilion, which showcases special exhibitions and requires a separate ticket. There are also several onsite restaurants.

In addition, there’s an outdoor sculpture garden, and reflecting pool. Be sure to check out Urban Light, a collection of 202 vintage streetlamps lined up in rows in front of LACMA.

Tips
For a clear view of the Hollywood sign, step onto the observation deck of the Broad contemporary Art Museum’s third floor. In the same building, ride the huge elevator the size of two or three rooms.


Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
www.lacma.org

Admission
Adults: $15
Seniors (62+): $10
Students (18+): with I.D. $10
Children (ages 17 and younger): admitted free

Free admission the second Tuesday of each month.
L.A. residents (with proof of residency) admitted free after 5 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday

Hours
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 12-8pm
Friday 12-9pm
Weekends 11am-8pm
Closed Wednesdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas

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Petersen Automotive Museum

Located across from LACMA on the southeast corner, the four-story, kid-friendly automotive museum is a car lover’s paradise. Here you can walk through staged exhibits and dioramas that depict the evolution of the automobile and its impact on our culture.

In the Hollywood Gallery, see cars from movies and TV shows including the 1953 VW Beetle from “Herbie: Fully Loaded” and the 1971 De Tomaso formerly owned by Elvis Presley.

Other galleries showcase race cars, vintage motorcycles and concept cars. In the May Family Discovery Center, hands-on learning centers for kids explain how cars function. Not to be missed is the Hot Wheels Hall of Fame displaying over 1,000 vehicles.

If you haven’t had lunch yet, stop by Johnny Rockets for tasty burgers and fries. It’s located adjacent to the lobby.

Petersen Automotive Museum
6060 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
www.petersen.org

Admission
Adults: $10
Seniors (62+):$8
Students with I.D. $5
Children (ages 5-12): $3
(Print tickets from home and save $1)

Hours
Tuesday – Sunday 10am-6pm
Closed Mondays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day

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Architecture ad Design Museum

The newest addition to Museum Row, this is the only museum in L.A. that continuously shows exhibits of progressive architecture and design. The facility, which serves as a showcase for regional, national and international designers, is popular with engineering students.

Architecture ad Design Museum
6032 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
323-932-9393
www.aplusd.org

Admission
Adults: $5
Seniors and Students: $2
Children (ages 12 and younger): admitted free

Hours
Tuesday – Friday 11am-5pm
Weekends 12-6pm
Closed Mondays

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Berlin Wall

Located on the south side of Museum Row across from LACMA are 10 painted sections of the Berlin Wall. The segments are part of The Wall Project of the Wende Museum in Culver City. Seen from the street and sidewalk, the Berlin Wall sections are the largest segment outside of Berlin.

Berlin Wall
5900 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
map

Craft & Folk Art Museum

Look for an orange canopy to find this small museum sandwiched between offices and across the street from the Page Museum. This museum showcases the traditional and contemporary works of artists representing international cultures. Changing exhibits may include photographs of Iran, ancient symbols of healing and worship, and L.A.’s Asian-Latin fusion.

CAFAM also hosts family art workshops, lectures and musical performances. The gift shop stocks one-of-a-kind gifts including jewelry, clothing, books and prints.


Craft & Folk Art Museum
5814 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
www.cafam.org
323-937-4230

Admission
Adults: $7
Seniors and students: $5
Children (ages 10 and younger): admitted free

Hours
Tuesday – Friday 11am-5pm
Weekends 12-6pm
Closed Mondays

Free admission the first Wednesday of every month

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Museum Square

Museum Square, which does not house any museums, is an office complex (and the location of the Screen Actors Guild). But it’s known for its collection of restaurants (situated outside the building) and their proximity to all the museums. Here you’ll find Callender's Grill, Johnny's New York Pizzeria, Baja Fresh, Toshi's Asian and Mixt Greens.

Even if you don’t plan to eat there, it’s worth a stop to see the 1971 Primavera sculpture and fountain by Aristedes Demetrios in front of the office building.
Pictures in this guide taken by: writemimi, Mimi Slawoff

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About the Author

writemimi
writemimi
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Freelance writer/photographer and mom of three who loves travel and outdoor adventure. Favorite activities...

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