Travelers who desperately need a break from the endless, shiny, and mindless entertainments of L.A. can find respite and solace in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (5905 Wilshire Blvd., 323/857-6000, www.lacma.org, Mon.–Tues. and Thurs. noon–8 p.m., Fri. noon–9 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 11 a.m.–8 p.m., adults $9, children free).
Better known to its friends as LACMA, this large museum complex prides itself on a diverse array of collections and exhibitions of art from around the world, from the ancient to the most ultra-modern. With seven full-sized buildings filled with galleries, don’t expect to get through the whole thing in an hour, or even a full day.
You’ll see all forms of art here, from classic painting and sculpture to all sorts of decorative arts (that is, ceramics, jewels, metalwork, and more). All major cultures are represented, so you can check out Islamic, Southeast Asian, European, and Californian art, plus more. Specialties of LACMA include Japanese art and artifacts in the beautifully designed Pavilion for Japanese Art and the costumes and textiles of the Doris Stein Research Center.
Several galleries of LACMA West are dedicated to art and craft for children. Perhaps best of all, some of the world’s most prestigious traveling exhibitions come to LACMA; past exhibitions have included the works of Salvador Dali and a new take on Tutankhamen.
You’ll do a lot of walking from gallery to gallery and building to building at LACMA. Inquire at one of the two welcome centers for wheelchairs. Not all the buildings are connected; you must walk outside to get to the Japanese Pavilion and LACMA West.
The complex is equipped with two full-service museum cafés, an ATM, and a gift and book shop. And finally, if you’re in need of some fine rental artwork, LACMA can hook you up.
If you prefer automotive artistry to more conventional forms, head across the street from LACMA to the Petersen Automotive Museum (6060 Wilshire Blvd., 323/930-2277, www.petersen.org, Tues.–Sun. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., adults $10, children $3, students $5, parking $8).
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition