Culture in Los Angeles
One of the best ways to experience Los Angeles is by visiting its incredible cultural attractions. LA has more museums and theaters than any U.S. city, and a thriving music and gallery scene.
An LA Philharmonic performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall is a must-see, as well as an outdoor concert at the Hollywood Bowl and shows at other famous music venues. LA’s world class museums include the stunning Getty Center in Brentwood and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Museum Row.
Monthly artwalks take place throughout the city, including popular events in Downtown LA and Venice Beach. And of course, when it comes to film and television, LA is the entertainment capital of the world.
Museums and Galleries
World class cultural attractions are located throughout Los Angeles, which has more museums than any other city in America. Downtown LA’s Exposition Park includes the California Science Center, the Natural History Museum and the California African American Museum. Museum Row features the LA County Museum of Art, the La Brea Tar Pits and the Petersen Automotive Museum. The collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum can be viewed at the Getty Center in Brentwood and the Getty Villa in Malibu. Pasadena is home to the Norton Simon Museum and the Pacific Asia Museum, while history buffs can tour the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum in Simi Valley. LA’s thriving gallery scene can be experienced in Chinatown, Bergamot Station and the NoHo Arts District, as well as monthly artwalks.
There’s nothing quite like experiencing concerts in Los Angeles, whether it’s a stadium show with tens of thousands of screaming fans, or a late night jazz session in an intimate club. LA’s world class venues include the stunning Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live in Downtown LA, Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, and the historic Wiltern and the Palladium. LA's year-round sunny weather is ideal for enjoying outdoor concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, Greek Theatre and John Anson Ford Theatre. Music festivals and free concerts include the Grand Performances at California Plaza, the Music Spotlight Series at Universal CityWalk, and the Twilight Dance Series at the Santa Monica Pier. Concerts happen every night in smaller clubs like the Conga Room and the House of Blues Sunset Strip.
Theatre and Dance
There are more theaters in Los Angeles than any other city in the United States, and its 1,500 annual productions are more than any city in the world. Dance productions range from classical ballet to avant-garde performances. Hollywood’s landmark Pantages Theatre presents all-time Broadway hits like Book of Mormon, Peter Pan and West Side Story. Center Theatre Group is one is of the largest theatre companies in the nation, with year-round programming at the Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson Theatre in Downtown LA, and the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center (KDMC) is one of the largest West Coast presenters of dance. REDCAT is a creative laboratory inside Walt Disney Concert Hall that nurtures today’s cutting-edge artists.
Architecture and Gardens
Many Los Angeles landmarks are renowned as architectural masterpieces, and LA’s lush gardens are equally as famous. Pritzker Prize winning architects designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, the Broad Contemporary Art Museum at LACMA, and the Getty Center. Legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed several LA landmarks, including the Hollyhock House and the Ennis House. Gardens are an integral part of LA’s cultural landscape, such as Descanso Gardens and the Huntington Library. Exposition Park’s famous Rose Garden is on the National Register of Historic Places. Renowned artist Robert Irwin designed the Getty Center’s Central Garden. UCLA’s Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden maintains one of the country's most important living botanical collections. You can find out more about architecture in L.A. here.
Los Angeles has over 1,600 murals throughout the city that touch on a variety of subjects. The Chandler Outdoor Gallery is a collection of murals in the NoHo Arts District. Hollywood’s urban art is more celebrity-focused, such as “Hollywood Jazz 1945-1972” on the iconic Capitol Records building, “You Are the Star” on Wilcox, and “Dolores del Rio” on Hudson. In Downtown LA, “The Pope of Broadway” depicts actor Anthony Quinn dancing on the side of the Victor’s Clothing Building. “Los Angeles Teachers” features Edward James Olmos in character alongside Jaime Escalante in a mural located behind East LA’s famous El Mercado marketplace. For urban art from a different point of view, Metro's Art Department has commissioned more than 300 artists to incorporate art into transportation projects throughout LA County.
When it comes to fashion, Los Angeles has always been a city ahead of the curve. Fashionistas should head straight to the Fashion District in Downtown LA, one of the best shopping areas in the world for cutting edge fashion and bargain prices. Visit La Brea Avenue for trendy gear and vintage clothing, or stroll nearby West Third Street and its many boutiques. The jet set park their Ferraris on famed Rodeo Drive for the ultimate luxury items, while mere mortals can shop with the stars on Robertson Blvd. Celebrities have also made Ventura Blvd. in the Valley a hotspot for vintage and high end fashion alike. Tomorrow’s fashion superstars are being created today at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), where the public can attend the annual DEBUT Runway Show, and fashion exhibits at the FIDM museum.
Film and Television
Los Angeles locations have made countless appearances in films and TV episodes. Downtown LA’s City Hall, Union Station, Millennium Biltmore Hotel and the Bradbury Building have had starring roles for decades. Historic Hollywood locations include landmarks such as Yamashiro Restaurant and the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. LA’s natural landscape provides numerous locations, whether it’s Santa Monica beach for Baywatch or Vasquez Rocks, as seen in Star Trek. For over a century, LA has been the home of legendary studios, where silent movies, the latest blockbusters and hit TV shows have been shot. Must-sees for fans are tours of Universal Studios, Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures. And a sure way to get on TV is to attend a taping of a game show or talk show at a major network studio.