There’s more to L.A. than Kimye sightings and Hollywood machinations. With gorgeous museums full of captivating permanent and visiting exhibitions, the city has a nervous system that is both creative and soulful. Here’s a breezy blueprint for soaking up some of the basic musts of the city’s culturazzi.
WHY: More than 19 million people have walked these galleries with good reason—it houses some of the most intriguing and renowned pieces in the world, including pre- 20th-century European paintings, 19th-and 20th-century American and European photographs and sculpture from the 15th century to now. But the campus itself is a work of art: The exquisite Richard Meier designed structure sits gorgeous greens, and its chocolate- most inclusive in the nation: Its box metropolis view is made for Instagram.
IT’S A DATE: The exhibition Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940–1990 explores the fascinating transformation of the city from undeveloped landscape to global force.
VISIT: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
WHY: Housing more than 100,000 pieces, from antiquity to modern day, on 20 acres of prime real estate in the heart of the city, LACMA is the largest museum in the western United States. It’s also one of the most inclusive in the nation: Its groundbreaking 1976 collection, Two Centuries of Black American Art, was an unprecedented exhibition of the contributions of black Americans to art history from 1750 to the mid-20th century. The museum also boasts significant Asian, Latin American and Islamic collections.
IT’S A DATE: Beginning July 7, Shaping Power: Luba Masterworks from the Royal Museum for Central Africa features rare pieces from the Democratic Republic of the Congo until January 5, 2014. Make a day of it and drop in for a drink at Stark Bar in the heart of the museum and dine at Ray’s, LACMA’s acclaimed restaurant, proclaimed by Esquire as one of the nation’s best.
WHY: Some were introduced to the Petersen through tragedy: In 1997, following a VIBE magazine post–Soul Train Awards party, the Notorious B.I.G. was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting outside. But the 300,000 sq. ft. space houses more than 150 scarce and classic cars, motorcycles and trucks, including many from popular movies, making it perfect for the car enthusiast as well as the simply curious.
IT’S A DATE: With its cool temporary exhibits as well as its permanent collections, anytime is perfect for dropping by. On the last Sunday of every month, show off your own classic car or motorcycle amongst other like-minded enthusiasts and receive 2-for-1 admission and free parking.
STAY HERE: The Loews Hollywood Hotel
WHY: The Loews brand is synonymous with luxury, and this newly renovated property—with more than 600 rooms and suites, located in the now legendary Hollywood & Highland Center (home to the Dolby Theatre, dolbytheatre.com,hostofthe Academy Awards)—does not disappoint. With incredible views of the Hollywood Hills (including the famous “Hollywood” sign) and convenience to most of the city’s nightlife, it’s an easy choice. Breakfast at Preston’s, the property’s restaurant, is worth an early rise. Until December 30, stay three nights or more and receive 20 percent off your stay—perfect for your three-day, culture-filled L.A. weekend!