Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Culture vultures flock to the largest art museum in the western United States to view collections spanning the history of art from ancient to modern.

One of the country’s most comprehensive storehouses of old and new art is situated in the beating heart of LA’s cultural area on Wilshire Boulevard. More commonly known by the acronym LACMA, this large museum is a sprawling 20-acre (eight-hectare), seven-building complex. Its galleries have more than 100,000 objects ranging in age from ancient times to the present day. Beyond giant canvases and gilt-framed pieces you’ll find sculptures, prints, photography, costumes and textiles.

There’s something to delight and inspire the art critic in every visitor. The works are divided into numerous curatorial divisions including Japanese art, Islamic art, art of the ancient Americas, Egyptian art and modern and contemporary art. These diverse exhibits provide a refreshing respite from the LA hustle, entertainments and theme park distractions.

In 2004, this anchor of the LA art scene began an ambitious 10-year expansion and renovation known as the “Transformation.” The Transformation will redesign public areas and gardens and add exhibition space and buildings.

LACMA hasn’t forgotten that there may be children in your party and offers many activities designed to engage young minds, including art classes and activities coordinated with special exhibits.

Although art is the biggest attraction, people also come for the free live music. Jazz sessions are held Friday evenings and classical music can be heard in the Bing Theater on Sundays.

LACMA is seven miles (11 kilometers) west of downtown LA. There is paid parking at the Pritzker Parking Garage nearby on Sixth Street. The museum is open every day except Wednesdays.