Los Angeles is known for some weird and wacky ways when it comes to all things – nightlife, quirky shops, first-of-its-kind eateries, and culture. Museums are no exception to the list of quirky places you can visit in LA, and when staying with Freehand LA, we’d recommend you visit as many of them as you can.
Museums are a great way to see into the life of those who created and curated them, to witness art, exhibitions and artefacts of another way of life, another story, and often, many of them are free, or offer entry on a donation basis. They’re a great way to explore a new city, and LA is definitely not short of unique museums to visit.
Museum of Death
Not a museum for everyone, definitely not the faint hearted, the Museum of Death is an undeniably fascinating place, that uses 12 sections to explore various routes of death. Morbid, disturbing at times, and truly revolting at others, the museum has been up and running since 1995, and is a truly unique museum worthy of a visit – if you like gore.
Distance from Freehand LA: 30 minutes on public transport, 17 minutes via taxi or car
Historic Street Lighting Museum
This museum presents the history of street lighting in Los Angeles, featuring early decade street lamps in their original glow and design up close. Only open one day per month, this illuminating experience will guide you through corridors, down into cubicle offices, and through doors, before you reach a small room that shows you sample specimens, and highlights from the city’s different street lights – over 400 different styles.
Distance from Freehand LA: 19 minute walk, 11 minutes on public transport, 4 minutes via taxi or car
Walt Disney Carolwood Barn
Walt Disney spent many hours in his Barn, working on his trains, and thinking about new projects and ideas – many believe it to be the birthplace of his Imagineering. The Barn and surrounding areas make for a great afternoon out, to learn about Walt Disney, railroad, Disneyland history, and plenty of other wonderful stories. Open on the third Sunday of each month from 11am to 3pm. Parking and admission are free.
Distance from Freehand LA: 1 hour and 2 minutes on public transport, 19 minutes via taxi or car
Museum of Neon Art (MONA)
The Museum of Neon Art (MONA) was founded in 1981 in Los Angeles with the mission to preserve and showcase the electrifying contemporary art form of neon signs. Over the years, they have saved and restored over 500 historic signs and helped relight over 150 signs across Los Angeles. They also offer neon bending classes with hands-on instruction to carry on this craft.
Distance from Freehand LA: 40 minutes on public transport, 25 minutes via taxi or car
The Bunny Museum
To date, The Bunny Museum has 45,712 bunny themed objects, and has been open since 2009. For the founders of this quirky museum, bunnies are a part of their everyday life, and the museum is there to inspire and instruct. There’s even a Peter Rabbit themed bedroom, so if your parents wouldn’t let you live out your small mammal dreams, now you can.
Distance from Freehand LA: 1 hour and 13 minutes on public transport, 29 minutes via taxi or car
Valley Relics Museum
The Valley Relics Museum boasts its vast collection of historical artifacts pertaining to The San Fernando Valley and surrounding areas – through rare documents, photographs, vintage neon signs, postcards, yearbooks, negatives, clothing, books, art, automobiles and BMX bikes from The Valley’s past. It’s truly a one of a kind, pop culture experience.
Distance from Freehand LA: 1 hour and 29 minutes on public transport, 45 minutes via taxi or car
Getty Villa Museum
Here, you will find Greek and Roman antiquities, housed in a re-created Roman country home. There are roughly 1,200 artifacts on display at any one time, dated between 6,500 BC and 500 AD, and better yet? You can experience all of this whilst surrounded by tranquil ocean breezes, and lush gardens. Admission is free but requires a timed-entry reservation.
Distance from Freehand LA: 52 minutes via taxi or car
Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum
Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum was founded several decades ago by a woman who’s never surfed. But, inspired by the welcoming spirit that made her feel happy in Huntington Beach, Natalie Kotsch began to start preserving a huge, cataloged collection that rotates in the museum, of surfboards, and other surfing paraphernalia.
Distance from Freehand LA: 1 hour and 6 minutes via taxi or car