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Top Los Angeles Museums with Outdoor Spaces

Outside the Getty Museum - Top LA Museums with Outdoor Spaces

When you think of things to see and do in LA, you probably imagine spending quite a bit of time at the beach. Los Angeles County is home to some of the best beaches in California, but the weather doesn't always cooperate. Regardless of the weather, there are plenty of museums in and around LA with indoor and outdoor spaces to experience them on a warm, sunny day, or when it’s raining.

The Getty

Many people think about the J. Paul Getty Museum in terms of the building itself and the displays inside. You'll find even more things to do when you focus on the outside of The Getty. It's easy to spend a few hours just wandering around the former villa’s grounds to see the beautiful architecture and plants. The Getty has a museum in LA and a second in Malibu that you may want to explore.


LACMA is both the largest art museum in California and the western region of the United States. Don't assume that you will only find displays inside the museum, though there are plenty of things to see outside. Urban Light is a massive sculpture that you'll see as soon as you arrive at the museum. Designed and created by Chris Burden, it features more than 200 street lamps collected from California cities and Portland, Oregon. When you visit at night, you can see all those lamps lit up.

Natural History Museum

While the Natural History Museum is the place to go if you like nature, it's also one of the most underrated LA museums. The nature gardens that surround the museum are home to more than 600 types of plants. Lizards and squirrels are just a few of the wild animals that you might see in the gardens. You may want to visit the Butterfly Pavilion, which is open on a seasonal basis from March through September.

Huntington Library

Outside view of Huntington Library

Don't think of the Huntington Library as just a library. It's home to one of the largest collections of research materials, including rare books and documents. There are also art galleries on site as well as outdoor botanical gardens. Each garden has a different theme and features plants from specific regions. In addition to the California Garden, you'll find a Chinese Garden and Australian Garden. There is even one designed specifically for kids and younger visitors.

La Brea Tar Pits

You probably saw La Brea Tar Pits in popular films such as “Volcano” with Tommy Lee Jones. If you're in the LA area, you can visit the pits on your trip. It features thousands of fossils that date back to the Ice Age and sculptures that recreate some of the animals that once lived there. Hancock Park is a large park that surrounds the tar pits and features a playground and walking trails. No matter what the weather is like when you visit Los Angeles, you'll find lots of things to do before or after hitting the beach.

July 10, 2020
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