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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 22 February, 2023
Expert travel writer: Luciana Bellini

This massive complex captivates kids with its interactive exhibits demonstrating how the world works.

Ride a bike across a cable 43ft up in the air to learn about the laws of gravity; visit Tess, a 50ft animatronic woman, to understand more about the body’s organs; and participate in a solar slot car race. It’s even more fun than it sounds.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The California Science Center is located in Exposition Park, which is home to several other institutions, including the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

It’s just off the 110 Freeway, close to downtown, and there’s parking on site (USD10). If you’d rather go via public transport (which we don’t recommend), the area is served by buses and LA’s very limited Metro Rail service. Be warned: most public transport journeys to the Center involve multiple transfers.

When to do it

It’s open all year round, seven days a week. Weekday mornings are often busy, so visit after 1pm or at the weekend.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

The Hoxton, Downtown LA

Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)[3.7 miles]

Buzzy Downton high-rise hotel housed in a grand French Beaux Arts building, ideally situated for exploring the best of LA’s must-visit restaurants and contemporary art galleries.

Official star rating:

Hollywood Roosevelt

Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)[10.7 miles]

A Hollywood favourite is right in the thick of things; you can feel the neighbourhood’s energy pulsing through the property, whether you’re sipping cocktails in the Spare Room bar or lounging beside the David Hockney-painted swimming pool.

Official star rating:

Mr C Beverly Hills

Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)[11.1 miles]

Stylish, spacious and reasonably-priced rooms in this low-key hotel in Beverley Hills.

Official star rating:

Chateau Marmont

Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)[11.8 miles]

Soak up Hollywood’s scandalous past, present and future at this wonderfully glamorous Sunset icon, where you’re bound to bump into an A-lister in the Gothic-chic drawing room or the outrageously raucous bar.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Los Angeles

California, United States of America (USA)

The bright lights of Tinseltown are home to surfer-filled beaches, glorious mountain hikes, glitz and glamour in spades and year-round sunshine.

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Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

LA’s best food & drink

Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)[2.6 miles]

LA is home to one of the buzziest food scenes in America, from food trucks serving dishes from all over the world and farmers’ markets packed with fresh local produce to strip mall sushi joints and swanky fine dining spots in Beverly Hills.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)[8.5 miles]

A 20-acre compound of galleries and pavilions housing more than 100,000 works, from ancient Mayan bowls inscribed with bat heads and Japanese sculptures dating from 3000 BC to paintings by Rubens, Cezanne and Degas.

Best for ages: 13+ | £17

Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)[8.6 miles]

The world’s largest museum dedicated solely to the art of film, home to a collection of movie treasures, a rotating roster of exhibitions featuring industry creators and an experience where you can hold a coveted Oscars statuette.

Best for ages: 8+ | £22

Hollywood

Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)[8.9 miles]

The indomitable heart of the movie industry, where dreams are still made. See the star-studded Walk of Fame, Grauman’s Chinese Theater – where the biggest premieres still take place – and the Kodak Theater, home of the Academy Awards.

Best for ages: 8+ | Free

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Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Grand Central Market Downtown
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Grand Central Market Downtown

Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)[5.2 miles]

This ever-popular food hall feels like a little slice of NYC in Downtown LA, with its neon signs and seemingly never-ending queues. Go hungry and try everything from wood-fired pizzas and fried chicken to spicy Filipino rice bowls.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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The Broad in downtown LA with a colorful crosswalk by Artist Carlos Cruz-Diez on Grand Avenue. The Broad is a contemporary art museum named after Eli Broad.
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The Broad

Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)[5.5 miles]

The most popular of Downtown LA’s contemporary art museums, the Broad houses the collection of Edythe Broad as well as notable pieces by the likes of Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha and Basquiat. It’s always packed, so book in advance.

Best for ages: 18+ | £15

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Life-size mammoth sculptures recreate Los Angeles prehistoric days at La Brea Tar Pits archaeological site in the Mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles California.
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La Brea Tar Pits

Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)[8.2 miles]

On Wilshire Boulevard, during the last Ice Age, asphalt bubbled from the ground, trapping sabre-toothed tigers, mammoths and giant sloths. Excavations continue to unearth new plants and animals and visitors can come to watch, or explore one of the world’s largest collections of fossils, on display in the museum.

Best for ages: 6+ | £12

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Farmers Market on Fairfax
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Farmers Market on Fairfax

Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)[9.2 miles]

This LA institution in West Hollywood first opened in 1934 and is home to over 100 food stalls and grocers, who specialise in everything from doughnuts and ice cream to beef jerky and gourmet pickles.

Best for ages: 13+ | Free

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