Top 12 museums & culture outings

Don't miss these favorite spots for art, science, and the rich history of the West

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The museum's enormous collection, from Rembrandt to Jeff Koons, can be a little overwhelming. Check out LACMA’s outdoor Friday evening jazz from April to November or their Sundays Live free year-round classical concerts. They also show special films that relate to the current exhibitions.

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Clyfford Still Museum

Raul Garcia, courtesy of Clyfford Still Museum

Clyfford Still Museum

Pollock and Rothko get all the love, but a visit here will convince you that Still deserves to share the stage. There are nine galleries, all devoted to Still’s works, many of which have never been seen before.

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Folk Music Center & Museum

David Zaitz

Folk Music Center & Museum

Dulcimers, banjos, sitars, tablas, harps and hundreds of other acoustic noisemakers can be found here. Don’t be shy, sign up for a harmonica workshop, ukulele class, or slide guitar lessons. Antique and vintage instruments from all over the world are displayed throughout the store.

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Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

JPL is keeping tabs on the final frontier by building and operating the robotic spacecraft that are launched into the far reaches of the universe. It could be here that we’ll discover whether another planet is fit for colonization. The lab has explored all known planets within our solar system with over 50 successful missions.

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Desert Art Collection & Sculpture Garden

David Fenton

Desert Art Collection & Sculpture Garden

Check out this very cool gallery with a large courtyard set with sculptures amid palm trees, cactus, and bougainvillea, then wander over to the garden center for plants and pots.

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International Surfing Museum

Andrea Gómez Romero

International Surfing Museum

Get a lesson on the history of surfing at this Huntington Beach museum dedicated to the sport. You'll also find surf films, music, boards, and memorabilia.

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The Walt Disney Family Museum

The Walt Disney Family Museum

Why, More scholarly gallery than theme park, the museum suits its 19th-century brick building. Disney geeks will love the Oscar given to Snow White: one regular statuette and seven miniatures.

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Hearst Castle

David Zaitz

Hearst Castle

For all of the area’s simple charms, the Central Coast’s biggest attraction remains Hearst Castle, the grand vision of William Randolph Hearst. Designed by Julia Morgan, it holds Hearst’s assemblage of rare antiquities and art.

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Kayo Gallery

Andrea Gómez Romero

Kayo Gallery

Kayo Gallery is a shrine to contemporary art, with paintings and mixed-media installations in an airy, minimalist space. It features 12 exhibitions a year—each designed by the artists themselves.

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Edwin E. Ritchie Observatory

Photo by Amanda Koster

Edwin E. Ritchie Observatory

Bainbridge Island is home to a planetarium and the largest publicly accessible telescope in the Northwest. The Battle Point Astronomical Association holds monthly star parties, which include planetarium shows and telescope viewings that are open to the public.

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Gallery of Fine Art at the Bellagio Las Vegas

Bellagio Las Vegas

Gallery of Fine Art at the Bellagio Las Vegas

Take in the extraordinary glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly in the lobby, a glass-domed conservatory, and the museum-quality art on exhibit at the Gallery of Fine Art. For more eye candy, check out the fountains out front; synchronized to cascade to music, they are best experienced at night, with performances every 15 minutes until midnight.

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Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Denver Museum of Nature & Science

Located inside City Park, Denver Museum of Nature & Science offers one of the city’s most diverse—and fun—learning experiences. Don’t miss out on the gems exhibit, which highlights some of the state’s most revered possessions, or the Prehistoric Journey, which transports you through eons from the world’s first organisms to the present.

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