Petersen Automotive Museum

Museums , Transportation Miracle Mile
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(2 user reviews)
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 (Photograph: Courtesy Petersen Automotive Museum)
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Photograph: Courtesy Petersen Automotive Museum
 (Photograph: Michael Juliano)
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
The Petersen Automotive Museum.
 (Photograph: Michael Juliano)
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
The Petersen Automotive Museum.
 (Photograph: Michael Juliano)
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
The Petersen Automotive Museum.
 (Photograph: Michael Juliano)
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
The Petersen Automotive Museum.
 (Photograph: Michael Juliano)
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
The Petersen Automotive Museum.
 (Photograph: Michael Juliano)
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
The Petersen Automotive Museum.
 (Photograph: Michael Juliano)
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
The Petersen Automotive Museum.
 (Photograph: Michael Juliano)
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
The Petersen Automotive Museum.
 (Photograph: Michael Juliano)
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
The Petersen Automotive Museum.
 (Photograph: Michael Juliano)
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
The Petersen Automotive Museum.
 (Photograph: Michael Juliano)
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Photograph: Michael Juliano
The Petersen Automotive Museum.

Miracle Mile was the first commercial development in LA designed expressly for the benefit of drivers, and so a former department store makes an apt home for this museum of car culture. A 2015 redesign has since turned the automotive history museum into more of a high-tech gallery, with about 150 cars on display. There's a glimpse into the rise of car culture in Southern California, but that mostly takes a backseat to a focus on the progress, dominance and dazzling good looks of the automobile.

The museum's narrative begins in the third floor gallery with a bit of automotive history; you'll find sections dedicated to Southern California road culture and Hollywood cars, from the Tim Burton era Batmobile to Walter White's Pontiac Aztek. Head down a level and you'll learn about the industrial design process from start to finish; an on-hand Art Center design studio makes the motif feel especially alive. The ground floor shows off the artistry of cars, with a showroom dedicated to sumptuously swooping vintage vehicles. Make no mistake, though: all of the floors are essentially about the art fo the automobile, just viewed through various lenses.

Technology, both automotive and interactive, runs through the museum's redesigned gallery spaces; most significantly, they've ditched wordy didactics in favor of tablets in many spots. You'll find Forza 6 driving simulation stations and a Cars-inspired discovery center on the second floor, complete with an augmented reality experience that takes visitors on a car-building scavenger hunt around the space. Though the museum has 96 tablets available for the Cars experience, we suggest reserving a time slot in advance.

Venue name: Petersen Automotive Museum
Contact:
Address: 6060 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles

Opening hours: Daily 10am-6pm
Price: $15; seniors $12; students (with ID) $12; children $7; children under 3 free; active military (with ID) free; parking free for the first 30 minutes with validation, $12 flat rate after
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Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

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LiveReviews|2
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Eric L
tastemaker

The Guy Fieri of LA buildings, Petersen Automotive Museum is a car, history, movie, and museum lover's dream come to life. I'll retract an earlier review I wrote for the Autry because this museum is totally the raddest of rad in Los Angeles. While here, visitors can enjoy three floors of car heaven. The first floor is more or less a showroom, although the older layout consisted of a journey through the history of automobiles. I miss that exhibit (hopefully they bring it back), which was sort of a large scale diorama complete with mannequins, props, faux storefronts, and movie-like sets.


The upper two floors feature famous cars, a 'conception to finished product' exhibit, a 'design your own car' lab, and interactive touch screens. I very highly recommend coming here to play. Even if you're not interested in the mechanics of cars, there are plenty of videos to watch, drawings to interpret, and history to learn about. Also, the top floor boasts an interactive children's area where birthday parties are held. Dibs for my next one. Is 28 too old to play with toy trucks?

Erin Kuschner
moderator

Not only do I love the design of the revamped museum, but the car collection inside is pretty outstanding as well. There are a few missteps - I think they could have scaled down the exhibits on designing a car, and that whole Disney Cars section was a little weird - but overall it is quite well done. Unfortunately, there is a big push for visitors to Instagram their visit (photos are then displayed in the lobby), and so I saw quite a few people walking around, taking a picture (or 5) of a car, and then leaving without really looking at it. But such is life in 2016.