Having an LA library card is a backstage pass for more reasons than just the obvious ones, like books and a cozy place to hang out.
Get a LA library card to explore LA culture, from exhibits on Taylor Swift to a visit to the LA Zoo
Specifically, if you have a Los Angeles Public Library card, you’re also eligible to receive exciting perks like free or low-cost access to local museums.
Here are ten that you should definitely check out when you want to explore LA.
The Grammy Museum
A must-see for fans of music, the Grammy Museum is an interactive look at the past winners of Grammy awards.
The museum features artifacts like costumes, instruments, and hand-written lyrics, and there’s always a cool special exhibit, like the “Taylor Swift Experience” and “Bob Marley, Messenger” exhibit from recent years.
(Non-library card holders can expect to pay $13-$15.)
The Autry Museum of the American West
Located in gorgeous Griffith Park, the Autry Museum of the American West is dedicated to exploring the art, history, and culture of the, well, American West.
Offering everything from film screenings to paintings and interactive exhibits, the Autry is dedicated to inclusivity and features a wide range of Native American cultural materials.
(For those without a LA library card, admission ranges from $6 to $14.)
The Broad Museum (pronounced Brohd, if you want to sound in the know), is a contemporary art museum just a two-minute walk from the Walt Disney Concert Hall.
It’s home to work from Jeff Koons, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol, and the Infinity Mirrored Room installation by Yayoi Kusama is not to be missed.
(General admission to The Broad Museum is free, but visitors must reserve their spot on the museum’s website.)
It’s a great option for those who want don’t want to just look at art, but make it, too.
Check out their current exhibit, “The Body, The Object, The Other,” that examines contemporary ceramic practices that use the human figure as the starting point for material and conceptual experimentation. Futhermore, the works in the exhibition include sculptural objects, site-specific installations, and performative works.
“The figure has always been present in ceramics,” co-curator Andres Payan Estrada points out. “These artists are questioning how the self can be constructed and refiguring their own relationships to the body and to clay.”
(Without an LA library card, admission ranges from $5-$9.)
La Plaza De Cultura Y Artes
Located in downtown Los Angeles, LA Plaza is a Mexican-American museum and culture center with interactive exhibits focused on the history, culture, and traditions of Mexican-Americans in Southern California.
An ongoing exhibit, “Calle Principal,” gives visitors a glimpse of what life was like for Mexican-Americans living in LA during the 1920s.
“Featuring a variety of vignettes—a grocery store, portrait studio, clothing store, phonograph and record store, pharmacy, and more—it offers visitors a hands-on investigation of daily life during that period encouraging them to make connections between the past and the present,” the museum’s website says of the exhibit.
And, just as cool as the exhibits are the cooking classes offered at the museum—a must for fans of Mexican food.
(Admission is free for all.)
La Brea Tar Pits
Let’s be honest, you can’t live in Los Angeles and never visit the famous La Brea Tar Pits.
The tar pits are the world’s only active, urban Ice Age excavation site. Therefore, it’s worth a visit if you’re into science, history, nature, or just people.
(Those without a LA library card should budget $14 for admission.)
Discovery Cube Los Angeles
The Discovery Cube Los Angeles is a family-friendly science museum. It uses science-based programs and exhibits to inspire and educate kids. Therefore, definitely plan a visit if you’re hoping to raise a little Einstein.
(Non-library card holders can expect to pay $13.95 for kids and $15.95 for adults.)
Kidspace Children’s Museum
Like the Discovery Cube, Kidspace is an educational museum geared toward kiddos. In short, it’s all about play and exploration, offering a host of hands-on activities both indoors and outdoors.
Be sure to check out their artist-in-residence program, with artists Viviana Palacio and Keith Patterson, and the Cloud Formation Lab.
(General admission, without a library pass, is $14.95.)
Chinese American Museum
(Suggested admission without a library pass is $3.)
Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
To close out our list, we have to mention the LA Zoo, an exciting attraction for all ages. In short, who doesn’t like to see giraffes, elephants, and gorillas up close?
The 133-acre zoo is home to dozens of species. And soon, it will have a baby gorilla to show off.
Beth Schaefer, director of the zoo’s Animal Programs, said staff and visitors are excited to see if one of the gorillas is pregnant.
“We haven’t had a baby gorilla at this zoo for over 20 years,” she said. “These are endangered animals so having a chance to increase the population is zoos is extremely important.”
“I think it’s important to tell the story and show all the care that goes into caring for our animals.”
(For those who don’t have a library pass, entrance to the LA Zoo starts at $19.)