As an Angeleno and car aficionado, I was eager and excited to visit the Petersen Automotive Museum this past weekend. The museum, conveniently located on Wilshire Blvd, is dedicated to the exploration and presentation of the history of the automobile and its impact on American life and culture using Los Angeles as the prime example. I recommend parking in the designated parking structure located directly in the museum, then walk into the lobby where you are greeted with a beautiful Plymouth Explorer. Purchase your ticket and begin your automotive journey.
The museum is best explored in chronological order, beginning with the earliest models and working your way up the different floors to the latest models. Enjoy three floors packed with fascinating automotive history. The vehicles on display reflect decades of period styles interwoven with technological developments. Pictures are allowed and fun to take.
The First Floor:
By far my favorite exhibit was “The Streetscape” which chronicles the evolution of the automobile and its influence on life and car culture in Southern California during the 20th century. The winding path provides sights and sounds of automotive life beginning with a turn of the century blacksmith’s shop where the earliest automobiles were built, and takes you through 100 years of automotive history. Here you can explore how the automobile helped shape modern Los Angeles. You can enhance your Streetscape experience by using your cell phone as a free guide. Call (323) 209-4149 and look for the blue emblem on the wall for prompt numbers.
The Second Floor:
This floor boasts seven exhibition galleries such as the Hollywood gallery with cars used in film and television, the Hot Wheels Hall of Fame gallery displaying Mattel’s official display of diecasts and full-size vehicles and the Otis Chandler gallery with historic motorcycles and scooters. View the cars of the stars up close and personal, relive your childhood and learn the building process of your favorite Hot Wheels, and explore the two-wheeled history of the motorbike.
The Third Floor:
On this floor you will find the May Family Discovery Center. This area is designed to spark a child’s interest in science by way of the automobile. This hands-on learning center teaches basic scientific principles using the fundamental elements of the car. Experience becoming the human spark plug in a giant combustion engine. Ride on a Model T or race an Indy car. The Center is also host to a mural replica, Los Angeles: The Living City.
After visiting the exhibits, make your way to the Johnny Rockets Great American Burger Restaurant located inside the museum. Its motif is meant to capture all of Americana. The décor includes juke boxes, chrome accents, and red leather seats, while the walls are adorned with images of America’s past. You are served by waiters and waitresses dressed in period attire. The staff is known to sing, dance, twirl straws, and make ketchup smiley faces!
Los Angeles is a city of innovation. It’s where dreams become reality and everyone can make their mark. While most of the world was still driving a horse-and-buggy, Angelenos were driving the automobile. Visit the Petersen Automotive Museum for the ultimate driving driving experience, you’ll drive away with a greater understanding and feeling of appreciation for your vehicle.
“There are towns in the East that boast an automobile to every one hundred of the population…Los Angeles, with a quarter of a million people, has an automobile for every eighty persons. It is without exception the banner automobile city of the world” – Los Angeles Time, January 1907
WHAT: Petersen Automotive Museum
WHEN: Tuesday – Sunday | 10:00 am – 6:00 pm | Closed on Mondays
WHERE: 6060 Wilshire Blvd | Los Angeles, CA 90036
CONTACT INFO: (323) 964-6331
- Ticket prices: Adults $10, Seniors $8 (62 and over), Students with I.D. $5, Active Military with I.D. $5, Children $3 (5 – 12 years old), Children under 5 free
- Museum parking: $2 per 30 minutes, $8 maximum with paid admission for up to four hours, $12 maximum all others
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