Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles

The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles is one of those places that is hard to write about as it creates many raw emotions when you walk through the exhibits related to the Holocaust and other horrors we have inflicted on each other throughout the course of history. It is an incredibly well-done museum though, culminating with a 70-minute experience that walks you through life under the Nazi reign. Here is all the information if you want to check it out.

Details

  • Cost: $15.50
  • Parking was free when I went
  • Closed Saturdays
  • Location: 9786 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

Getting There

The museum is located on Pico Blvd and parking was free when I went, it was located under the museum. You will take the elevators up to the lobby after you park.

The Museum

The museum has three floors, but only two had exhibits when I went. We started at the top and worked our way down.

The top floor had exhibits relating to the diversity of our families, primarily compared to how our heritage affects our lives.

It also spotlights some famous actors, writers and sports stars and their family history as well.

Heading on to the second floor, there is an exhibit on Anne Frank, one of the most well-known people during this period. It was an additional cost to visit this exhibit.

Heading down from here, there was an exterior portion that featured a piece of art and an eternal flame.

The bottom floor is where most of the exhibits are though.

The first we went to was an interactive quiz show where you learned about the struggles refugees faced and voted on your answers to the questions asked.

It was an excellent way to connect with people and encourage the learning.

There was also an old diner you could sit down at and interact with as well. The information here focused on bullying and hate speech.

From there you will head to the main exhibit which is the interactive walkthrough of what life was like in Nazi Germany.

You are given a card which represents the person you are pretending to be as you walk through the exhibit and learn about life.

Along the way you discover more about the person you were given, culminating in what happened to them during the Nazi reign. It is a sobering exhibit that does a fantastic job of capturing the horrors experienced and making you genuinely feel them.

It is hard to explain but something that you will surely remember when you leave.

After leaving the exhibit, there is more to read and see around this floor if you want to see more. Let me know what you think about this spot if you go, and don’t forget to explore some more of the museums in this area such as the Peterson Auto Museum and LACMA if you have time.

Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles

The Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles is one of those places that is hard to write about as it creates many raw emotions when you walk through the exhibits related to the Holocaust and other horrors we have inflicted on each other throughout the course of history. It is an incredibly well-done museum though, culminating with a 70-minute experience that walks you through life under the Nazi reign. Here is all the information if you want to check it out.

Details

  • Cost: $15.50
  • Parking was free when I went
  • Closed Saturdays
  • Location: 9786 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

Getting There

The museum is located on Pico Blvd and parking was free when I went, it was located under the museum. You will take the elevators up to the lobby after you park.

The Museum

The museum has three floors, but only two had exhibits when I went. We started at the top and worked our way down.

The top floor had exhibits relating to the diversity of our families, primarily compared to how our heritage affects our lives.

It also spotlights some famous actors, writers and sports stars and their family history as well.

Heading on to the second floor, there is an exhibit on Anne Frank, one of the most well-known people during this period. It was an additional cost to visit this exhibit.

Heading down from here, there was an exterior portion that featured a piece of art and an eternal flame.

The bottom floor is where most of the exhibits are though.

The first we went to was an interactive quiz show where you learned about the struggles refugees faced and voted on your answers to the questions asked.

It was an excellent way to connect with people and encourage the learning.

There was also an old diner you could sit down at and interact with as well. The information here focused on bullying and hate speech.

From there you will head to the main exhibit which is the interactive walkthrough of what life was like in Nazi Germany.

You are given a card which represents the person you are pretending to be as you walk through the exhibit and learn about life.

Along the way you discover more about the person you were given, culminating in what happened to them during the Nazi reign. It is a sobering exhibit that does a fantastic job of capturing the horrors experienced and making you genuinely feel them.

It is hard to explain but something that you will surely remember when you leave.

After leaving the exhibit, there is more to read and see around this floor if you want to see more. Let me know what you think about this spot if you go, and don’t forget to explore some more of the museums in this area such as the Peterson Auto Museum and LACMA if you have time.

Grammy Museum at LA Live in Los Angeles

LA Live is a popular attraction that many people visit when in Los Angeles. While it is mostly chain restaurants and ice skating in the winter, the Grammy Museum is a great stop right on the outskirts of LA Live. It has a ton of information on many of your favorite artists throughout the years, is highly interactive, and has a Grammy Walk of Fame in the cement outside of the building. Here is all the information if you want to check it out.

Details

  • Cost: $13
  • Hours: 10:30 AM to 6:30 PM
  • Location: 800 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Getting There

From the 10 Freeway West, you will want to get off on Pico Blvd to S Figueroa St. Continue on LA Live Way and then turn right on Olympic Blvd. There is an underground parking area on the right that you can use for the Grammy Museum, but it is a paid lot. There are a few other paid parking lots around the area as well.

The Museum

After heading up from the underground garage, follow signs to the museum. The museum starts by taking the elevator up to the fourth floor and then working your way down from there.

The top floor had a lot of videos and history on the Grammys and the artists.

There were displays full of Micheal Jackson memorabilia and an exhibit on historical guitars.

There was also a section with handwritten lyrics from many of your famous artists.

The next floor had a large stage with a bunch of instruments like drums and guitars that you could play. It was a lot of fun to put on the headphones and jam.

There was also a sizeable white grammy statue on display in the middle of the floor.

The artist that was being highlighted when I went was Katy Perry, so there were outfits and a ton of information on her.

This floor also had a breakdown of how recording studios work, and it let one person sing in a booth while the other mixed the recording. I enjoyed this as the song you sang was “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks.

Heading down to the last floor there was a rotating exhibit, and when we went, it was on the history of punk rock.

Punk rock is a fascinating part of music history, so I appreciated learning more about it. Also, there was an area where you could sing here as well.

On the way out of the museum be sure to walk around and look at the artist walk of fame on the ground outside. It is fun just to find some of your favorite artists in the different plaques.

Overall, I enjoyed my time at the Grammy Museum, it was a lot of fun to have it be so interactive, and since I have always liked music, it was interesting to learn a lot of the history. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.

California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park comprises over 1,000 areas of prime real estate right in the heart of San Francisco and is a popular location to hang out at any time the weather is warm. This area also features a lot of great museums as well, with the California Academy of Sciences being one of my favorites. This museum can be pricey if you have a family of four, but it’s an entertaining spot to explore and there are a few days a year that its free if you check the website. Here is all the information.

Details

  • Cost: $30
  • Hours: Most days – 9 AM – 5 PM
  • Location: 55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118

Getting There

Golden Gate Park is on the west side of San Francisco, and you can get there easily via public transit or Uber/Lyft. You can also drive in, and there is usually parking as long as it is not the weekend in the summer. There is parking in the Music Concourse Parking Area as well.

The Museum

The California Academy of Sciences is one large rectangular building with a few floors and a couple of main attractions.

Rainforest Dome

By far the most popular is the rainforest dome, and it’s easy to see why.

The dome features a circular pathway that you walk and that gives you access to many different types of plant and animal life.

As you near the top you will be able to look down through the rainforest and see the giant fish swimming below you.

Also, near the top is where all of the butterflies are. They usually fly all around you, and if you’re lucky, they might even land on you.

This is an entertaining area to spend some time and just watch the butterflies doing their thing. When you are done, you can hop in the elevator and take it all the way down to the aquarium level below the main floor.

Aquarium

This level houses some pretty impressive aquatic exhibits, with lots of different types of fish and other sea life.

There is even a large glass tunnel that you can walk through and that allows you to look up at the massive sharks and turtles going by. Inside there are more aquariums to see before heading back up to the main floor.

Swamp

From the staircase, you can see the museum famous albino alligator who usually is just sitting on the rock in the middle of the exhibit. I had never seen one before, so it was a pretty unique experience.

Planetarium

The other main exhibit is a planetarium which displays the universe in a 75-foot dome.

Depending on when you visit there will be other exhibits on display as well. Some of these are the earthquakes exhibit and the colors of life exhibit.

Be sure to stop in and see the penguins before leaving; you can even watch them on the webcam here.

During the Christmas season, the museum also has an ice rink that kids can partake in as well as an exhibit on arctic animals.

Lastly, there is a snowman theater that talks about snowflakes, and if you are lucky, it might snow on you while you are there as well.

As you can see, this is a pretty impressive museum to explore in San Francisco. My wife and I enjoyed our time here, and I plan to go back again the future to see more of the things I missed.

Walt Disney Family Museum In San Francisco’s Presidio

Situated right in the middle of San Francisco’s historic Presidio, the Walt Disney Family Museum spotlights the legacy of Walt Disney and the company that he created. Since it opened in 2009, the museum has been drawing Disney and history fans for almost a decade, and I finally got a chance to check it out in late 2017. While I didn’t have as long as I would have liked here (you need a half day to read it all and watch the videos), I still enjoyed learning more about the famous Walt Disney. Here is all the information.

Details

  • Cost: $20 – $25
  • Hours: 10 AM – 6 PM, closed Tuesdays
  • Location: 104 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94129

Getting There

The museum’s located in the Presidio, and it is easiest to get there via public transit or Lyft / Uber. If you are driving, there is often parking along the street outside of the museum though.

The Museum

The Walt Disney Family Museum is two main floors full of information on Walt Disney and the Disney Company.

It starts with his parents and his birth and takes you through all the way to his death (the last room). Along the way, there are many different interactive exhibits. Here are a few.

The first exhibit to spotlight is the area that talks about how he got into drawing and some of his early cartoons.

Moving on, there is an exhibit about one of the first famous Disney movies, Steamboat Willie.

In the next room, it starts to talk about the animation companies he created and how the first Disney movie, Snow White, was predicted to be a colossal flop. There are even quotes on the walls stating, “who would want to watch an hour and a half cartoon.”

Of course, the movie went on to be a hit and one of the top ten films of 1938 in the New York Times.

The exhibits continue with lots of videos and audio about the movies and the process to create them. There is even an actual two-story camera they used to create the animation.

In the last room is my favorite exhibit, a full replica of Disneyland.

Installed right in the middle of the room, the replica is situated so you can walk all around it and see it from different heights. It’s especially fun if you grew up visiting Disneyland since you know the spots by heart.

During the holidays, there is also a “Home for the Holiday’s” exhibit that features a replica of Walt Disney’s home and a miniature train set that goes around the outside. It is a fun, quick stop before leaving the museum.

Even though it is a little pricey, I enjoyed my time at the Walt Disney Family Museum. It’s a great way to learn more about Walt and the iconic company. Be sure to check it out next time you are in the city and let me know what you think in the comments.

Walt Disney Family Museum In San Francisco’s Presidio

Situated right in the middle of San Francisco’s historic Presidio, the Walt Disney Family Museum spotlights the legacy of Walt Disney and the company that he created. Since it opened in 2009, the museum has been drawing Disney and history fans for almost a decade, and I finally got a chance to check it out in late 2017. While I didn’t have as long as I would have liked here (you need a half day to read it all and watch the videos), I still enjoyed learning more about the famous Walt Disney. Here is all the information.

Details

  • Cost: $20 – $25
  • Hours: 10 AM – 6 PM, closed Tuesdays
  • Location: 104 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94129

Getting There

The museum’s located in the Presidio, and it is easiest to get there via public transit or Lyft / Uber. If you are driving, there is often parking along the street outside of the museum though.

The Museum

The Walt Disney Family Museum is two main floors full of information on Walt Disney and the Disney Company.

It starts with his parents and his birth and takes you through all the way to his death (the last room). Along the way, there are many different interactive exhibits. Here are a few.

The first exhibit to spotlight is the area that talks about how he got into drawing and some of his early cartoons.

Moving on, there is an exhibit about one of the first famous Disney movies, Steamboat Willie.

In the next room, it starts to talk about the animation companies he created and how the first Disney movie, Snow White, was predicted to be a colossal flop. There are even quotes on the walls stating, “who would want to watch an hour and a half cartoon.”

Of course, the movie went on to be a hit and one of the top ten films of 1938 in the New York Times.

The exhibits continue with lots of videos and audio about the movies and the process to create them. There is even an actual two-story camera they used to create the animation.

In the last room is my favorite exhibit, a full replica of Disneyland.

Installed right in the middle of the room, the replica is situated so you can walk all around it and see it from different heights. It’s especially fun if you grew up visiting Disneyland since you know the spots by heart.

During the holidays, there is also a “Home for the Holiday’s” exhibit that features a replica of Walt Disney’s home and a miniature train set that goes around the outside. It is a fun, quick stop before leaving the museum.

Even though it is a little pricey, I enjoyed my time at the Walt Disney Family Museum. It’s a great way to learn more about Walt and the iconic company. Be sure to check it out next time you are in the city and let me know what you think in the comments.

Musee Mécanique – Mechanical Quarter Machines in Fishermans Wharf

Fishermans Wharf is a great spot to hang out and explore while visiting San Francisco. I can often be found in the Boudin or walking the streets looking for the best cioppino, but on a recent trip I stumbled into the Musee Mécanique, and my future trips to the area will never be the same. Musee Mécanique is a collection of over 50 old quarter machines that do everything from making a fake chicken dance to letting you shoot a little gun at targets. These historic devices are a ton of fun to see, and most of them only cost a quarter so the whole family can have a good time for cheap here. Read on for all the information.

Details

  • Machine range from a quarter to a dollar.
  • Hours: 10 AM – 8 PM
  • Location: San Francisco Pier 41, San Francisco, CA 94133

Getting There

In San Francisco, I always recommend public transportation. You can even ride the cable cars down to the Fisherman’s Wharf area if you want. If you do drive, there is a large parking lot right across the street next to the Boudin, but it can be expensive.

The Museum

Upon entering the large building, you will see arcade machines lining both walls.

I recommend heading to the change machine first and turning your dollars into a few handfuls of quarters.

From there you will just want to explore and try out a bunch of the machines. There is everything from a puppet guillotine performance to a mechanical horse and a genie that tells you your future.

I can’t stress how many of these awesome machines they have here.

The one that seems to be one of the most popular is laughing Sal, which has a sign that says “One of San Francisco’s most nostalgic landmarks, originally located at Playland at the Beach from 1940 to 1972… it has made us smile and/or terrified children for over fifty years.” I have to admit I was creeped out by this massive animatronic woman laughing at me, but it was still fun to see.

As you can no doubt tell, I loved exploring this spot. If you grew up with these machines, I am sure you will be excited to see them again, but for the younger kids in the audience, grab some quarters and see what these fun devices have in store for you.

Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.

Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles

The Chinese American Museum near Olvera St in Downtown LA is an interesting, free spot to explore when you are in the area. The three floors of exhibits only require about 30 minutes to see, and they are surprisingly well put together. Here is all the information so you can check it out yourself.

Details

  • Free
  • Hours: Tues – Sun: 10 AM – 4 PM, closed Monday
  • Location: 425 N Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Getting There

The museum is located right off the main square of Olvera St, across from Union Station. The best way to get there is to take the train/metro to Union Station and then just walk across the street. There are a few small parking lots around Olvera St that you can park at as well, but they usually cost at least $10.

The Museum

To get to the museum, you will want to head to the main square and then walk down the small road opposite of Olvera St. There are signs to get you to the brick building which houses the museum.

Upon entering I was greeted and told what I could expect to find as I explored. The first and second floors were both permanent exhibits, and the third was a temporary exhibit.

On the first floor, they had a lot of history and timelines related to this area of LA and the Chinese population that was once strong here.

They also had a room with a replica of a general store and lots of other antiques in it.

Heading up to the second floor there were only a few exhibits and ,it was the least engaging of the three.

There was some information on firecrackers here which was cool though.

The third floor had a lot of art with some more modern pieces. I found the display of painted pots to be the coolest part of this floor.

After spending about 30 minutes here I headed back out to Olvera St to continue my journey. You can see my favorite spots on Olvera St here. I really did enjoy the museum though and if you are visiting the area it is a great 30 minute stop. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Chinese American Museum in Los Angeles

The Chinese American Museum near Olvera St in Downtown LA is an interesting, free spot to explore when you are in the area. The three floors of exhibits only require about 30 minutes to see, and they are surprisingly well put together. Here is all the information so you can check it out yourself.

Details

  • Free
  • Hours: Tues – Sun: 10 AM – 4 PM, closed Monday
  • Location: 425 N Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Getting There

The museum is located right off the main square of Olvera St, across from Union Station. The best way to get there is to take the train/metro to Union Station and then just walk across the street. There are a few small parking lots around Olvera St that you can park at as well, but they usually cost at least $10.

The Museum

To get to the museum, you will want to head to the main square and then walk down the small road opposite of Olvera St. There are signs to get you to the brick building which houses the museum.

Upon entering I was greeted and told what I could expect to find as I explored. The first and second floors were both permanent exhibits, and the third was a temporary exhibit.

On the first floor, they had a lot of history and timelines related to this area of LA and the Chinese population that was once strong here.

They also had a room with a replica of a general store and lots of other antiques in it.

Heading up to the second floor there were only a few exhibits and ,it was the least engaging of the three.

There was some information on firecrackers here which was cool though.

The third floor had a lot of art with some more modern pieces. I found the display of painted pots to be the coolest part of this floor.

After spending about 30 minutes here I headed back out to Olvera St to continue my journey. You can see my favorite spots on Olvera St here. I really did enjoy the museum though and if you are visiting the area it is a great 30 minute stop. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Museum of Broken Relationships in Los Angeles

While Los Angeles is undoubtedly full of unique museums, the Museum of Broken Relationships on Hollywood Boulevard is certainly one of the most interesting. This museum is in the shadow of famous tourist spots like the wax museum, Ripleys Believe It or Not and even Mann’s Chinese Theater. It focuses on the issues that affect the average human relationship by collecting the leftovers of failed ones. Here is all the information on this spot if it sounds like something you want to see but do note many of the stories are pretty sad.

Details

  • Cost: $15
  • Hours: 12 PM – 7 PM
  • Location: 6751 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Getting There

The museum is located on Hollywood Blvd, and there is not much street parking available. I would recommend heading to Hollywood and Highland where there is a big parking lot under the mall. This is a great place to park and to explore all that Hollywood Blvd has to offer. You can walk to the museum from here.

The Museum

This museum got its start when the owner went to Switzerland and saw the original Museum of Broken Relationships there. He figured it would be something that Los Angeles would dig as well, so he created a sister museum in Hollywood.

The museum collects things that are anonymously sent to the curators with stories about what the items are and what they meant to the failed relationship.

Inside there is a range of different items, some of which come with a fun story and some which come with a depressing one. Here are a few of the most unique:

Marry Me Sign

Belly Button Lint

X Files Pin

There is also a confessional book in the back where you can write about your failed relationships and a wall where you can fill in the blanks with the provided pieces of paper and then stick them on the wall.

I will admit that I came here expecting it to be funnier then it was. Honestly, a lot of the stories are just sad, and I left being a lot more cynical of people and their relationships.

That being said, it was still a unique stop in Los Angeles and one that is unlike anything else I have been to. If it sounds like something you would like, be sure to check it out and let me know what you think in the comments.