A Museum for gear-heads near Hancock Park, along Wilshire.
It’s funny, but when I was a kid, and everyone was drawing cars, I was drawing airplanes and spaceships.
Fast forward a bunch of years (more than I’d care to admit). I’m living in Los Angeles with a food blog and everything, and Los Angeles is all about the car, the culture of the car. Everything revolves around your car. How you live. Where you live. How you get back and forth.
It’s only natural then, that a city that celebrates and lives around the car as much as Los Angeles does, have a Museum dedicated to them. You will find it in the Petersen Automative Museum.
Really, the first question I had when I walked in there the first time was…is this a Museum for historians or it is for gear-heads.
You walk in, pay your admission, and they start in the Hall of Cars, which is…every bit the History Museum I was hoping it’d be. It starts fro the earliest jalopies in the first garages in Los Angeles, and wheels all the way into the future. All the way…to the seventies?
Yeah, it’s definitely the part of the Museum that’s changed the least. But okay fine. This was the part of the Museum I enjoyed the most.
Then there was the upstairs.
So let me say it first. If you are a gear-head, if you are into your cars, this is the Museum for you. If however, the car is merely a means of transport. If you’re into History more than Horsepower (and guess which part of the spectrum I fall in?), then…
I’ll just say it. I’m a red blooded American male, and for some reason the sight of looking at a bunch of polished up rides does nothing for me.
Upstairs is a series of rotating exhibits. When I was there they had an Exhibit on Luxury cars. There was an Exhibit on Trucks. They even had a permanent display of Hot Wheels, featuring one of every Hot Wheel Cast ever produced.
Yup, still nothing.
The low point for me was the DC Comics Collection. This was a collection of Cars designed around the Justice League: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, etc.
We’re not talking the short-lived Supermobile, but a NASCAR vehicle tricked out in Supes’ colors.
I’m not even going to get into the ridiculousness of the Batman display. Batman, a DC Comics character with his own, rather famous car. Was it on display here? Nope, just another tricked out ride with Batman graphics.
And which point, I headed outta there.
Short museum for $15 bucks.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Okay, what you’d think is the front of the Museum, along Wilshire…isn’t the front entrance. In fact, there is no accessible entrance anywhere along Wilshire. You have to walk to the back, where the Parking Garage is, and enter that way.
It makes sense in a way. It’s a Car Museum. Why shouldn’t your experience begin and end in your own car?
Also, no backpacks allowed in the Museum for whatever reason. After you pay your admission, you’ll be asked to leave it at the Security Desk. I’m not sure what the photography policy is in the Museum, but I’ll tell you everybody…and I mean everybody was using their Cell Phone to take pictures in there, rules or not.
And yes, that is a fully functioning Johnny Rockets’ in there.
PARKING: The Petersen has it’s own Garage (as mentioned above). Here’s the deal:
First 30 minutes: Free
Each additional 30 minutes: $2.00
1 hour validation with purchase of $20 or more in the Museum Store or Johnny Rockets located in the museum lobby.
So you can theoretically go see the Museum via Free Parking and spend another hour in Johnny Rockets to make it a $4 Parking Visit.
But then you’d have to eat at Johnny Rockets.
Petersen Automotive Museum
6060 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Tel: (323) 930-2277
Tuesday – Sunday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Closed Mondays (except holidays)