January in Los Angeles: Free Museum Day + Restaurant Week!

“…In all the world, there neither was nor would there ever be another place like this City of Angels.” -Carey McWilliams, Southern California: An Island on the Land, 1946

Incase you haven’t heard, Los Angeles is pretty great in January.  Restaurant Week, Free Museum Day, and the near-perfect weather (sorry east coast) are just a few reasons why I’d recommend visiting the City of Angels.  There might be only 8 days left in the month but that’s plenty of time for you locals out there so no excuses!  For those of you a bit farther away, you’ve been warned for next year.  Now start planning!

Free Museum Day will take place this Saturday, January 25th, in exactly 20 museums across the city.  I don’t know about you, but trying to visit 20 museums in one day might be a bit overwhelming.  Hopefully I can help narrow that list down for you with a few of my recommendations below.

#1: The Los Angeles County Museum of Art


If you absolutely only have time for one museum on Saturday, this should be the one.  LACMA is the largest art museum in the western U.S. with a variety of works including everything from ancient artifacts to modern art and several ongoing exhibitions.  There really is something for everyone here.

Metroplos II: An amazing kinetic sculpture created by Chris Burden

Metroplos II: An amazing kinetic sculpture created by Chris Burden


#2: The California Science Center


This beautiful modern building is conveniently located in Exposition Park in Downtown Los Angeles.  The California Science Center is especially fun for kids.  As you can see below, there are literally planes hanging from the ceiling to capture their attention as well as several hands-on exhibits that any child (or adult!) will have fun interacting with.


However, my favorite reason for visiting is to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour.  Timed reservations are required for weekends and they’ll charge a service fee of just $2, even this Saturday, but it’s well worth it.  See for yourself…

7 #3: Natural History Museum

Okay so this museum isn’t even participating in Free Museum Day this Saturday but I still had to include it because it’s one of my favorites.  Also, their free day is coming up on Tuesday, February 4th so it can still be on my list, alright?!

If you visit the California Science Center earlier in the day, you simply need to walk through the gorgeous Exposition Rose Garden and you’ll find the Natural History Museum waiting for you on the other side!  I think you’ll quickly find that it’s not a bad garden to walk through, or perhaps, stop for a nice picnic lunch.


Now I’ve visited the Natural History Museums in London and New York and this one is definitely on the same level.  Their new Dinosaur Hall will completely blow you away with over 300 real fossils and 20 complete dinosaurs!  Yes… 20!


They also have a new permanent exhibit called Becoming Los Angeles which is perfect for any tourist to learn more about the city.  Even being a local, I really enjoyed it and learned quite a bit more about my home which is always nice.  Every first Friday of the month the Natural History Museum will stay open until 10 PM and provide special tours, discussions, and entertainment.


#4: The Getty Museums

The Getty Villa and Getty Center are always free (minus the $15 parking!) but I would still definitely check them out this Saturday.  I wrote about The Getty Villa last year so I’ll just let you go back and read that if you’re interested!


Don’t think I’ve forgotten about Restaurant Week!

This 12-day dining event only started 3 days ago and lasts until January 31st so you have plenty of time to sort through menus and book your tables.  Several restaurants throughout Los Angeles release specially priced prix-fix menus for lunch and dinner.  There are some great offers out there at pricey restaurants you wouldn’t normally choose to dine at.  Rock Sugar in Century City is an example of one I’m excited to try over the weekend.  They’re offering a three course lunch menu for only $15.  They’re not paying me to say this, I promise.  I’m just an overly enthusiastic foodie.

Let me know if you’ve ever participated in Restaurant Week before.  Any recommendations?  Also, which museum would you choose?  Here’s the full list.

Happy Travels!

Picture 3


  1. Kaye Floyd says:

    Great info Lauren! I do want to revisit LACMA so this is a great deal on Saturday. Also, I can’t wait to check out the beautiful History Museum! Who knew?! I never considered LA Restaurant Week before but will take a look at the list…thanks!

  2. Denette says:

    Thanks for sharing about free Museum Day & Restaurant Week. Both fun things to check out, I’m sure!! The Space Shuttle exhibit is great.

  3. Mary {The World Is A Book} says:

    We’re having Restaurant Week in SD this month too but not Museum Week. LA’s museums are way better though and I love the museums you’ve highlighted here. My kids can spend all day at the CA Science Center and Natural History. We love the gems exhibit. It’s been awhile since we’ve we’ve been to LACMA and thanks for reminding me what a great museum it is. It’s too bad we can’t participate but if I could, I’d go visit the Page Museum. Have a great time!
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted…Touring Biosphere 2: Where Science LivesMy Profile

  4. Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans says:

    Great post, Lauren! I actually have an upcoming post about some of L.A.’s museums as well, but this is a great roundup. I’ve never been to LACMA (gasp!) despite the fact that I’ve been holding on to free passes for the past few years (I wonder if they’re still any good). I will definitely put them to use soon! Plus, my friend just got proposed to under the lamps at LACMA a few weeks ago, so I’m sure it’s a special place.
    Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans recently posted…Queen Mary & the SubmarineMy Profile

    • Lauren Meshkin says:

      Thanks, Dana! You really should visit the LACMA. It’s a wonderful museum and they have an amazing exhibit going on until Spring featuring James Turrell. I’m looking forward to your post 🙂

  5. Kara Brandt says:

    This is my first time to visit your blog. I like this post and I suddenly remember it’s been 3 years since my last visit in LA. Thanks Lauren for this post. I’m already thinking of revisiting LA and check out these places.

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