Car lovers don't just plan a visit to the Petersen Automotive Museum—they race to get to it when they arrive in Los Angeles.
The Peterson, dedicated to cars and their influence on the way we live, features 25 galleries of cars and memorabilia. Its clean, white showrooms spread across three floors and highlight the form and function of America's favorite mode of transportation.
Exhibits, swapped out seasonally, draw upon a collection of more than 150 rare and classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Highlights have included displays on the evolution of cars' shapes; the use of silver in luxury finishings; cars made famous in Hollywood; and art as seen on the painted panels of BMW's "Art Cars."
Like many museums, the shiny specimens here are not for touching, but admiring. Exceptions to this rule are behind-the-wheel access to a Ford Model T (third floor) and the Disney/Pixar Cars Mechanical Institute, where children (and adults) can interactively explore the inner-workings of a car engine and design a virtual racecar (second floor; tickets priced separately).
The museum is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Tickets cost $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors with ID, and $7 for children over 3. Popular two-hour tours of the museum's garage-sized vault of priceless cars cost 20, with tickets on sale a month in advance. Onsite parking costs $12.