Set in Los Angeles, California, the Petersen Automotive Museum portrays the history of cars and their influence on American life. The building spans three floors and 25 galleries, with seasonal exhibits and a diverse collection of more than 150 rare and classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
Highlights include displays on the evolution of car shape, the use of silver in luxury finishing, and famous movie cars from Hollywood. Admire shiny hot rods, sit behind the wheel of a Ford Model T, and stop by the Disney/Pixar Cars Mechanical Institute—a hands-on center where kids and adults can explore the inner workings of car engines and design a virtual race car.
General admission tickets can be purchased ahead of time, with skip-the-line options available to help you save valuable vacation time.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Disney/Pixar section is a good option for families with kids, as many of the other exhibits are strictly hands-off.
- The on-site Drago Ristorante offers homemade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and pastries from the family's restaurant in Culver City.
- Complimentary wheelchairs are available to check out on a first-come, first-served basis at the Admissions Desk, and strollers are welcome in the museum.
- Accessible parking spots are located on the first floor of the Petersen parking garage, close to the main entrance.
How to Get There
The Metro provides bus and rail transportation to the Petersen until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. Convenient parking is available in the Petersen Museum lot and is free for the first 30 minutes.
When to Get There
The museum is open daily from 10am to 6pm. Weekends tend to draw larger crowds, so opt for a weekday visit to enjoy more elbow room.
Vault tours, led by a museum tour guide, offer the chance to see unique cars not on display in the museum galleries. These popular 2-hour tours often sell out and offer a sneak peek into the arc of automotive history.