Top 8 Unusual Museums in Los Angeles

You can expect many things when you visit a museum. An educational experience. Great artwork. Fascinating exhibits.

But step into one of these museums in Los Angeles, and you’ll experience something completely out of the ordinary. From an in-depth examination of injustice to a fantastic look into the history of aviation, the number of unexpected and awe-inspiring examples of humanity’s history and achievements are truly boundless in these buildings. If you like challenging yourself and broadening your mind, get ready. We’re about to share the eight most unusual museums in Los Angeles today!

Interested in visiting more than one museum — or making stops at popular Los Angeles restaurants, shops, and recreational sites? Then try out the GiftYa electronic gift card. This e-gift card can be uploaded directly onto your debit card, letting you experience a wide number of Los Angeles attractions.  

A+D Architecture and Design Museum

Challenge your preconceptions of progressive design at the A+D Museum

Discover the possibilities of architectural design at the A+D Museum. Image courtesy of Yelp.

900 E. 4th St. | Arts District, Downtown/ aplusd.org

Future architects aren’t the only ones who will find something amazing at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum. Created to celebrate and educate the public about progressive architecture, the A+D Museum regularly challenges your preconceptions about what’s possible in building design.

The exhibits — which are presented in both a digital and physical space — encompass a wide range of subject matter. Depending on when you tour the museum, you might find yourself exploring the power of smells in an immersive scent journey. Or you might find yourself playing an interactive VR multiplayer game that reveals how objects can exist in a digital space. Exhibits regularly change, so be sure to visit their website to see what’s in store for you next.

“Los Angeles needs places like A+D museum that strive to promote and educate progressive architecture and design.” — Yelp Review

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Museum of Tolerance

Human atrocities are laid bare at the Museum of Tolerance

Explore the Anne Frank Exhibit and other eye-opening displays at the Museum of Tolerance. Image courtesy of Yelp.

9786 W. Pico Blvd | Pico-Robertson/ museumoftolerance.com

Great museums challenge what you think you know about history and humanity. That’s certainly true at the Museum of Tolerance, a human rights laboratory and educational center devoted to providing in-depth explorations about the Holocaust and other terrible atrocities in human history.

You’ll find multiple exhibits covering racism, prejudice, genocide, and refugee experiences here. And while confronting prejudice and discrimination is never easy, the Museum of Tolerance uses this as a way to help show to achieve a goal of peaceful living in society. Challenge yourself by taking an eye-opening tour today.

“I loved how their exhibits were interactive and intertwined with the modern era in terms of hate, social media, history, and genocide.” — Yelp Review

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Museum of Social Justice

Gain a new perspective on injustice at the Museum of Social Justice

Artwork and hands-on exhibits help share the hardships of others at the Museum of Social Justice. Image courtesy of Yelp.

146 Paseo De La Plz | Downtown/ museumofsocialjustice.org

Not all illumination is easy to experience. But if you understand the importance of understanding other people’s hardships and developing empathy, the Museum of Social Justice provides exhibits spotlighting the more troubling aspects of human society.

Discover how slavery still exists in the modern era. Learn how to spot the indicators of human trafficking. And take a hands-on approach to creating a sense of community by joining the museum in creating a collaborative friendship quilt. The exhibitions, along with the museum’s education initiatives regularly offer important perspectives on minorities, the economically disadvantaged, and other marginalized people.

“I thought the museum was well spaced and the historic photographs tell a great story of Angelenos uniting to bring attention to social injustice and the means sought through political activism” — Yelp Review

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The African American Firefighter Museum

Get an in-depth look at the history and heritage of African American firefighters

Historical uniforms and actual fire trucks help bring the heritage of African American firefighters to life. Image courtesy of Yelp.

1401 S. Central Ave. | Downtown/ aaffmuseum.org

Located in the historic Fire Station #30, the African American Firefighter Museum offers docent led tours for people interested in learning about the heritage of African American firefighters. The 40-minute tour is filled with little-known facts and stories of the legacy built by African American firefighters in Los Angeles.

Explore Fire Station #30, which operated as a segregated firehouse from 1924 to 1955. See and take pictures against an actual fire truck. And learn the real story of the racism and injustices African American firefighters had to experience during racial segregation in the Los Angeles City Fire Department.

“Wonderful museum documenting a part of LAFD’s history and its progression towards an integrated fire department.” — Yelp Review

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The Bhagavad Gita Museum

The Bhagavad Gita comes to life through a stunning multimedia diorama presentation

Experience a multimedia tour that promotes the philosophy of Hindu yoga scripture. Image courtesy of Yelp.

3764 Wateska Ave. | Palms/ bgmuseum.com

Established in 1977, the Bhagavad Gita Diorama Museum depicts topics of the Bhagavad-gita, an ancient Hindu yoga scripture, in a very innovative way. Guests of the museum get to see highly detailed sculpted clay dioramas showcasing aspects of the yoga philosophy through animatronics, sound and video.

Choose from a general tour (45 minutes), guided tour (60 minutes), or the Krishna Experience (90 minutes) to truly get to know Hare Krishna history, culture, and philosophy. Guests rave about this unique museum experience that fuses ancient techniques with modern technology.

The diorama sculptures were crafted in the late 1970s using ancient Indian techniques and materials. However, the exhibits also utilize a multimedia system complete with lighting and sound effects coupled with special visual and mechanical effects. Thanks to this combination, the Bhagavad Gita Museum is able to promote their spiritual knowledge and educate guests on their techniques of spiritual life.  

“A must do if you are a spiritual seeker visiting the beautiful and abundant city of LA.” — Yelp Review

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Flight Path Museum

Immerse yourself in the wonders of aviation at the Flight Path Museum

Get up close and personal with the Douglas DC-3 at the Flight Path Museum and experience aviation history first hand. Image courtesy of Yelp.

6661 W. Imperial Hwy | Westchester/ flightpathlax.com

Love flying? Then come check out Los Angeles’ Flight Path Museum, where you can get up close and personal with aircraft like their Douglas DC-3, a propeller-driven airliner from the 1930s and 1940s. Other aviation exhibits include a space exploration exhibit with an astronaut flight suit, model rockets, and even space debris. You can also see multiple classic flight uniforms and also check out cargo airline artifacts from their Flying Tigers Exhibit.

The museum is open for tours. However, proof of vaccination is required for entry. Visit the Flight Path Museum and help celebrate 25 years of rich aviation and aerospace history.    

“Great little museum with a lot of replicas and uniforms of the past! If you’re in the area, it’s great for a visit with a lot of friendly staff and volunteers who are very well informed!” — Yelp Review

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Japanese American National Museum

Generations of history are on display at the Japanese American National Museum

Learn how Japanese history and culture impacted the United States. Image courtesy of Yelp.

100 N. Central Ave | Little Tokyo, Downtown/ janm.org

Established in 1985, the Japanese American National Museum is dedicated to showing the integral part Japanese-Americans played in shaping the United States. Through artifacts, photographs, written records, and oral histories, visitors will learn about the lives of Japanese-Americans before, during, and after the World War II era. Exhibits detail the U.S. internment of Japanese-Americans in the 1940s as well as the struggles with immigration and resettlement experienced by many Japanese-Americans.

Other exhibits and collections explore topics as diverse as cultural identity, community, family history, art, sports, literature, and music. With such a rich, multi-generational history to draw from, there’s plenty to discover and appreciate at the Japanese American National Museum.

“Amazing amount of history, easy to navigate and enjoy in a few hours.” — Yelp Review

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Natural History Museum

Dinosaurs, butterfly exhibits, and more will dazzle you at the Natural History Museum

Go back in time at the Natural History Museum’s Dinosaur Hall. Image courtesy of Yelp.

900 Exposition Blvd | Exposition Park/ nhm.org

From fossilized dinosaur skeletons to a dazzling display of rare minerals and gems, there’s something for every interest at the Natural History Museum. Younger audiences will enjoy learning about how things grow in the Get Dirty Zone while the Nature Lab offers true stories about plants and animals.

Of course, many guests come for the dinosaurs, and the Natural History Museum doesn’t disappoint with its Dinosaur Hall, a massive exhibition that holds over 300 fossils and 20 complete dinosaurs and ancient sea creatures, including a Tyrannosaurus rex. The Dino Lab offers an inside look at how paleontologists work on fossils while the 3D Theater lets dinosaurs come to life in the immersive “Dinosaurs of Antarctica” adventure. Be sure to check out the website to see what other special exhibitions are in store for you.

“The dinosaur exhibit is great and my kids loved the nature lab with all the live rodents and bugs to check out” — Yelp Review

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