La Brea Tar Pits

#19 in Best Things To Do in Los Angeles
La Brea Tar Pits picture1 of 2
La Brea Tar Pits2 of 2
Ed-Ni-Photo/Getty Images

Key Info

5801 Wilshire Blvd.

Price & Hours

$15 for adults; $5 for kids 3-12
9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Details

Museums, Natural Wonders Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
3.9

scorecard

  • 3.5Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

If your kids go crazy for dinosaurs – and really, what kid doesn't? – then a visit to La Brea Tar Pits is sure to be the highlight of their trip. Although the pits look like the set of a cheesy PG movie, hot tar has been bubbling from the earth at this spot along Museum Row in the Miracle Mile for about 40,000 years. And from the gooiest part of LA, more than 3.5 million fossils from 600-plus species have been discovered. The adjoining museum houses many of the artifacts found at the tar pits; consequently, it is home to one of the largest collections of Ice Age fossils in the world. Recent visitors loved learning something new and found the site fascinating.

You can check out the tar pits completely free of charge, but museum tickets start at $15 for adults; reduced entry fees are available for children, students and seniors. You'll save $1 on each ticket if you buy tickets online. All tickets include tours of property facilities like the fossil lab, lake pit and observation pit. Complimentary admission is offered on the first Tuesday of every month (excluding July and August) and every Tuesday in September, but ticket lines on these days are long, so consider reserving your pass online before you arrive. Even if you have to pay to visit, most visitors agree that the exhibits are well worth perusing.

La Brea Tar Pits sits next to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. In addition to the museum's exhibits, all ticketholders have access to restrooms and a gift shop, plus on-site parking for $15 per vehicle. The No. 20 bus also stops by the property. Check out the La Brea Tar Pits website to learn more.

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Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park1 of 26
The Getty Center2 of 26
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park

Griffith Observatory sits on the south face of Mount Hollywood and overlooks the Los Angeles basin. Its location gives visitors impressive views of the surrounding area, which many rave about. But there's more than just a pretty photo-op here. The observatory hosts fascinating exhibitions and features a top-notch planetarium.

Most recent visitors cited the beautiful setting as Griffith Observatory's main draw, though the free entry was certainly a bonus. However, you will have to pay between $3 and $7 to see the planetarium shows. Griffith Observatory is open from noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with extended hours on weekends. Free but limited parking is available along the winding roads leading up to the property, or visitors can park in the small lot by the observatory for $10 per hour. A gift shop and cafe can be found on-site as well. For more information, check out Griffith Observatory's website.

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