We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Nice cars, weird set-up- tour of the vault super cool”

Petersen Automotive Museum
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Skip the Line: Petersen Automotive Museum General...
Ranked #12 of 610 things to do in Los Angeles
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The Petersen Automotive Museum is dedicated to the exploration and presentation of the automobile and its impact on American life and culture using Los Angeles as the prime example. Encompassing more than 300,000 square feet, its exhibits and lifelike dioramas feature more than 150 rare and classic cars, trucks and motorcycles. Covering four floors, the facility features permanent exhibits on the first floor that trace the history of the automobile. Visitors are invited to walk through, not by, exhibits and dioramas and experience settings of early Los Angeles where the world’s first shopping district was designed. The second floor presents five rotating galleries with state-of-the-art displays of race cars, classic cars, vintage motorcycles, concept cars, celebrity and movie cars, and auto design and technology. The May Family Discovery Center is located on the third floor. Designed to spark interest in science by way of the automobile, the 6,500 square-foot, interactive "hands-on" learning center teaches children basic scientific principles by explaining the fundamental functions of a car. A spectacular all-glass penthouse conference center, Founder’s Lounge and kitchen, comprise the fourth floor, which is available for special events and functions. The Petersen Automotive Museum Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, governed by a Board of Directors.
Reviewed February 8, 2013

Ok so the car museum part is a little too cheesy with it's set-up with dioramas & such. The cars are super cool, but I don't like all the fussy stuff they did around the cars. So the museum overall I give an "average" to.
HOWEVER- they are currently offering 2 hour guided tours of the "Vault" which you have to pay for separately (and only happen 2x a day at I think 1pm & 3pm) and this was really cool! The "Vault" is the basement parking garage where they store everything that is not on display- it's HUGE. Also I just prefer seeing cars without any other fussy stuff around them- lots of cool stuff down there, definitely worth a visit.

1  Thank rachel a
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (1,663)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
  • More languages
All reviews
"vault tour"
in 243 reviews
"on display"
in 135 reviews
"car enthusiast"
in 75 reviews
"love cars"
in 75 reviews
"beautiful cars"
in 49 reviews
"movie cars"
in 42 reviews
"hot wheels"
in 40 reviews
"car nut"
in 38 reviews
"johnny rockets"
in 40 reviews
"car guy"
in 28 reviews
"classic cars"
in 38 reviews
"great car"
in 17 reviews
"concept cars"
in 15 reviews
"old cars"
in 30 reviews
"amazing collection"
in 29 reviews
"minute tour"
in 18 reviews
"works of art"
in 21 reviews

1,217 - 1,221 of 1,662 reviews

Reviewed January 28, 2013

I know very little about cars, but I do appreciate the beauty of them - and there are some good looking cars at the Petersen! We went to the museum for an event and so got to see the cars as a by product of that - and I am so glad we did! I wouldn't have gone to the museum of my own accord, but to see it at night, with wine and food made for a lovely evening. I had just seen the movie Gangster Squad, so to see cars and costumes for that was pretty cool - as was the merc from The Hangover and the Thunderbird from Thelma and Louise. There are better museums in the area, but I am really glad I got to this, An unexpected treat!

1  Thank moogharrison
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2013

As an automotive journalist the Pete is iconic for me. Named for and funded by the founder of Hot Rod magazine. Bob Petersen knew better than anyone how to 'give back' to the city he loved and to the industry that made him wealthy. Rotating exhibits are great, but the real draw is the tutorial it gives about the history of Los Angeles and the accompanying west coast car culture.

Thank rickr442
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

We toured when "The Vault" was open. for an extra $25, we joined a group of about 25 people with a docent who amazingly knew everything about almost all of the 200 autos and motorcycles in The Vault, the Museum's underground storage area. Fantastic. How that much car history gets collected into one room and how a "volunteer" knows so much is amazing
We also toured the regular showrooms on three floors of the main building, where many cars have been placed in period settings (a garage, gas station, or street scene). Very realistic and helpful when trying to understand so much auto history in a couple of hours. There is also an exhibit of Auto Energy Conservation showing how fuel efficiency has been viewed and has affected auto design over the decades. Even the display in the upstairs Kid's area was fun.

I only wish they had more hoods raised so we could see the engines of the cars. Two of us were car nuts and two were not, but we all were surprised at what a fine time we had!

Thank ExplorerMundi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
See more reviews
Reviewed January 20, 2013

The Petersen Automotive Museum, is in the Miracle Mile district of Los Angeles, on Wilshire Blvd. It is a registered non-profit educational institution. The building used to be a shopping center but Petersen found the near windowless structure would make an excellent Museum to preserve artefacts. (No ultra-violet rays). Four of us spent an afternoon to browse through all the amazing exhibits, cars, and miscellaneous vehicles they had there. They had a great Hollywood section. I saw Fatty Arbuckle's car. (If you've never heard of him, he was a rotund early movie comedian, whose career ended in scandal, and a murder trial!) The entire lower level was built almost like you were on the streets of LA in the 20s, 30s, and through the 50s and 60s. The other floors have exhibits that are exquisite. There were modern supercars and cars made for scientific studies. There were masterpieces with exceptional engineering. The place is as clean as a hospital. If you have an interest in cars, it's definitely a must-see museum. It’s only a 15 minute taxi ride from center of Hollywood (Loews Hotel-Highland Center).
Hint: Set aside more time than you expect. Also, there is a Museum shop and a cafe ground level.

1  Thank TravelAugust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Petersen Automotive Museum also viewed


Been to Petersen Automotive Museum? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing