A fascinating honeycomb structure immediately catches the eye as you walk down Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles. It is The Broad, an art museum that opened in September 2017, whose works are seen by an average of 900,000 visitors a year from all over the world. Being fairly new, it is not among the most famous museums in Los Angeles, but its architecture will intrigue fans of contemporary American art.
What is The Broad in Los Angeles?
The Broad is a contemporary art museum located in downtown Los Angeles. The collections inside are from the period ranging from 1950 to the present. There are as many as 2,000 works of art and there are numerous temporary exhibits that certainly do not leave the visitor indifferent. The museum can be visited for free and is a must-see if you are in the area.
The name The Broad comes from Eli and Edythe Broad, two American art collectors and philanthropists. The amazing building that houses the museum was funded by them and cost about $140 million to build. The design, by architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Gensler, was chosen in 2010 from six different designs by leading international firms. The building, nicknamed ‘veil and vault‘ occupies more than 377,000 square feet and houses exhibition spaces, a store, a restaurant, offices and a parking garage. The building is also home to the Broad Art Foundation’s library.
There could be no shortage of green spaces in the project, and so in the southern area we find The Plaza, an area with ancient olive trees again designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with Hood Design Studio.
Eli Broad, listed by Forbes in 2019 as the 78th richest man in the United States, died in April 2021.
The Broad is located at 221 South Grand Avenue in Los Angeles, not far from the Walt Disney Concert Hall and MOCA.
If you are driving (highly recommended to do so in Los Angeles, as you read in the article on getting around Los Angeles), there is parking right below the museum. Take 2nd Street at the intersection of Hope Street and Grand Avenue. The cost is $17 for the first three hours for all museum visitors, who simply need to show their admission ticket. Beyond three hours the cost is $5 per 15 minutes up to a daily maximum of $27. On weekends and after 5 p.m. there is a one-time fee of $17. On Grand Avenue you will find other parking spaces and non-parking lots.
There is free bicycle parking on the 1st floor of the museum.
If you are on the subway, the best stop is Civic Center/Grand Park Station on the Red or Purple Line. Take a 5-minute walk down Hill Street and then 2nd Street until you reach the museum entrance.
If you are on the bus, you can get off at the Grand Avenue/1st Street or Grand Avenue/2nd Street stops.
General Admission and Opening Hours
The Broad is open from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. It is closed to the public on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Admission to the museum is free. You can reserve tickets in advance on the website. Some exhibitions or some special collections may charge a fee.
If you have a smartphone with earphones, I recommend using the mobile audio guides on the museum’s website and available for free. In the dedicated section you will also find the museum map and interesting suggested activities to entertain, intrigue and amuse children.
Architecture and Art Galleries
Among the many things to see in Los Angeles, this city area is full of buildings that amaze visitors with their aesthetic beauty and the artistic flair of their architects. The buildings themselves are often true works of art, and the cost of building them was not insignificant. The Broad is no different. The concept of ‘veil and vault’ applies perfectly to this work: it is as if a honeycomb veil covers the building while allowing natural light to enter the interior without damaging the artwork. The vault, on the ground floor, houses the museum’s storage areas that nonetheless become part of the museum’s own exhibition space.
If the exterior leaves the visitor amazed, the interior is no less impressive either architecturally or in terms of the many works it houses. In addition, if you are visiting Los Angeles with children this museum may be an interesting stop for them as well, thanks to the free tours dedicated to families and available on the website.
On the ground floor we find the lobby, an exhibition space, the ‘storage room,’ a store, restrooms and elevators, access to The Plaza outdoor area and the Otium Restaurant.
On the second floor we find the Oculus Hall for debates and lectures, the Timeline of Eli Broad i.e., an area dedicated to the work and projects of Eli Broad over the years, the windows that allow one to see the ‘storage areas’ where the works not on display are kept, the administrative offices, and the bathrooms.
On the second floor are the exhibition galleries with works by major artists including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Roy Lichtenstein, Kara Walker, and Christopher Wool.
Where to Stay in the Area
The Broad is located in the Downtown Los Angeles neighborhood, certainly rich in overnight accommodations and a great crossroads for visiting major Los Angeles attractions. In our article on the best places to stay in Los Angeles you will find tips and suggestions on the best neighborhoods for your lodgings.