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Tucked up in the mountains of the Sepulveda Pass is the Skirball Cultural Center. While it’s just minutes away from the infernal 405, the center serves as a retreat full of gardens, art, and cultural exhibits. The Skirball is a cultural center with permanent displays about Jewish culture and history, as well as diverse rotating exhibitions, family-friendly attractions, and a variety of live events.
Here’s what you need to know to plan your visit to the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
The Skirball Cultural Center opened to the public in 1996 as a Jewish cultural institution named for its founders, Jack H. Skirball and Audrey Skirball (later Audrey Skirball-Kenis). The museum was founded as a place where people of all ages and from diverse communities can come to learn and take part in a variety of cultural experiences.
The foundation of the museum focuses on Jewish culture and history. There are permanent exhibits featuring historical artifacts from around the world, personal stories, and works of art.
The Skirball also hosts a variety of rotating exhibitions. Currently, these exhibits include Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite, a collection of iconic photographs from the 1960s that challenged mainstream beauty standards; Fearless Fashion: Rudi Gernreich, a display of innovative and progressive clothing; and a spotlight on Andy Warhol’s Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century. All of these exhibits are on display until September 1, 2019.
The museum is also full of family friendly attractions. The most popular is Noah’s Ark, an interactive exhibit that immerses visitors in the ancient story. Scheduled activities like sing-along, story time, and sensory friendly hours also take place at the exhibit. Near the exhibition, you’ll also find a discovery center and gift shop for kids.
Additionally, the Skirball Cultural Center hosts all sorts of events. Among them are concerts, film screenings, performances, family programs, classes.
Tickets and Hours
The regular cost of admission to the Skirball Cultural Center is $12.00. Tickets for seniors, students, and children older than 12 cost $9.00, while tickets for children ages 2-12 are $7.00. Admission to the Skirball is free for children younger than 2 years old. It’s also free to all visitors on Thursdays.
If you are a member of the North American Reciprocal Museum Association, you can visit the Skirball Cultural Center for free. (This goes for the Catalina Island Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, and Autry Museum of the American West as well.) Special admission discounts are also available for active duty military families, police officers, firefighters, clergy members, and Pre-K−12 teachers.
Some exhibitions require separate tickets. Tickets for the popular Noah’s Ark exhibit, for example, can be booked in advance or when you arrive at the cultural center.
The Skirball Cultural Center is open Tuesday through Friday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. as well as Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It’s closed on Mondays and holidays. Holiday closures include New Year’s Day (January 1), Independence Day (July 4), Yom Kippur (October 9 in 2019, but date varies by year), Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November), and Christmas Day (December 25).
How to Get to the Skirball
To get to the Skirball Cultural Center, you can drive or take the bus.
As the cultural center is situated along Sepulveda Boulevard in the mountains, it’s pretty easy to find by car. From the 405, take the Skirball Center Drive exit and turn right onto Sepulveda Boulevard.
There are also parking lots available at the Skirball for free (except during some special events). The North Parking underground garage is located near the main entrance of the museum. The East Parking garage is just across the street from the Skirball off Bergreen Place.
There are two bus lines that go by the Skirball, Metro Rapid 734 and Metro Local 234. Both buses make stops along Sepulveda Boulevard near the museum.
Rules and Tips
As with any museum-like setting, there are some things to keep in mind during your visit in order to be respectful of the space and exhibits. Here are a few things to remember when visiting the Skirball Cultural Center.
- If you need to talk on your cell phone, only do so outside of the galleries.
- Food and drinks are not allowed inside the galleries.
- Children must be with an adult throughout your visit.
- Service animals are permitted, but pets are not allowed.
- Smoking is only allowed in designated areas.
- You can sketch on a notepad in the galleries using pencil. Ink, paint, easels, and stools are not allowed.
- Photographs (not using flash) and short videos are allowed, but this may vary with some rotating exhibitions. However, selfie sticks, tripods, stands and other photography equipment is not allowed.
The Skirball Cultural Center is a wonderful museum to visit for all ages. Between the permanent displays on Jewish history, rotating cultural and artistic exhibits, family friendly attractions, and variety of events, it’s a great destination in Los Angeles.