Visiting the Petersen Museum

Keeping a car museum fresh, active, and relevant is a tremendous challenge in fast-paced times, but the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles has managed to do just that.

Each visit to the “Pete” is meaningful, entertaining, and educational, as well as just plain fun. They’ve oriented this special place to the adult with an interest in automobiles and history, but they haven’t forgotten the “little people,” providing numerous exhibits and activities designed for kids of all ages up through the teen years. As a result, many of the adults look forward to the special kids’ programs so the whole family can enjoy a day.

Some of the rarest, most valuable and most historically significant automobiles ever produced by American and foreign manufacturers are on display. It’s a rare treat, but one that needs to be experienced frequently to appreciate all the vehicles rotating into the museum and all the new exhibits and different themes promoted. At the Petersen, the history of the automobile is chronicled in dramatic detail.

The museum, which owns 200 cars, usually has about 100 cars on display. A number of cars are loaned by other museums or private owners. Founded on June 11, 1994, by Robert E. Petersen and his wife Marjorie, the non-profit Petersen Automotive Museum is housed in a former department store built in 1962 at the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. The five-story facility has an adjacent parking garage. The $40 million museum is open year ’round; check times and dates on, or call (323) 930-2277 (CARS). The museum is closed on Mondays, except for holidays.

Petersen, founder of Hot Rod, Motor Trend, and numerous other enthusiast titles, left the world a huge legacy in the form of the incredible museum bearing his name and containing many of his prized automobiles and motorcycles. It’s a fitting tribute to the man who was a most passionate automotive enthusiast himself.

Visiting the Petersen Museum