What are the best Orange County museums?

Answers from Our Experts (2)

The Bowers is arguably one of Orange County’s most respected, comprehensive museums. Check out historic permanent art collections from Asia, Africa and the Pacific Islands, among other places, along with a handful of special exhibits that span continents. Plus, right next door is the Bowers Kidseum, which is primarily aimed toward elementary aged children, offering all sorts of fun activities and programs for kids in addition to educational exhibits. Discovery Science Center is also geared toward kids with its hands-on exhibits such as the shake shack, which simulates what it feels like to experience an earthquake. For something less historical but less kid-friendly, Orange County Museum of Art focuses on 20th-century California artists, which means the institution is full of contemporary and modern art.

Artists have flocked to Laguna since the 1800s for inspiration, and there remains no better place to see the fruits of their labor than the Laguna Art Museum. With perhaps the largest permanent collection of artwork by California artists and ever-changing exhibitions, this museum is a great option for those looking to experience Laguna’s early days. Another only-in-California museum is the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum, which — you guessed it — puts legendary surfers’ artifacts on display and shows classic surfing related films. The entire museum is dedicated to surfer Duke Kahanamoku, who is often credited with making the sport popular. Immerse yourself in the history of surfing culture for free and then take to nearby Huntington Beach to try out the sport yourself.

Orange County is fortunate to have numerous world-class art museums, including:
 
The Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, for historical and contemporary art as well as regionally important influences like the car and surf culture.
 
The Bowers Museum in Santa Ana for Orange County's largest museums and offers exhibitions, lectures, art classes, travel programs, children's art education programs, and other special community programs.
 
The Orange County Museum of Art in Santa Ana for the premier visual arts organization.
 
The International Surfing Museum for all things dedicated to preserving the past, participating in the present and influencing the future of all aspects of the surfing culture worldwide.

Related Questions