Hollywood's Best Museums for Starstruck Kids

It’s a city with a legacy: Movies, music, television, and celebrity. One way to get close to the stars is to walk right over them on Hollywood Boulevard. Another way is to put your hands and feet in their prints in front of the Chinese Theater. Or, you could explore their legacy at a bevy of museums that feature artifacts from their motion picture and musical legacies.

With exhibits for the whole family, these museums will take you inside the culture-making entertainment business on your next trip to Hollywood.

Hollywood Museum

Pick a star – any star – and dig in. The Hollywood Museum features set pieces, props and costumes from epic films and television series, as well as displays dedicated to larger-than life personalities like Elvis and Marilyn Monroe.

Kids will love exhibits dedicated to Harry Potter and old-fashioned monster movies. Adults will be taken in by the Michael Jackson displays and the historic Hollywood photo gallery.

Visit now, before the forthcoming Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum (those guys who give out Oscars) eclipses the old-timey Hollywood Museum, and perhaps relegates it to the status of relic as well.


Music fans will love exploring important American music at the GRAMMY Museum. Opened in 2008, this new museum is the perfect place to encounter your favorite rock and roll, country, hip-hop, classical, jazz, Latin, or R&B hero in a rooftop performance – or to watch their music come to life at a variety of audio-visual exhibits.

Make your own music by layering electronic instruments and creating beats at an exhibit called Roland Live, or search out your favorite bands in a temporary exhibit. The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston, Bob Marley, and artists more obscure (but important) have all been honored here.

Send your teen to music camp with the “Music Revolution” project, where they’ll take songwriting lessons from some of today’s masters and create their own songs, too.

Universal Studios Tour

This is not your typical stand-around-in-a-museum exhibit. Beyond its theme park attractions, Universal Studios is a living, breathing, movie studio with films in production on the lot every day.

Instead of looking just at the past, the studio tour blends past and present by taking you through the backlot to see the sets of working television shows and pieces of cinematic history – like the Psycho set and the plane crash from War of the Worlds.

Your kids will love seeing the faux-city streets of New York and Paris, which are realistic fronts on one side and empty shells, held up with braces, on the other side. Ah, movie magic…

Paley Center

For all things television and radio, visit the Paley Center in Beverly Hills. Besides exhibitions chronicling television history and some of your favorite shows, the center looks at the ways in which media and society influence each other and cross-pollinate.

Public screenings and conversations with the stars and creators of current and past programs come to the Paley stage every fall and spring. Kids will love the archive of television and radio programs, which will give them an excuse to watch TV at a museum.

Hollywood Wax Museum

Forget the life-like reproductions at Madame Tussaud's. If you want a real wax museum, there’s only one. The Hollywood Wax Museum, a fixture on the Hollywood strip for more than 45 years, will creep you out and make you laugh all at the same time. Stand next to oddly un-lifelike reproductions of Michael Jackson, George Clooney, or Angelina Jolie. Take pictures next to the figures and try to fool your friends back home. Indulge in the oddity, and it will be fun for the whole family.

Are you planning to visit entertainment museums on your trip to Hollywood? Or are tours of celebrity homes more your thing? Share your L.A. itinerary with us in the comments below!

Hollywood Boulevard Cover by View Apart/shutterstock.

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