One of my favorite things to do is spend an afternoon in an art museum sketching. Some people run through a museum glancing at the art and never really see anything. Drawing a picture gives you a chance to get to know a piece of art. Plus you get to take home a memento of your adventure...

Art museums of LA & Orange County

Los Angeles County Art Museum - My favorite California museum. It will be interesting to see what the new redesign of the building turns out like.

Huntington Library -The real stars at this museum are the gardens. A very peaceful place to wander around.

The Norton Simon - This museum has a little bit of everything. There are some very nice Impressionist paintings here.

And while you are in Pasadena don't forget to see the Gamble House.

MOCA - the LA museum of Contemporary Art - Art that makes you think.... if you like that kind of thing.

Petersen Automobile Museum - a great place to bring guys to with luscious cars, a interactive kids section and a place to plug in your electric car.

The UCLA Hammer - Not as big and massive as some of the other museums but it has had some very well thought out exhibitions over the years.

The J. Paul Getty - You need reservations to get in (or a student picture I.D.) but once you pay five bucks for parking you will enjoy a utopian paradise of art and architecture.

Orange County Museum of Art - Modern Art on the edge, in actually three different locations, Laguna, Newport Beach and Costa Mesa at South Coast Plaza.

The Bowers Museum - Not just California history but the site of some impressive special exhibits from all over the world.


Art museums of Europe - A few links...

The Victoria and Albert - They have a whole room devoted to textiles with tables where you can sketch them... my idea of heaven.

The British Museum - Elgin Marbles and Mummies. The way the light streams in at closing time will take your breath away.

The Musée d'Orsay - Room after room of Impressionist painters. Everybody famous is there. They also have a roomful of Art Nouveau furniture that is exquisite. The building used to be a train station. It has the most beautiful of all art museum restaurants.

The National Museum of Finland - This fortress-like museum in Helsinki has cases of interesting woodcarvings and costumes. A great place to spend a day sketching.

The Glacier Garden in Lucerne is a weird and wonderful place if for nothing else than the Alhambra "Hall of Mirrors." The Transportation Museum is interesting as well.