Example #1: I have always wanted to go to the Petersen Automotive Museum here in Los Angeles but the primary thing that has stopped me is that I didn’t want to sit in all the traffic I’d need to sit in to get to its mid-Wilshire location.
Example #2: When I finally decided to go today, on a Saturday afternoon mind you, it took me longer to drive to the Petersen Automotive Museum than I spent actually inside of the Petersen Automotive Museum.
Alanis should redo her song and include that.
The Petersen is two floors of automotive art, with vehicles from the earliest days through today’s modern electric cars. In between are stops at hot rods, town cars, cars used in movies, pick ups, motorcycles, and even the world’s most complete collection of Hot Wheels (one of every body style ever cast).
The first floor is the most interesting where they put the cars in front of Hollywood-worthy backdrops helping to explain their context to society. It is very heavily focused on Los Angeles, with explorations of how the car culture drove the development of the city. Here’s a fascinating tidbit… up until the 1920s, markets were in street-facing buildings just like any other urban setting, mostly accessed by locals in the neighborhood on foot. But the automobile created a need for a place to park, so they developed the first “drive-in markets,” which were set back from the street to allow for room for people to pull in and load groceries. The modern mini-mall, with a strip of stores (often in an L-shape) and a small parking lot, is the direct descendant of those original drive-ins.
The second floor is mostly just vehicles grouped thematically and without a lot of explanation or context so it’s a little less successful, but it’s still got some crazy beautiful machines to drool over. Even if you’re not a “car guy,” it’s easy to appreciate these as the works of art they really are. Take a look at the photos below and tell me that you don’t agree.
They also offer tours of a climate-controlled “vault” with about 100 other cars for an additional $20 (over the normal $15 admission) but I didn’t have time for that. I had to get back on the road to get home.
BTW, after the museum I stopped at the grocery store (using the parking lot, of course) and did a random act of kindness involving coupons. I had a bunch that I didn’t want but instead of throwing them away, I left them by the products on the store shelves so somebody else could.