California is considered to be one of the main tourist destinations in the United States, attracting millions of visitors every year. This is because of its natural beauty, privileged climate and especially because visitors can enjoy places where the relationship between knowledge and fun guarantees unique experiences.

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Below I have prepared a list of the 5 museums you can’t miss if you visit this magnificent state.

1- USS Midway Museum in San Diego

If you are in San Diego and you don’t want to miss a journey in time on board the 20th century’s longest-serving aircraft carrier, you have to visit the USS Midway. This ship was in service between 1945 and 1991, ending its active life in the well-known Desert Storm. In 2004, it became the San Diego USS Midway Museum. On board, you can experience first-hand what it is like to enter battle in an aircraft carrier, using simulators and recordings of real missions in which the ship participated. When the ship was converted into a museum, it was prepared so that visitors could experience daily life on the ship and so that during the almost four hours that the visit lasts, they can feel like the crew that worked on it.

Another attraction that will make you feel privileged to visit this ship is that you will be told many of the stories by the people who experienced them, since some of them still work there as volunteers.

If you don’t have time to do the full visit, you can just visit the ship’s deck, from which you can enjoy excellent and unforgettable views of the city.

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Included in this museum’s activities is a whale watching trip on board the yacht, America. If you are someone who supports the protection of the environment, don’t miss this trip, because it is the most eco-friendly trip in the city.

This museum is open to the public every day. You can buy your ticket online to avoid queues.

2- The Getty Center – Los Angeles

The Getty Center is undoubtedly one of the main museums in Los Angeles. Its majestic modernist architecture clad in Travertine, make it one of the jewels in the crown of California.

Located in a privileged area of Los Angeles, visitors can get there by a tram that takes them from the car park to the museum at the top of a hill in the Santa Monica Mountains.

The Getty Center has a foundation that has been created from the private collection and generous donations from the entrepreneur and philanthropist, J. Paul Getty. The permanent exhibitions include works of artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Rembrandt and Renoir; photographs of various parts of the world from the 19th and 20th centuries and a magnificent collection of contemporary and modern sculptures.

If you like to be in contact with nature and enjoy admiring its beauty, you will love a visit to this centre’s magnificent gardens. They give the centre part of its charm and house hundreds of plant species that surprise visitors every day with their incomparable beauty and the painstaking care of those who look after them.

Regardless of whether you are an art lover or not, your visit to the Getty Center will be a unique and marvellous experience because you will be able to enjoy the best views of Los Angeles surrounded by a fantastic environment, a pleasure that only those who visit the Center can enjoy.

The Getty Center offers free entrance to all those who visit during the opening hours which are from Tuesday to Friday.

3- Griffith Observatory Los Angeles

Located in the southern Hollywood Hills, in Los Angeles’ biggest municipal park, is the impressive Art Deco building that houses the Griffith Observatory.

Considered one of the city’s most important tourist attractions, the observatory gives its visitors the possibility to delve into the world of astronomy. There are various options to take part in an incredible experience if you enjoy star-gazing, since clients have access to numerous telescopes and prepared exhibitions, each located in a unique viewing point.

Designed for the enjoyment of both adults and children, the observatory organises various activities for all ages.

If you visit, you can also go to see the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, considered by many to be the best in the world, since it is equipped with the latest technology making every moment and unforgettable and unique experience. In the Planetarium you can enjoy shows like “Centered in the Universe”, “Water Is Life” and “Light of the Valkyries”, among others. Its realism transports you from your seat to each scene presented.

Due to its location, the observatory is very popular among tourist who like to take the typical photo with the Hollywood sign in the background.

All visitors can access the public areas, exhibitions and observatory telescopes free of charge.

4- San Francisco Exploratorium:

The Exploratorium is considered as a must-stop on a visit to San Francisco. This museum was founded in 1969 by the physicist, Frank Oppenheimer, and has always been a centre of reference for other exploratoriums around the world because of the totally interactive nature of its exhibitions.

Since its early days, this centre has stood out because of its interest in education, science and technology. Thanks to the continuous evolution of the museum, everyone who visits can go on a journey of discovery of how the world works, satisfying their curiosity a very practical and fun way.

Both inside and outside the museum there are over 600 attractions. Each attraction offers a different activity to the clients, such as investigating how much noise we make when we walk, how a car engine works and what the life of an insect is like.

The Exploratorium’s tactile dome is an exciting adventure where we have to guide ourselves using only the sense of touch.

A visit to the Exploratorium helps you answer questions that you had never even asked yourself about phenomena that, at times, are so mundane that, until you visit this museum, you don’t realise can actually be very interesting. The Exploratorium is a gateway to knowledge about everything around us and inspires us to continue investigating.

You can visit this exceptional museum from Tuesday to Sunday and I would recommend buying your ticket online to avoid queues.

5- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) opened its doors in 1935 and was the first museum solely dedicated to art on the West Coast. The venue has an impressive design created by the famous architect, Mario Botta. The museum’s extravagant architecture is one of its biggest attractions and it is currently considered as one of the city’s monuments.

I you love art and happen to be in San Francisco, you have no excuse not to pay a visit to this wonderful place. This museum is the largest venue dedicated to modern art in the United States and houses a magnificent collection guaranteeing its prestige around the world, including works from artists such as Matisse, Picasso and Andy Warhol, among others.

As well as its exhibition rooms, this museum has many resources for researchers and artists including a library, archives, a photography area and a study of graphic arts.

You can visit the museum from Thursday to Tuesday and the entrance tickets are available in the museum itself or online.

Without a doubt, these spectacular museums are magnificent options to make the most of your time during your visit to California. Each of these museums offers its visitors the chance to experience unforgettable moments.

See also: U.S. Cultural events one must not miss!