5 Enriching Cultural Experiences in Southern California

Southern California has more to offer than just beaches and movie studios. The region is also home to a number of wonderful cultural institutions, from theaters to art, history, and science museums. Whether you live in the area or are planning to travel there soon, be sure to check out the five organizations listed here. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Places To Experience Art & Culture In Southern California

Organization Location Mission
Japanese American Cultural and Community Center Los Angeles, CA Act as a hub for Japanese and Japanese American arts and culture and a community gathering place for diverse voices
Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust Los Angeles, CA Commemorate those who perished, honor those who survived, and house the precious artifacts that miraculously weathered the Holocaust in order to educate and inspire visitors
A Noise Within Pasadena, CA Produce classic theatre as an essential means to enrich the community by embracing universal human experiences, expanding personal awareness, and challenging individual perspectives
Long Beach Museum of Art Long Beach, CA Provide a cultural and educational resource to the community, enriching lives and promoting an understanding by bringing people together to celebrate the arts
Columbia Memorial Space Center Downey, CA Ignite a community of critical and creative thinkers through world-class programs and engaging exhibits

Cities & Towns in California

The state is home to many famous places, from the sunny beaches in the south to the arid deserts in the east. Here are the ten largest cities and towns in California:

Rank Name Population (as of 2010)
1. Los Angeles 3,976,322
2. San Diego 1,406,630
3. San Jose 1,025,350
4. San Francisco 870,887
5. Fresno 522,053
6. Sacramento 495,234
7. Long Beach 470,130
8. Oakland 420,005
9. Bakersfield 376,380
10. Anaheim 351,043

Things To Bring on Your SoCal Vacation

Why Art Is Important

In Depth

Amidst the bustle of life in Southern California, it can sometimes be easy to forget that this region has a deep and diverse cultural history that continues through to the present. Yet there are many opportunities to acquaint yourself with the culture of the greater Los Angeles area hidden in plain sight. Often, these activities make for an excellent weekend or family getaway. In no particular order, here are five enriching cultural experiences in Southern California.

At #1 is the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, a multidimensional locale that serves as a hub for Japanese and Japanese American arts and culture and as a gathering place for the voices it inspires. In its aim to connect traditional and contemporary themes, the center hosts performing, visual, cultural, and culinary arts events, in addition to community engagement and sustainability projects.

The J.A.C.C.C.'s 880-seat Aratani Theatre and its George J. Doizaki Gallery, host internationally renowned Japanese artists and performers, as well as established and emerging Asian American and multi-ethnic artists from Los Angeles and beyond. In the past these have included performances by the Grand Kabuki of Japan, and Kazuo Ohno, co-founder of the avant garde Butoh Movement, among many others. Admission to the center's art gallery is free to the public, but you can pledge your support by making a donation, becoming a member, or volunteering at an event.

In the past these have included performances by the Grand Kabuki of Japan, and Kazuo Ohno, co-founder of the avant garde Butoh Movement, among many others.

Arriving at #2 is the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust, the oldest survivor-founded Holocaust museum in the United States. Through interactive exhibits and the west coast's largest archive of documents, relics, and other primary source materials from the Holocaust period, the L.A.M.O.T.H. presents the story and effects of this horrific event in human history in a manner that is impactful and approachable.

The Tree of Testimony, part monument and part informational presentation, is a dramatic array of video screens displayed in the final room of the museum tour which showcases the incredible stories of Holocaust survivors in their own words. The 70-screen video sculpture displays all of the Institute's nearly 51,000 video testimonies over the course of a single year. Entrance to the L.A.M.O.T.H. is always free of charge, and you can support the museum's efforts by sponsoring a child or classroom's visit.

At #3 is A Noise Within, a theatre company and 324-seat performing space based in Pasadena California, that was named "one of the nation's premier classical repertory companies" by The Huffington Post. ANW's company of resident and guest artists, performing in rotating repertory, immerses student and general audiences in the works of famed playwrights in an intimate setting.

ANW's company of resident and guest artists, performing in rotating repertory, immerses student and general audiences in the works of famed playwrights in an intimate setting.

With past shows including "Frankenstein", "A Tale of Two Cities", and famous works by Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, and Tennessee Williams, ANW has established itself as a top choice for theater lovers in the Los Angeles area. In addition, the company's Noise Now initiative hosts events and develops partnerships with the local community to expand their reach and diversify their offerings. You can also pledge your support through a donation.

Coming in at #4 is the Long Beach Museum of Art, known for its distinct and compelling exhibitions appealing to creative people of all types. The museum's diverse permanent collection consists of more than 3,200 American and European works, covering 300 years and various artistic mediums. Since 1951, the museum's alternating exhibitions have focused on many different themes, from individual artists to specific subjects.

The LBMA's oceanfront restaurant, Claire's at the Museum, features indoor seating in the historic Anderson House or the outdoor patio that surrounds Claire Falkenstein's stunning water sculpture, Structure and Flow. The outdoor area also features an unobstructed view of the Queen Mary and Catalina Island. You can support the museum by becoming a member or hosting a fundraising event.

The LBMA's oceanfront restaurant, Claire's at the Museum, features indoor seating in the historic Anderson House or the outdoor patio that surrounds Claire Falkenstein's stunning water sculpture, Structure and Flow.

Finally, at #5 we have The Columbia Memorial Space Center, the only space science learning center in the Los Angeles area dedicated to engineering, technology, and science. During a visit, guests can learn about the city of Downey's place in the history of space flight, from the Apollo capsules to the Space Shuttle Orbiters, while also participating in classes and workshops on robotics, space science, planetary science, and physics.

The museum, whose main mission is to inspire children and young adults to learn and explore, while teaching them about careers in space exploration, features exhibits with a replica space suit, the original Apollo Boilerplate 12, a rocket launch demonstration, and the only public robotics lab in Los Angeles. The CMSC also holds an annual summer space camp for children ages nine through fourteen, and you can support the center by becoming a member.