If you’re a culture vulture like me, then you’ve undoubtedly heard about the relatively new Broad Museum (pronounced “brode”), LA’s most celebrated contemporary art space and architectural landmark aptly situated next to Walt Disney Hall in DTLA. The museum was a high-profile project in the making for years, but while its doors finally opened to the public in Fall 2015, getting in isn’t quite as simple as strolling up to the front door for your free admission (trust me, I learned this the hard way).
If you don’t believe me, check out this Twitter account that is dedicated solely to announcing general admission wait times of typically 1-2 hours. Despite the competition to get in, the Broad is a must-do regardless of whether you’re a resident or tourist, so make sure to add it to your list and read these tips before you go to reduce your time in standby.
Planning The Day of Your Visit
For reasons I’ll explain below, it’s best to dedicate an entire day to exploring Downtown LA on the day of your visit to The Broad. This will allow your schedule more flexibility and ensure that your itinerary doesn’t get completely ruined if your Broad visit incurs a few hitches. The good news is that DTLA is the most up-and-coming neighborhood of Los Angeles and has a thriving Arts District, awesome breweries and more fabulous restaurants opening by the week. You’ll be hard-pressed to get bored in this part of town.
When to Arrive
Arriving one hour before the museum opens is your best chance of ensuring the shortest wait time. Advance reserved tickets are often booked out for weeks (update: since this story was first posted, The Broad has changed their advance ticket system so that you can only book one month in advance). But unless you’re one of those uber organized trip planners, chances are you’ll need to get tickets day of.
A queue starts forming around the building before the museum even opens, so if you arrive even an hour after opening time you could be looking at a 2 hour wait and will undoubtedly miss access to any super popular special exhibits (like the Infinity Room) which typically sell out for the day in the first couple of hours.
When Not to Go
If you aren’t already a museum ticket holder, you won’t be granted entrance to the museum within 90 minutes of closing time. Plus, due to an overwhelming number of visitors, the standby line often maxes out at a certain time in the afternoon that could be well before closing. For this reason, visiting early in the morning is your safest bet for access. I attempted this strategy thinking I could squeeze in as the crowds were dissipating, and it was a futile endeavor. Been there, done that. Don’t make my mistake.
Getting Into the Infinity Rooms (Or Any Special Exhibits)
Many people don’t realize that in addition to getting a ticket into the museum, you have to separately reserve some special exhibits like Yayoi Kusama’s “The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away”, which has now been extended for viewing. What this means is that once you’ve gotten through the queue to get into the actual museum, you’ll want to sprint (ok, a brisk walk should be fine) to the booking line for the Infinity Room before you do anything else at the museum as spots are limited.
You will then be delegated a time slot detailing when to arrive back in line for the special exhibit. Note that the appointment time given to you may be hours away and is subject to change if people drop out of line, so plan accordingly. We made the mistake of driving West to the beach with the plan to arrive back at the museum 5 hours later at our designated time slot, only to get a text mid-drive to head into line NOW–eek!
If you need to kill time before your special exhibit appointment, I’d recommend grabbing a bite at the gorgeous (and delicious) restaurant next door, Otium (pictured above), or heading across the street to MOCA, which is another one of LA’s most popular art museums. Pop next door to architectural icon, Disney Hall, or roam the streets of DTLA’s Arts District for more creative inspiration.
One parting note…if all else fails and you’re alone or in a group of two, head in through the gift shop before giving up all hope. If you’re lucky, a generous security guard may let you bypass the line or turn a blind eye…but don’t tell anyone I said so 😉
Visit the Broad Museum website to check availability for advance tickets, which well help you avoid struggles mentioned above.