The Arroyo’s Awash With Free Museum Fun

By Michael Berick

Los Angeles Attractions - Museums of the Arroyo

Check out what cop cars used to be like at the L.A. Police Museum. PHOTO COURTESY LOS ANGELES POLICE MUSEUM

The Arroyo Seco is a canyon and seasonal river that runs from the San Gabriel Mountains west through Pasadena, and joins the L.A. River north of Dodger Stadium. Along the course of this “dry stream” (which is what arroyo seco means in Spanish) are the Los Angeles attractions that call themselves Museums Of The Arroyo. On May 17, you can visit them all – free.

The Gamble House, Heritage Square, the Los Angeles Police Museum, the Lummis Home and Garden, the Pasadena Museum of History and the Autry’s Southwest Museum Mt. Washington Campus offer a unique look at Southern California history.

The Gamble House (4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena) is a National Historic Landmark and an exquisite example of classic American Arts and Crafts design. Another architectural delight is Heritage Square (3800 Homer St., L.A.), which features a collection of lovingly preserved Victorian-style homes. The Lummis Home and Garden (200 E. Avenue 43, L.A.) is a homestead built by Charles Fletcher Lummis at the turn of the century. The Los Angeles Police Museum (6045 York Blvd., L.A.) gives visitors a glimpse at the LAPD’s history, while the Pasadena Museum of History (470 W. Walnut St., Pasadena) offers a historical look at Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley. The Southwest Museum (234 Museum Dr., L.A.) holds one of the largest collections of Native American artifacts in the U.S.

The museums host an annual free open house, known as MOTA Day, featuring special events and activities – from making adobe bricks at the Southwest Museum to helping create a community quilt at the Pasadena Museum of History. A free shuttle service helps visitors travel easily from site to site. For more information, visit

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