La Brea Tar Pits

Historic Site and Museum · Mid-City West
5801 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, United States
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  • Today
    • 9:00 AM–7:00 PM
  • Sun
    • 10:00 AM–7:00 PM
  • Mon–Tue
    • 10:00 AM–5:00 PM
  • Wed
    • Noon–5:00 PM
  • Thu
    • 11:00 AM–5:00 PM
  • Fri
    • 10:00 AM–6:00 PM
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The La Brea Tar Pits (or Rancho La Brea Tar Pits) are a cluster of tar pits around which Hancock Park was formed, in the urban heart of Los Angeles. Asphaltum or tar (brea in Spanish) has seeped up from the ground in this area for tens of thousands of years.


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  • What you need to know
    Daniel L
    "Surely doesn't look like the tar pits from the movies"(11 Tips)
    Eric S.
    "Best viewing pit: #91, north side of the Japanese pavilion of LACMA."(7 Tips)
    James C.
    "Totally worth a trip really cool and working sites for excavation."(7 Tips)
    Marc S.
    "Notice the methane gas bubbling up."(3 Tips)
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71 tips and reviews.

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  • tar pits
  • lacma
  • museums
  • excavation
  • dinosaurs
  • free admission
  • scenic views
  • picnics
  • tours
  • gardens
  • quiet
  • historic sites
  • arts
  • tourism
  • lakes
  • food trucks
  • park
  • pets
  • lunch
  • parking
  • Harlan R.

    The history of what was here before.

    Harlan Ray · 6 days ago
  • Ku M.


    Ku Mays · October 15
  • Karl F.

    Great museum and active tar (asphalt) sites

    Karl Forbin · August 31
  • Marc S.

    Notice the methane gas bubbling up.

    Marc S · May 30
  • Hannah M.

    If you can handle the strong smell, the pits are really enjoyable!

    Hannah Muery · May 18
  • Anissa

    You'll know you're here by the fumes! Watch the methane bubble up!

    Anissa · May 12
  • Chris C.

    When you visit, be sure to check out either the food trucks outside LACMA or walk over to the Fairfax Farmer's Market! there are tons of great eats within a fifteen minute walk of here

    Chris Cookson · April 20
  • Chris C.

    This is a relatively small place. When buying your ticket, be sure to say "yes" when they ask if you want to go on the excavator tour. It's included with admission and the best part of the whole time.

    Chris Cookson · April 20
  • Jason B.

    Getting into the underground parking structure is an absolute pain to get into, at least when I was there. While they'll tell you it's strictly for LACMA, you can park there, anyway.

    Jason B · February 19
  • Jason B.

    If you do miss the parking garage, there are 2 other options: further up, on the left-hand side is a parking lot where you do have to pay, and then, there is an underground parking garage further up.

    Jason B · February 19
  • Jason B.

    The first place you'll want to park is the parking structure on Museum Way. Stay in the slow lane so you don't miss it.

    Jason B · February 19
  • William M T.

    Amazing to see the tar sit on the lake like oil to water.

    William M Tammick III · February 13
  • Erika R.

    On-site excavators are still discovering new fossils from these deposits DAILY. Pretty impressive.

    Erika Robbins · December 24, 2014
  • Katrina Z.

    Tourist attraction that's just a few steps down from Chris Burden's Urban Lights.

    Katrina Zai · November 17, 2014
  • Derek J.

    There is a tiny pit closer to the Japanese Pavillion at LACMA where you can actually reach through the fence and play with the tar. Try it out...but don't fall in!

    Derek Jones · September 4, 2014
  • Melinda J.

    A must for anyone visiting LA

    Melinda Jackson · August 24, 2014
  • Chez S.

    don't forget to check out the active dig site!

    Chez Stock · August 17, 2014
  • Candice H.

    Become a member and have free access to the Natural History Museum downtown as well. Great places to take out of town guests and children.

    Candice Harding · July 22, 2014
  • Kathy J.

    Go in the summer and you can see the digs being worked. Well worth it

    Kathy Jacobs · June 30, 2014
  • The Most Interesting Man in the World

    I donated some skeletons in my closet to this museum.

  • The Sanatoga P.

    An awesome experience; worth the visit. Enjoy FREE admission on the first Tuesday of every month. Parking costs $10, but earn a $2 rebate by having your ticket validated once inside the Page Museum.

    The Sanatoga Post · April 7, 2014
  • Kio

    Bring your lunch and laid on the grass.

    Kio · March 26, 2014
  • Will S.

    This place is awesome! Wish we had gotten there in time to check out the site excavation

    Will Stowell · February 22, 2014
  • Adam C.

    It was really cool seeing the tar pits for the first time, but it looked like mostly water and moss

    Adam Chavez · February 18, 2014
  • BE W.

    EBT food stamp card? You get in free!

    BE Weaver · December 1, 2013
  • Alberto J S M.

    Tar pits... I never saw something like that, it is a small lake bubbling all around and smelling to tar...

    Alberto J S Moreau D · October 31, 2013
  • Sandra A.

    Wonderful place!

    Sandra Adams · September 28, 2013
  • Cole C.

    It was kool saw art alot of bands kool beautiful women free cookies and soda got me some sunglasses free:-)B-)

    Cole Cotes · September 22, 2013
  • Jon S.

    They are open Sunday .

    Jon Sanchez · August 18, 2013
  • Jeb B.

    Enjoy the pleasant smell of tar as you gaze into the trash-filled pits. It's truly a lovely pocket of LA!

    Jeb Brooks · August 17, 2013
  • James C.

    Totally worth a trip really cool and working sites for excavation.

    James C · August 3, 2013
  • Los Angeles

    Site of the richest discovery of Ice Age fossils in the world, 100 tons of bones representing 200+ species of mammals, birds & reptiles have been unearthed from asphalt dating back to prehistoric time

    Los Angeles · August 1, 2013
  • Los Angeles

    Marvel at the La Brea Tar Pits, then grab a bite from one of the food trucks on Wilshire Blvd.

    Los Angeles · August 1, 2013
  • Joseph K.

    Teachers: In this digital age of ours w/ hipsters raising children, it would be nice to see more fieldtrips for young children here, thanks!

    Joseph K · July 20, 2013
  • Leslie B.


    Leslie Bowden · July 7, 2013
  • James

    Beautiful site to see :)

    James · June 22, 2013
  • Diana -.

    Love all the art and peaceful gardens

    Diana -Higareda · June 10, 2013
  • Xeng Z.

    Japanese art collection nearby is impressive. Cool elephants in the tar pits too!

    Xeng Zulueta · April 21, 2013
  • Michelle G.

    This is indeed one of the most historical places in Los Angeles. Over 100 tones of dinosaur bones have been dug up from the tar pits. They are still very active.

    Michelle Gilstrap · April 7, 2013
  • Elena O.

    Great place to walk your Pooch

    Elena Orestano · March 7, 2013
  • Hayley S.

    My Girl 2.

    Hayley S · January 31, 2013
  • Alana

    One word: PICNIC

    Alana · January 8, 2013
  • Benjamin D.

    Watch out for tar on grass.

    Benjamin D · January 6, 2013
  • Chris R.

    A lot of guidebooks make it seem like you have to go to the museum to see the tar pits; you do not. You can walk around, smell the tar and see excavations for free. Plus, the big rock at LACMA, too!

    Chris Rose · December 30, 2012
  • Mike O.

    Museum not worth the price, just enjoy the tar pits outside, go down the sidewalk path toward the art museum, they have an active dig site you can visit.

    Mike Olsen · November 27, 2012
  • Daniel L

    Surely doesn't look like the tar pits from the movies .... BUT it's a nice park by LACMA to take a quick rest at.

    Daniel L · November 15, 2012

    These tar pits hold the fossils of Ice Age animals that became trapped in the asphalt deposits here. The fossils were first described by Wellesley College professor William Denton in 1875.

    HISTORY · November 7, 2012
  • Eric S.

    Best viewing pit: #91, north side of the Japanese pavilion of LACMA. Go inside to see an actual excavation with big bones sticking up from the tar.

    Eric Streeper · November 6, 2012
  • Meghan P.

    Beware the smell of tar doesn't give you a headache. Better not spend too long by the Pitts. Check out the awesome museum inside too!

    Meghan Pinckard · October 15, 2012
  • Solutions i.

    The tar pits show what life was like during the time of the cave man. If you visit on the second Tuesday of the month you can also visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) next door.

    Solutions in LA · October 10, 2012

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