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Bowers Museum

This small museum in Santa Ana pulls big exhibitions from around the world.

Orange County’s largest museum is known as a center for cultural art, with a small but eclectic array of collections. Among the 120,000 pieces you’ll find diverse and unusual artifacts. There’s an African shield made from animal hide, an initiation mask from the Congo. There’s also a coat worn by a colonel in the American Civil War. Artifacts date from the Neolithic era to the 20th century, representing cultures from the Pacific Islands, Africa and Asia.

Set on picturesque grounds that include a striking Spanish Mission-style building, the facility covers 93,000 square feet (8,640 square meters). A highlight is the Native American Art Collection, the museum’s largest exhibit, with more than 24,000 pieces dating from prehistoric to contemporary times. 

The collection of paintings includes more than 2,000 works from celebrated Californian artists of the late 19th to early 20th century. Most notable is the collection of 40 pieces by husband-and-wife artists William and Alberta McCloskey. They toured America together in the late 19th century painting portraits and still lifes. There is also a separate collection of memorabilia from the early days of Orange County. 

Bowers Museum hosts a variety of visiting exhibitions, along with related films, guest lecturers, workshops and music performances. Call or visit the museum website for an event schedule and details.

Kidseum, an extension of the museum, is a fun, play-based learning center catered to youngsters. Opening hours for this section vary throughout the year.

The main part of the museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, and entry is free on the first Sunday of the month. If you want to view the featured exhibition on Sundays, you’ll need to join the line for a separate free ticket and then wait again to enter the exhibition space. Only 250 people an hour are allowed in at one time.

Allow at least three hours to tour the museum, and you may want to eat lunch at the on-site Tangata restaurant. It’s a popular venue so a reservation is recommended. 

The Bowers Museum is a five-minute drive from downtown Santa Ana. Parking is available for a fee, and the museum is also accessible from downtown by bus.


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Best Lodging Options Near Bowers Museum

See all 1,681 Properties near Bowers Museum
Santa Ana Travel Inn $89
Santa Ana Travel Inn

Santa Ana Travel Inn

2005 North Main Street, Santa Ana, CA
     
    2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Situated in Santa Ana, this motel is within a 15-minute walk of Bowers Museum and Discovery Science Center. Santa Ana Zoo and Chapman University are also within 3 mi (5 km). Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center is 23 minutes by foot.

    Red Roof Inn Santa Ana $79
    Red Roof Inn Santa Ana

    Red Roof Inn Santa Ana

    2600 N Main St, Santa Ana, CA
       
      2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in the heart of Santa Ana, this motel is within a 15-minute walk of Discovery Science Center and Bowers Museum. Angel Stadium of Anaheim and Chapman University are also within 3 mi (5 km).

      Disneyland, Beach, Convention Ctr, Mansion - 7 Bedrooms, 6.5 Bathrooms, 4400sqft
      Disneyland, Beach, Convention Ctr, Mansion - 7 Bedrooms, 6.5 Bathrooms, 4400sqft

      Disneyland, Beach, Convention Ctr, Mansion - 7 Bedrooms, 6.5 Bathrooms, 4400sqft

      Santa Ana, California
         
        0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        This family-friendly Santa Ana vacation home is located in Morrison - Eldridge Park, within 2 mi (3 km) of Discovery Science Center and Bowers Museum. Angel Stadium of Anaheim and UC Irvine Medical Center are also within 3 mi (5 km).

        Beautiful House in an Amazing Location!
        Beautiful House in an Amazing Location!

        Beautiful House in an Amazing Location!

        Santa Ana, California
           
          0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          This family-friendly Santa Ana vacation home is within 2 mi (3 km) of Discovery Science Center, Bowers Museum, and UC Irvine Medical Center. Angel Stadium of Anaheim and The Outlets at Orange are also within 3 mi (5 km).

          Hyatt Regency Orange County $87
          Hyatt Regency Orange County

          Hyatt Regency Orange County

          11999 Harbor Blvd, Garden Grove, CA
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            This family-friendly Garden Grove hotel is located in the entertainment district, within 1 mi (2 km) of Garden Grove Hospital Medical Center and Anaheim Convention Center. Disneyland® and Disney California Adventure® Park are also within 2 mi (3 km).

            New! Upscale Zen Retreat Close to Everything!
            New! Upscale Zen Retreat Close to Everything!

            New! Upscale Zen Retreat Close to Everything!

            Santa Ana, California
               
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Morrison - Eldridge Park, this vacation home is within 1 mi (2 km) of Santiago Park and Discovery Science Center. Bowers Museum and UC Irvine Medical Center are also within 2 mi (3 km).

              Best Western Plus Meridian Inn & Suites, Anaheim-Orange $93
              Best Western Plus Meridian Inn & Suites, Anaheim-Orange

              Best Western Plus Meridian Inn & Suites, Anaheim-Orange

              720 The City Drive S, Orange, CA
                 
                2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in the suburbs, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of The Outlets at Orange, UC Irvine Medical Center, and The Outlets at Orange. Discovery Science Center and Bowers Museum are also within 3 mi (5 km).

                Disneyland, Anaheim Convention Center , Little Saigon, Honda Center, Angels Sta
                Disneyland, Anaheim Convention Center , Little Saigon, Honda Center, Angels Sta

                Disneyland, Anaheim Convention Center , Little Saigon, Honda Center, Angels Sta

                Santa Ana, California
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Riverview, this vacation home is within 2 mi (3 km) of Discovery Science Center, Bowers Museum, and UC Irvine Medical Center. Angel Stadium of Anaheim and The Outlets at Orange are also within 3 mi (5 km).