La Brea Tar Pits

Vacation Travel Guide
La Brea Tar Pits featuring a statue or sculpture, a pond and a park

Step back in time to a harsh and unforgiving prehistoric Los Angeles, and walk near the footprints of extinct Ice Age animals.

Columbian mammoths, saber-toothed cats and mastodons once roamed the LA landscape in search of shelter and prey. Until 11,000 years ago the area that is now Hancock Park on the Miracle Mile was an ancient wilderness of exotic mammals and plants. Hundreds of these now-extinct species were well preserved in the cluster of tar pits.

Many small animals, birds and insects became immobilized in the thick, sludge-like asphalt or tar that seeps up from the ground. The viscous liquid is an excellent preservative and bones, teeth, shells, insect exoskeletons and even some plants seeds have been extracted from the pits.

There are more than 100 of these bubbling pools of tar spread across Hancock Park, and they are among the world’s richest sources of knowledge about life in the Ice Age. They are fenced off to prevent inquisitive visitors from suffering the same fate as the animals, but there are viewing stations nearby.

Scientists have been pulling bones out of the ground here for more than a century and many are on display at the Page Museum, a prehistoric treasure chest that provides a window into Pleistocene and Ice Age California.

The museum has more than a million fossils from more than 650 species, and exhibits include skeletons of mammoths, sloths, wolves and a saber-toothed cat. The museum is more than just a collection of bones. Visitors can watch paleontology as it happens. Excavations of the ground are ongoing and the museum’s Fishbowl Lab lets you watch scientists as they clean, identify, tag and put fossil pieces together.

The La Brea Tar Pits are located about seven miles (11 kilometers) west of downtown on Wilshire Boulevard. There is paid parking directly behind the museum on the corner of Sixth Street and Curson Avenue. The museum is open every day with the exception of major holidays.

For more details on interesting local attractions and activities, check out our things to do in Los Angeles page.

Top things to do in La Brea Tar Pits

Top Hotels Close to La Brea Tar Pits

SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills
SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills
5 out of 5
465 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
The price is $275 per night from Oct 10 to Oct 10
Located in Beverly Grove, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Wilshire Boulevard and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Melrose Avenue and Petersen Automotive ...
4.2/5Excellent! (973 reviews)
"Such a nice friendly professional atmosphere in the heart of Beverly Hills."

Reviewed on Sep 21, 2021

SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills
Spacious 2/1 Townhouse in West Hollywood
Spacious 2/1 Townhouse in West Hollywood
Los Angeles, California
Located in Mid-Wilshire, this vacation home is within a 15-minute walk of Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Petersen Automotive Museum. Rodeo Drive and CBS ...
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Spacious 2/1 Townhouse in West Hollywood
Airy Mid-Wilshire 2BR Loft w/ Sundeck, walk to S La Brea, by Blueground
Airy Mid-Wilshire 2BR Loft w/ Sundeck, walk to S La Brea, by Blueground
Los Angeles, CA
Located in Miracle Mile, this apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Petersen Automotive Museum. Rodeo Drive and ...
Get rates
Airy Mid-Wilshire 2BR Loft w/ Sundeck, walk to S La Brea, by Blueground
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near La Brea Tar Pits

Park Plaza Lodge Hotel
Park Plaza Lodge Hotel
2 out of 5
6001 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA
The price is $166 per night from Sep 26 to Sep 26
Park Plaza Lodge Hotel
SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills
SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills
5 out of 5
465 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
The price is $275 per night from Oct 10 to Oct 10
SLS Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Beverly Hills
Spacious 2/1 Townhouse in West Hollywood
Spacious 2/1 Townhouse in West Hollywood
Los Angeles, California
Spacious 2/1 Townhouse in West Hollywood
Airy Mid-Wilshire 2BR Loft w/ Sundeck, walk to S La Brea, by Blueground
Airy Mid-Wilshire 2BR Loft w/ Sundeck, walk to S La Brea, by Blueground
Los Angeles, CA
Airy Mid-Wilshire 2BR Loft w/ Sundeck, walk to S La Brea, by Blueground
Elegant & Classy 1 Bedroom Apt in West Hollywood
Elegant & Classy 1 Bedroom Apt in West Hollywood
Los Angeles, CA
Elegant & Classy 1 Bedroom Apt in West Hollywood
Kimpton Hotel Wilshire, an IHG Hotel
Kimpton Hotel Wilshire, an IHG Hotel
4 out of 5
6317 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
The price is $265 per night from Oct 24 to Oct 24
Kimpton Hotel Wilshire, an IHG Hotel
Wilshire Orange Hotel
Wilshire Orange Hotel
2 out of 5
6060 West 8th Street, Los Angeles, CA
Wilshire Orange Hotel
Stay & shop
Stay & shop
Los Angeles, CA
Stay & shop
Hip and Cozy Loft in Weho
Hip and Cozy Loft in Weho
Los Angeles, CA
Hip and Cozy Loft in Weho
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.