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Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA)

Each exhibition at this modern, spare and expertly-curated museum, opened to the public in 2002 by local art collectors Robert and Arlene Oltman, provides an in-depth history of a single facet of the state, from Latino graffiti culture in Los Angeles to the logging industry's late 19th-century golden age in Mendocino County to the Depression's Dust Bowl Migration of farmers from Oklahoma and Texas to Central California.

Parking in the museum's ground-floor covered lot is free, but you'll probably be tempted to spend some money in the small gift shop, stocked with whimsical action figures, hand-printed greeting cards, jewelry and prints by California artists like Mike Giant, Irving Norman and Millard Sheets. Be sure to visit the third floor, where a 4,000-square-foot rooftop terrace allows you to sigh over a gauzy-soft view of the San Gabriel Mountains.