From the instant it opened in September 2015, the Broad (rhymes with 'road') became a must-visit for contemporary-art fans. It houses the world-class collection of local philanthropist and billionaire real-estate honcho Eli Broad and his wife Edythe, with more than 2000 postwar pieces by dozens of heavy hitters, including Cindy Sherman, Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Keith Haring and Kara Walker.
The striking building is an attraction in itself. Designed by New York–based firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro (designers of Manhattan's iconic High Line) in collaboration with SF-based firm Gensler, it's shrouded in a white lattice-like shell that lifts at the corners, allowing visitors to access the cavernous, undulating lobby. It's in here that you can (and should) register to experience Yayoi Kusama’s super-popular Infinity Mirrored Room. When it's your turn to view the installation, you will receive a text message from the museum; arrive by early afternoon for your best shot of viewing the room and check your phone regularly, as wait times are sometimes shorter than estimated.
Once you've eyed up the temporary exhibitions on the lobby floor, an escalator whisks you up through a narrow tunnel to the 35,000-sq-ft 3rd-floor gallery, where Jeff Koons charms visitors with his giant bunch of stainless-steel tulips. The flowers are framed by equally bold, poptastic artworks by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. The surrounding galleries rotate works from the Broad's permanent collection, considered one of the world's most prominent holdings of postwar and contemporary artworks.
The museum docents are surprisingly knowledgeable and helpful. Plus, an excellent smartphone app gives further descriptions of the art and artists.
Admission is free (except during special exhibitions), but you’ll want to reserve a timed ticket online, as the line for same-day walk-ups can be long (arrive 45 minutes before opening for best results).