In Santa Monica Canyon, the striking Eames House and Studio, built in 1949 by design deities Charles and Ray Eames, resembles a Mondrian painting in 3-D. It’s still used by the Eames family, but with at least 48-hour advance reservation you can study the exterior, walk around the garden (which was a natural meadow preserved by the Eames) and peek through the window into the kitchen and living room.

Visitors are allowed inside the home for a $275 donation (up to two visitors).

While here also have a look at the adjacent 1949 Entenza House. Termite infested, torn down and rebuilt almost exactly as it was designed by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen, it can be seen peeking elegantly behind the modern monstrosity. The best view is across the wall from the Eames House garden. Richard Neutra designed the nearby Bailey House, which was built from 1946 to 1948.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby attractions

1. Palisades Park

1.22 MILES

Perhaps it’s appropriate that Route 66, America’s most romanticized byway, formerly ended at this gorgeous cliffside park perched dramatically on the edge…

2. Santa Monica State Beach

1.57 MILES

There are endless ways to enjoy this 3.5-mile stretch of sand, running from Venice Beach in the south to Will Rogers State Beach in the north. Sunbathing…

3. Will Rogers State Historic Park

1.73 MILES

This park sprawls across ranch land once owned by Will Rogers (1875–1935), an Oklahoma-born cowboy turned humorist, radio-show host and movie star (in the…

4. Will Rogers Ranch House

1.73 MILES

The 31-room home where cowboy-turned-entertainer and humanitarian Will Rogers lived from 1928 until his untimely death in 1935 opens for tours. It's in…

5. Santa Monica Pier Carousel

1.91 MILES

A National Historic Landmark at the beginning of the pier, the 1916 Hippodrome building housing the carousel appeared in the movie The Sting. The 44…

6. Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

1.91 MILES

Peer under the pier – just below the carousel – for this small aquarium. Kid-friendly touch tanks crawl with critters and crustaceans scooped from local…

7. Santa Monica Pier

1.91 MILES

Once the very end of the legendary Route 66 and still the object of a tourist love affair, this much-photographed pier dates back to 1908 and is the city…

8. Pacific Park

1.92 MILES

Kids and kids within get their kicks on Santa Monica Pier at this small, classic Americana amusement park, with a solar-powered Ferris wheel, tame roller…