Best Non-Art Museum - 2008
The Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum
Sometimes we forget how lucky we are to not live in some miserable, landlocked state in the vast expanse between California and New York. The mild climate paired with the excellent surfmakes OC a surfing mecca. Sure, Huntington Beach might've mean-spiritedly wrangled that "Surf City USA" trademark from Santa Cruz (poor Santa Cruz!), but we'll admit it's a pretty apt moniker. What better location for an institution devoted to surfing? The Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum covers everything surf-related, from board-design evolution to pop culture, with an intensive look at surf music (including a large display on the Beach Boys) and surf films. A Surfing Walk of Fame out front enshrines both local and world-renowned surfers. And while it may be cozy and humble now—the entire place takes maybe a half-hour to peruse—it has big plans for an expansion including aquariums, a theater, science exhibits and more.