Tugboats guided the ship through the narrow Angel's Gate harbor entrance shortly before 9 a.m. as the U.S. Coast Guard enforced a 100-yard safety zone around it.
The Iowa was previously anchored off the coast of San Pedro since Wednesday for cleaning.
The Pacific Battleship Center spent two years and $7 million to refurbish and buy and the ship from the U.S. Navy, which had mothballed the Iowa in the Bay Area for the last 20 years.
The 70-year-old battleship, which is 887 feet long and weighs 58,000 tons, will become a floating museum, slated to open July 7. It will include interactive tours, allowing visitors to experience life at sea during active duty. Admission to the museum will be $18 for the general public, $15 for retired members of the military, and $10 for those between 6 and 17 years old.
Local leaders hope the ship will mean a big economic boost to the area.
"We expect there to be at least 400,000 people coming to the USS Iowa every year, which would be a huge impact on the Port of Los Angeles, the city of L.A. and the San Pedro area," said Damian Jones with the Pacific Battleship Center.
The Iowa saw battle during World War II and the Korean War. Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt also traveled on the vessel.