Travel back in time through the works of famous artists at the Getty Center, perched on a hilltop in the Santa Monica Mountains about ... more »12 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
The museum's galleries are filled with pre-20th century European paintings, drawings, manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts, and 19th and 20th century American and European photographs that paint a portrait of life reaching back as early as the 1300s.
As you look at early family portraits or scenic landscapes, or admire the attention to detail on fine furnishings and artifacts, you get a sense that, perhaps, people's values and interests haven't really changed that much.
In artistic contrast to the early collections depicting life long ago, is the Getty's contemporary architecture, allowing you to wander from one building to the next through sleek glass doors without ever going outside-– unless you want to. Terraces branch out from each building, affording expansive city and Getty property views.
The Getty consists of six buildings around a central courtyard. The galleries, which are housed in five exhibition pavilions, including the Getty Research Institute Exhibition Gallery, are organized chronologically from the North Pavilion to the west. The Exhibitions Pavilion features changing exhibitions.
Don't overlook the outdoor gardens and fountains. A must-see is the Getty Center's creative Central Garden, accentuating color, light and water. Halfway through your tour and before you hit the garden, take a break at the Garden Terrace Cafe, which serves tasty hot and cold food at reasonable prices. Take advantage of this time to rest and absorb everything you're seeing.
Allow at least two hours to tour the Getty. Ideally, plan to spend a good three to four hours (including time for lunch) for a leisurely look at the galleries and downtime by the fountains.
1200 Getty Center Dr.
Free Saturday after 5pm