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Traipsing through Time at the Getty Center

Priceless art, amazing views and a tram ride, followed by dinner in Hollywood
Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 5.2 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  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 »

Tips:  Arrive early to enjoy the galleries before they get too crowded. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Bring a lightweight jacket.

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Points of Interest

1. Getty Parking Structure

From the 405, take the Getty Center Drive exit and follow the signs to the Getty parking structure. This is a huge indoor facility, so be sure to jot down what level you're parked on. Elevators bring you to the Lower Tram Station, where you will board a tram to transport you up the hill to the museum.
Parking $15.
Free Saturday after 5pm

2. Lower Tram Station

From the parking structure, take an elevator up to the Lower Tram Station. When arriving or departing on the tram, be sure to allow yourself plenty of time for tram lines on busy days. Trams depart every five minutes.

A computer-operated tram (basically a horizontal elevator) takes you from the street-level entrance 3/4 of a mile up the hill. Sit... More

3. Upper Tram Station

At the top of the hill, you depart the tram in the upper tram station. Here's where you'll catch the tram later in the day when you're ready to leave the Getty.

The upper tram station is adjacent to the arrival plaza. Walk up the steps to the Museum Entrance Hall.

Start here to pick up a map, tour schedules and a copy of "Today at the Getty Center." Or check the Today Board for schedules of talks and tours, family activities, lectures and upcoming events. The Getty offers free architecture, garden and collections tours for people interested in detailed information about the center.

Another option is to pay... More

5. Getty Central Courtyard

Take a few minutes to enjoy the serene pools and fountain, and to map out your day. Keep in mind there's no right or wrong way to explore the Getty. It's personal preference and how much time you want to devote to the indoor collections and outdoor gardens.

However, the west building is the most popular and gets crowded. So it's a good idea to... More

6. West and South Pavilions

Entering the West building, you'll be on the plaza level where you'll find a bookstore. Take the elevator upstairs to the galleries displaying the 19th century paintings of Leonardo da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Rembrandt and Van Gogh.

Since all the buildings are connected via the second floors, you will soon find yourself in the South Pavilion... More

7. Garden Terrace Cafe

From the courtyard, turn left to reach the nearby Garden Terrace Cafe, which has a full menu of sandwiches, wraps, salads, soups, baked goods and beverages.

Relax at a table in the covered terrace, which has nice city views. Or, order your lunch to go and enjoy it in the garden area. Many people relax and have picnics on the large, lush lawn... More

From the terrace, there are two ways to access the garden. The most scenic is to the right of the terrace. As you follow the zigzag walkway that follows a stream to the garden, notice the various sized boulders strategically placed in the cascading water to create low and high babbling sounds.

The tranquil stream leads to a reflecting pool,... More

9. East and North Pavilions

Well rested, you can now visit the remaining art pavilions. Enter the east building and go upstairs. In the Sketching Gallery adjacent to the elevator, try your hand at drawing from paintings and casts of sculpture. Next, walk through the upper floors of both the east and north buildings.

The East Pavilion features primarily 17th century Baroque ... More

10. Sunset viewing

The Getty's many terraces offer fabulous views of the sunset. The best place to watch is from the Garden Terrace Cafe, where you can enjoy a meal or drink as the sun sets. Bring a lightweight jacket, as it can get windy here.

More good viewing options include the South Promontory (overlooking the cactus garden) and the South Pavilion Terrace on... More

After a long day of walking and exploring art through the ages, drive the relatively short distance to Hollywood for dinner and drinks. The following restaurants are all located between 9-16 miles from the Getty Center.

For Italian food, drop by this cozy boutique restaurant, about eight miles from the Getty. FYI: Prices start at $50.
... More

12. XIV by Michael Mina

Share plates or order a signature dish. The creative menu includes seafood, veggie dishes (think grilled sourdough and crushed olives), short ribs, matzo ball soup and sliders (steak or lamb). It's 9.19 miles from the Getty.
8117 Sunset Blvd.
Los Angeles
Tuesday-Saturday 6-11pm

The Hungry Cat specializes in seafood cuisine but includes other menu items as well. This restaurant is about 16 miles from the Getty. Park on Morningside Court off Sunset Boulevard, one block west of Vine.
1535 Vine Street
Los Angeles
Monday-Wednesday Noon-11pm
Thursday-Saturday Noon-midnight
Sunday... More

14. Cleo

This restaurant offers a versatile menu sure to please everyone in your party. From oysters, lamb and tuna to falafel, ravioli and salads, the international cuisine has a little bit of everything. Located 16.17 miles from the Getty.
1717 Vine Street
Los Angeles
Daily 6 pm-Midnight

If you still have energy, it's worth your time to catch a show at the historic Pantages Theatre. While it's best to order tickets in advance, last-minute tickets can usually also be bought.

The historic theater, which features year-round plays and musicals, is a Hollywood icon located on Hollywood Boulevard near Vine Street.
6233 Hollywood... More