The expansive art galleries of the Getty Center in Los Angeles sit high on a hill overlooking the 405 Freeway and the Sepulveda Pass. The complex was commissioned by billionaire J.Paul Getty to house much of his extensive art collection as well as outside exhibitions and is free to the public to visit and view.
I’ve been there several times and it’s always an exciting experience.
Weekends are often crowded at the Getty Center especially during the summer so you may want to try to go on a weekday or during the off-season.
If you want to avoid crowds travel expert Rick Steves suggests going to museums closer to closing time, and he’s right.
Arriving at the Center
Admission to the Getty Center is free with a reservation but the parking is not. Plan on spending $15 if you bring your car. The lot may get full but there is additional parking nearby, Once you park, you must board a tram that will take you up to the complex at the top of the hill.
The view of the city is spectacular. On clear days, you can see the ocean.
The Getty Trust, Collections and Complexes
The Getty Center is the legacy of J.Paul Getty who founded the Getty Oil Company in 1949 and became insanely rich. When he died in 1976 his estimated wealth was approximately $6 billion, which would amount to about $30 billion today. Throughout his life, he was an ardent collector of art and antiquities.
The J. Paul Getty Trust was established in 1953 and it’s now the world’s wealthiest art institution. The Trust operates The Getty Center, The Getty Villa, The Getty Foundation, The Getty Research Institute, and The Getty Conservation Institute.
The Getty Center and Getty Villa are located in Los Angeles and are free to the public. Parking is $15 until 3 pm and $10 afterward. The galleries and pavilions are filled with extraordinary art and sculpture from all over the world, The complex also has several restaurants and coffee carts. It offers guided and self-guided tours, courses, and lectures, and has spaces available to rent for parties and meetings. No reservations are required.
The Getty Villa in Malibu houses 44,000 Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities and features theatrical and musical performances but you must make reservations online as it’s a smaller complex and parking is limited.
The complex is spread out with a beautiful garden area below. It’s a lovely place for a stroll and to enjoy nature.
Visiting the Getty Center is a wonderful way to spend an artful afternoon or evening in Los Angeles. They often have events and cocktail parties after dark as well. If you are visiting Los Angeles you don’t want to miss it.