Lonely Planet review
In its billion-dollar, in-the-clouds perch, high above the city grit and grime, the Getty Center presents triple delights: a stellar art collection (everything from renaissance artists to David Hockney), Richard Meier’s cutting-edge architecture, and the visual splendor of seasonally changing gardens.
On clear days, you can add breathtaking views of the city and ocean to the list. A great time to visit is in the late afternoon after the crowds have thinned. Sunsets create a remarkable alchemy of light and shadow and are especially magical in winter.
Even getting up to the 110-acre ‘campus’ aboard a driverless tram is fun. From the sprawling arrival plaza a natural flow of walkways, stairs, fountains and courtyards encourages a leisurely wander between galleries, gardens and outdoor cafes. Five buildings hold collections of manuscripts, drawings, photographs, furniture, decorative arts and a strong assortment of pre-20th-century European paintings. Must-sees include Van Gogh’s Irises , Monet’s Wheatstacks , Rembrandt’s The Abduction of Europa and Titian’s Venus and Adonis . Don’t miss the lovely Cactus Garden on the remote South Promontory for amazing city views.
Tours, lectures and interactive technology (including audioguides; $3) help make the art accessible to all. Children can take a Family Tour, visit the interactive Family Room, borrow a kid-oriented audioguide or browse the special kid bookstore. They even host garden concerts for kids.
Concerts, lectures, films and other cultural events for grown ups keep the space buzzing with locals. Most are free but some require reservations (or try standby). The free (almost weekly) summertime Saturday-evening concert series, ‘Off the 405’, brings some tremendous progressive pop and world music acts to the Getty gardens.
Admission is free, but parking is $15 ($10 after 5pm); Metro Bus 761 stops at the Getty.