Although self-described as the Getty Villa Malibu, this famous museum in a replica 1st-century Roman villa is actually in Pacific Palisades. It’s a stunning 64-acre showcase for exquisite Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities amassed by oil tycoon J Paul Getty. Admission requires a timed ticket, reservable online; parking costs $15.
When it reopened in 2006 after a seven-year renovation, the institution immediately found egg on its face when allegations of illegally obtained treasures surfaced. Although dozens of items have since been returned to Italy, there’s plenty left. You’ll see wine goblets, beads and pendants culled from Partha tombs, and cut, blown and colored glass from the 1st century. The geometric configurations in the Hall of Colored Marbles will bend your brain. Then there’s the Temple of Herakles , and who doesn’t love an action hero? The upper balcony has the best view of the lovely courtyard garden surrounding a reflecting pool.
Admission is theoretically free, and available by timed ticket, which can be reserved online, but parking costs $15, and there are no drop-offs or walk-ins allowed unless you arrive by public bus and ask the driver to hole-punch your villa ticket.