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Getty Center

  • Museums
  • Westside
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  1. The Getty
    Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano
  2. The Getty
    Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano
  3. The Getty
    Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano
  4. The Getty
    Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano
  5. The Getty
    Photograph: Time Out / Michael Juliano
  6. The Getty
    Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano
  7. The Getty
    Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano
  8. The Getty
    Photograph: Time Out/Michael Juliano

Time Out says

Free reservations required.

What’s now called the Getty Villa served as the decades-long home for the J. Paul Getty Trust’s extensive art collection. But in 1997, the Getty Center opened. The end result is a remarkable complex of travertine and white metal-clad pavilions that houses ornate French furniture, recognizable Impressionist pieces and rotating exhibitions. Its relative inaccessibility is more than compensated for by free admission and panoramic views, from the hills and the ocean in the west all the way around to Downtown in the east.

What to see inside

Once you’ve parked at the bottom and taken the electric tram ride up the hill, one thing becomes apparent: It’s a big place, with works displayed in four permanent pavilions, an exhibition space and the adjacent Getty Research Institute. The West Pavilion’s Impressionist pieces are a perennial crowd-pleaser, particularly Van Gogh’s Irises. Across the way, the South Pavilion features French decorative arts, outdone only by the baroque room recreations in the East Pavilion. Make sure to head to that building’s upper level, where you’ll find a number of Rembrandt masterpieces. Meanwhile, the North Pavilion features art exclusively made before 1700—most exquisitely, a collection of illuminated manuscripts on the lower floor.

What to see outside

You could stroll along the Getty’s myriad courtyards, overlooks and fountains without ever stepping foot inside a gallery and still come away satisfied. The most notable destination is Robert Irwin’s Central Garden, a cascading stream that leads to a lush labyrinth of hedges and pathways—make sure to check out the modern sculpture garden just past it. The cactus garden in the southeast corner provides a postcard-perfect view of the city with a cluster of cacti in the foreground. If you’re after sunset views, post up on any of the pavilion’s westward-facing terraces (if you can see the Central Garden and the oceanfront mountains, you’re looking the right way).

Where to eat

The bustling cafe by the entrance, as well as another one near the Central Garden, should suffice for most visitors, while the Restaurant (reservations recommended) provides sit-down service for a more leisurely, luxurious meal. We’d opt for the casual offering; if you want to go with the most casual option, pack a picnic and lay out a blanket on the museum’s sloping, south-facing lawn.

Written by
Time Out editors


1200 Getty Center Dr
Los Angeles
Free admission; parking $20, after 4pm $15, after 6pm $10
Opening hours:
Tue–Fri 10am–5:30pm, Sat 10am–8pm, Sun 10am–5:30pm; closed Mon
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What’s on

The Lost Murals of Renaissance Rome + Judy Baca: Hitting the Wall

  • Painting

Though they share the same building (the West Pavilion) and focus (murals), about 400 years separates these two summertime exhibitions at the Getty. “The Lost Murals of Renaissance Rome” uses drawings from the museum’s collection to show how the familiar stately walls of Rome were once covered in elaborate frescoes. Bringing things much closer to home, “Judy Baca: Hitting the Wall” will examine the design, painting, destruction and restoration of the artist’s 1984 Olympics mural by the 4th Street off-ramp on the northbound 110.

Powder and Light: Late 19th-Century Pastels

  • Painting

See how European artists experimented with pastels toward the end of the 19th century in this exhibition at the Getty with works from artists like Edgar Degas, Odilon Redon, Camille Pissarro, Pierre Bonnard, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and more.

Off the 405

Hilltop sunset views and rising bands combine to make this Getty tradition a worthy destination for Angelenos on both sides of the 405. Back for the first time since 2019, this year’s lineup of free Saturday night shows includes Zsela (May 21), Bartees Strange (June 18), Los Retros (July 9), Hand Habits (July 23) and Standing on the Corner (Aug 27). Tip: Avoid the traffic and the crowds and arrive early. You’ll get to visit the exhibits (which stay open until 8pm starting in June) and beat the dinner rush.

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