Is It Any Good?

One of the most spectacular views in Los Angeles…oh, and it’s a Museum, too!

Another one of the things about living in Los Angeles, as opposed to Washington, is how much the museums are dependent on the largess of rich Angelenos: Huntington, Brand, etc.

J. Paul Getty is no exception. His thing was Oil, and he made a lot of money at it. So in 1954, he opened up part of his Malibu House turning it into the first Getty Museum, eventually expanding it in 1974 to better house his collection. That location is now known as the Getty Villa. His true masterpiece was yet to come.

Opening in 1997, the Getty Center sits on some exceptional real estate just overlooking Santa Monica, Westwood and the whole of Los Angeles. According to Wikipedia, this branch “specializes in “pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, and decorative arts; and 19th- and 20th-century American and European photographs”. Among the works on display is the painting Irises by Vincent van Gogh. Besides the museum, the center’s buildings house the Getty Research Institute (GRI), the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, and the administrative offices of the J. Paul Getty Trust, which owns and operates the center. The center also has outdoor sculptures displayed on terraces and in gardens. Designed by architect Richard Meier, the campus includes a central garden designed by artist Robert Irwin. GRI’s separate building contains a research library with over 900,000 volumes and two million photographs of art and architecture. The center’s design included special provisions to address concerns regarding earthquakes and fires.”

I left that last part in for me. Given where it sits, you’d be worried about Earthquakes too.

Visit our Getty Center Photo Gallery!

Click on the picture to visit our Getty Center Photo Gallery!

The Getty Center has truly one of the most spectacular views in Los Angeles; on a clear day literally being able to see forever…or at least all the way to Downtown. The Gardens are also amazing and picturesque. This is why Digital Cameras were made.

The collection itself? Well…

Mea culpa, I like a little variety in my Museums. And the one thing about Government funded Museums like LACMA or the Smithsonian is that they bring in all kinds of art from everywhere. The problem with a single financier or benefactor is that…odds are…you are going to be subject to their individual whims and tastes. So if they like French Baroque (and you don’t) well, tough….you better start liking some French Baroque.

The Getty Center is kinda like that. Getty certainly liked his French themed Pottery, Vases and Furniture, and after a while (say 30 minutes) you might find yourself a little bored. Getty also had some interest in Ancient Greek pottery, which isn’t all bad. Seeing the exploits of Heracles painted black along the side of a vase isn’t a bad way to spend an afternoon. But the original collection is somewhat limiting. Fortunately, there is a rotating schedule of works coming to visit the Getty, to broaden things. Also, we keep a Calendar of these events on the Getty Center Events Calendar.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: It’s all about when you go. Monday’s the Villa and the Center are closed. There used to be extremely strict restrictions on when you could go. That seems to have changed.

There is a Tram that runs you from the Parking Lot to the Center above. Apparently, there’s a way you walk as well:

A computer-operated tram takes you from the street-level entrance to the top of the hill. The tram is fully accessible. From the parking structure, take the elevators up to the Lower Tram Station (T1).


When arriving at or departing from the Getty Center, please allow plenty of time for tram lines on busy days.


Visitors are also welcome to walk up or down the hill, along the pedestrian sidewalk, instead of taking the tram. The path is about 3/4 mile and has a moderately steep grade. Depending on your pace, the walk usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes.


PARKING: Like the Udvar-Hazy Center, the Museums themselves are free, but Parking is expensive. But, the Getty has a post discussing its own parking options, so:

Parking is $15 per car, but $10 per car after 5:00 p.m. for the Getty Center’s evening hours on Saturdays (when we are open until 9:00 p.m.), as well as for all evening public programming, including music, film, lectures, and other special programs held after 5:00 p.m.


Parking is based on availability. Parking reservations are neither required nor accepted.


Street parking in the surrounding neighborhood is restricted.


For more parking information, see frequently asked questions.


Parking for Visitors with Disabilities
There are designated handicapped-accessible spaces on the entry level of the parking structure.


Parking for Electric Cars
Parking with plug-ins for electric vehicles is available.


Parking for Oversized Vehicles
Parking for vehicles between 6’10” and 12’6″ tall and of standard car length and width is available on level P1. There is no parking for RVs, motor homes, limousines, and other larger vehicles.


Parking for Tour Buses and Other Group Vehicles
See Tips for Groups for information about accommodations for groups of 15 or more.


The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Dr.
Los Angeles, 90049
(310) 440-7300

Monday: CLOSED
Tuesday: 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Thursday: 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.
Friday: 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m. – 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m. (May 24–Aug. 30)
Saturday: 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Closed Mondays and on January 1, July 4 (Independence Day), Thanksgiving, and December 25 (Christmas Day).