The reason why people want to live in Southern California…now in Museum Form!
Once, a long time ago, a wealthy Los Angeles Oil Billionaire, with a mediocre taste in Art, decided to host some showing of his collection out of his home in Malibu…
His name was J. Paul Getty. His collection soon outgrew his home (okay, mansion) and he a new facility was constructed to house his ever expanding collection…of mostly French Furniture and Greco-Roman works. Yup! French Furniture and Greco-Roman over…and over…and over again.
It was done in the style of an Italian Villa, the kinds you would find in the countryside…a very rich and wealthy countryside, but still…
This is the Getty Villa.
I have complained in the past about Mr. Getty’s collection, and how much it…frankly…can bore me to tears. But the foundation he created to support his collection, to grow his collection, is first rate. The support structure for this Museum rivals any in the world (and yes, I’m including my Hometown Smithsonian Institution who’s Number one in that category). A visit to any Getty Facility is always a pleasure, its always damn easy to get to, to park at, and to enjoy. It is without a doubt a must-do on any visit to Los Angeles.
Personally, I wish the collections themselves were better, but that’s another story. The rotating exhibits that come through are always worth your time. The standing collection does start to look awfully similiar after an hour or two in the museum.
For me, a visit to the Villa is all about the grounds, and on a really clear day, it is a slice of heaven right here on earth. You can see (through a nook in the mountains) clear through to the Pacific. The architecture of the Villa is a museum in and of itself. When you come bring that camera, make sure there’s lots of room on it. You are going to take some frame-on-the-wall worthy shots.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Okay, any trip to the Getty Villa is going to require a bit of planning. It’s not a place you can just show up the day of, and expect to get in. They really restrict the amount of people who want to roll through, which upon arrival you’ll agree is a good idea. It makes your visit a lot more bearable.
I got in at the date and time I wanted, but I went crazy and ordered tickets a month in advance. That’s hardly necessary. You probably can get in the day of any visit, but it’s not 100% guaranteed. Of course, weekends are going to be even more hard to come by. I’d suggest planning at least a week in advance just so you can get the day and time you want. I’d love to hear from people who’s experience was different.
Getting in and out is easy enough. You really need your ticket (the one that you’ll print up after getting a free ticket from the website) only when you pull in past the main gate. There’ll be Security waiting there.
Just remember, your ticket’s free, but the parking’s not. Prepare to shell out $15 bucks. Again, just like at the Getty Center.
They’ll scan your ticket and point your way to the garage (yes, there is a spacious multi-level garage at the facility). The good news is that road up to the garage is excellently maintained, and is a perfect replica of old Roman-style stone roads. The bad news is is that road up to the garage is excellently maintained, and is a perfect replica of old Roman-style stone roads. Prepare to find out just how good your shocks are.
After that, your experience becomes very, very Getty Center like (which is a good thing). Right in the lobby, right near the Elevators, you’ll be offered Audio Tours (and they use the iPod Touches, just like the Getty Center). From there, wander around and enjoy. You’re on your own clock. There is a nice bookshop. There is a cafeteria. Everything you need to enjoy your day is right on the grounds.
And finally, allow me to quote directly from the Getty Website itself:
Please note that access to the Getty Villa entrance is only from the northbound right-hand lane of Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).
For L.A. Newbies, this means if you’re heading up from Santa Monica to Malibu, you’re fine. That’s northbound. If you’re coming from Pepperdine toward Santa Monica, that’s southward. That’s not fine. You’re going to have to do a U-Turn at some point, and as you’ll soon discover, that’s not easy. Save yourself the trouble, wherever you’re coming from, making sure it comes through Santa Monica.
PARKING: Better let the Getty Villa’s portion of the website explain it to you:
On-site parking is available for all ticket holders and is $15 per car or motorcycle, but $10 per car or motorcycle after 5:00 p.m. for all evening public programming, including theater, music, film, lectures, and other special programs held after 5:00 p.m.
Visitors to the Getty Villa are not permitted to park anywhere other than the Getty Villa as a condition of the Conditional Use Permit issued by the City of Los Angeles.
No pedestrians may enter the Villa except for ticket holders arriving by public transportation. Passengers must have their Villa admission ticket hole-punched by the driver before exiting the bus in order to enter the Villa.
PAY ONCE, PARK TWICE
Enjoy same-day parking at both the Getty Center and the Getty Villa for one $15 fee. Go to the Museum Information Desk to obtain a coupon good for same-day complimentary parking at the other campus.
“Pay Once, Park Twice” does not apply Mondays, when the Getty Center is closed, or Tuesdays, when the Getty Villa is closed.
The Getty Villa
17985 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
Monday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Wednesday: CURRENTLY CLOSED (* See note below)
Thursday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Friday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Saturday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Sunday: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Closed Tuesdays and on January 1, July 4 (Independence Day), Thanksgiving, and December 25 (Christmas Day).
*In preparation for the 2013 outdoor theater production, the Getty Villa will be CLOSED on the following Wednesdays: August 7, 14, 21, 28, and September 4, 18, 25.