The Getty Center

#2 in Best Things To Do in Los Angeles
The Getty Center picture1 of 2
The Getty Center2 of 2
AlexandreFagundes/Getty Images

Key Info

1200 Getty Center Drive

Price & Hours

Free
Tues-Fri, Sun 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. | Sat 10 a.m.-...

Details

Museums, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.8

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

The Getty Center is one of the most impressive architectural achievements in the United States – and it also contains some of the finest works of art in the world. The circular concrete-and-steel structure was designed by renowned architect Richard Meier, and it houses an abundance of art from various ages and nations. Here you'll find Renaissance paintings, 20th-century American photography, Baroque sculptures, historic manuscripts and more, all housed inside a sprawling, modern campus amid the Santa Monica Mountains. The museum also offers spectacular views of Los Angeles on clear days.

Recent travelers loved the museum for its value and beauty, highlighting the contrast between the art center's subtle refinement and the over-the-top glitz of Hollywood. Many visitors suggest taking a guided tour, noting that the tour highlights interesting parts of the museum they wouldn't have stumbled upon on their own. Tours of the Getty Center's architecture and gardens are available, as well as a Collection Highlights tour and tours of art in specific eras. Tour times and days vary depending on tour type. Check the Getty Center's website for a complete calendar.

Located just north of Santa Monica near the UCLA campus, the Getty Center can be a bit tricky to get to. (Note: The only public entrance to the Getty Center is by Getty Center Drive from North Sepulveda Boulevard. Some GPS devices offer misguided directions.) Parking costs $20 per vehicle or $15 after 3 p.m. For evening events and Saturdays after 6 p.m., parking is $10. Upon arrival, you board a tram that ascends the hill to the museum grounds. Best of all, entry to the museum is free and no reservations are required. Available facilities include two coffee carts, two cafes, a restaurant, gift shops and a garden with more than 500 kinds of plants. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except on Saturdays, when it stays open until 9 p.m. Visit the Getty Center's website to learn more.

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#1 Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park

Griffith Observatory sits on the south face of Mount Hollywood and overlooks the Los Angeles basin. Its location gives visitors impressive views of the surrounding area, which many rave about. But there's more than just a pretty photo-op here. The observatory hosts fascinating exhibitions and features a top-notch planetarium.

Most recent visitors cited the beautiful setting as Griffith Observatory's main draw, though the free entry was certainly a bonus. However, you will have to pay between $3 and $7 to see the planetarium shows. Griffith Observatory is open from noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with extended hours on weekends. Free but limited parking is available along the winding roads leading up to the property, or visitors can park in the small lot by the observatory for $10 per hour. A gift shop and cafe can be found on-site as well. For more information, check out Griffith Observatory's website.

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