Explore the Fabulous Getty Center

Or the Charming Getty Villa

If you are an art lover and will be traveling to Southern California, there are many excellent museums that you might enjoy. However, without a doubt, two of the more spectacular ones are the two locations of the J. Paul Getty Museums ... The Getty Center in Los Angeles (pictured below) and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

Like most museums, the purpose of these is to preserve, collect and exhibit works of art. They have permanent exhibits and frequently host special exhibitions, as well. They also have educational programs which are geared towards art lovers of all ages. The two museums are dramatically different, and each of them is well worth the visit.

Getty Museum Aerial ViewCredit: wikipedia.org

Getty Center in Los Angeles

This spectacular museum has breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and Los Angeles Basin. Even if there was no art to be seen, the location of this museum, with its open feeling and expansive vistas would make it worth the visit. Its permanent collection includes European paintings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, drawings and decorative arts. They also have a collection of European and American photographs.

Most museums in the Los Angeles area offer at least one free day each month. However, admission to this museum and all of its exhibitions is absolutely free all the time. There are no tickets or reservations required. However, parking costs $15 per car. So, load up the car and bring all your friends and family! On Saturday evenings, the museum stays open until 9:00 p.m., and parking is free after 5:00, so there are at least four hours every week when both parking and admission are free. The website is getty.edu. The phone number for this museum in Los Angeles is (310) 440-7300.

You can also learn more about the collections at both museums by purchasing a guidebook:

Quick link to Amazon's guidebooks for these museums and their collections.

Getty Villa in Malibu

The Villa was once the original Getty Museum, and is located in the opulent former residence that was once occupied by J. Paul Getty. However, it was closed for extensive renovations when the larger museum was opened, and the Villa reopened again in January, 2006. Its permanent collection includes approximately 44,000 Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities. They keep approximately 1,200 of these works on display at any one time.

Admission to the Villa and all of its exhibitions is free. However, unlike the larger museum, you do need to book a timed ticket in advance for each adult in your group. One admission ticket will allow an adult to bring up to three children ages 15 and under with you in the same car. Like the Getty Center, parking costs $15 per car (or motorcycle) during the day. Parking is free for their evening programs, including films, lectures, and more. The website for the Museums is getty.edu. The phone number for the Villa in Malibu is (310) 440-7300.

Planning Your Visit

The two museums share a wonderful website that makes it easy for you to book tickets for the Villa or find out about upcoming special exhibitions, lectures and programs. Just go to getty.edu and you will find links to everything you need in order to have an enjoyable visit.

A trip to either or both of the museums has to be one of the best educational and entertainment bargains in Los Angeles, and it's a wonderful way to instill in your children a love of art.

If you are interested in learning about other interesting things to do in Southern California, some of these articles may interest you, too:

Explore the Universe at the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles

Take a Ferry to Catalina Island

Enjoy the Laguna Beach Summer Art Festivals

New Attractions at Southern California Theme Parks

Top 6 Things To Do Near Disneyland 

An Example of One of the Handy Guidebooks from Amazon

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections (J Paul Getty Museum Publications)
Amazon Price: $19.95 $2.75 Buy Now
(price as of Apr 4, 2016)
Knowing more about the collections will help you enjoy this museum even more.