Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum-Cultural Haven
Designed by architect Richard Meier and occupying approximately 110 acres across a hilltop in the Santa Monica mountains, the Getty Center was designed to display the nature surrounding the museum as much as the collection of artwork that it holds. From the street level parking lot, visitors can take an elevated tram up the hillside, taking in sweeping views of the city and Pacific Ocean, while ascending to the museum’s entrance.
The Center is constructed of Italian travertine in a manner that incorporates the museum into the hillside while framing panoramic views of the city. The architectural design allows for the museum’s galleries to be naturally lit, with the help of special filters that adjust the light in order to avoid damage to the artwork.
The museum itself is comprised of five pavilions, housing an expansive collection of pre-20th century Western Art and 19th and 20th century American and European photographs. The art on display includes paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculpture and decorative arts.
The Getty is also home to a 134,000 square foot central garden, designed by Robert Irwin, that invites visitors to wander along its pathways through an ever-changing oasis, created from over 500 varieties of plant materials. In addition to the Central Garden, the natural landscape of the Getty is transformed by its outdoor sculpture garden, which features 28 contemporary and modern sculptures.
1200 Getty Center Drive/Admission is FREE (read-no excuse to skip this)
To visit the educational center and museum dedicated to ancient Greece, Rome and Etruria, head to the Getty Villa in Malibu: 17985 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades.