Guest Post: By Alexandra
Whether you live in LA or are just visiting, I highly recommend a trip to The Getty Museum. The Getty Center in Los Angeles has been recommended to me many times by friends, and although I had always planned to go at some point, now that I have, I regret that I didn’t follow their recommendations sooner. I didn’t know what I was missing! To say the Getty is an art museum is true, but it is also a gross under-representation of all this place has to offer.
From your first step onto the grounds you are in the presence of art. The museum complex itself, constructed from elegant, yet natural cream-colored stone, consists of several buildings of various heights that all give the impression of reaching to the sky. The buildings are surrounded by courtyards and fountains. In one of the courtyards there is a long pool with square blocks of stone spanning its width. Positioned just higher than the surface of the water, they are a source of delight to children who entertain themselves by hopping from stone to stone. In another part of the complex there is a long thin trough along which water runs to spill into a shallow dish on the ground with a hole in the center several inches in diameter.
If you walk down some nearby stairs, you discover that the hole actually opens in a ceiling roughly eighteen feet up. The water from the trough comes through the hole in the ceiling and falls down into the small pool below. Continue walking from these stairs and you zig-zag back and forth down a sloping path over a babbling stream; the continued journey of the water that fell through the hole in the ceiling, which eventually becomes a waterfall into a pond in the center of a horseshoe-shaped garden. Populated with many native and drought resistant plants and flowers, the garden is full of color.
Looking for a break from the gardens, how about lunch in one of several cafes? Or a trip inside the museum to view some of its temporary or permanent exhibits? Do you like sculpture? Photography or painting? The decorative arts (which include pieces of gilded furniture from centuries past)? As a fan of impressionist painting, I spent a lot of time in that wing of the museum (although I also enjoyed viewing sculptures of roman gods and goddesses and marveling at the grandeur of beds from the 1700s). Among my favorite paintings were Monet’s Sunrise, a self-portrait by a young Degas, and The Model Resting by Toulouse-Lautrec.
Although I spent four hours there, The Getty Center’s beautiful gardens, galleries, fountains, and courtyards have enough to offer to fill many more trips of that length. With all of these choices, and the relaxing atmosphere of the whole complex, anyone who visits should be able to make each trip exactly what they want it to be. I encourage you to take the time to explore the delightful treasure that is this museum (there’s also another location in Malibu called The Getty Villa). There is a $15 parking fee per vehicle but no other admission charge, so you can make this an incredibly inexpensive outing by bringing friends and splitting the parking fee. And even if you end up paying the full $15 to go alone, this experience is well worth it! Visit The Getty’s website for more information.
The author, Alexandra, grew up in Southern California and has a serious case of a condition called Wanderlust, or “an irresistible impulse to travel.” She has been up and down the Pacific coast of the United States, to Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, England, and France, and is eager to visit as many more places as she can. Check out her travel blog at meandoverthere.wordpress.com