The Getty Center

Are you ready to enjoy the best visual art Los Angeles has to offer? Did we mention it is all available without paying an admission fee?

That’s right, the Getty Center has long been a (FREE) staple of the Los Angeles area. If it’s not on your to-do list, it should be!

Founded in 1997, the Getty Center houses magnificent European paintings, drawings, sculptures, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts, and photography.

Fun Facts:

  • Because of height restrictions in the area, half of the Getty Center is underground – it is three stories both up and down.
  • Every spring the Getty hires a herd of goats to clear the brush and reduce fire danger on the hillside.
  • When the Italian beige-colored travertine stone (which makes up most of the building) was split for construction it exposed hidden fossils – leaves, shells, twigs, branches, and feathers. You can conduct a super cool fossil hunt on the floor and in the walls!

Seeking not just to educate, but also to engage, the Getty regularly offers new exhibitions, research, publications, performing arts events, and public education all with their diverse local and international audiences in mind.

Whether you’re an LA native, Getty regular, or just in LA for the weekend, Museum Hack’s unconventional tours have you covered!

For more information, and to help plan your visit, be sure to scroll down to learn more about events, bag check policy, and the parking options. You can also use our “5 Things to See at the Getty” section to get a quick virtual tour!

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5 Things to See at the Getty

View from the Top

The allure of the Getty is not just what you find in the galleries. The entire campus is a work of art in its own right!

Architect Richard Meier made it a point to show off, what we think, maybe the finest views in all of LA. Don’t skip the outside balconies and pavilions between galleries. On a clear day go outside, enjoy the fresh air, and savor the stunning views of both mountain and ocean from the same spot!

The South Pavilion has terrific views of the city, while the West Pavilion’s second-floor balcony offers a birds-eye view of the museum’s impressive Central Garden, which leads us to…

The Central Garden

The Getty’s central garden was created by SoCal sculptor Robert Irwin. The design is 134 thousand square feet, features a natural ravine and a tree-lined walkway. He describes it as a “sculpture in the form of a garden that aspires to be art.” High aspirations, but what we know for sure is that he designed an oasis where you can lose yourself in the landscape and appreciate the architectural beauty of the Getty itself.

Hack: On a nice day, stroll under the flowering trees by the azalea pool, grab a seat on a bench and relax with a cold beer or glass of wine (both available at the Getty cafés and coffee carts).

Joke Glass

Cheers to the curator who decided to create an entire case in the North Pavilion devoted to drinking games!

Joke Glass is essentially a 17th-century version of what we know as a dribble glass. The ornate silver embellishments and the human form are unusual making the Getty’s Joke Glass (pictured above) very unique. More commonly these glasses took the form of a stag, another animal, a horn, a penis, or a boot.

How does it work?

The idea was simple: make a fool of your friends. Simply challenge a friend to drink from the glass without spilling. Seems easy enough, however, the Joke Glass is designed to make drinking without spilling near impossible! If even a drop should spill the person would have to start over again with a full drink! You can imagine how that night ends.

The Musicians’ Brawl

In rooms filled with stuffy popes and heavy religious paintings, it is a nice break to see that George de la Tour took the time to paint a straight up street brawl.

You must be wondering – Why are two buskers fighting over their turf?

Well, the hurdy-gurdy player on the left, defending himself with a knife, is claiming to be blind. The dude on the right with the woodwind isn’t buying it and decides to squirt lemon juice in his competitor’s eye.

Who do you think won the fight? Our money is on the guy with the lemon.

The Musician’s Brawl is one of our favorite works to recreate in a tableau vivant posing contest!

Impressionist Room, Gallery W204

The Impressionist room is home to some of our favorite works of art including, Van Gogh’s Irises and Manet’s Spring. It is also the highest priced art at the Getty! We’ve crunched the numbers, these paintings are worth more per square inch than a four-year degree at nearby UCLA!

Manet’s Spring was bought for $65.1 million which breaks down to $112,284 per square inch!

We recommend you spend some quality time with these paintings! Do your best to ignore those rushing by to snap a photo, they’ll be on their way soon enough.

Hack: Imagine you just downed some absinthe (the good stuff), move a few steps away from the piece, take a deep breath and allow yourself to be pleasantly overwhelmed by impressionism’s soft glowing colors.