17985 Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
The original incarnation of the J. Paul Getty’s philanthropic gift to Los Angeles began welcoming visitors in 1954. The seaside campus was closed for an 8-year renovation; meanwhile the spectacular Getty Center in West Los Angeles opened to dazzle locals and visitors alike. Now, both locations provide permanent collections and special exhibitions, with the Villa highlighting works from ancient Rome, Greece and Etruria.
While you’re at the Villa…
See the architecture modeled after a first-century Roman Villa. Over 1,200 pieces of art and antiquities are on display, dating as far back as 6,500 B.C. Be sure to visit the Gods and Goddesses section. Check the schedule for live performances in the amphitheatre.
Stroll the formal Peristyle garden, landscaped with plants favored by the ancient Romans. Alongside the 220-foot long reflecting pool are covered walkways with plenty of benches from which the surrounding sculptures can be appreciated. Marble basins and bronze statues depicting water scenes adorn an inner Peristyle garden. An herb garden cultivates plants used in Roman cooking and medicine, and an additional East garden holds mosaic fountains.
Drink in the view of Malibu Beach from the hilltop perch the property allows. Each of the villa’s buildings and walkways are set at different elevations and vantage points. Around every corner is a new vista to behold.
Touch, draw and create. Don’t miss the Family Forum even if there are no kids in your party. You’ll have a chance to decorate your own Greek vase and fathom the time and work that went into each piece you’ll see in the galleries. You can also step into a shadow-pose area and use props such as spears and headdress to transform yourself into a figure you might see on a vase.
Eat at an outdoor table of the Café. Naturally, the setting is magnificent but the food is fabulous, too. Choose from Mediterranean offerings like peasant breads with spreads or Tuscan bean salad with prosciutto. Even classics are given the Getty spin such as the Roman burger with garlic and pine nuts. Or just rest your tired feet with a glass of sparkling wine and a tempting dessert.
Born and raised in L.A., Andrea Renskoff’s knowledge spans trendy hubs to the diamonds in the rough to escapes from the ordinary. She currently writes about food, travel, families, health, wellness and lifestyle.