In its billion-dollar in-the-clouds perch high above the city, the Getty Center presents triple delights: a stellar art collection (Renaissance to David Hockney); Richard Meier's cutting-edge architecture; and the visual splendor of seasonally changing gardens. On clear days, you can add breathtaking views of the city and ocean to the list.
Even getting up to the museum aboard the computer-operated tram is fun. From the sprawling arrival plaza, a natural flow of walkways, stairs, fountains, and courtyards encourages a leisurely wander between galleries, gardens, and outdoor cafes. Five buildings hold collections of manuscripts, drawings, photographs, furniture and decorative arts, and a strong assortment of pre-20th-century European paintings. Must-sees include Van Gogh's Irises, Monet's Wheatstacks, and Rembrandt's The Abduction of Europa. Children can visit the interactive Family Room or browse the special kid bookstore.
When not wandering the galleries, take time to visit the lovely Cactus Garden for those amazing Los Angeles city views. A great time to visit is in the late afternoon after the crowds have thinned. Sunsets create a remarkable alchemy of light and shadow and are especially magical in winter, when the orange orb drops straight into the Pacific.
The Getty Museum is located west of Hollywood, and is served by buses, which stops at Coastline Drive and Pacific Coast Highway directly across from the Getty Villa entrance. The tram takes you from the street-level parking facility to the top of the hill.
Dining options abound including several snack carts, a cafeteria, a self-service cafe, and a restaurant with breathtaking views of the ocean and mountains. The museum store sell lots of books and merchandise inspired the museum's antiquities collection and changing exhibitions.