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The Getty Center in Brentwood, LA

A Profile of the Getty Center Museum in Los Angeles


Richard Meier Architecture Getty Center Museum Brentwood Los Angeles
Photo: Getty/Handout/Getty Images

In Brief

The Getty Center is a museum in Brentwood that hosts an array of pieces of Western art from the Middle Ages through to the current day. This includes European paintings, drawings, sculptures, manuscripts, pieces of decorative art, American and European photography and special selections from the Getty Research Institute’s library.

Apart from this collection, the Center is a must-see for its grand design by starchitect Richard Meier, as well as for its landscaping, and a garden fashioned by artist Robert Irwin. Sitting on an opportune spot perched on a hillside of the Santa Monica Mountains, it boasts art--of course--and incredible views of LA.


The name Getty is synonymous with art, philanthropy and Los Angeles. Originally famous for its stunning Getty Villa in Malibu, the J. Paul Getty Trust contributed greatly to the pre-Millennial renewal of LA through its construction of the rustic Getty Center in the late ‘90s. It is one of the top visited museums in the country with approximately 1.3 million people making their way to it each year.

History and Architecture at the Getty Center

Although, it’s obviously enjoyable to peruse the art collection at the Getty, in my humble opinion, it’s not necessarily the 110 acre campus’ main draw. The architecture, landscaping and view are. The latter is probably one of the city’s best (public) vistas--at its crest it rises to 900 feet above the 405 freeway. Visitors can enjoy a sprawling snapshot of the LA skyline along with such picturesque details as the San Bernardino Mountains and the Pacific Ocean on a clear day.

When the Getty Center first opened in 1997, the buzz around it was centered on Richard Meier’s architecture and the beautiful grounds. The New Yorker, for instance raved: "The Getty is so popular that Meier has become something of a celebrity in L.A. As a work of architecture, the Getty complex possesses all of Meier's strengths and a few significant weaknesses."

Meier was chosen to design the center way back in the ‘80s but construction was significantly delayed. The architect’s prior work had included structures in Barcelona, Rome and Greece. So it’s not surprising that he so masterfully incorporated Mediterranean elements into the Getty Center. Its most famous ingredient: 16,000 tons of Travertine (beige textured stone which was imported from Italy expressly for the project).


Amazingly, admittance to the Getty Center is free of charge. The only cost associated with visiting is a parking fee of $15.


The museum is open Tue-Fri. from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sat. from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The Getty Center is closed on Mondays.

Getting to the Getty Center in Brentwood

If you’re driving, you can access the Getty Center through its main gateway entrance on Sepulveda Blvd.

Because of the center’s hilltop location, a tram will transport visitors from the parking area to the museum and gardens perched up above.

In this rare case (for the driving town of LA), public transport may be an easier option. If you just take the Metro Rapid Line 761 it will drop you off right at the Sepulveda gate (and you won’t incur the cost of parking).

The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90049

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