LA is a hub of the arts world, and we have the museums to prove it. A couple of my favorites are LACMA and the Getty Center, both of which are homes to incredible permanent galleries (such as the Getty’s collection of Van Gogh’s paintings) and fascinating exhibitions (such as LACMA’s “In Wonderland,” which featured surrealist art by women, or “Tim Burton,” a display of Tim Burton’s art, not just from films, but from personal projects). However, there is so much more to both of them, so here’s a rundown of what you can expect from them both.
The Getty Center
The J. Paul Getty Center is a masterpiece of architecture in itself, seeming to float on the hills of Brentwood, and is a more than appropriate setting for the masterpieces it contains. It features art from Europe and America with the permanent collection being organized chronologically just like a clock, with the oldest pieces to the north and newest to the west.
There is a great cafe on site, but bringing a picnic is also a popular option (and yes, you can enjoy wine on the terrace). If you choose to dine on the terrace, you’ll be able to enjoy a view of the Central Garden, a masterwork in and of itself. It’s botanical composition changes often, but retains an incredible, artfully designed structure. Within and around it also are picnic areas, perfect for families to let the kids run around a bit.
Speaking of the kids, there is a fun little kids area where kids can become part of the art or even create art themselves. Museums can be tough on kids, though, so the Getty’s site has some great tips on exploring art with kids.
Open every day except Monday.
The LA County Museum of Art, located in the heart of Metropolitan Los Angeles right off of Fairfax and Wilshire Blvd., is home to art from all around the world, and a wide variety of styles from different periods. LACMA is also incredibly kid friendly, with their own tips for visiting the museum with kids and outreach programs, such as NexGen, a free membership program for youth under the age of 18 which allows kids to go to LACMA for free (AND an adult gets to come for free*, too)!
Additionally, through June 30, a one-day generally admission ticket gets you a free three month summer pass to LACMA. That means free admission, previews of exhibitions, shopping discounts, and more.
There is a variety of options for eating on-site, although you’re also in the heart of Los Angeles with the famous/original Pink’s Hot Dogs just down the street, as well as Canter’s Deli. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, my favorite little Ethiopian place is just down Fairfax as well (Nyala Ethiopian Restaurant), which I think is an awesome way to finish a day of cultural exploration.
Price: $15 General Admission for Adults, $10 Seniors & Students, Free under 18*
Open every day except Wednesday.
*Admission prices are more for special exhibitions.
Bonus: LA Museum Free Days
These are just a couple of my favorite museums, but I know that everyone has different tastes AND that everyone likes free stuff. Los Angeles Magazine published this great chart of museum free days, so peruse and enjoy!