J. Paul Getty. Mr. Jean Paul Getty. Old JPG, oil baron and once purported to be the wealthiest private citizen in the world. When Mr. Getty died in 1976, he bequeathed $1.2 billion to his charitable trust, The Getty Foundation, making the J. Paul Getty Museum the most richly endowed museum on earth.
A hefty chunk of that endowment went to building the The Getty Center, a six-building complex that sits on a hilltop in Brentwood. If you’ve not been to the Getty Center (the big brother to the Getty Villa, in Malibu), it may be more than expected. Don’t think museum, think compound.
The Getty Center includes a large museum, a research institute and library, an art conservation institute, a digital information institute, an arts education institute, a museum management school, a grant program center, gardens and cafe.
Plan to spend a good part of the day taking in the antiquities, drawings, manuscripts, paintings, photographs, sculptures and decorative arts. Stroll through the gardens and watch school kids on field trip roll down the hills. Pack a picnic and enjoy the gorgeously manicured gardens as you eat, or, stop into the casual cafe for a bite and take in sweeping views of the city on the outdoor patio.
- The museum is free, but parking is $15. If you don’t mind a little uphill walk, you can park on the PCH for free. Or park twice, pay once: Get same-day parking at both the Getty Center and Getty Villa for one $15 fee at the visitor information desk.