Getty Or Not Here I Come.
If you fly over Los Angeles and see pockets of green dotting the endless grid of gray, you might imagine neighborhood parks brightening the urban sprawl. A nice fantasy to be sure, but this city’s lush gardens and manicured lawns are almost always private property.
So-called “public” parks scandalously segregate based on class; Lacy Park in tony San Marino charges non-residents a $5 (per person!) entrance fee on the weekends. Even people who live in nearby (and equally chi chi) Pasadena are forced to whip out their wallets if they want to walk, jog, or picnic like the privileged class.
So, on my first visit to the Getty, I was simply blown away. The Getty is more than a museum. It is arresting architecture, refreshing fountains, sunny piazzas, stunning sculptures, polished gardens, and magnificent vistas – oh yeah, and if you tire of soaking up beauty in the brilliant sunshine, there is some world class art to see indoors. The Getty is a grand, elegant and 100% FREE playground for the aesthetes of Los Angeles.
The list of things that I miss about living in L.A. is short and sweet, but the Getty is definitely on it. I love Kansas City for its abundance of parks and public spaces, but some small part of me still pines for a sunset evening at the Getty (especially when winter storms are dumping several feet of snow on the Midwest!)
The last time we were in L.A., we met good friends at the Getty for lunch. I am happy to say it was still the utopian perfection that I remembered. The kids were elated by the tram ride up the hill and cavorted giddily in the gardens while the adults walked, talked, and took in the views. There were tears when it was time to go home (and I’m not saying if they were from the kids or me).
NOTE: The Getty Villa in Malibu is much smaller in scale, but just as lovely as the main Getty. It’s also free, but a reservation (timed entry) is required for entry to the Villa. There is a fee for parking at both Getty sites.
My First Getty Visit
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