California Museums

Getty Villa Pacific Palisades, CA

Getty Villa
17985 Pacific Coast Highway
Pacific Palisades, California 90272
(310) 440-7300

Who would drive over an hour and pay $15 to park at the fabulous Getty Villa in Malibu, then spend their entire outing in the gardens, never venturing into the museum to see the antiquities collections? That's crazy! Yet it happens to me a lot when I go places with other people.

Here's the scenario: We arrive at the Getty Villa museum around noon, and the person I'm traveling with HAS TO eat now. Not later, now. The outdoor restaurant is the obvious choice so we spend about 45 (long) minutes making sure the companion is fed and ready to amp it up a little. Wandering around the elegant outdoor gardens with fountains spitting, spilling and pouring, my friend(s) dawdle, slow down, then sit down. That's when I see that things are never going to get better. Not long after they sit, they want to leave and get home before the rush hour traffic.

If you can ever make it into the Getty Villa, its world class collection of art spanning 7,000 years from the end of the Stone Age to the fall of the Roman Empire is amazing. The outdoor reflecting ponds and four gardens are worth a stroll, but do go inside to see pristine treasures such as painted vessels, Cycladic figures, coins, jewelry and gems. The famous "Victorious Youth" bronze statue was rescued from the sea and dates back to 300-100 BC. Seeing the bronze boy standing there, it feels like the sculptor captured his soul as if he's going to step off his pedestal and come to life.

It's easy to figure out that the world clamors to see the collection--you'll hear every language on Earth as you wander through the marble, inlaid halls seeing priceless artifacts along the way. And best of all it's free to see. The parking is $15, and you must make reservations for parking online at as parking space is limited. Go see as much as you can, then go back again. It's that good!

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