Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Getty Center

There are those who say that Los Angeles has no cultural significance because it's not "old world" like places in Europe or even in New York with their old churches, museums, and attractions. In my experience, it's mostly people who see L.A. only as "the land of plastic surgery and sunshine" or who have never actually spent any time there. I love L.A. for lots of reasons but especially for the mix of cultures that you can find pretty much on every corner in the city.

One of the newest and probably best places to visit in the city if you're looking for a bit of culture is The Getty Center. This large museum complex is located on top of a hill in west Los Angeles that overlooks the 405 freeway and a lot of the city beyond. To get to the museum buildings and gardens you need to park in an underground parking lot near the freeway and take their tram up the hill.

The parking costs $15 per car but the museum is free to visit. Once you get off the tram and walk up a flight of steps, you're rewarded with amazing views of the city, ocean, Getty buildings, and the Getty Center Garden. It's quite impressive.

The view of Century City and downtown LA beyond:

During my last visit about a year ago and on this recent visit the museum had large photographic exhibits. This time there were three different ones that I saw all of which were of different places in Asia. One set of photos that was particularly cool for me was of scenes in China from over a hundred years ago. In the bottom-left photo below you can see the main gate in the city of Xi'an, which I visited and wrote about back in November. It was very cool to see those places as they were a long time ago.

I like going to the Getty to hang out in the gardens but the exhibits are also great. The Getty may not be adequate for some culture snobs but it's fun none the less. Besides, where else can you go to a great museum in late winter and get a sunburn at the same time?

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