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The Getty Villa -- Treasure of the Malibu Coast

The Getty Villa is in Pacific Palisades between Santa Monica and Malibu. You don't even have to love art or antiquities to enjoy yourself here. The architecture and layout is a feast for the eyes, and the setting in the hills above the Pacific can't be beat.

Not to be confused with the Getty Center off of the 405, the Villa is on Pacific Coast Highway and concentrates on art of the antiquities.

The Getty Villa

You can totally have a relaxing day here, strolling around the buildings and grounds, learning about and imagining Etruscan, Greek and Roman life.

Upon arriving, you can attend a 12 minute film that will brief you on the history of J Paul Getty and his passion which got this lovely museum built.

The Architecture

Besides the exhibits, the buildings themselves are works of art, with tile and  patterns and mosaics and stones that are simply exquisite.  It is modeled after a first century Roman country house, one that was buried by a volcano (Mount Vesuvius).

architecture at the Getty Villa

Travertine, terrazo floors, a marble staircase, a tile fountain, and skylights are just some of the architectural features that add to the overall experience.

The Grounds And Gardens

Be sure to stroll around the grounds and gardens while you are there. There is a long pool, a few fountains, an extensive garden, and a balcony with a view of the Pacific Ocean just beyond.

Theatrical Mask and tiled fountain at the Getty Villa

Covered walkways called peristyles, a reflecting pool, the various plants and bronze statues are all meant to convey a Roman setting.

Exhibits At The Getty Villa

There are 2 floors of exhibits with artifacts from antiquity. The upstairs has changing exhibits, such as the "last days of Pompeii".  

statue of Zeus at the Getty Villa

The many art galleries are organized by theme, and you will find yourself entranced with stories of Greek and Roman gods and goddesses, the Trojan war and more. 

In the Family Forum room, you can create like an ancient artist, drawing on pottery, doing rubbings, donning costumes and doing a shadow play.

Creating ancient art at the Getty Villa in the Family Forum room

Planning Your Day At The Getty

The Getty is located just north of Sunset Boulevard off of Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades on the Malibu coast. You must park in their structure, they won't allow any walk-ins. It costs $15 per car, but the museum admission is free. You must go to the Getty villa website to reserve your free, timed tickets online and show them to the parking attendant upon arrival.

Decorative details on the floors and walls in galleries at the Getty Villa

You can also arrive by Metro Bus 534, but must have your timed ticket hole punched by the bus driver before you exit the bus.

There is a museum cafe up on the hill behind the main buildings, and a museum store underneath. Take a break and have lunch or a coffee and dessert.

The Getty Villa is open every day 10 to 5, but closed on Tuesdays.

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