Looking for a little more as you explore the Getty Villa gardens and exhibits? Take a guided tour for in-depth information and behind-the-scenes details from a museum expert. These tours are offered free to the public at various times through the week. Check the current calendar to see which tours will be offered during your visit; then meet at the Tour Meeting Place outside the Museum Entrance. For more free talks and tours at the Getty Villa, check out the Villa’s Tour page.
While the Getty Villa houses more than 44,000 Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities, the Villa is a work of art on its own, modeled after a first-century Roman country house. The 40-minute Architecture Tour highlights various architectural elements of the Villa and offers insights into daily life in the ancient world. Offered multiple times every day.
Explore the Villa’s four gardens and learn about the ancient Roman gardens that inspired them. This 40-minute tour highlights the garden’s sculptures, fountains, and reflecting pools, along with its 300-plus plant varieties. Foodies may opt for the 30-minute Culinary Garden Tour instead, which specifically focuses on the garden’s edible plants, herbs, and fruit trees and their connection to cooking in antiquity; it’s available on Thursday and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The Garden Tour is offered multiple times every day.
Collection Highlights Tours
Want to see the Villa’s greatest hits? First-time visitors to the Getty Villa might consider this tour, available once a day on weekdays and twice a day on the weekend. This 50-minute tour highlights many of the major works on display from the Museum’s collection. Offered at 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday–Sunday; also at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Short on time? Explore the richness of the ancient art housed in the Getty Villa in this 20-minute gallery talk that takes an in-depth look at one major work in the museum’s collection. Offered once a day; see calendar for times.
The Observant Eye
From mythology to death, nudity to wine, key topics in the ancient Greek and Roman world—and their expression in the museum’s collection of art and artifacts—are examined in the 50-minute Observant Eye tour. Offered Monday and Friday at 2:00 p.m.
The Getty Center is not just for art lovers. Perched in the hills above West Los Angeles, the main branch of the world-class museum may look like an elevated modernist city. Its dramatic buildings house galleries filled with masterpieces that might intimidate those not familiar with 17th-century Baroque art—or with the sculptures of Henry Moore or Isamu Noguchi.
But herein lies the beauty of the Getty Center: Whether you go for art or for the free Friday night concerts, and whether you need to kill an afternoon with the kids, entertain out-of-town guests, or just find the perfect place for a relaxing picnic lunch, the Getty Center has something for everyone. Even better? Admission is free. (You just need to pay for parking.)
Designed by renowned architect Richard Meier, the main Getty Center complex includes the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Research Institute, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Harold M. Williams Auditorium, two cafés, a full-service restaurant, and more than 86 acres of landscaped gardens and terraces to explore. About 14 miles away—in Pacific Palisades, near Malibu—the Getty Villa focuses on ancient Greek and Roman art, housed in a Roman-style country house.
Overall, the Getty features the personal collection of businessman and art collector J. Paul Getty, who saw art as a civilizing influence in society and sought to make it more widely available to the public. Through the work of the J. Paul Getty Trust after his death, the Getty museum now consists of five two-story pavilions featuring hundreds of pre-20th-century European paintings, drawings, illuminated manuscripts, sculptures, and decorative arts. It also houses 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century photographs that the public can visit for no more than the cost of parking.
Read on for our guide to this world-class museum. Come and explore the amazing art collection at the Getty Center, but also bring the kids to explore the hands-on exhibits in the Family Room. Sign up to take one of the museum’s daily architecture tours. Come after hours for music and drinks at Off the 405. Or grab a sunset dinner reservation at the Getty’s The Restaurant.