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2nd visit November 2012
The Getty Villa and ranch house was built by oil magnate J. Paul Getty who, according to our guide, never actually saw the Getty Villa as he was afraid to fly from his home in London. It was modeled after the Villa dei Papiri, an ancient Roman villa partially uncovered in Herculaneum. The J. Paul Getty Museum was opened here in 1974 but was closed in 1997 when that collection was moved to the Getty Center. It was reopened in 2006 as the Getty Villa with it's current collection of art and culture from ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria.
Admission is free, there is an $15 charge per car. Reservations are MANDATORY and can be made on the attached website, you must have your timed ticket with you. Check out the various talks and events that are scheduled before you reserve or pick up a guide to the day's events when you arrive, there are several guided tours during the day, an architecture tour, a garden tour, a collection highlight tour, focus tours and spotlight talks given at various times during the day. We took the garden tour and were the only two on it, it was an interesting look at the layout and functionality of an Italian garden.
We enjoyed the current exhibit that runs through January 7, 2013, The Last Days of Pompeii: Decadence, Apocalypse, Resurrection. There are also lots of special events throughout the year, if you live near Los Angeles, you might want to get on their mailing list.
There a cafeteria if you need to get a bite to eat and a museum gift shop with some interesting gift items although like most museum shops tending to run to the expensive side.
Only a day or so to spend?
With only a day and a half to see things and not knowing which parts of each day you'll have to spend, I'd say it might be a good idea to arrange your time around meals and choose what to do or see that way.
Another consideration is your own interests. What is it about L.A. that makes you want to go there? Beaches, Movie stars, The Myths, History or What?
Santa Monica Beach is very popular and full of activity for those who want to be in the midst of the action, besides just going to the Beach. Venice Beach has been famous for a long time and offers some pretty unusual sites. I personally like a smaller beach that gives the impression of a real community hangout. One of those is Manhattan Beach. Also, Laguna Beach or Malibu Beach sometimes offers "star" sitings. If you'd like to add a little culture, why not stop at The Getty Villa, a picturesque venue offering spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, aromatic landscaping and classic arts, including an ancient artifacts museum that doesn't take long to explore.
Rodeo Drive is noted for it's offer of exclusive luxury but can be easily experienced by having a meal at the Cafe Rodeo. Sitting near the window, you'll see the action of the street and sometimes, someone famous. I go there for lunch or dinner when I'm up that way and have always had a good time, people watching.
Downtown LA has been revitalized, but Chinatown (Chinese food) and Olivera Street (Mexican food) are still around and might be interesting to see, as well as the Garment District where designer stuff can be found, sometimes at a great discount.
Everyone seems to want to meander The Hollywood Walk of Fame, see Grauman's Chinese Theater, The Hollywood Sign, The Kodak Theater Complex and other "movie star" related things. While in the area, I would suggest checking out the Farmer's Market. It's an updated, "blast from the past" which offers various food choices for a late breakfast, (opens at nine) lunch or dinner, a few shops and sometimes even a star sighting.
Something I found interesting which also might give inspiration, is the 100 Free Things in Los Angeles, which is interesting even if you are not on a budget.
After dinner you might consider The Comedy Store for a fun night out. This is the place that many of the worlds most well known comedians began their careers.
I agree that driving yourself is the most timeefficient way of getting around, but also, I think using public transportation to these areas would work. See for yourself. Go to the Trip Planner and try it out to see if this is a viable option for you.
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
5 days in Los Angeles without renting a car
Will you be going to other areas within 5 hrs drive of LA?
If you're not, below might be an option for you.
I live in LA. my Aussie relatives recently visited LA, I put them in a hotel close to a train station close to my apt. I have to work during the weekday, so I suggested that they do a 2-day LA hop-on hop-off tourbus. I think they did Starline, not sure, but almost positive. And they loved it!
They visited tons of places they wanted to hit (from hollywood to santa monica to downtown) and didn't have to worry about transportation, renting cars, parking, driving in traffic and the tour guides knew more interesting facts than I would know. Plus, if I'm driving them around I'll be more concerned about traffic and finding parking than telling them stories/histories of a building or house, etc.
On the days they weren't doing the tourbus, they took the train to Pasadena, Universal Studios, and Long Beach Aquarium. At night, they have me driving them to places for dinner, so it worked well for them not renting a car. If you think you will doing nightlife everynight, since you can't drive while intoxicated, you will need to take the taxi home anyway. So you still don't need to rent a car.
Places to eat: if I'm ever in Venice beach with visitors, I normally try to take them to C&O (Italian) for dinner. There are 2 locations, I like the one closest to the beach, but the one further is generally less crowded. But rather than guess your budget and what you like, check out yelp.com. That's my go-to website before I go to any place to eat/drink/nightlife/hiking/parks. You can search places by categories, (restaurant, nightlife, service, etc), cuisine, areas, budget. It also rates it, give a price ranges, hours of operation, pictures, tips from reviewers, etc.
TIP: Pink's Hot Dog is over rated, but it is a novelty place. You be the judge if waiting in line for an hour for hot dogs is worth your time. Costco's hot dog is much better, cheaper and faster to get. And if you want more unique brats, check out Wurstküche. It's a gastropub. There are 2 locations: Little Tokyo in downtown and Venice)
Nightlife: there are online companies the offers club crawl for a small fee ($20 or so), you get to go to 3-4 clubs in 1 night, no waiting in lines, etc. Which is a small fee if you think that it can cost up to $40 to get into 1 club, not including tipping the bouncer if you want to skip lines, etc.
Shop, if you're shopping electronics, do it online or Costco. I don't know what Costco in Melbourne is like, my Aussie relatives LOVES Costco in LA. Either that or Best Buy.
Don't forget the find out what events are in LA during the time you're here. You would've just missed the Long Beach Grand prix (it's mid April in 2012). Check out concerts in Hollywood Bowl.
If you like museums, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and Getty (both location) and MOMA are the bigger ones. And they're either free or have free days.
Hope this helps.
- Museum Visits
- Food and Dining
This museum was built by Getty himself as a public showcase for his collection of art in the style of a Roman villa. However as the new getty Art center was developed this re-dedicated to display Getty's collection of Roman and Greek antiquities.
- Museum Visits
In and around Los Angeles
Here's a few things you might want to do in and around LA. Visit Rodeo Drive at Beverly Hills (not much to look at, but everyone makes a big fuss about it) and Hollywood where they have the walk and stars. There's quite a bit of night life around the Whiskey, Rainbow and Viper Room. They typically have rock shows, there's dance clubs sprinkled around. Social Hollywood close by is quite cool. There's also the Grove (best during afternoon/evening) at West Hollywood. Not to forget the Hollywood sign if you haven't already seen it. A drive around Bel Air also has some decent views of the city.
I second the third street at Santa Monica. I think evening is probably best. You could club it with a visit to the Pier before that. The Getty Center (museum attached) has great views. There's also the Getty Villa at Pacific Palisades (needs prior parking reservation) for some cool greek artwork. Venice beach has some weird homes right near the sand and on some evenings you can hear the drum circle where all these hippies get together to play some music and dance. It's a lot of fun. Dolphins come up close to the beach hearing these weird beats. AND I DID NOT HALLUCINATE THAT PART!!!!
Griffith Observatory would probably have the best views of the city at night. It's free! The James Dean movie "Rebel" was shot there. But they close the observatory itself around 8, so you may want to go there earlier if you wish to see what's inside the building.
- Family Travel
Classical Art on the Beach
If you appreciate Roman, Greek, and Etreuscan sculpture this is the museum for you! I much prefer it to it's sister museum known as The Getty Center, as the two have little in common. The Getty Villa is the original Getty and reopened last year after being closed for several years for a renovation which included the addition of an outdoor amphitheatre and ample parking garage. I stress the importance of parking because you cannot visit the Getty Villa without a parking reservation and there is no other parking in the area. You will be turned away if you arrive without a reservation. There is a terrific cafe with patio seating that serves fresh sandwiches, salads, as well as beer and wine. My girlfriends and I started out tour here with a bottle of Prosecco.
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
The Getty Villa is an educational center and museum dedicated to the arts and cultures of Greece and Rome. The Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities are arranged by themes including Gods and Goddesses, Dionysos, Greek Women, and the Theater and Stories of the Trojan War, housed within Roman-inspired architecture and surrounded by Roman-style gardens.
The building itself is a re-creation of the Villa of the Papyri at Herculaneum. It also incorporates details from several other ancient sites. Admission is free but must be booked in advance either on the website or by phone. Parking is $8 per car.
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
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