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The Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades

The Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades

Since opening its doors in 1974, Getty Villa has inspired passion–from visitors driving up Pacific Coast Highway to spend an engaging day among its immersive architecture and art, to staff members bringing ancient times back to life here.

This month, two shows explore how ancient peoples used decorated pottery.


The Getty Villa in Brentwood-area museum’s galleries and gardens reopened this week after having been closed since March 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic. Tickets to visit are only available online in advance to control visitor numbers for an enjoyable experience for everyone.

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J Paul Getty built his museum in 1974 to house his art collection. It is designed in the style of Villa dei Papiri at Herculaneum, a Roman country house that was destroyed during an eruption of Mount Vesuvius that occurred around A.D. 79 (and which also caused Pompeii to be buried).

Visitors come to Villa exhibits not only to view its exhibits but also enjoy its gardens and outdoor attractions – from Greek theater performances on its grounds, courtyards, ponds and fountains – but many stay for its gardens and outdoor attractions as well. Gardens feature a small Greek theater as well as courtyards, ponds and fountains. Within the museum itself lies its main draw – Etruscan, Greek and Roman antiquities that are organized according to theme so it’s easy to locate what you’re searching for.

If you’re new to the Getty Villa Museum, take a guided tour. These free talks take place throughout the day and offer visitors in-depth knowledge and behind-the-scenes details of what goes on inside. In addition, family workshops, presentations and other programs for visitors of all ages are also available at this beautiful villa.


As is true with many forms of art, the Getty Villa and Gardens can best be appreciated when taken in context with their designers’ intent. The museum was designed as a tribute to Roman Villa dei Papiri which was lost due to Mount Vesuvius’ eruption at Herculaneum. Oil magnate J. Paul Getty modelled his museum after this ancient country house to house his collection of Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities but also to serve as its own work of art.

Inner Peristyle of Triclinium House | What makes Triclinium’s inner peristyle such an eye-catcher are its rows of perfectly manicured, symmetrically planted and carefully manicured bushes and its central fountain (replicated from Pompeii). Marble lines the walls inside; while outside, another fountain stands watch over special events and lectures held in its shaded Triclinium hall, which serves as an auditorium during special events or talks.

Getty Villa provides free talks and tours all week. Their 40-minute Architecture Tour covers its many architectural details, available multiple times daily at various Tour Meeting Places near its entrance. Signing up for this tour allows visitors to skip long lines for the museum’s main exhibits!

Guided Tours

As per Getty’s charitable ideals, entry to both Villa Getty and its museum complex off Sepulveda Pass is free of charge. However, for maximum impact from your visit and maximum efficiency when signing up for tours and talks (tour spots can fill quickly so book in advance if possible!), read the daily schedule and sign up. Tours often fill quickly so if possible book online beforehand!

Oil magnate and art collector J. Paul Getty designed his villa after Villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum which was destroyed by Mount Vesuvius’ eruption in A.D. 79 (also responsible for Pompeii). Becoming obsessed with collecting classical antiquities, Getty soon outgrew the space available in his own house so decided to create this museum to display his collection of classical pieces.

The gallery on the first floor features objects from Alexander (336-30 BC). One highlight is a bronze statue known as Victorious Youth, one of the largest bronze sculptures ever made. Additionally, ancient manuscripts and a Roman-era mummy can also be seen here.

At Villa, take a stroll among its spacious gardens of olive trees and lavender bushes or admire its peristyle, an arrangement of columns surrounding a courtyard. Don’t forget the fountain garden – an exact copy of an ancient fountain from Herculaneum; also available are vegetable gardens and two Mediterranean gardens with reflecting pools.


The Getty Museum is an iconic cultural center located near Pacific Palisades and Malibu that holds over 44,000 Greek, Roman, and Etruscan antiquities. Visitors to Los Angeles should make time for this must-see site that transports them back in time to Ancient Greece and Rome!

The Villa is one of two museums operated by the Getty Trust, the other being the Getty Center. While the latter specializes in sculptures and gardens, while its counterpart emphasizes sculpture. Built by oil magnate J. Paul Getty in the early 1970s to house his art collection. It was inspired by Roman country houses such as Villa dei Papiri which was destroyed during Mount Vesuvius’ eruption of A.D 79; while also taking cues from other ancient sites.

Most visitors arrive via private vehicle; there is a large parking structure on-site offering $15 vehicle parking spaces for visitors. Moovit, an all-in-one transportation app, provides directions for public transit users wishing to arrive via buses or trains, offering information such as arrival/departure times for each service and alternative routes/schedules to and from Getty Villa.

Military members from both active and veteran services can park for free at Getty Villa from Memorial Day (May 29, 2023) through Labor Day (September 4, 2023). To obtain complimentary parking, visit the museum information desk with proof of service or ID to obtain complimentary parking.


After visiting the gallery and gardens, visit the restaurant for lunch or afternoon tea. They serve sandwiches, salads, pasta and light dishes like scones as well as chocolate mousse cups and other desserts on an ever-evolving menu; not inexpensive but certainly satisfying as an end of day experience at Villa.

Oil magnate and art collector J Paul Getty established his gallery adjacent to his luxurious Pacific Palisades home but quickly ran out of space for his antiquities collection of Greek, Roman, Etruscan antiquities. So in 1974 he built a museum inspired by the Villa dei Papiri–an ancient Roman villa located near Herculaneum which was destroyed during an eruption of Mount Vesuvius 79–while also including elements from other sites across antiquity.

Getty Villa and Getty Center in Brentwood form part of one museum; you pay one admission fee to visit both locations. Their collection of classical antiquities dating as far back as 6,500 BC can be seen arranged thematically, such as The Victorious Youth statue–an elaborate bronze representation of an ideal of Greek beauty from life-sized bronze figures–who is the centerpiece of both locations.

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Enjoy Los Angeles from its lush gardens! The Outer Peristyle garden is an exact proportional replica of Villa dei Papiri and contains plants like oleander, viburnum, boxwood and bay laurel.


Villa, situated along the coast with stunning Pacific views, boasts expansive garden spaces and architecture reminiscent of traditional Roman designs. Perfect for leisurely strolls or scenic picnics alike, its garden spaces also provide shelter to an assortment of California Mule Deer.

Replicating Herculaneum’s Villa dei Papiri, this 64-acre museum provides an elegant showcase for Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities collected by oil magnate J Paul Getty. 

Galleries, peristiles courtyards gardens feature friezes busts millennia-old colored marbles as well as remarkable collections such as Homer and Dante original manuscripts and Roman mosaics that stand among ancient texts by J Paul Getty – not forgetting his remarkable collection of ancient texts including original manuscripts by Homer and Dante manuscripts! 

Visitors will discover a remarkable collection of ancient texts such as Homer and Dante original manuscripts plus Roman mosaic treasure trove.

Getty Villa Gift Shop features typical Museum Store merchandise, such as books, apparel and jewelry inspired by its location, museum antiquities collections or special exhibitions. Its main shop resides inside the entrance pavilion with an extensive selection of items.

West Pavilion (L2) level Shop sells merchandise that complements specific exhibits while an Exhibition Pavilion Shop provides merchandise related to them – both are open during museum hours for your shopping convenience. A coffee/pastry bar is also on site.


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