The Guide to the Perfect Date at the Getty Center

Aerial view of the Getty Center | Photo courtesy of Nancy-D, Discover Los Angeles Flickr pool
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For visitors and residents alike, Los Angeles offers endless options for entertainment - you can literally do everything. But when it comes to impressing that special someone, doing just anything doesn’t cut it.

Ideally, a great date engages mind and body - beauty for the eye, interesting topics of conversation, delicious food and drink, eclectic music.

Perched on a hilltop above Brentwood, the world-famous Getty Center offers all of those things and much more. Read on for the best tips on what to see and do on your perfect date at the Getty.

Visit for Free

Your date is off to a good start - admission to the Getty Center is free, and you don’t need a ticket or reservation!

Parking is $15 per car, and reduced to $10 after 3 p.m. Go Metro and save even more money: Metro bus lines 734 and 234 stop at the Getty Center entrance, located at the intersection of Getty Center Drive and Sepulveda Boulevard.

Take a Scenic Ride

Getty Center tram
Getty Center tram | Photo courtesy of Teddy Kwok, Flickr

Departing from a station near the parking area, the free Getty tram takes lovebirds on a short, scenic ride up the hillside to the museum. This makes for a great opening scene to a developing Snapchat story. (Try out the Geofilter!)

Opposites Attract

Courtyard, North and East Pavilions at the Getty Center
Courtyard, North and East Pavilions at the Getty Center | Photo courtesy of jaroslavd, Flickr

Designed by Richard Meier, the unique architecture of the Getty Center blends long curvilinear forms and sharp edges. (Opposites attract in love and art.) Square panels of travertine and metal give the exterior and outdoor spaces a striking grid effect. Explore the museum and look for the contrasts between natural and modern elements.

Talk About the Art

The Getty’s galleries are home to hundreds of paintings and sculptures depicting every emotion - from love and joy to sadness and despair. Talk about how the artwork makes you feel, such as The Farewell of Telemachus and Eucharis by Jacques-Louis David, on view in the South Pavilion.

Go: Van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh - “Irises” (1889) at Getty Center
Vincent van Gogh - “Irises” (1889) [detail] | Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program

Now on view in the West Pavilion, Vincent van Gogh’s Irises is one of the most famous and beloved paintings at the Getty Center.

The painting's story is a fascinating and sad one: Van Gogh painted it while living in a mental institution housed in a medieval monastery in southern France; his room looked out on the monastery garden. Though Van Gogh experienced periods of crippling illness, he nonetheless created 150 paintings over the course of his yearlong stay in the hospital.

Pro tip: Start a conversation about Irises - Why is there only one white flower? What does the flower mean?

Study Up On Art History

Getty Collections screen capture
Getty Collections screen capture

Before your visit, you can study up on art history with the Getty's online collection and other free resources. One of these is the Getty Research Portal, which offers free digital access to centuries of art history books, such as exhibition catalogues. Impress your date with interesting facts about artists and famous artworks.

Put Pencil to Paper

"Moses and the Messengers from Canaan" by Giovanni Lanfranco at the Getty Center
"Moses and the Messengers from Canaan" by Giovanni Lanfranco [detail], Sketching Gallery at Getty Center | Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program

Located on the second floor of the East Pavilion, the Sketching Gallery welcomes the public to study and recreate several sculptures and paintings on view, such as Moses and the Messengers from Canaan by Giovanni Lanfranco. Drawing materials such as sketching paper, pencils and charcoal are provided for free. Just bring your date and your artistic talent, whether you're a novice or a modern day Michelangelo.

Get to Know Each Other

Get to know your date while you're getting to know the Getty Center with free, 45-minute tours of the architecture and gardens, or a one-hour overview of major works in the museum. There's also monthly gallery talks and the bi-monthly Move!, an interactive, non-traditional exploration of selected artworks in the Getty collection. 

Share a Pick-Me-Up

If you're in need of a little pick-me-up, there are two coffee carts—one in the Museum Courtyard and one on the Plaza—offering coffee, hot tea, espresso drinks, bottled beverages, and baked goods, as well as hot and cold food options. There's outdoor seating all around the Getty Center campus, so you can create your own intimate setting and discuss your art history notes.

Pro tip: Take your drinks and snacks and find a chair, bench, or square of lawn in the Central Garden. This is the more intimate alternative to sitting in the courtyard with your date.

Admire the Spectacular Views

Coastal view from the Getty Center
Westside, Pacific Ocean, and Catalina Island in the distance, viewed from the Getty Center | Photo courtesy of Aram K, Flickr

Surrounding each gallery pavilion are breathtaking views of Los Angeles, from cityscapes to the Pacific Ocean. These vantage points are perfect for admiring the natural landscape and spotting landmarks, while getting lost in a quintessential L.A. moment.

Enjoy a Romantic Picnic...

Sunset picnics at the Getty Center
Sunset picnics at the Getty Center | Photo courtesy of photogreedy.com, Discover Los Angeles Flickr pool

The Central Garden, a living sculpture designed by artist Robert Irwin, is renowned for its beauty and tranquility. Plan a romantic picnic for two: bring a blanket, some shareable snacks, and set aside plenty of time to spend relaxing together.

...Or a Table for Two

The Restaurant at the Getty Center
The Restaurant at the Getty Center | Photo courtesy of the Getty Center

For a sit-down dining option, the self-service Cafe on the lower level of the Restaurant/Cafe building has indoor and outdoor dining areas. The extensive menu includes sandwiches, soups, salads, pizza, tacos, burritos, and grilled items. Wine and beer are also available.

Or you can splurge on the fine-dining Restaurant, where you can share an elegant meal with views of the Santa Monica Mountains as the backdrop. The upscale menu changes seasonally. Reservations are recommended.

Pro tip: The Restaurant offers a gourmet brunch every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Bougainvillea With Your Boo

Bougainvillea in the Central Garden at the Getty Center
Bougainvillea at the Getty Center | Photo courtesy of taviivat, Flickr

Whether your meal is casual or upscale, afterwards you can return to the Central Garden and take a romantic stroll or sit beneath the bougainvillea. It's a perfect place to unwind and soak in the beauty all around you.

Discover New Music

Live music performances at Getty Center
Photo courtesy of Getty Center

The Getty hosts free live music and performance series throughout the year. Music moves outdoors during the summer—experience a wide range of genres along with drinks and a relaxing atmosphere. You might even discover your new favorite band! Check out the Getty360 calendar for all upcoming events.

Watch the Sunset

Sunset view at the Getty Center
Sunset view at the Getty Center | Photo courtesy of JKG II, Discover Los Angeles Flickr Pool

Your perfect date at the Getty Center ends with a breathtaking sunset that's a work of art itself. Board the tram for a ride back down the hill, and then …?