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

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.

NOTE: paintings may occasionally be rotated out of public viewing or loaned to other museums.

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 $20 per car, and reduced to $15 after 3 p.m. Go Metro and save even more money: Metro bus line 761 stop at the Getty Center entrance, located at the intersection of Getty Center Drive and Sepulveda Boulevard.

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Getty Center tram | Photo courtesy of Teddy Kwok, Flickr

Take a Scenic Ride

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!)

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

Opposites Attract

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.

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

Go: Van Gogh

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?

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Getty Collections screen capture

Study Up On Art History

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.

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"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

Put Pencil to Paper

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.

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

Admire the Spectacular Views

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.

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

Enjoy a Romantic Picnic...

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.

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

...Or a Table for Two

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.

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

Bougainvillea With Your Boo

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.

Live music at the Getty Center
Photo: Getty Center

Discover New Music

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 Getty calendar for all upcoming events.

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

Watch the Sunset

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 …?