Cultural Los Angeles (on the Cheap)
People tend to either love Los Angeles or despise it. I can understand both points of view, especially when considering the traffic. For the haters, we can’t do anything about the transportation nightmares, but we can suggest a few inexpensive places to experience that might just have you seeing Los Angeles from the L.A. lovers’ points of view.
Getty Museum and Villa – Two of the greatest spots in L.A. have to be the Getty Museum and the Getty Villa. Both locations feature unbelievable gardens and amazing (though very different from one another) architecture.
The museum’s architecture is very modern and houses art of many types from Europe, American photography, garden sculptures and a selection from the Getty Research Library. Not that you would want to, but you could skip all the art and still have a tranquil experience here by strolling through the gardens and imbibing the breathtaking views of the Santa Monica Mountains and Los Angeles.
The Villa is actually called the Getty Villa Malibu, though the official address is in Pacific Palisades. Nonetheless, it is just off the Pacific Coast Highway and is an educational center and museum for the study of the arts and cultures of ancient Greece, Rome, and Etruria. The architecture and gardens, unlike the Getty Museum, are inspired by ancient Rome.
Entrance is free at both locations and tours are offered on specific topics from art to gardens to architecture if you are interested in a more detailed experience. Parking is $15 or free after 5 pm. However public transportation is available to both locations. Just visit the Getty website for very detailed instructions on using the public transportation to get to either site.
Another tip for a cheap, but memorable experience is to visit the Museum on a clear evening and enjoy one of the many free lectures or skip the lecture and enjoy the views. There is a restaurant that is quite impressive with great food, views and drinks, but reservations must be made in advance and it is a bit pricey unless you’re prepared for the occasion. Other cafes are on site and open during the day. The cafe serves wine and beer during its daytime operating hours. The Villa also offers free lectures on some evenings as well as other events. Its cafe is open only in the daytime and serves casual Mediterranean fare and also serves beer and wine. If you want to keep it very cheap, feel free to pack a picnic and bring it with you to enjoy within either inviting locale.
Hollywood Bowl – The United States’ largest natural outdoor amphitheater is home to the L.A. Philharmonic during the summer months. However, there are concerts of various genre throughout the season. Most concerts are in the evening and depending on the artist(s), prices can really vary. Go see anyone just to enjoy the setting. Go to an inexpensive concert and pack a picnic; and don’t forget the wine! A trick to enjoying the setting for free is to go on a weekday morning to the venue and enjoy rehearsals. Most weekday rehearsals are open to the public for no cost, but I’d call ahead to confirm times and days. Also, be sure to check out the Hollywood Bowl Museum, also free, and open every day of the week. There’s a fantastic history of the museum as well as a hands on science of the sound scape section.