Field Research: Day 3 - Luxury in L.A.

After my second day, I was so busy and exhausted at the end of each day (in the best way possible) that I didn't get daily updates out. "We good though," because the original plan was one blog for all the days - and I've been overachieving on this with the daily rundown. WAY better than one entry to encompass the entire trip. So... Day 3. The fullest of full days and oh-so-much to take in. Let's do it!

1) The Getty Villa (Pacific Palisades / Malibu)

Not to be confused with the Getty Center, The Getty Villa is in Pacific Palisades (a Malibu neighborhood) and basically down the street from the Lake Shore center I was at on Thursday. Admission is free though they do timed entry and you will want to make a online reservation in advance. Also know that parking is $20- standard L.A. rates.

I recently watched "All The Money In The World" on Amazon Prime, completely coincidental; but it for sure gave me a whole new experience of the Getty Villa. If you happen to be going to LA and plan to do anything Getty related, WATCH that movie. Actually, watch it anyway - it's really good. So, basically, the elder Getty was a gajillionaire and bought a crap load of rare art and artifacts with his fortune. The villa and the companion Getty Center (different facility entirely) house the amassed collection. It is mind-boggling to imagine the amount of money that a person would have to be able to build this villa, let alone to fill it and a $1.3 billion separate structure with art and sculpture. Not to mention the other estates he owned. Learning about the villa, its construction (Getty died before getting to see it), and the design process is as fascinating as walking the grounds, by the way.

I will fully admit that I read NOTHING at museums. I love going to them and learning; but I just will not read. The bigger the museum, the more my poor brain hurts, and the Villa is A LOT to take in. Fortunately, you can get an audio tour that takes you through the property and can give you all the juicy goodness about the most impressive pieces in the villa's collection. The audio tour/device is super easy to use and all you have to do is let them hold on to your ID while visiting, and you can enjoy a narrated tour of the grounds. There is even a Percy Jackson inspired audio tour that I'd love to bring my oldest daughter back for!

I was most impressed with the property itself and the thought that was in each detail. Off in the distance, you can see the Pacific Ocean and the sites all around are indescribable. It was built to mimic an Italian villa with spaces designed in the Roman tradition. Getty specifically picked this location because of its similarity in climate to southern Italy and you certainly do feel transported once on property. There is a lovely ocean breeze, many places to sit in the shade or bask in the sun, and even a cafe with food and coffee beverages of all sorts. The grounds and gallery rooms are fully wheelchair accessible with the use of elevators and lifts. I made a particular note of how well they handled accessibility. If you prefer a docent-led tour, you can pre-reserve a spot on one of the few immersive tours each day, or simply line up once there for any of the multiple "speed tours."

I was surprised that the grounds and galleries weren't more crowded, especially for a sunny Saturday. There were countless opportunities for photos without the "unsightly obstruction" of other visitors! I can see why Getty would build such a place.

BONUS: the most interesting "installation" (not an installation. it was by the bathrooms, but I loved it), which EVERYONE walked past and failed to notice, was a WORKING pay phone. I tried to collect call my husband, but he refused the charges - HA! What's more, is I found ANOTHER pay phone on the property after spotting this one and spending a good long while taking selfies with it and trying to recall the last time I'd used a pay phone. Most definitely in college, using a calling card with a number and PIN I had memorized. Weird.

If you enjoy fine art, mythology, large museums, architecture or just walking around beautiful places, you will LOVE the villa. For me, the art collection was so massive that my little brain felt a bit overloaded as I mentioned before; but there was plenty else that I enjoyed.

2. Petersen Automotive Museum

Ok, this wasn't originally on my trip plan (foolish); but after dinner with my friend Friday evening, I made it a Saturday priority and boy was that a good decision! Admission is just $16; which is so great. BEWARE though - you pay $17 separately for parking.The building that houses the impressive machines is, itself, an incredible piece of architectural design- you can't miss its red and silver waves as you drive up.