Last time on Spring Break 2016, we began exploring Los Angeles with pie and a some culture at the Getty Center. It was rainy the whole day, so we relished our time indoors and still marveled at how beautiful the museum was. But the day wasn’t over yet, and we had more art to take in at the Getty Villa.
Tip: If you are planning on visiting the Getty Villa, you will need to register ahead of time online to get your FREE tickets. Yes, you need tickets, but yes, they are free. I actually had gotten tickets for 2 different times, with one being the last slot available so that we weren’t as rushed to leave the Getty Center. (Very sorry to anyone who wanted tickets for the slot I didn’t use and was unable to register.) Make sure to reserve your ticket and then either have your ticket saved on a mobile device or printed to show at the gate.
If you’d like to visit the Getty Center and the Getty Villa in one day, you can use your parking voucher from one at the other! (Aka free parking at your second Getty destination!) Since we went from the Getty Center to the Getty Villa, we had to first let the Getty Center parking folks know that we were headed to the Getty Villa so that they could give us a voucher to bring over to the Getty Villa. This worked out pretty well for us because the Getty Center has a ticketed garage and we were able to present our voucher to the guard at the Getty Villa, but I’m not sure how it works if you go from Villa to Center.
The Getty Villa is a gorgeous, stunning estate that is near Malibu but not quite there, despite what the museum itself advertises. (And I’m pretty sure their social media team is mad that I called them out on that. The truth will set you free, Getty Villa.) The estate was originally the residence for J. Paul Getty and slowly transformed into what it is today as he kept running out of room for displaying his antiquities. Not only did he want to display his really impressive collection, he wanted to display them in a way that reflected their time and how they would have been displayed in their time. The estate’s architectural design (oh, did you think you had escaped me talking about Getty architecture, guess again) is based on the Villa of the Papyri, which was destroyed by the volcanic eruption that rendered Herculaneum to ruins. Not only is Getty Villa a pretty spectacular re-creation of a Greco/Roman antiquity villa, the entire estate is also modeled to be reminiscent of an archaeological dig, with some of the structures intentionally built to resemble half-uncovered ruins. And while the Getty Villa was the original and sole site of the Getty Museum, it now houses only the antiquities in the way they were meant to be displayed, so the pieces have a lot of room for admiration.
Also, the estate itself is art. The gardens were just beautiful and featured beautiful fountains. Also, just look at how obsessed I became with the beautiful tile work on the floors…
It was pretty spectacular, and I can only imagine how absolutely breathtaking it must be when it’s not overcast. I’m so glad we were able to make it in time to walk around after rushing over from the Getty Center. We weren’t even able to check out all of the collections that were on display, so you can easily spend an entire day here if you choose, even if you are not a fan of classic antiquity art (which I am).
While we had done a lot of walking around both museum sites and were getting quite tired, Ben and I were no where close to being done for the day.
Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles
At a loss for where we should eat after getting overwhelmed by suggestions, I thought we could head out to Roscoe’s House of Chicken & Waffles to get, what else, chicken and waffles. I’ve never been a HUGE fan of this now-famous food combo, but I mean, I love fried chicken and I love waffles.
After a small mishap where I got too excited about the bottle of Louisiana hot sauce on the table (it was runnier than I thought it’d be?), my Scoe’s Southern style and Ben’s Lord Harvey came to the table. (Ben is still a bit dubious of the chicken and waffle combination.)
The waffles were pretty average, perfectly adequate but nothing to write home about. (At least they were soft and fairly fluffy, considering they weren’t Belgian waffles!) The fried chicken itself was sooooooooo tasty. But to be honest, I don’t think it’s really much better than chicken I can get from Popeye’s or Bojangles. That being said, it is really good chicken. It’s just (typically) easier and cheaper to get your hands on fried chicken from Popeye’s and Bojangles. The cost-benefit of going to Roscoe’s isn’t really amazing. It’s good but not in a league of its own. Roscoe’s is an institution, though, and I would have regretted not trying it during my stay in LA.
After filling up at Roscoe’s (and starting to worry about the lack of fruits & veggies we were eating), we decided to take the short drive over to:
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is one of the most famous art museums in the country and in the world. It is definitely notable as a very Instagram-friendly art museum, with Urban Lights having become an instantly-recognizable installation associated with LACMA. And I wanted in on photographing this LA icon.
I was actually derailed from my goal of hanging amongst a grid of street lamps because on my way to the Urban Lights installation, I saw people waiting in line for Rain Room, which is another super Insta-famous installation. I didn’t even bother putting it on my LA to-do list because I was unable to get tickets online and had zero interest in spending my days in LA waiting in more lines than necessary for an exhibit that I was already pretty familiar with thanks to the internet. But I walked in to ask about it anyway, because I didn’t understand what the line was for. As it turned out, the line was for the folks who did have tickets who were waiting for their time slot to enter the Rain Room. But, the line attendant told me, some folks had gotten consolation tickets (aka just the tickets that were still available at the end of the day) and they were selling those at the ticket office.
Cue me dragging Ben over to the ticketing booth as fast as I could to ask if they still had Rain Room tickets for that day. AND THEY DID. Oh snap. I purchased tickets, ran back to the Rain Room, and waited really excitedly for my 15 minutes of glory.
The Rain Room is pretty cool. Sensors detect where you are and “rain” falls from the ceiling around where it detects you. A single, bright light shines from one corner of the room, illuminating silhouettes of the people and falling water. You can’t walk too quickly throughout the room, as the sensors don’t work that fast to shut off the water, so you are forced to move throughout the space very deliberately and cautiously. Throughout the entire experience, you should remain dry, save the few drops that fall after individual spouts are shut off for you. (Had a little scare with my camera when one of those fell right on my lens!) Still, it’s a pretty magical experience, despite the security yelling about how we had 5 minutes left in our 15-minute session when we really had closer to 10 minutes left. (It was the last time slot, so I understand why they’d want us out a little earlier.)
After experiencing the mysticism of the Rain Room, I finally was able to meander over the Urban Lights, as LACMA closes at 8 on Fridays, so I wasn’t able to visit the rest of the museum. Urban Lights after dark was still a lot of fun, navigating through the lamp posts, selfie-taking couples and families, and children being told to stop climbing.
After a pretty packed day of art, it was a good idea to head back to our AirBnB and get rested for another day of adventures…
HAHA just kidding there is no rest for the wicked.
Since Hollywood was sort of on the way back (in that it wasn’t completely out of the way), and I wasn’t sure when else we’d get the chance to check it out, we drove over (after a quick drugstore stop for water and toiletries we needed) and lucked out with parking in a residential neighborhood pretty close to Hollywood Boulevard. (Worrying most of the evening that our rental car would be towed or have a ticket on it when we got back.) Ben was a little confused by my sheepish request to see some Walk of Fame names, as I don’t think he was actually that familiar with this tourist attraction. But as we walked down the sidewalk, he got it.
We walked over to Grauman’s Chinese Theater, now known as the TCL Chinese Theater, where there were famous handprints and footprints in front spanning several generations of Hollywood stars. If you’ve seen a blockbuster film in the past 70 years, you were going to recognize some of these names. Across the street is the Dolby Theater, formerly the Kodak Theater, aka the theater where the Academy Awards are held every year. I think that it was hard for me and Ben to reconcile that this crazy tourist-y street was where actual movie premieres and events took place, that there were actual theaters inside these facades.
Standing in the lights of Hollywood was a very different feeling from standing in the glaring lights of, say, Times Square in Manhattan. Yes, you are still being sold to, but it’s a very different kind of advertising. They’re selling a feeling, not only of what Hollywood is now – which would be enough for many people – but for what Hollywood was and will be. I’ve always loved the film industry, so being in the nexus of it was a really big feeling on my first visit.
It was a little weird walking down Hollywood Boulevard, even after a quick visit to the Disney Store there, because I think I really had to come to terms with the fact that the simple dream I had as a little girl to have my own star on the Walk of Fame was put away a while ago. And no matter how often my mom tells me that I’m a super star and that I can be Hollywood famous, it’s unlikely that I’m willing to sacrifice what needs to be given up to make it. And it’ll just take a little time for me to close the drawer on this dream, especially after seeing the Walk of Fame in person. Little things.
And that was how we finally ended our very eventful first day in LA. How’d we do? I have to really give props to Ben for allowing himself to be dragged around LA for as long as he was, he was such a great sport about it AND he volunteered to brave the terrible LA traffic for us by doing all of the driving.
What are some of your favorite art things to see in LA that we missed?
What other sights in LA would you recommend to us? We did spend another day in LA but it was more of a social day than a sightseeing day.