Los Angeles, California’s high culture is often overshadowed by its dyed-in-the-wool celebration of popular culture, from its Hollywood studio tours to its Grammy Museum. Culturally minded travelers will find they have a surprising number of venues to choose from, where they can exchange an escapade with Mickey Mouse for some quality time with Van Gogh.
The day should start with a visit to the Getty Center, a dramatic hilltop museum designed by Richard Meier. Easy to reach by public transport, travelers can make a day of browsing the exhibits, grabbing a bite to eat and enjoying the panoramic views of LA. The museum houses European paintings, drawings, sculpture, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts, and European and American photographs. Parking is $15 per car. A computer-operated tram takes you from the street-level parking facility to the top of the hill and the museum.
If you choose to lunch off the museum grounds, consider West Hollywood’s Ivy-covered Lucques (pronounced “loox”). Suzanne Goin has been thrilling diners since 1998 with her Pan-Mediterranean comfort food. Consider a seat in the covered garden in the back, where as they dine al fresco.
In the afternoon, explore the Museum of Contemporary Art at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, the only museum in Los Angeles devoted exclusively to contemporary art. If you still have some aesthetic energy, drop over to the Craft & Folk Art Museum, where they take a multicultural approach to folk art that also embraces the contemporary. There are three large public parking lots within a block of CAFAM.
For a pre-concert dinner, Wolfgang Puck’s CUT has been garnering raves for its décor and its high quality cuts of meat, including Wagyu Beef. The building – like the Getty Center – was designed by architect Richard Meier. Valet parking is available.
For the night’s cultural performance, check to see what’s playing at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, an awe-inspiring assemblage of stainless steel designed by Frank Gehry to look and feel like a ship’s hull. The LA Philharmonic is the resident company at the 2,265-seat auditorium.