Thursday, Sep. 25, 2008

2. J. Paul Getty Museum

I know, a museum in L.A. — crazy, right? Don't worry, I'm not sending you there for the art. In L.A., you go see high culture for the architecture. The Los Angeles Philharmonic, for example, is really good, but if you're at the symphony, you're really there to check out Frank Gehry's stainless-steel Disney Concert Hall.

The Getty Trust may have more money to throw around on art than any museum in the world, but you go to the Getty Center to take a tram up a huge hill, enter the perfectly simple, calming, Richard Meier–designed space, stroll around the gardens — and maybe see a painting. Unlike museums in cities that don't own the entertainment industry, the Getty is always free.