There isn’t a lot to see in Brentwood besides the homes of different movie stars,with one major exception. The J. Paul Getty Museum. You can also drive along Sunset Boulevard which is pretty.
Just getting there is an adventure. You park in the garage at the base of the hill and then take a monorail to the top. It is free except for a fee to park. The original Getty Museum is in Malibu and is a recreation of an ancient Roman villa with beautiful grounds and more formal gardens. This Getty Museum is equally or more spectacular just in its own different way.
The building is a piece of art just as much as any of the art work it holds. We found ourselves taking many pictures of the building and the views. It has an absolutely amazing view over most of Los Angeles from well inland all the way to the coast. You truly get an appreciation for how massive Los Angeles is. Besides the beauty of the building and the view, the gardens and sculpture are gorgeous as well.
It was finished in 1997 and cost $1 billion. But then again, the Getty is the wealthiest museum in the world. That has meant they can buy almost whatever they want. Despite it being a newer museum releatively speaking it has amassed an impressive collection. Even though it is a bit out of the way, it is well worth it to make the trip here, you won’t regret it.
As with Brentwood, this is mostly private homes, many of which belong or belonged to movie stars. Probably the most famous is the Playboy Mansion. There is also Aaron Spelling Manor which is the largest mansion in Los Angeles which is saying something. It has 123 rooms and is 56,000 square feet. Supposedly Tori Spelling moved out because she couldn’t find a room she liked.
But what dominates Bel Air is the University of California, Los Angeles. Royce Hall and Powell Library, both in Romanesque style are quite beautiful and worth a look inside. The Fowler Museum is one of the top university based anthropological museums. It has exhibits about pre-historic, historic and contemporary cultures around the world.
Nearby is the Armand Hammer Museum with pieces of art collected by Armand Hammer.
If you are into the movies, you may be interested to visit Westwood Memorial Park, also nearby, where you can find the tombs of Burt Lancaster, Natalie Wood, Dean Martin, Marilyn Monroe, Truman Capote and more.