Much more than just an art museum, the Getty Center is a place you can spend all day relaxing in a series of Roman gardens high on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean, without ever looking at a painting. When the museum first opened in 1997 it drew crowds of out-of-towners seeking to view its extensive collection of painting, sculpture and photography. When I returned there during a recent visit to Los Angeles, I discovered it had become a place where locals (they’re called Angelenos) would head for an afternoon of relaxation in an urban haven that is so civilized it hands out parasols for visitors to shade themselves as they wander through the gardens, including some made to replicate ancient Rome. The art collection here is impressive as well: large and diverse, spread around a series of open air buildings that make use of the natural setting rather than enclosing you behind four walls. Located just off the 405 freeway in West Los Angeles, the Getty is free to all visitors, though it does charge $8 for parking in a street level garage, from where you embark on a tram to take you on a scenic ride to the top of the hill. It sounds cumbersome, but the process of getting up the hill is remarkably efficient and very friendly to strollers and wheelchairs. Getty is open 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.