It's a City of Stars at LA's Griffith Observatory
On a family trip to Los Angeles, one of our must-visit destinations is the famous Griffith Observatory. Seen in numerous movies, from La La Land to Rebel Without a Cause, this temple to astronomy in LA's expansive Griffith Park offers interactive, kid-friendly science exhibits, a planetarium, a massive astronomical telescope, and absolutely breathtaking views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign. Admission is always free!
The Griffith Observatory opened back in 1935, and has educated and amazed visitors from around the world ever since. More than 7 million people have looked through its 12-inch Zeiss refreacting telescope, the most of any telescope in the world! Step inside and learn about the Earth, the moon, our solar system, the universe, and how humans have observed the sky throughout history.
The observatory has two levels you can explore. The main level has exhibits, historic telescopes, and the Samuel Oshin Planetarium. Telescope viewing, where you can observe the moon, planets, and other landmarks of our galaxy, is offered in the evenings from around 7 pm to 9:45 pm, with the last entry at 9:30. The planetarium, with its Zeiss star projector and state-of-the-art digital projection system, offers hourly shows with live narration by a storyteller.
Planetarium shows require paid admission ($10 for adults, $8 for students, teachers, and seniors, $6 for children 5–12). Children under 5 are only admitted to the first show each day. Planetarium tickets must be purchased in-person at the observatory and are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
On the lower level you'll find additional exhibits as well as the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater, which hosts science programs and films. You'll also find the Observatory's Stellar Emporium gift shop and the Café at the End of the Universe, where you can grab a drink or a bite to eat while you enjoy the view out on the terrace.
One of the main draws for the Griffith Observatory is its location and the breathtaking views you'll find there. There's a reason it's featured in so many movies and TV shows! Perched high on a hill in Griffith Park, the locaton gives you amazing panoramas of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Hills, including the famous Hollywood sign. While it's worth visiting at any time of day, going there at night gives you the most spectacular views of the city lights, and the observatory itself is dramatically lit. It's definitely a must-visit destination when in LA.
You can even visit the grounds when the observatory is closed during Griffith Park hours (5 am–10:30 pm). While the building itself is closed, you can still access the adjacent terraces to experience the views. The observatory is surrounded by hiking trails, so you can explore the area and take in the views from different vantage points.
If you go
The Griffith Observatory is located at 2800 East Observatory Road in Los Angeles 90027, on the south side of Mt. Hollywood in Griffith Park. It is currently open Thursday–Sunday from noon–10 pm on weekdays and 10 am–10 pm on weekends. Admission is free, but there's a fee for planetarium tickets.
Due to City of Los Angeles policy, all visitors age 12 and over must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entering the building or terrace areas, and face masks must be worn at all times inside. The grounds can be accessed daily during Griffith Park hours from 5 am–10:30 pm. Learn more about it at griffithobservatory.org.
Paid parking is available in the observatory's lot (currently $10). Tickets can be purchased from pay stations which accept credit cards only. Free parking is available in the area around the park's Greek Theatre, but you'll have to walk a mile uphill to get to the observatory. Keep in mind the roads around this area of Griffith Park can get extremely crowded when there's a show happening at the Greek.
You can also take the DASH Observatory/Los Feliz bus which stops at the observatory every 20–25 minutes. Bus fare is only 50¢ (25¢ for seniors and disabled) and exact change is required.
Food, drink, and restrooms are available inside the observatory when it's open to the public. There are also public restroom facilities outside on the grounds that are open during park hours.
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