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Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles – A Complete Guide

Situated on the slope of Mount Hollywood, Griffith Observatory in LA offers spectacular views across Hollywood and the City of Los Angeles. Here’s a complete guide.

How To Get to Griffith Observatory

Located on the south slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park, the Griffith Observatory is literally in the centre of the city of Los Angeles.

Getting around Los Angeles couldn’t be easier. There are generally 4 options:

Car

Aside from downtown LA, the majority of tourist spots are a little spread out in the Los Angeles area.

So hiring a car and exploring is certainly the most convenient way to get around!

We recommend booking one in advance, and fortunately car rentals are relatively cheap in Los Angeles. Plus all major car rental companies have offices at the airports.

We always go through rentalcars.com to compare prices before locking something in prior to our trip.

There is public street parking available in most places around Los Angeles, just be sure to have a card ready to pay for the hourly parking meters.

We parked at the Greek Theatre car park in Griffith Park for our Tom LaBonge Panorama Hike. This is free when there are no events on.

Public Transport

The Los Angeles Metro is affordable, relatively easy to use, and services most of Los Angeles County and its top attractions.

The public transit system consists of Metro Buses, DASH Buses, and Metro Rail Trains.

To ride these buses, trains, and subways, we recommend purchasing a reusable TAP Card. These are available at TAP machines located within most bus or subway stations. Or you can simply download one and add it to your Apple wallet!

You CAN pay cash when you board, but you’ll need the exact fare as bus operators don’t carry change.

Otherwise Uber is a super easy and very popular way of getting from one place to another quickly in Los Angeles!

Hop On Hop Off Bus

Standard buses are available around Los Angeles, if you can figure out the bus routes.

However, there is also of course the famous Los Angeles Sightseeing Hop-on-Hop-off Bus.

The bus lets you explore Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica Pier and Beaches. With options of a 24, 48 or 72 hour pass.

This is always popular among tourists, and a is great way to see many famous landmarks around the City of Angels at ease.

Tour

For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.

Griffith Observatory Entrance Fee

It is free to visit Griffith Observatory. The building, grounds, and the public telescopes.

Entrance Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
The entrance to Griffith Observatory.
James Dean Statue Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
The famous James Dean statue just outside.

Griffith Observatory Opening Times

Thursday – Friday: 12:00pm – 10:00pm.

Saturday – Sunday: 10:00am – 10:00pm

The grounds, terraces, and sidewalks are generally open every day.

Hollywood Sign Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
Views of the Hollywood Sign from the entrance.
Entrance Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
Ready to head inside and around the rooftop.

Best Time To Visit Griffith Observatory

This is a popular tourist attraction and gets especially busy at weekends, so weekdays are probably best to plan this into your Los Angeles itinerary to avoid crowds.

From dusk onwards is a great time to visit the observatory and observe the night sky as well as the views off the night lights of Los Angeles.

There is a small ticket fee to visit the planetarium show.

What To Pack

Photography Camera

Tripod

Day Bag

Power Bank

Reusable Water Bottle

Sunscreen

Lightweight Rain Jacket

Dome Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
Downtown LA in the distance.
Downtown LA From Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
A quiet spot taking in the view of the city.

Griffith Observatory History

In 1896, Welsh born American industrialist and philanthropist Griffith J Griffith donated 3015 acres of land surrounding the observatory to the City of Los Angeles.

Wanting to make astronomy accessible to all he also donated funds to build an observatory, exhibit hall, and planetarium on the donated land.

The observatory and accompanying exhibits were opened to the public in May 1935 and its first five days of operation the observatory logged more than 13000 visitors.

During World War II the planetarium was used to train pilots in celestial navigation. Then again in the 1960s it was again used for this purpose to train the Apollo Programme astronauts for their first lunar missions.

The observatory closed in 2002 for renovation and a major expansion of exhibit space. Reopening to the public in November 2006, retaining its beautiful Art Deco exterior.

During this renovation the building was expanded underground, with new exhibits, a cafe, gift shop and the new Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theatre added.

Telescope Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
One of many telescopes scattered around the rooftop.
City View Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
An iconic spot to observe the whole of Los Angeles from.

What To Expect At Griffith Observatory In LA

The crown jewel of LA’s Griffith Park, this 1930’s Art Deco structure is popular with tourists and locals alike. Housing an extensive array of space and science related displays.

Located within Griffith Park it’s surrounded by some of LA’s best hikes. Such as Tom LaBonge Panorama, Hollywood Sign Hike and Runyon Canyon Park.

As soon as you walk in through the entrance you will see the amazing Foucault Pendulum, designed to demonstrate the earth’s rotation.

In the observatory you can peer through telescopes, explore exhibits and see fascinating live shows in the Planetarium. As well as enjoy amazing views of the city of Los Angeles and everyones favourite – the Hollywood Sign!

Griffith Observatory also offers free telescope viewing to the public every evening they are open. With staff members available to guide you and advise on what you are seeing in the night sky.

Griffith Observatory is the perfect place for anyone who’s interested in science and the solar system. As well as anyone who loves Art Deco buildings or just wants to capture those Instagrammable places in LA.

I would recommend the popular Griffith Observatory Guided Tour for anyone that wants to know more about this amazing building.

Make sure to add this to your .

Entrance To Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
People observing the Foucault Pendulum.
Foucault Pendulum At Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
The Foucault Pendulum itself.
Telescope At Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
Exploring the history of the telescope.
Astronauts At Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
Some of the framed astronaut photos on display.
Rooftop View Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
Looking back at the entrance from the rooftop.
Mountain View Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
The surrounding mountains of Angeles National Forest.
Rooftop View Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
A beautiful landscape on a sunny day.
Zeiss Telescope Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
The popular Zeiss Telescope located inside one of the domes.
Winter Solstice Sunset Sign Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles
One of the many sunset and moon radial signs.

Where To Stay In Los Angeles

Luxury

The Beverly Hills Hotel – Dorchester Collection

Known as ‘The Pink Palace’, this luxury hotel on Sunset Boulevard features the full-service La Prairie Spa and a beautiful outdoor pool.

Downtown Beverly Hills is just 1 mile away.

The bright and elegant rooms of The Beverly Hills Hotel feature marble bathrooms and 2 TVs.

There is also a minibar, coffee maker and ironing facilities included.

The Polo Lounge at the hotel is a popular dining place for celebrities.

Mid-Budget

Clean Modern Room

Clean Modern Room features accommodation with a shared lounge, free WiFi and a shared kitchen.

The air-conditioned homestay also offers a flat-screen TV, a seating area, washing machine and a bathroom with a bath and a shower.

Beverly Hills is a great choice for travelers interested in food, shopping and restaurants.

Budget

Empire Inn

Empire Inn is located in Los Angeles, just 5 miles from the centre.

It provides air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi and all rooms include a wardrobe and a flat-screen TV.

South Los Angeles is a great choice for travellers interested in tourist attractions, sunshineand beach walks.

For other places to stay in Los Angeles, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.

Planning Your Trip

Book Your Flight

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight.

They search websites and airlines around the globe to find you the best possible routes and prices.

Book Your Accommodation

Use Booking.com to find the best accommodation deals.

They consistently return the cheapest rates on everything from guesthouses to hotels for all of your budget needs.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Use SafetyWing to find the best travel insurance for you.

They provide travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads.

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

Book Your Tours & Activities

Use GetYourGuide to book your activities in advance.

They sell the best tours, excursions and activities to attractions around the world.

Conveniently book, download and access your tickets on the move all from your mobile.

Book Your Rental Car

Use RentalCars.com to find the best deals on rental cars in the area.

They compare all major car rental companies and allow you to easily book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Buy Those Last Minute Bits

Use Amazon to buy everything you need for your adventure.

They offer next day delivery and you can use my travel packing checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.


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Griffith Observatory In Los Angeles