Griffith Park Observatory

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Los Angeles, California

Griffith Park Observatory Los Angeles Reviews

WalterC WalterC
389 reviews
If you can, try to visit around sunset, to see in day and night Sep 11, 2016
The Griffith Observatory is located on top of a hill in Griffith Park. While it is possible to get there by walking, the better bet is by car, as these are the only ways to get there on the weekdays. But on the weekend, there is the DASH Observatory Shuttle, a bus that takes people between the observatory and the Red Line Metro stop of Vermont / Sunset station. I prefer the bus option, as it can be a pain to deal with traffic, and find parking, if going at night.

The Griffith Observatory opened in 1935, and named after a guy named Griffith J. Griffith (I know, how strange). It has always been a tourist attraction, for people to look to the heavenly skies. And admission has always been free as well. It did close in 2002 for renovations, but reopened in 2006, where people can continue to enjoy looking at the skies to this day. It has also been used as a filming location for a lot of movies.

There is quite a lot to do, especially if you are an astronomy buff. But if you have limited time, and need to pick a time to visit, definitely come after sunset, to look to the night sky. There is the Zeiss Telescope, which is the oldest one in one of the giant domes, pointing to the night sky. It may be pointed at a different object in space each day. But warned, that the lines can be very long, and that the doors close 30 minutes earlier than the rest of the observatory. Still, it was very much worth looking through that telescope, like the way it was done for years.

There is the other option of the smaller telescope on the front lawn, with little to no lines at all. Definitely a nice option, and the views are just as good. There are also solar telescopes, that look at the sun.

Around the observatory grounds, there are terraces that give very nice views of Los Angeles area, especially at night. And a nice view of the Hollywood sign, if you come during the daytime. Sometimes, you can see the Pacific Ocean, but that is dependent on the smog.

Inside the building, there is a museum that tells the history of skywatching, as well as that of Griffith Observatory. There are old telescopes on display, including one that I believe, belonged to Italian astronomer, Galileo. Also, there are displays on various things within astronomy, whether it is about the planets or the moon or meteorites. Some parts are interactive, like seeing how much you weigh on various planets. Very extensive, and very interesting.

There is the option to watch a show in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, but this is not free. Check ahead of time to see which shows interest you, and decide for yourself whether it is worth the money.

Regardless, a visit to the Griffith Observatory is very much worth it, and should not be missed by any visitor to LA. Not only for the astronomy part, but also for very nice views of downtown LA at night, as well as the Hollywood sign, among other parts.

Did I mention that it is free at the observatory? Looks like I have a new LA tradition, as I would definitely return to this place.
observatory building
sign pointing way to Zeiss Telesco…
Ballin Ceiling Mural
description on Ballin Ceiling Mural
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
WalterC says:
I missed it during my first few visits to LA, but finally made it there this time. Not easy to get to, especially without a car.
Posted on: Dec 13, 2016
Cho says:
I was at this observatory years ago. On my trips to LA to visit family we often pass it but somehow didn't go there again. I'll make it a point to stop next time.
Posted on: Dec 13, 2016
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jenbob12 jenbob12
18 reviews
The place to see the Hollywood sign May 31, 2016
I visited the Griffith Park Observatory recently after it was recommended to me. It has amazing views of the Hollywood sign and Los Angeles too. Outside the observatory is a nice place to sit in the sun with a breeze and enjoy the view. There is also a lot to see inside the observatory if you like space! And best of all, it's free!

One thing to think about is how you're going to get there. We drove but parking is limited so it was quite a hike from the car, but so worth it!
The Griffith Park Observatory
View of Los Angeles
View of the Hollywood sign
anewchapter anewchap…
62 reviews
Best Views in Hollywood Apr 07, 2015
I wanted to get good views of the Hollywood sign and see all of Los Angeles and it seemed the best way to do it was to go the Griffith Park Observatory up in the mountains.

Unless you plan on going on a saturday or sunday there is no transportation system to get you there. You either have to hike for miles, use your own mode of transport or get a taxi. I had no desire to go for a long hike so instead got a taxi right from my hotel on Hollywood Boulevard.

When I told the driver I wanted to go to Griffith Park he couldn't understand why and insisted that I should go to Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica to see the streets and shops. I said "no im good, I wanna go to griffith park" Again he said I should go to Melrose and that theres nothing to see at Griffith Park. I said "look, I wanna go to Griffith Park" "ok, ok. I take you wherever you wanna go"..."ok, well I still wanna go to Griffith Park" haha he was hard work but basically I knew he didn't wanna drive up the mountain. Then when we arrived he tried to make out he didn't have any change as if I was going to tip him $50 haha nice try, I had him get out of the taxi and get change from the observatory.

Needless to say the driver was wrong when he said "there's nothing to see". You could clearly see the Hollywood sign and you could see the whole of Los Angeles. I arrived in the afternoon and stayed until sundown. By that time there was a crazy amount of people there, all arriving to see the beautiful red, pink, orange and blue sky at night.

Inside the observatory there isn't that much to see but outside on the balcony gives you the best views of LA.

I'd highly recommend visiting Griffith Park Observatory. The Observatory is free and the views are pricelss
View from Griffith Park Observator…
Griffith Park Observatory, Hollywo…
Griffith Park Observatory, Hollywo…
View from Griffith Park Observator…
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
cotton_foam cotton_f…
315 reviews
great destination for family Dec 23, 2013
Griffith Observatory is great for children and adults alike. The best thing about this L.A.’s family destination is free! Although, parking would be a challenge. The exact location is up on mountain hills. We had difficulty finding the place but, a navigation system would sure help now a day. One of the main attraction inside the main building is the planetarium with lots of interesting information about outer space in general. There are opportunities for children to interact and learn through various displays and science instruments.

View of the city is clear from this point, well granting smog won’t spoil that during your visit. Also, for those who are finding a good spot to photograph the Hollywood sign this is the perfect spot. Just bring a telephoto lens! Although, we did not have a hands on experience using the huge telescopes at the observatory, it is still a worth it visits.
shot of the Hollywood signage from…
another shot of the Hollywood sign
7 / 7 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
jethanad says:
now on my list too, thanks May
Posted on: Sep 28, 2015
Ils1976 says:
sounds interesting and it is free .... ideal combo! :D
Posted on: Aug 02, 2014
cotton_foam says:
Martin: thank you for the comments and smiles! Its nice having it :)
Posted on: Jul 31, 2014
KJonesy KJonesy
1 reviews
Griffith Park- Los Angeles May 08, 2013
If you are into hiking and experiencing amazing views I would recommend Griffith Park hike trails. During the day there are several hike trails that lead up to breathtaking views of Los Angeles. They range from easy, to moderate, to difficult depending on what level of hiking you prefer. Hike trails and park are free.

Also, at the very top of Griffith Park there is the Observatory, which is has a Planetarium and other Space Exhibits. The best time to go here is at nightfall when you can use the telescopes and see the amazing views of the city as well. Price of admission into the is free, and the live show exhibits are extremely cheap in price.

The third attraction of Griffith Park is the Greek Theater. If you are into live music I recommend this outdoor venue. It is by far one of the best music venues in Los Angeles. Check out their website for musicians/bands that are playing monthly. Prices vary from show to show.
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
mchiongson mchiongs…
3 reviews
View of Los Angeles city lights and the Hollywood sign in the background May 05, 2012
Go to this place right around sunset and you can take the most perfect picture with the Hollywood sign right behind you. When it gets dark and the LA lights are glowing another perfect photo opportunity. It's an astronomy building so there are some fun things to learn if you like all things outer space related. There are hiking trails all around this area and you can even have a picnic on the grounds. I would take anyone visiting LA here for so many reasons.
testadeth testadeth
3 reviews
Must see for Los Angeles Mar 13, 2011
Griffith Observatory and the surrounding Griffith Park is a must see if visiting Los Angeles. Griffith Park I believe is actually the largest recreational park in the Unites States. Has the observatory and the Los Angles Zoo within it's grounds. The Observatory has some of the best if not the best views of Los Angles and Hollywood area. You could also decide to do one of the shows in the observatory rather than just sight see from above. The shows if I remember are only around 8 to 10 US Dollars and run from 30 - 90 min or so in length. They are quite informative and are a real blast to watch. When done you can wander about the large park area where you'll see a number of locals running, playing games, picnicking, lounging about and such. It's a pretty cheap way to get a good feel of one of Los Angeles' premier places to visit.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
msjulicious says:
Thanks for this review. We're heading to LA in July and I heard you can see the Hollywood sign from here. Is it a tough hike to the sign? Also, how is the drive up there? Thanks!
Posted on: May 19, 2011
PuertoRican PuertoRi…
3 reviews
Excellent experience which won't empty your pockets. Jun 14, 2011
My friends I went on a weekend trip to LA and spent a morning hiking in Griffith Park to get some cool pictures with the Hollywood sign in the background.

We got our pictures and a nice hike. It was a nice sunny March morning, but the skyline over the city was pretty smoggy/foggy. Since we arrived relatively early it was quite easy to find parking; I don't know what the rest of the day was like. We followed one of the trails, which had a lot of nice hills. The trail was pretty busy with both horses and other hikers. I recommend watching out for horse poop!

I heard the park is huge so I probably missed out on most of it, but I liked what I saw and think this is a good and a little bit different way to see more of LA.
koncertkrazi koncertk…
3 reviews
Best views of LA! Apr 01, 2011
probably the best view of LA and its surrounding cities. Hollywood sign in full view, and hiking trails are wide and not steep.
mrkrueger13 mrkruege…
11 reviews
Castle on a Hill Mar 15, 2011
The best Vantage Point in L.A. If you are visiting here... check it out for all of your skyline photos. If you live here... take a hike up the foothills... get some good views of pretty everywhere. Up on the top there are some benches and exercise bars. You can see all the way to Long Beach on a clear day. Best times to come here are clear days.
allyy0op allyy0op
2 reviews
Spend an Evening with the STARS! Jan 10, 2009
During the sunny months when you're fried from the beach, you may want to skip out on LA's fabulous nightlife and venture to a place where you can really appreciate the stars.

Perched on top of Mount Hollywood and parallel to the famous Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory is one of the best locations to get a breath-taking view of Los Angeles. Take a friend or your honeybee to the Observatory viewing deck and line up to take a peek through one of the largest and oldest telescopes in America. Make sure you go around 5-7PM, right before the sun is about to set. The observatory viewing deck usually closes around 9:30PM, and you will be waiting in line for approximately 45 minutes - so plan accordingly, because they WILL shut people out.

Make all your friends jealous and tell them that you're going to spend an evening with the stars. Griffith Park hosts monthly star parties - Astronomy aficionados will bring their telescopes of all sizes to observe the twinkly subjects in the sky. If you go during the month of August, you might be lucky enough to see Jupiter at its brightest and the eye of the storm!

The Observatory has also appeared in films such as: Transformers, Charlie's Angels Full Throttle, and the Terminator!
View of Los Angeles from Griffith …
Griffith Park Observatory @ Night
Eric Eric
408 reviews
When we look at the *STARS* we are looking at *OURSELVES* Mar 17, 2008
The Griffith Observatory has recently been remodeled. I remember going as a kid, but unfortunately it was so long ago I don't remember what the old version looked like. As it stands in its current state, however, the Griffith Observatory is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon in Los Angeles.

One of the best reasons to visit the observatory is for the spectacular views of Los Angeles. I would argue that the views from Griffith Observatory are even more impressive than the views from the Getty Center, and there are lots of trails along the hills where you can seek the best vantage points. All the parking spots in the top lot were taken, but we just parked along the side of the road up, about a quarter mile down from the observatory. Even the walk up was scenic and enjoyable.

Once at the Observatory, there are various informative exhibits, but we headed straight for the Planetarium, which features an impressive movie and light show projected onto the inside of a dark, domed room. The special effects were pretty spectacular, and you actually had the feeling that you were looking at the sky. Unfortunately, the guide/narrator spoke in an overly dramatic voice, which made it difficult to fully appreciate the entire experience. I think there are different guides each time, so hopefully you will be luckier!
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
WaltJake says:
I, too, will check this out on my next trip to L.A.!
Posted on: Mar 18, 2008
travelman727 says:
Eric, because of yours and the three other reviews, I'm going to make Griffith Observatory a priority on my next trip to LA :-D
Posted on: Mar 17, 2008
emmatoll emmatoll
1 reviews
Beautiful and Free! Oct 20, 2008
This was definately the highlight of LA. It gets you away from the soul-less avenues, and take you, literally above the whole city.

The highlight for me, personally, was walking up from the car with my friend colvering my eyes, as he didn't want me to have a sneak preview of the sight he was taking me to. Then, he turned me around, and uncovered them for my first look at the somewhat dissapointing 'Hollywood' sign.

The museum is very take it or leave it. It's interesting enough. But the view is the best bit, you can see the lights of LA stretching for miles, and I highly recommend using the 50cent binoculars. After spening the day in the city itself, I used it to see closeup where we had been all day, it was actually awesome.

Another amazing bit, is finding out how much you weigh on each planet. I am no existant on Mecury :) - Strangely enough everyone was avoiding the earth scales!
The city.
Again, The city.
Me and my host.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
msjulicious says:
Thanks for posting your review and the photos!
Posted on: May 19, 2011
jenn79 jenn79
129 reviews
Dec 03, 2007
Visited the Griffith Observatory for the first time this weekend, using only public transportation - can you believe??

If you can manage to get on the Red Line, there is a shuttle to the Observatory right outside the Vermont/Sunset stop. Total one way - $1.50!

It was a splendid time although extremely cold and windy this time of year. This observatory is free and just a fabulous little oasis in Los Angeles. I went during the day when the views are fantastic, but I'd like to visit again at night when they allow you to look through the telescope thing to see the sky. Now that would be pretty cool!
Joyce @ one end of the observatory
The inside area
Ceiling frescoes
Griffith Observatory
Owens Owens
23 reviews
Jan 22, 2006
You can hike up to the Griffith Park Observatory, its not very

difficult and its very scenic. Saw a pair of wild dogs get onto the

trail behind us, then run into the green again. Saw two monks

walking up the hill with a grocery bag. Heard Spanish and Korean

at the top of the hill (even if you want quiet, it was mostly quiet).

You can see out to the ocean, over the entire city that calls itself

Los Angeles, and you get a big shot of the famous Hollywood sign. Take

Sunset Blvd to Vermont or Hillhurst. Take that up to Los Feliz

Blvd, take a left and take a right into the park at Fern Dell rd. The

trail starts across from the mini outdoor cafe called Happy Trails (or

something like that). Easy parking.
This is the view from part of the …
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
msjulicious says:
Thanks, Owens! How about the drive? Is it scary to drive up there being on a mountain and all? Lol.
Posted on: May 19, 2011
Owens says:
Its definitely more than a mile, but less than 3 miles...I'd say its good for a kid thats 10 or older, maybe 9 or older (and has lots of water/cool clothing and sunscreen)
Posted on: May 19, 2011
msjulicious says:
How long is the hike? I don't want to tire my son out too much. Thanks!
Posted on: May 19, 2011
jeffy jeffy
23 reviews
Jul 02, 2005
I once read Griffith Observatory described as "L.A.'s Hood Ornament" and I could never think of a better way to describe it. Although the newly expanded museum, renovations, history of the place, and new planetarium show are all quite beautiful and well worth a visit on their own merit, none of them make your jaw drop in amazement.

However, the building's magestic perch above Los Angeles and the VIEW that it provides makes this place one of my favorite places in Southern California. Like the Getty, the views from the Observatory are stunning and allow you to see a large part of the L.A. Basin. And of course, the Hollywood Sign is right there next to you.

In many ways, Griffith Observatory is a lot like the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro: a) very simple yet beautiful, b) 1930's Art Deco, and c) commanding a view over a beautiful city. Well, at least that's how I see it!

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