Griffith Observatory

2800 E Observatory Ave
Los Angeles CA 90027
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Opening Hours

  • Tue: 12pm-10pm
  • Wed: 12pm-10pm
  • Thu: 12pm-10pm
  • Fri: 12pm-10pm
  • Sat: 10am-10pm
  • Sun: 10am-10pm

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An icon of Los Angeles, the Griffth Observatory sits 1,134 feet above sea level and offers a sweeping view of the city's basin -- on a clear day, you may even be able to see the Pacific Ocean. Located on Mount Hollywood, the observatory makes for a fun family day or a romantic date night.

Featuring a Zeiss star projector, the observatory's Samuel Oschin Planetarium treats visitors to a laser digital projection system, a state-of-the-art aluminum dome and theatrical lighting. The planetarium regularly screens three live shows, with tickets ranging between $3 -$7.

Parking and public transportation at the Griffith Observatory
Parking at the Griffith Observatory is always free. Visitors can enter the observatory from both the Vermont and Fern Dell entrances to Griffith Park, although the Fern Dell access closes every day at sunset. Parking in the large lot is recommended, but when it's full -- as it often is on weekends -- visitors can park on adjacent roads. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) operates a an Observatory shuttle every Saturday and Sunday between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m.

Best and worst times to go to the Griffith Observatory
The best time to visit the observatory is Tuesday through Friday, although you may encounter large groups during the daytime. The observatory is the busiest and the parking is the most limited anytime on Saturday and Sunday, especially summer holiday weekends. Traffic may also get backed up when the nearby Greek Theatre -- whose season runs from April to November -- has a show.

Admission to the Griffith Observatory
Admission to the observatory building, grounds and telscopes is free. The Griffith Observatory is open from noon until 10 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The landmark is closed on Mondays and all major holidays except for New Year's Day, Independence Day and Veteran's Day.

Must See/Do at the Griffith Observatory
The observatory offers free public telescopes every night when the skies are clear, and monthly star parties, where staff members set up telescopes on the grounds in front of the complex.

As entertaining as they are informational, the observatory's exhibits features a variety of space-related items and activities, such as scale models of the planets, a vintage Foucault pendulum demonstrating the Earth's rotation, a large globe of the moon, meteorite displays and an asteroid impact simulator.

Grab a snack or coffee at the observatory's Cafe at the End of the Universe and have a seat on the patio overlooking the Los Angeles basin.

Other places to visit near the Griffith Observatory
Go on a hike, take a ride on the vintage carousal, enjoy a picnic or have a horseback ride at surrounding Griffith Park. You can also learn about the history of the American West at the nearby Autry National Center, which features more than 500,000 pieces of art and artifacts.

Insider tip for visitors to the Griffith Observatory
Get to the observatory about 30 minutes before sunset, so you can view the Hollywood Sign and then watch the L.A. skyline light up and twinkle below.

Author's bio: Elizabeth Arnold has lived in Los Angeles since 2005 and is happiest when on a road trip. She has written for Priceline.com, Bobvila.com, the Malibu Times, the Miami Herald and Recommend Magazine, a travel trade publication.