The free Griffith Observatory is an LA landmark, with panoramic views and fascinating exhibits. You can even touch a piece of the moon!
The Griffith Observatory is on the south side of Mt Hollywood at Griffith Park, at 2800 Observatory Road, and you can get there by car, bus or by hiking.
The parking area has metered rates, or take the inexpensive Dash Observatory Bus for a 10-minute ride up to the Observatory (departing from Metro's Red Line Vermont/Sunset Station in Hollywood).
There's also a popular 1.2 mile hike up to the Griffith Observatory, starting at the lush Fern Dell Nature Trail in Griffith Park, then ascending up a steep, sandy path through chaparrel filled slopes, with magnificent city views.
Admission to the Griffith Observatory is free, except for the planetarium. Check opening hours.
10 best things to do at the Griffith Observatory
1. See incredible views of LA.
Go to either the rooftop at the Griffith Observatory, or the East or West Terrace for spectacular views. The East Terrace (pictured above) has amazing views of downtown L.A., and is where the knife fight was filmed for Rebel without a Cause (1955). In contrast, the West Terrace overlooks the Hollywood Sign.
Griffith Observatory: 10 BEST Attractions
Check out the Astronomers Monument on the front lawn that celebrates the six most influential astronomers in history.
2. Visit the world-class planetarium.
Griffith Observatory: 10 BEST Things to Do
Admission to the Griffith Observatory is free, but there's a fee to attend the planetarium shows. Check show times.
3. View a chunk of moon brought back by the Apollo 14 astronauts.
4. See the 183-pound Bruceville Meteorite, and a meteorite from Mars.
5. Look at the live face of the sun using powerful telescopes available to the public.
For close-up views of the sun, use the three Solar telescopes in the Ahmanson Hall, or for night viewing of planets and stars use the Zeiss telescope in the East Dome.
The Griffith Observatory was built in 1935 from a bequest by mega rich mining magnate Griffith. J. Griffith, who'd already donated the land for Griffith Park in 1896. These powerful telescopes are available for use by the general public, fulfilling Griffith's belief that “If all mankind could look through that telescope, it would change the world!”
6. Observe an overhead model of an eclipse.
Griffith Observatory: #1 Visitor Guide
7. Watch a seismograph tracking earthquakes.
8. Observe the famous Foucault Pendulum that demonstrates the rotation of the Earth.
9. Watch a spectacular, high voltage sparking demonstration.
10. See how cosmic rays are blasted down to earth in a Cloud Chamber.
Which movies were filmed at the Griffith Observatory?
The Griffith Observatory is also a popular location for Hollywood movies. Amongst the most popular, is the magical dance scene filmed here for the Oscar winning movie La La Land (2016), which does a beautiful job of showcasing the Observatory.
Griffith Observatory Exhibits
This 27,000 foot Art Deco building provides the perfect backdrop for movies, featuring a stunning interior with marble floors, travertine walls and bronze metalwork.
Know before you go
- Address: 2800 Observatory Road, LA, CA 90027.
- Hours: Closed Monday. Check hours.
- Admission: FREE admission (except for planetarium).
- Planetarium tickets: Check here. Kids under 5 can only attend the first show of the day.
- Parking: Paid parking by the hour.
- Bus: Take the inexpensive Dash Bus up to the Observatory.
- Hiking trails to Griffith Observatory: See map.
- Cafe: Yes.
- Gift shop: Yes.
- Nearby: The LA Zoo is also in Griffith Park.