Griffith Observatory is one of the best places to visit in Los Angeles. The museum is one of the coolest places to go if you are interested in space and/or science. It is free to visit which is one of the many reasons that it is one of the most popular places to go in Los Angeles. The observatory attracts visitors from all around the world and is absolutely worth a visit.
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The Griffith Observatory is one of the most iconic places to visit in Los Angeles. This beautiful museum is free, fun, and educational, and the views of the sky and LA are fantastic. The observatory also hosts free events like public star parties. Joining us this episode is Alanna from Periodic Adventures, as we highlight some of the best things to see inside and outside of the observatory. We also share tips for other things to do in the area to incorporate into your visit. You can follow Alanna on Instagram and Tiktok.
How to Get to Griffith Observatory
Getting to the Griffith Observatory can be an adventure all on its own. The observatory is located high on a hill which requires you to drive up a narrow and winding road but the destination is more than worth the drive. Parking at the Observatory is limited and expensive but it might be worth it if your group cannot walk far.
You can also park near the Greek Theatre and hike up to the observatory using the boy scout trail or walk on the sidewalk. The DASH bus picks you up from this area and can drop you off at the top of the hill. Please note if you decide to walk or hike it is a steep hill. You can find the route and other details for the DASH bus here.
What to do at Griffith Observatory
One of the things I really enjoy about the observatory is how much there is to do. Even before you step foot inside there is so much to see outdoors. Not only can you see DTLA and the Hollywood sign but you’ll also find a James Dean bust, photo ops, the astronomers monument, and the Gotley transit corridor. The Gottlieb Transit Corridor links the sun and moon with a calendar. It moves based on the position of the sun and can tell you what day and time it is. On the ground, there is a model of planetary orbits on the ground. There are so many little details outside of the observatory that can be easily missed if you don’t know to look for them.
One of the best things to do outside of the observatory is the telescopes which are on the upper platform. The lines can be very long to look through the telescopes but it is worth doing. On select nights throughout the year, they have public star parties where volunteers set up telescopes on the lawn. I went to one for my first visit and we saw Jupiter from a telescope. It was so cool!
Some of the cool things to look for inside is a chamber that holds all of the elements of the periodic table when it is safe to do so. They have a working Tesla coil, it is on a schedule so do some research on the times if you would like to see that. You can weigh yourself on each planet in one of the exhibits. You can also try to trigger a mini earthquake with the reciter scale.
Did you know that Griffith Observatory has been used as a filming location? It is used in La La Land, Rebel Without a Cause, and Terminator just to name a few.
What to know before your visit: the Griffith Observatory is closed on Mondays. If you would like to purchase tickets for the Planetarium they only accept Visa, MasterCard, or Discover. And good news they do offer free wifi if you need it!
Things to do near the Observatory:
Lake Hollywood Park – this is a great place to visit when you want to get close to the Hollywood Sign without hiking.
Autry Museum of the West
Old LA Zoo – you can hike to the old zoo which is a creepy but cool spot to check out.
Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round – This is the merry-go-round where Walt Disney got the idea for creating Disneyland.
Walt’s Barn is open to the public on the third Sunday of each month. Visitors can see Disney memorabilia which is really special.
Fern Dell Trail – This is a popular and beautiful spot for a walk near the observatory. If you walk far enough it will lead you to the trails cafe.