What To Know About the 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. Not only is the view here fabulous but it is even better since the Griffith Observatory admission is free.

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I have gone in the late afternoon and at night. My recommendation is to get there before the sunset but to stay until you can see the stars. Parking used to be free as long as you did not park in the main parking lot. Now it costs $8 to park on the side of the park up by the observatory. During the day you can typically find cheap or free parking close to the Greek theatre. From there you can walk up the hill to the observatory.

griffith observatory

Why Is This Spot So Famous?

Did you know that the observatory has been used as a filming location for movies and tv shows? Movies like La La Land, Rebel Without A Cause, and Jurassic Park have filmed scenes here. Tv shows like Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Agent Carter have filmed here as well. Filmmakers and everyone else who comes here do so because of the beautiful view of the city.

What To Do At Griffith Observatory

On my first visit to the Griffith Observatory, I went with my mom and a friend. That night was a public star party. Lots of volunteers had come and set up telescopes. There were several telescopes set up on the lawn and an extremely big permanent telescope is on top of the observatory. On that particular night, we were able to see Jupiter as well as an amazing view of the moon and stars. You do not need to pay to be at the observatory but there is a fee if you decide to see any of the programs in the Planetarium.

Griffith Observatory planitarium

The Griffith Observatory hosts several events like the public star parties and provides opportunities to learn about as well as see the stars and planets above. Both times that I have visited the observatory I was shocked by how long the lines were for the telescopes so let this be a word of warning. On my second visit, my friend and I were on top of the building waiting to look out of a gigantic telescope. When we got in line it did not seem like it would take too long.

Griffith Observatory views

Well, we could not see how far inside the line went and we did not realize that every so often the telescope would need to be readjusted. I would say that we ended up waiting around an hour and a half and while it was really cool it was a very long time to wait so if the lines look short jump right on in. In addition to all of the wonderful telescopes and information that the Griffith Observatory has to offer it is also an incredible location to view the Hollywood sign from as well as the city of Los Angeles.

While you do need to pay to go in the Planetarium there is a free film shown called The Once and Future Griffith Observatory which is on my to-do list for my next visit. One thing that I have learned from my visits to the observatory is that it is best to visit when you do not have anywhere you need to want to be after. That way you are not rushed and it doesn’t really matter if the lines take a long time.

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!

angels flight la la land

Interested in visiting other filming locations from La La Land? I suggest checking out Angels Flight, Grand Central Market, and the Smoke House Restaurant.

About The Author

Michelle Mink is the founder and creative director of LA Dreaming. I have a passion for Southern California and love sharing about my adventures and experiences with you. I love to travel, find new places to check out, and watch movies. You can follow me on Instagram @la.dreaming

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