Griffith Observatory

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Griffith Observatory always seems to be placed in the top ten(and a lot of times first!) on multiple lists of things to do in Los Angeles, California. Many travelers, blogs, publications, magazines, and websites seem to think Griffith Observatory should be a stop you make during your time in southern California.

Things To Know About Griffith Observatory:

  • The worst part about the Griffith Observatory is just getting to the location. It may sound repetitive from people that live and/or travel to Los Angeles, but parking in LA is always the worst and Griffith Observatory is no exception. Griffith Observatory sits at the top of a steep and winding road. It looks over the popular Griffith Park where many will just park at the bottom and hike up. There is a parking lot right next to the building but that tends to always be full, and some times if it gets too crowded then the top parking lot might be blocked off all together. Most people end up parking along the road that leads up to the Observatory in some of the worst angles possible.
  • Besides parking, hiking up to the Observatory can also be difficult and even a little dangerous. There is not an official sidewalk on the side of the road, so you end up either walking on the street while avoiding cars or on the small dirt path to the side. It was especially difficult walking back to the car at night.

Photos of Griffith Observatory looking over LA, the parking on the side of the road, the non-existent path to the top, and the end of the road at the top:

  • Inside the Griffith Observatory is a range of exhibits about planets, space, the sky, etc. Both parking and entrance into the Griffith Observatory is free.
  • The only thing you would have to pay for is tickets to the shows featured in the Planetarium. The shows are narrated by someone who works for the Griffith Observatory and are shown on a screen that takes over the entire ceiling. Ticket are under $10 per person and you can check the schedule and purchase tickets at the booth near the front entrance.
  • Personally I was not too enticed by the exhibits inside. I think its a great visit for families and school field trips, and of course its free, but while the view is definitely worth the hassle up to the Observatory, the exhibits might not be to some people. I did enjoy the Planetarium show though.
  • They had some type of cafeteria, but it was not appetizing at all. They had food sitting out in the open that was not covered, and it looked like someone cooked it at home in their own pan and then brought it into work. I am not sure who is in charge of that cafeteria but they really need some help.

Photos of the Planetarium before the show and the outside and inside of the Griffith Observatory:

  • Depending on the day Griffith is open sometime in the late morning, either 10am or noon, but it always remains open until late, currently at 10pm. This means you can get a great view of the city during the day and at night. I would recommend checking to see what time sunset occurs on the day of your visit, and then plan on arriving at the Observatory an hour/hour and a half before. This way you can view it during the day, look through the exhibits, see a show, watch the beautiful sunset, and see Los Angeles at night with bright lights. When scheduling a time you should not only take into an account the regular LA traffic, but also the traffic just traveling up to the Observatory on the one lane road which can take a while when busy.

Photos include views from the Griffith Observatory during the day and night:

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