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A guide to LA’s iconic Griffith Observatory

Published On: February 20, 2023Categories: Museums, Parks, Tourist attractionsTags:

If you’ve started researching about what to do on your trip to Los Angeles, you’ll definitely have already heard about Griffith Observatory.

Located within Griffith Park, the infamous Griffith Observatory looks out on the city from the slopes of Mt Hollywood. It’s also named as one of the country’s largest urban wilderness areas – pretty cool in a city so built up – and is home to a variety of iconic attractions including the Hollywood sign and the Los Angeles Zoo.

It’s practically a crime to not visit this spot during your time in Los Angeles (especially for insanely good city views!) so keep scrolling for everything you need to know on Griffith Observatory…

History of Griffith Observatory

If ‘detective’ is your middle name, you’ll want to know all the details on this spot’s history, right? Well, we’ve got you covered. This world-famous planetarium and astronomy museum was built by philanthropist Griffith J. Griffith and was designed to be a public space where people could learn about the stars and the universe.

Since its opening in 1935, the observatory has been a source of education and inspiration for literally generations and provides a window into the mysteries of the universe.

Things to do at Griffith Observatory

Griffith Park

Whether you want to head for a chilled stroll, relax with a book for some ‘me’ time, have a picnic with mates or go for a run surrounded by beautiful scenery – you can do it all at Griffith Park and you’ve simply got to add it to your ‘must-visit’ list during your time here. While its famous for being one of the best parks in Southern California, it also hit the showbiz headlines for being home to that dancing scene in La La Land. We totally think you should head there and recreate it…

Samuel Oschin Planetarium

One of the most popular attractions at the observatory is the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. Dubbed as one of the best planetariums in the world, it’s home to a number of live demonstrations and shows where you can learn everything there is to know about outer space. With several public telescopes available to utilize – including the Zeiss telescope – there is so much of the night sky and solar system here to observe and enjoy.

Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theatre

Built as a complimentary building to the original observatory, this theater plays films and hosts programs and plays (which are all free to review) so you can learn even more about all things outer space.

Gottlieb Transit Corridor

This innovative glass corridor is super interesting to learn about the movement of the sun, moon and stars and how this determines day and times. We recommend heading here at midday as there is a presentation that runs when the sun is right overhead the meridian line of the observatory – it’s a really cool experience you won’t find in many places around the world!

Whether you’re a lifelong astronomy enthusiast or simply interested in learning more about the cosmos, the Griffith Observatory is a must-visit destination in Los Angeles.

All the details

The Griffith Observatory is located at 2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles, CA 90027 and free to enter and explore. Paid parking is available on site.

The Griffith Observatory is open six days a week (Tuesday-Sunday).

  • Weekday (Tuesday – Friday) Hours: Open 12:00 noon – 10:00 p.m.
  • Weekend (Saturday – Sunday) Hours: Open 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

How far is the Griffith Observatory from Freehand Los Angeles?

If you’re planning on visiting the Griffith Observatory during your stay at Freehand Los Angeles (we think you should!), we recommend getting a taxi – the journey is around a 36 minute drive.

If you want to explore the city by foot, walk to the 7th Street/ Metro Center Station from Freehand Los Angeles (7 minute walk) and take the B Metro Westbound to Hollywood/ Western Station. From there, the Griffith Observatory is a 57 minute walk up the hill.