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Stargaze at LA’s iconic Griffith Observatory

Published On: March 30, 2023Categories: Museums, Parks, Tourist attractionsTags:

Do you love stargazing? Are you fascinated by space and the cosmos? Well, no stay at Freehand Los Angeles would be complete without a trip to the iconic Griffith Observatory.

Perched atop LA’s Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park, the Griffith Observatory has long been a beloved icon of Los Angeles. With its striking Art Deco architecture and stunning panoramic views of the city below, the observatory has drawn millions of visitors since it first opened its doors in the 1930s. Not only is it a hub for astronomy enthusiasts, but it also serves as a cultural center for the city, offering a range of exhibits and programs on science, space, and the natural world.

In the guide below, we’ll explain everything you need to know when planning a visit, exploring why it remains such an important landmark in the City of Angels.

Where is the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles?

You’ll find the observatory located on the southern face of Mount Hollywood, right within the expansive Griffith Park. The park itself covers over 4,200 acres and is one of the largest urban parks in North America!

The observatory sits atop a hill at an elevation of 1,134 feet, providing visitors with stunning views of the Los Angeles basin and the surrounding hills. Its location within Griffith Park also makes it easily accessible from many parts of the city, and its prominence on the mountaintop makes it a recognizable landmark visible from many vantage points.

A brief history of the observatory

It’s hard to imagine Los Angeles without this iconic symbol of scientific discovery and stargazing wonder, but you might be shocked to hear that this stunning building is less than 100 years old!

The observatory was first opened in 1935, thanks to the generosity of Griffith J. Griffith, a wealthy philanthropist who believed that the public should have access to science education and knowledge about the cosmos. Since then, the observatory has become a beloved institution, attracting millions of visitors from around the world. But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing – the building has undergone extensive renovations and updates over the years to keep up with the latest technology and scientific advancements. Through it all, the Griffith Observatory has remained a shining beacon of curiosity and exploration, inspiring generations of locals and tourists alike to look up and wonder at the mysteries of the universe.

What is there to do at the Griffith Observatory?

Rest assured, if you’re planning on visiting the Griffith Observatory, you won’t get bored!

This attraction offers a range of activities to satisfy even the most curious minds. Take a stroll through the exhibits and marvel at the wonders of the universe, or catch a show in the planetarium and immerse yourself in the beauty and mystery of space. But that’s not all – the observatory also hosts a variety of special events, from star parties to lectures by renowned scientists.

Oh, and don’t forget the jaw-dropping views of the city from the observatory’s prime location atop Mount Hollywood. For a full guide on what to do when visiting the observatory, check their website.

All you need to know when visiting the observatory

Opening times

The Griffith Observatory is open every day during the week apart from Mondays and during public holidays. On weekdays, the observatory’s opening hours are 12:00 noon – 10:00 PM and 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM on weekends.

It’s worth noting that the galleries and theatres can get busy, and that visitor capacity control for the observatory may be used during very busy times. This can sometimes result in a short wait to access the building itself.

Ticket information

One of the benefits of visiting the observatory is that admission to the building, grounds and the public telescopes is always free.

However, there are ticket costs for the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. Tickets can be purchased only at the observatory and only for that day’s shows. It’s not possible to book tickets online, by phone, or in advance. You can only purchase them at the main box office inside or at automated ticket machines. Ticket prices range from $10 for an adult and $6.00 for children between 5 and 12 years old. Full ticket information can be found here.

How to get there from Freehand LA

The easiest way to get to Griffith Observatory is via car or taxi: the drive takes around 20 minutes from Freehand LA. If you are planning on driving your own car or a rental to the observatory, be aware that there are parking costs.