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Griffith Observatory

  • Los Angeles, California, United States of America (USA)

Last updated: 22 April, 2024

There are many reasons to go to Griffith Park, and one of the main ones is to visit the magnificent Art Deco observatory, which sits high above the city near the Hollywood sign.

You don’t even need to go inside to make the visit worthwhile – taking in the view over LA’s skyline and admiring the building’s impressive architecture (which you’ll recognise from films such as La La Land and Rebel Without a Cause) is more than enough.

That being said, don’t leave without going inside, where you’ll find permanent exhibits exploring the cosmos, free public telescopes and an excellent planetarium.

Don’t miss

Don’t miss the hypnotic swaying of the Foucault Pendulum in the vaulted lobby – a 240-pound bronze ball suspended by a 40-foot cable from the rotunda ceiling, it demonstrates the earth’s rotation.

Logistics

Price from: £6
Minimum age: 0
Age suitable: 4+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The observatory is high up in the hills in sprawling Griffith Park, to the east of the city, about a 20-minute drive from Hollywood Boulevard.

There aren’t usually queues to get in and the main exhibits are free, including daily talks led by the knowledgeable staff and Tesla Coil demonstrations (timings for these can be found online).

You do, though, need to book tickets for the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. Annoyingly you can’t pre-book these online or over the phone and can only buy tickets in-person at the observatory’s box office for that day’s shows. The show schedules can be found on the observatory’s website.

When to do it

The observatory is open all year round, Friday to Sunday. Closed Monday to Thursday.

You won’t usually have to battle queues, but if you fancy hiking up to the observatory it’s best to come early in the morning or later in the afternoon, before it gets too hot.

One Saturday a month the observatory hosts a free public star party, with various telescopes dotted around the front lawn and astronomers on hand for questions.

Who to go with: organised tours

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Our selection of the best Viator tours of this attraction or activity

  • Los Angeles

Given how popular and large Griffith Observatory is, it can be difficult to get to and even more so to navigate the building once you’re there. This historic landmark features 67,000 square feet of exhibition space, a public observatory and a planetarium. So how can you possibly experience it all without missing anything? We have the pros here to help! This small-group tour, designed by some of the observatory’s former employees, will enhance your experience by taking you on a curated journey through space and time. We cover everything from science and history to architecture and movie trivia. And don’t forget the opportunity to add a show in the world-famous planetarium theater with our special ticket option available on-site. It’s a 40-minute immersive show with live narration that is truly out of this world! However, this interstellar option is only for ages 5 and older. NOTE: We are an independent tour company and are not affiliated with the City of LA or their employees.

Price $35

Min age 5

Rating 4.68 / 5 [153 ratings]

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  • Los Angeles

Griffith Observatory is a landmark that even locals don’t know enough about. Called “the hood ornament of LA,” it serves as a public observatory, planetarium, and exhibition space. Designed by some of its former employees, this tour will give you an intro to the city that you’ll never forget. When Griffith J. Griffith first viewed the moon from a telescope he exclaimed, "If all mankind could look through that telescope, it would change the world!" For the remainder of his life, he toiled to realize his vision for a public observatory that would benefit future generations. Now, the Griffith Observatory is the most popular attraction of its kind in the world. Join us as we discover not just an L.A. landmark, but a place where you’ll have the chance to make memories. As fellow travelers, astronomers, and Angelenos, we at ExperienceFirst will help you make the most of your time at Griffith Observatory. Note: We are an independent tour company and are not affiliated with the City of LA.

Price $349

Min age 5

Rating 4.63 / 5 [44 ratings]

Tour supplied by:

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