Griffith Park: Celestial Bodies


Pendulum in the entrance of the Griffith Observatory

Like the Hollywood sign the Griffith Observatory can always be seen looming in the distance. When you drive east or west on the 10 it follows you like the eyes in a portrait. It would be creepy if it weren’t so beautiful. You would be surprised how many people have told me that they have never been to the Griffith Park Observatory. I guess because Angelenos see it everyday, we just expect it to always be there. I am not saying it won’t be, that some San Andreas-esque natural disaster will one day send it sliding down Mount Hollywood, I am just here to say maybe it is time you turn that never been to a have been. Really what is stopping you?

I have cut off all of your excuses off at the pass.


It has been free since 1935 because Colonel Griffith J Griffith willed it to be that way. Not included in the free are planetarium films, but these range from $3 to $7 and you learn a whole lot about the universe and why the sky has fascinated civilizations for millennia.

I would however skip the cafe because museum food is expensive in general and doesn’t give much of its profits back to museum it occupies. Pack a lunch and give the museum a donation instead.

Science is boring:

Sure, there are some aspects of science that is boring, but is all in how it is presented. At the Observatory you can see a live Tesla coil in action and see how much you weigh on Mars. You can see 150 foot timeline of the universe made entirely out of costume jewelry.

If that doesn’t float your boat, the architecture and views are pretty awe inspiring. There isn’t a bad view in the place and it is totally photogenic, just check out the over one million photo results in the hashtag #griffithobservatory on instagram.

The telescope is open daily and can be looked through on a first come first serve basis (i.e. line up early) and there are monthly Star Parties, the next one is on May 30th.

Parking sucks:

Parking in Los Angeles sucks all the time, everywhere. There is a large parking lot and people have found ways to find parking on the sides of the access roads. If you park down at the bottom, close to the Greek Theater, the hike up is pretty rewarding with views of DTLA.

Griffith Park Observatory opens at noon on weekdays and 10:00 a.m. on weekends.  Like most museums in L.A., they are closed on Mondays.

[Getting here: All buses to the area require a bit of a walk. The one that gets you the closest to Griffith Park is the 180/181]

(More photos on instagram @thisuglybeautifulcity)

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