The Griffith Observatory, in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, is one of the coolest points in all of Southern California. On a clear day you can see all the way to the ocean. On most sunny days you will see the distant shine of the ocean no matter what. No matter what you’re going to be surrounded by wilderness while surrounded by a city.
Inside the observatory is a museum, a planetarium, and exhibits. As well as (and this one is really awesome) the ability to look through the giant telescope. On certain nights they point it to something in the cosmos and let us regulars in for a peak. You can’t touch anything, since the equipment is so old and there’s literally thousands of people looking into it, but you do get an awe inspiring view.
I have only looked into the telescope once. I was lucky enough to see the Orion nebula. It was so cool I can’t even explain it. It’s one of those things that makes you want to get into astronomy. It’s indescribably amazing.
Photo By Hubble Telescope
Now for the bad news. You have to actually get to the Griffith Observatory. It’s at the top of a hill over looking L.A., in the middle of the park. The drive isn’t necessarily that long, but the crush of people all doing the same thing as you makes it take forever. That’s right. You want to see the beautiful view? Well you’re going to have to fight for it, because everyone else does too.
Once you’ve made it to the top you have to park. People start parking on the side of the road and walking beginning about a mile or two away. There are some steep hills, but it’s not the worst trek. What this does, though, is cause even more of a problem as cars have to avoid slow walking people. If you make it all the way to the top, you might get a spot. There is a pretty good sized lot, but depending on the day, you might not be able to do much more than drive through it as you head back down looking for something on the side of the road.
Hopefully you find something close…
Here is exactly what driving to the observatory looks like. Don’t say I didn’t prepare you!
Long story short, if there’s a shuttle available, take it.
BONUS! Views from the top:
The Observatory at the top of the hill.
Looking over to the Hollywood sign.
Looking towards Brentwood/Santa Monica and the Pacific Ocean. Notice the brown smog obstructing the view.
And this is looking back over downtown LA and the road to the top of the hill. It’s a fun drive if you have a car for it.. and you luck out on traffic.