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Griffith Observatory


Griffith Observatory


solstice marker

sundial with watch


telescopes at Griffith Observatory


George Harrison Tree




This is a famous LA attraction which is much more enjoyable with a little inside knowledge.

Of the many free things to do in Los Angeles this one is cool for so many reasons.

The Griffith Observatory is famous around the world and not just as an observatory. An amazing amount of films and TV shows have been shot here. In fact, the only place in LA I can think of that has had equal amount of filming outside of the studios is the beach.

One of the many legends surrounding the place is about James Dean’s lost knife.

His most famous movie “Rebel Without A Cause” was shot at the observatory and in one scene James Dean throws a knife over the hill. Rumor has it he really did throw the knife and nobody has ever claimed to find it.

If you go up on the western route you are travailing the road you can see in car commercials all the time.

If you come up from the eastern end of the road you will pass through a tunnel also seen in many movies and TV shows.

I only mention the movie history stuff because once you are familiar with it it is neat to spot it all over the screens both big and small.

The observatory is also one heck of a great place for kids to learn about astronomy.

Before you even get close to the building there are metal lines running through the cement outlining one huge scale map of the solar system and the orbits of the planets.

You really begin to understand just how far away some of the planets are in comparison to the earth.

There is also a sundial and statuary to the fathers of astronomy to be seen before you venture inside.

Before you do enter you may want to spend some time taking in the expansive view of Los Angeles.

Inside is the best learning observatory I have ever encountered. From scales in the floor to weigh yourself on the moon or Saturn, a huge tesla coil, interactive models seismographs, pendulums, live solar telescopes, real meteorites and a moon rock. The list goes on and on and on.

But before you go be warned this place gets crowded but unlike most of our more famous attractions it isn’t always.

Since it is such a great place for kids many of the Summer day camps and schools take kids here when school is out. This simply means if you can, go when school is in session.

If you have kids, bring them after school when there is no day camp or field trips and there will be a lot fewer people.

They have some great programs too.

There are free walking tours and the Griffith Observatory also hosts free star parties where everyone is welcome to come up at night and look through telescopes.

Although it is not free, I do recommend seeing one of their shows inside the planetarium. They can take you back in time and show you what the night sky looked like many years ago.

The Griffith Observatory is also famous for it’s Lazarium shows.

While there pay attention to the hardware like hand rails, fixtures doors. Along with the murals. They hearken back to the art deco days when the observatory was built 75 years ago.

Instead of trying to mention all there is to see and do at the Griffith Observatory we will just post up a few pictures.

But keep this in mind there is way more to see than we are showing here.

While in the area you may want to take a hike up Mount Hollywood which has it’s trail head in the parking lot and the park has many more attractions.


View Griffith Observatory in a larger map 




Planetarium Projector


Sundial up close


model of Griffith Observatory

Lawn Griffith Observatory

Planets at Griffith Observatory

Big Telescope