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Griffith Observatory

Discover a star-studded hangout and marvel at the art deco splendor of one of LA’s stellar attractions.

Perched high above the city near the Hollywood sign, the Griffith Observatory offers a mind-expanding window on the universe and plenty of intergalactic fun. Though LA’s fog and haze means the views of heavenly bodies aren’t as good as they used to be, you can still see beyond the smog to glimpse stars, moon craters, Jupiter’s satellites and more.

With its three copper-cladded domes, this stimulating shrine to science has been a famous LA landmark since 1935. Movie buffs may recognize it from numerous sci-fi flicks, including The Terminator, and the 1955 James Dean film Rebel Without a Cause.

The observatory hasn’t just played a significant role in Hollywood history, it’s also made a major contribution to space exploration; the Apollo astronauts learned about celestial navigation within its walls.

In addition to exhibition halls with more than 60 space-related displays, the observatory has a 300-seat planetarium beneath the central dome and a multimedia theater for education programs and activities, the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon.

Scan the stars when the skies are clear with the Zeiss refracting telescope, solar telescopes and other instruments available for public use. Time your visit to coincide with a free monthly star party so you can peer at the moon, visible planets and other objects in the solar system through a variety of telescopes.

When you’re ready to come back down to Earth, take some time out in the grounds around the observatory for more awesome views. From your vantage point on the south slope of Mount Hollywood, you’ll see the LA basin laid out before you. At night, with the city lights sparkling below, the spectacle is simply stunning.

Griffith Observatory is about eight miles (13 kilometers) north of downtown. It is open five days a week, from Wednesday to Sunday, but is closed on most holidays. Admission to the observatory and the surrounding grounds is free.

For more details on interesting local attractions and activities, check out our things to do in Los Angeles page.

Guide to Exploring around Griffith Observatory


Lodging Near Griffith Observatory

See all 812 Hotels near Griffith Observatory
onefinestay Serrano Avenue private home

onefinestay Serrano Avenue private home

Serrano Ave, Los Angeles
4.5 out of 5.0

These vacation homes are located throughout the area in Los Angeles.

Hollywood Inn Express North

Hollywood Inn Express North

5131 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
of 5, from 196 reviews
2.0 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Los Angeles, this motel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Pantages Theatre, Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Capitol Records Tower. Dolby Theater and TCL Chinese Theatre are also within 3 mi (5 km).

Coral Sands Motel

Coral Sands Motel

1730 N Western Ave, Los Angeles
of 5, from 801 reviews
2.0 out of 5.0

Situated in the entertainment district, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Pantages Theatre, Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Capitol Records Tower. Dolby Theater and Hollywood and Highland Center are also within 2 mi (3 km).

The Dixie Hollywood

The Dixie Hollywood

5410 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles
of 5, from 542 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Situated in the entertainment capital of the world, nearby attractions include the Walk of Fame, Griffith Park, Hollywood Bowl & Universal Studios. Footsteps away from Metro subway station.

Hollywood City Inn

Hollywood City Inn

1615 N. Western Ave., Los Angeles
of 5, from 551 reviews
2.0 out of 5.0

Located in the center of downtown Hollywood, this hotel is 1 mile from Sunset Strip and 4 miles from Universal Studios.