Do you love visiting observatories? I am in love with anything that exists in our galaxy and beyond, and hence visit observatories and planetariums whenever and wherever I can. One of the most beautiful observatories I have visited is the Griffith observatory in Los Angeles (LA). Every time I see the Hollywood series Lucifer, I remember my visit to LA and the good times I had in the city.
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About Griffith Observatory
Located near Mount Hollywood, Griffith observatory is an observatory in LA, named after Griffith Jenkins Griffith, an American industrialist and philanthropist. Opened in 1935, the observatory is one of the most popular tourist attractions in LA.
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Griffith observatory is decorated with the Greek key pattern on the exterior and a combination of Greek and Beaux-Arts patterns on the interior. The building has three levels:
- Lower level – The lower level has a café, gift shop, a theatre and exhibits.
- Main level – The main level has the planetarium, galleries, telescope, and exhibits.
- Roof – The roof has the viewing platforms, telescopes and exhibits.
Did you know that the planetarium was used as a training ground for pilots in celestial navigation during the World War II?
The best time to visit the observatory is during the sunset as the sunset and night city light views are stunning. And visit the observatory during a weekday as there will be less crowd. You need at least 2 to 3 hours to see the exhibits and explore the observatory and planetarium. If you are seeing a show at the planetarium, make sure to arrive early so you are on time for the show.
How to get to Griffith Observatory?
Griffith observatory is around 16 kilometres (10 miles) from LA city and the drive takes only about 30 minutes by car.
- There are paid parking spaces (around USD 4 per hour) at the observatory. Over the weekends and public holidays, parking can be challenging as it is crowded.
The public transport is operated by Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) and DASH is the affordable and economical way to reach LA. Buses operate between 10 AM and 10 PM every day.
- To reach Griffith observatory from LA city, you need to first take a bus from Figueroa Street/ 7th Street to 1st/ Hill and then change to a metro from Grand Park station to Vermont/ Sunset. After which, take a bus from Vermont/ Sunset to Los Feliz/ Vermont.
Visitor Information for Griffith Observatory
- The admission to Griffith observatory building, public telescopes and the grounds is free. But there is a minimal fee of USD 10 per adult to enter the Samuel Oschin planetarium and the shows that happen at the planetarium.
- Observatory is open four days a week Thursday to Sunday. On Thursday and Friday, it is open between 12 PM to 10 PM, and on Saturday and Sunday, it is open between 10 AM and 10 PM. Even on closed days, you can walk around the observatory and enjoy the views of sunset and the world famous Hollywood sign.
- To save money on parking, it is best to park the car way below the observatory and then hike up to the observatory which usually takes around 20 minutes one way.
- Outside food is not allowed at observatory but there is a café on the lower level where you can buy food and drinks.
Lights of the Valkyries
At the planetarium, there are daily programs that are shown to public and these provide amazing experiences of the sky and universe. During these shows, there are also opportunities to see the live image of the Sun and stars using coelostat and solar telescope (a telescope that tracks the solar movements).
When I visited, one of the shows that were displayed was the Lights of the Valkyries. The Lights of the Valkyries is a display of Viking cosmology and shows the nature of Aurora Borealis (the Northern lights). I was stunned with the display and the show and I must say it was one of the most amazing shows I have ever seen.
Safety for solo female travelers
Griffith Observatory is absolutely safe to visit. It is monitored and perfectly safe for solo female travelers. Even though I felt a bit unsafe in LA, especially around the Downtown area, I still felt going to Griffith observatory and the surrounding places were very safe. But as any other place in the world, be cautious and know your surroundings at all times.
I loved visiting Griffith observatory and I highly recommend visiting it when in LA. The observatory is one of its kind and you can easily spend a few hours at the observatory. Also, the views of the city from the observatory is mesmerising, especially at sunset.
Do you love observatories? Which one is your favourite? Let me know in the comments below or write to me at Solopassport@gmail.com.
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