Griffith Observatory is an amazing art deco-style observatory and planetarium located on Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park of Los Angeles. It opened in 1935 and has been a tourist hotspot ever since. It is a wonderful and inexpensive way to spend your day.
Many people will recognize the Griffith Observatory, even if they have never been there. It has been featured in many films and television shows, but most noticeably in Nicholas Ray’s 1955 film ‘Rebel Without a Cause.’ Two scenes take place in and around the observatory, and the last shot in the film pulls back to reveal Nicholas Ray himself walking up the path to the observatory at dawn. Fittingly, the observatory has erected a James Dean memorial on the lawn.
The observatory can easily take up your entire day! There are some crazy interactive exhibits inside: the Foucault Pendulum, which represents the rotation of the Earth, live solar telescope views of the sun’s surface, a 38 foot relief model of the north polar region of the moon, and lots more.
Multiple theaters offer entertaining and educational shows about the solar system, telescopes, stars, and the cosmos above.
There is an observation deck on the roof of the observatory, with perfect views of Los Angeles, Griffith Park, and the Hollywood sign.
The Griffith Observatory has made a 12-inch Zeiss refracting telescope available to visitors since 1935. It is located in a copper dome on the roof. This roof pulls back at night for viewing of the moon, the stars, other planets, and sometimes a comet or two! More than seven million people have used this telescope since the opening of the observatory.
Visit the observatory! If you want to hike around surrounding Griffith Park, end your day with the stars above. And if you are only there to visit the ’Rebel Without a Cause’ knife fight location around back of the observatory, take a peek into the telescope while you are there.
It is a beautiful and important part of Los Angeles.