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Visiting Griffith Observatory in LA

Located in Griffith Park, the Griffth Observatory is one of the most recognized landmarks in Los Angeles. You probably remember it from La La Land, when Mia & Sebastian went dancing through the observatory after hours.

While the movie may have given you a glimpse of the interior, you really should experience it yourself.

What to do at Griffith Observatory

What to do at Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory is a great half-day activity to do while in Los Angeles. Here is how you can spend your time:

Keck Centra Rotunda

When you arrive, the first thing you will see is the Keck Centra Rotunda.

The centerpiece is the Foucault Pendulum.

One of the largest pendulums that demonstrate the Earth’s rotation, it is composed of a 240-pound bronze ball which is suspended by a 40-foot-long cable that swings in a constant direction while the Earth turns beneath it.

Just above the Faucault Pendulum are murals painted by Hugo Ballin.

The eight painted panels represent the “Advancement of Science from Remote Periods to Present Times.”

The panels illustrate aeronautics, navigation, civil engineering, metallurgy and electricity, time, geology and biology, mathematics and physics, and astronomy.

On the ceiling of the rotunda is a mural that depicts classical celestial mythology.

At the center of the mural is Atlas who is holding the signs of the zodiac.

Going counterclockwise is Pleiades, then Jupiter and his thunderbolts. Venus and the four seasons, Saturn, Mercury chasing Argos, a woman holding the Star of Bethlehem and ending with the Moon and a comet.

Tesla Coil

Tesla Coil

One of the highlights of a trip to Griffith Observatory is seeing the Testa Coil.

The Tesla Coil presentation explains how instrumental it was to find a way to conduct electricity without wires.

Make sure that you find out the time of the presentation before you arrive so that you don’t miss it!

Wilder Hall of the Eye

This exhibit gallery focuses on observations of the sky and the impact those observations have had on the world.

Edge of Space 

This exhibit showcases samples of the universe (meteorites, moon rocks, & asteroids) that come to Earth from space or space exploration.

You will also find various telescopes that you can use to look at images of solar systems.

Gunther Depths of Space

At this part of the observatory, you can explore the different planets in our solar system and the galaxy as a whole.

This section also has interactive features like creating your own earthquake now by jumping up and down on a platform infront of a seismometer.

It detects the floor vibrations and sends signals to record the vibrations.

Samuel Oschin Planetarium

This 290-seat Samuel Oschin Planetarium theater has a star projector, digital projection system, state-of-the-art aluminum dome, comfy seats, sound system, and theatrical lighting that will make you feel like you are really beneath the stars.

The guided shows change throughout the day depending on the time you attend. Tickets for each show are sold until 10 minutes before the start time.

Adult tickets are $7 and children 5-12 are $3. Children under 5 are discouraged.

Outside the Observatory

You will find tons of room to walk around and see different parts of Los Angeles in the distance.

The views are nothing short of spectacular.

One major landmark that you will be able to see is the Hollywood Sign.


Admission to the Observatory building, the grounds, and the public telescopes is free. There are parking fees and tickets for the Samuel Oschin Planetarium are an additional cost.


Weekday (Tuesday – Friday) 12:00 noon – 10:00 p.m.

Weekend (Saturday – Sunday) 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Griffith Observatory, in essence, embodies a perfect blend of education and entertainment. Whether you’re an astronomy enthusiast, a nature lover, a film fanatic, or simply someone seeking unique experiences in LA, a visit to the Griffith Observatory is a must!

If you are looking for other things to do in Los Angeles during your visit, be sure to check out our itinerary for spending 2 days in LA.

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