Griffith Observatory Los Angeles
From Los Feliz, turn right onto Vermont Avenue. You'll pass the Greek Theatre (on your left), a popular venue for summer night concerts. Drive through the tunnel and veer left to park in the observatory's lot.
There's no better place for stunning views of Los Angeles or the twinkling night sky. Located on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood, the observatory is a Los Angeles icon.
Light years ahead of his time, Wales native Griffith J. Griffith donated land to the city of Los Angeles on Dec. 16, 1896, for the purpose of building a large urban park. He later gave the city $100,000 to build an observatory. His vision was to enlighten the public about the universe (and squelch superstitious myths) through exhibits and programs. But it was well after his death that the Griffith Observatory's grand opening took place on May 14, 1935.
In 2002, the observatory closed for a comprehensive, $93 million renovation. As can be expected, L.A.'s shining star reopened to much fanfare in 2006. You don't have to be a budding astronomer to appreciate the exhibits, models, artifacts and telescopes that provide a peek into the universe. Look through the 12-inch Zeiss refracting telescope for views of the moon, planets and bright objects. Solar telescopes bring real-time views of sunspots and solar flares.
For a nominal fee, see one of the daily planetarium shows that take an in-depth look into the solar system. Drop by for free, monthly public star parties. Knowledgeable amateur astronomers set up a variety of telescopes on the observatory's sidewalks and terraces and share fun facts about the moon, sun and other objects above the world so high.
Grab a bite to eat at the Café at the End of the Universe, operated by Wolfgang Puck. In addition to a full menu of sandwiches, wraps and salads, there's a grab-n-go section with prepackaged items.
Allow about two hours to explore the nooks and crannies of this fabulous observatory, a popular filming location for movies and TV shows. "Rebel without a Cause," "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" and "The Terminator" are among the many movies filmed here. TV shows include "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Melrose Place."
Back in your car, exit the lot and veer left to continue the scenic, loop drive to Ferndell Park. The road becomes Ferndell Drive on this side of the observatory.
2800 E. Observatory Rd.