The majestic Griffith Observatory is the most popular public observatory in the world. Perched on a promontory on the slopes of Mount Hollywood, this LA institution is an instantly recognizable figure in the Hollywood Hills skyline.
And in a town that is famous for spectacle, this eighty year-old institution continues to draw rave reviews. The Observatory offers star-struck visitors a rich menu of programs and exhibits including a planetarium and crowd-pleasing Tesla coil. Last month, evening, the Observatory hosted a viewing of the total solar eclipse. Once a month, visitors can gaze at the heavens at a Star Party.
The next Star Party is September 30th. Find all the details at the Griffith Observatory homepage.
Although I’m always apt to try new hikes, taste new foods, and visit new places, I do find myself frequenting certain places in LA over and over again…
…most notably Griffith Park.
But it took me several visits to the Observatory to get up to its roof deck…
…the highest point of access that looks down over the sprawling metropolis below…
…which also houses a telescope…
…used for public access and education rather than, say, research (like Mount Palomar or Mt. Wilson, both of which I’ve visited but about which I have not posted).
Beyond the stunning Art Deco architecture visible from the Observatory’s stark white exterior – which is visible from many of the hiking trails around Griffith Park as well as from various vantage points around Old Hollywoodland – the interior is also quite lovely….
…with intricate murals across the vaulted ceiling above the main entrance rotunda, depicting classical celestial mythology with somewhat of an Art Deco aesthetic…
…above the entrancing Foucault Pendulum, whose swaying back and forth remains constant (thanks to magnets) while the Earth turns beneath it, causing the pendulum to knock down a series of pins every few minutes.
Among the other scientific instruments at the Observatory for public perusal is the Tesla Coil, whose high voltage, lightning bolt-like display is demonstrated hourly, spectacularly, and loudly.
To enjoy and love Los Angeles, you have to take more than just a cursory look at its attractions and surroundings. Sometimes, you have to get to know a place – or a person – slowly, over time, with repeated exposures, under different lightning conditions, through different seasons, in different mindsets.
But the place – or the person – must be worth returning to. And that is a decision you have to make sooner rather than later.
2800 East Observatory Road
Los Feliz, 90027
You can get to the Observatory through either the Vermont or Fern Dell entrances. LA Metro also offers a shuttle service.