Griffith Observatory - 123rf

L.A.’s Best Free Attraction: The Griffith

But not like you think—the Griffith Observatory is the best free attraction in the city.

Star Gazing In L.A.


TRAVEL ADVISORY | It always surprises me when I hear that friends who’ve vacationed in Los Angeles multiple times haven’t ventured up Mount Hollywood to visit the Griffith Observatory, the most interesting FREE attraction in this town after the sun and the beach.

Griffith Observatory -123rfFirst there’s the iconic Art Deco structure itself (originally constructed in the 1930s, the building has been sensitively upgraded and expanded in recent years) prominently perched on a hillside where the panoramic views include the entire Los Angeles basin and the Hollywood Hills, home of the landmark Hollywood Sign.

Griffith Observatory - 123rfThen there’s the content of the observatory that includes dozens of exceptional exhibits, and optical and solar telescopes that are available for public viewing each day and evening when skies are clear. “Roughly seven million people have looked at the sky through the observatory’s 12-inch Zeiss telescope, more than through any other telescope on Earth,” according to information on the official website, where you’ll also learn that “the triple-beam solar telescope is one of the largest such public instruments in the world.”

Everything is free at the Griffith Observatory (including the parking, though you may have to wait for a spot) except for the planetarium shows, where the most expensive ticket is $7.

rails Cafe The selby-blog480While the observatory has a perfectly acceptable café, if you’d prefer something truly special to eat, travel back down the mountain to the Trails Cafe just inside the park entrance. There you’ll find an ambience and fare worthy of a spread in Edible Selby (CLICK HERE for the pictorial feature New York Times: T magazine ran on the wee place last November). —Carolann

For more on the Griffith Observatory, visit For a well-written review of the observatory, visit

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