When I was in Los Angeles this past winter (true story: winter in southern California looks like summer anywhere else), I spent a beautiful afternoon in Griffith Park. For those who aren’t familiar with LA, this is essentially our version of Central Park — it’s a huge and sprawling public green space. Unlike Central Park, it is mountainous with lots of proper hiking trails. There are terrific views of the Hollywood sign, downtown LA, and even the ocean on a clear day.
Since I don’t have a car in LA, I took the metro to Hollywood & Western and then walked up to the park. Then I hiked up to the Observatory, saw a planetarium show for the first time here, and the continued on to Hollywood Peak. After reading for awhile on a bench, I did the return journey back to the metro. It was a favorite day.
Locals are already familiar with this popular trail, but for anyone visiting Los Angeles from out of town, here is a map:
I worked up a sweat!
The famous Griffith Park Observatory:
Looking back towards downtown LA and east Hollywood:
Scenic shots around the Observatory:
Inside the Observatory:
Anyone else having flashbacks to La La Land…?
I’ve wanted to see a planetarium show here for YEARS — back when I moved to LA in the fall of 2005, the Observatory was under construction for a long time. When it eventually reopened, I made it up here a few times to hike or watch a lunar event like the 2014 Blood Moon, or to show out-of-town guests the views — but until now I’d never seen a show here. I’m happy to report it was so much fun! The program I saw was called Centered in the Universe and I think it’s one of the main shows they do often through the day — it explores the boundaries of our universe and beyond, showcasing just how enormous the space beyond our little solar system is. The audio was not pre-recorded — a live storyteller presents each show, which makes it all the more engaging. It lasted about 45 minutes and an adult ticket was $7. No photos are allowed inside the planetarium.
Notice the Hollywood sign in the distance:
I left the Observatory and continued hiking up to Hollywood Peak. This was the first hike I ever did in Los Angeles back in September 2005.
Impressive views of downtown LA and Hollywood — and the ocean is on the horizon:
I sat on this bench for awhile reading my book:
And then I began the walk back to the metro.
If you find yourself visiting LA, coming to the Observatory should be high on your list even if it’s just to admire the views from here (I’d recommend arriving shortly before sunset and staying to watch the lights in the city turn on at dusk). Bonus points if you have time to hike or see a planetarium show.