The Weekender: Star Gazing at Griffith Observatory

One of the best outlooks in Los Angeles has got to be Griffith Observatory. You can clearly see the Hollywood sign from here! Not only is it a great spot for a first date, but it also has a giant telescope, space exhibits, and a planetarium. It’s also a popular place for fashion bloggers and their Instagram husbands. Moreover, admission is free (except for the planetarium).

To get to the top, you can either hike from the base of the mountain or drive up. There is a lot in the observatory, but it gets full very quickly if you don’t get there early enough (around 10AM) be prepared to wait. Traffic was absolutely horrible so we ended up parking close to the summit and walking part of the way. The weather is so beautiful in LA, there really is no excuse not to do a little walking (says the person who decided to drive). If you decide to take the train, there is a shuttle bus that takes you to the top from the Vermont/Sunset Red Line.

Once we got up there, the view was absolutely worth being stuck in traffic for!

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Okay, so we technically did not see any stars outside since we went during the day. But we sure did at the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. We bought tickets at an automated machine inside the observatory ($7 for adults) 10 minutes before the start time (we couldn’t get them any earlier). They have four different shows, and we chose “Centered in the Universe.” Then we grabbed a quick and delicious taco bowl at the food court and waited in line to go in. Bring some shades and wear some sunscreen because we were baking in the sun. No pictures were allowed inside, but if you’ve ever had one of those immersive IMAX experiences, you’ll know the planetarium is well worth the ticket price. Just try not to fall asleep because it got real comfy as we were leaning back on our chairs and gazing into the darkness.

Also inside the observatory are a range of space exhibits. Tie and I particularly liked the ones related to the phases and movement of the moon.

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Since we went during the day, the enormous, working telescope was not available for view. Maybe next time we’ll return when it’s darker out. They actually host public star parties one Saturday each month. How awesome is that? There’s something so primitive and binding about gazing into the night sky. I can imagine our ancestors doing the same thing, with the same sense of wonder we still hold onto despite our more advanced scientific knowledge.

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