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Tips for Visiting Griffith Observatory in LA

May 22, 2024
View from the Griffith Observatory in LA

Griffith Observatory is truly a magical place to visit. Nestled in the hills overlooking the glittering LA skyline and Hollywood Sign, it’s easy to see why this destination is so popular among locals and tourists alike. Dubbed the “hood ornament” of Los Angeles for good reason, the location is amazing… The parking, however, is not.

When the building opened in 1935, city planners didn’t consider what a monster LA traffic would become. So while Griffith Observatory is definitely worth a visit, there are a few tricks and tips I’d like to share with you (as your local LA guide) so you can get here safely and sanely. 

Tip 1: Visit during the day

Griffith Observatory Photo by Deissy Flores

The building is less crowded overall and parking spaces tend to still be open on their top lot. Otherwise, nearby parking on the hill will be available. Plus the daytime exhibits are equally as interesting and being there as the sun sets is one of the best views in LA!

Guide tip: If you’re feeling up for a hike, I would recommend the Boy Scout Trail as the best option up to the top. Or you can book our most popular Griffith Park and Hollywood Sign Hiking Tour if you’re interested in learning more about the history of the area and getting some exercise on your way to the Observatory. You can shuttle or Uber back down the hill.

Tip 2: Take a rideshare (Uber/Lyft)

Uber and Lyft  Photo

In this day and age, why drive when you can be chauffeured so easily? This tip is especially recommended if you are coming here in the evening — and even more so if it’s an evening when there’s a concert at the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park. You can find the Greek Theatre schedule here to check.

Sitting in all that traffic (sometimes it can take over an hour to get up the hill alone) just to not find parking can certainly dampen your whole experience, so why even risk it? Let someone else do the driving! Also, you’ll likely spend the same amount in ride fare as you would parking with the way rates are these days.

Tip 3: Opt for the shuttle

DASH public shuttle route

Here’s good news that most Angelenos don’t even know about. There is a public shuttle that connects the Los Feliz metro (bus or subway) and takes people up the hill to Griffith Observatory for just $0.50! It runs every 20-30 minutes and is a great option for visitors. See image above for DASH shuttle stops at A, B, C and D. More information can be found here.

Guide tip: If you try to park at the observatory and can’t find anything, traffic staff will route you back down the hill. Once you park somewhere near the Greek Theatre or in the neighborhood, don’t walk all the way up — take the shuttle!  

For more detailed information on getting to the observatory, including hiking, biking, a parking map and more, check their website.

Tip 4: Go behind the scenes of Griffith Observatory

VIP guests at Griffith Observatory Photo by LA Tour1

Griffith Observatory is better when you go with a local who can tell (and show) you all of its wonders. We really mean it. Our small-group Griffith Observatory tour designed by former observatory employees takes you an experiential journey through space and time. There’s a little history, a little science, even some trivia to wow movie buffs.

If you have the time, a narrated show in their world-famous planetarium is the perfect way to cap your visit. After all, it took you some effort to make it out here to Griffith Park.

If you’re looking for the ultimate LA observatory experience, we also have a highly rated private tour of Griffith Observatory. We’ll pre-arrange your planetarium tickets and then escort you through the building like the VIP you are. Contact us for more details about a private tour for your group.

Your visit to Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory Telescope photo by LA Tour1

I hope these tips help you on your journey to visit the real stars in LA! The observatory is a one-of-a-kind place here in Griffith Park, and we want you to enjoy your experience to the fullest.

For more about this incredible landmark, check out our guide to Griffith Observatory.

Looking for other things to do nearby? Here are eight attractions in Griffith Park you might enjoy. If you have more time here in LA, we’d love to show you around. We offer a whole host of Los Angeles tours, from a Hollywood ghost tour (no surprise this place has unsettled spirits) to a DTLA food tour. Come visit and see it all through the eyes of a local!