Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park

#1 in Best Things To Do in Los Angeles
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Key Info

2800 E. Observatory Road

Price & Hours

Free
5 a.m.-10:30 p.m. daily

Details

Museums, Free, Parks and Gardens, Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

Griffith Observatory sits on the south face of Mount Hollywood and overlooks the Los Angeles basin. Its location gives visitors impressive views of the surrounding area, which many rave about. But there's more than just a pretty photo-op here. The observatory hosts fascinating exhibitions and features a top-notch planetarium.

Most recent visitors cited the beautiful setting as Griffith Observatory's main draw, though the free entry was certainly a bonus. However, you will have to pay between $3 and $7 to see the planetarium shows. Griffith Observatory is open from noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with extended hours on weekends. Free but limited parking is available along the winding roads leading up to the property, or visitors can park in the small lot by the observatory for $10 per hour. A gift shop and cafe can be found on-site as well. For more information, check out Griffith Observatory's website.

If you're looking to spend some time outdoors (without fighting traffic to get to the beaches), Griffith Park is the place to be. Encompassing over 4,210 acres, the park features more than 50 miles of hiking and biking trails, horseback riding trails, campgrounds for families with young kids and more. If you don't want to venture out on your own, several companies offer guided hikes. You will also find a variety of attractions here, including the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens, the Hollywood Sign, the Autry Museum of the American West and, of course, the observatory.

Past travelers enjoyed taking in the park's views, especially those provided during their hikes to the Hollywood Sign. Griffith Park is open to the public seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Admission is free, but individual attractions and facilities (such as sports courts and some of the park's museums) may charge entry fees. Limited complimentary parking is provided throughout the property. Visit Griffith Park's website to find out more.

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#2 The Getty Center

The Getty Center is one of the most impressive architectural achievements in the United States – and it also contains some of the finest works of art in the world. The circular concrete-and-steel structure was designed by renowned architect Richard Meier, and it houses an abundance of art from various ages and nations. Here you'll find Renaissance paintings, 20th-century American photography, Baroque sculptures, historic manuscripts and more, all housed inside a sprawling, modern campus amid the Santa Monica Mountains. The museum also offers spectacular views of Los Angeles on clear days.

Recent travelers loved the museum for its value and beauty, highlighting the contrast between the art center's subtle refinement and the over-the-top glitz of Hollywood. Many visitors suggest taking a guided tour, noting that the tour highlights interesting parts of the museum they wouldn't have stumbled upon on their own. Tours of the Getty Center's architecture and gardens are available, as well as a Collection Highlights tour and tours of art in specific eras. Tour times and days vary depending on tour type. Check the Getty Center's website for a complete calendar.

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