This March was the first time I had ever been to Los Angeles! I was overwhelmed with the amount of things I wanted to see and do. We only had a day and a half to visit, so I picked some of the top things I’ve been dying to do (er, photograph?).
I love vantage points, especially when visiting a new city. Thanks to some internet research a few years ago, I knew that the view from the Griffith Observatory provided a great perspective. It’s located in the Hollywood hills – next to the Hollywood sign, for that matter. It’s the first thing we did when we arrived!
The bus driver who took us up here told us that on a clear day you can see all the way to the ocean!
As you can imagine, this location has been used in movies before, but the one I remember most vividly is Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. Ya know, the one in the early 2000s with Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu. I didn’t take any of my own match-ups because I didn’t watch the film prior to visiting, but the flickr account belonging to Tony Hoffarth has some great match ups here, here, and here..
I love the architecture of the observatory. It lends itself so well to photography, so I made my way around the entire building taking photographs. You can see my full curated post of them on my photography blog.
The Instagram Gods were watching over me as we made our way to the second level and this guy was climbing over the roof for a picture:
I’m sure his Instagram post was bad ass as well. (he did get in trouble seconds after this!)
Aside from the great views of LA, the observatory itself is really cool. On the front lawn in the evening are giant telescopes you can look through to see other planets! The Griffith Observatory website has a weekly sky report to anticipate what you might be able to see. The lines started forming when we got there at sunset and then unfortunately they got longer as it got darker, so we didn’t get to look through them. I would definitely plan to do that next time.
Inside the observatory are exhibits, including a tesla coil and a planetarium. The tesla coil is demonstrated a couple times a day. We just happened to walk in while they were demonstrating it, but it was so crowded that we couldn’t get over to see it, but we did hear it!
We decided we should do one of the planetarium shows so we picked the next available one, which was the Light of the Valkyries. It was about Viking cosmology and the northern lights. You can read more about it here, but it was definitely really cool!
When we entered the planetarium it was still somewhat light outside. When we came outside after the show, the sky was dark and the whole city was lit up. This sounds cheesy, but it just felt kind of magical. So of course we stayed longer to walk around the grounds one more time.
Above: ambient light. Below: iPhone flashlight!
I will close out this post with a couple tips for visiting the observatory that we learned as first-timers!
- it is very crowded at sunset. this seems obvious, but just remember, it is very crowded at sunset!
- there is a parking lot by the observatory, but on busy days it will be full and you’ll have to park down the hill or even at the bottom. we parked at the bottom and then expected to walk, but then learned there was a bus to take people up there. the bus is slow, so give yourself plenty of time to not have a panic attack about getting there in time for sunset.
- also, if there are people attempting to climb up the hill on the east side of the observatory, don’t follow them. you will probably break your cute Gap sandal on the incline and there is a fence you’d have to hop anyway.
Have fun! :)
More from our LA trip:
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