I did a good bit of research before my last trip to LA and all posts I read said that Griffith Observatory is the absolute best place to view the Hollywood Sign! And, they were right. But, they also of course reminded readers that the Observatory is closed on Mondays. They also noted that most days, especially in summer and even more especially on weekends, that it can get quite crowded.
And, that parking at the Observatory would be difficult and to be prepared to park farther down the “hill” (or is it actually a mountain, it’s really not that high up though, so we’ll go with hill) and to be prepared to walk up to the Observatory. Now, the non-outdoorsy type that I am, didn’t like the idea of hiking up a hill just to take pictures of the Hollywood Sign.
The Griffith Observatory can also be an interesting spot in itself and is free to tour. So, if you are interested in touring the Observatory then you’ll obviously want to visit on a day it is open.
In my travel “savviness” (that’s a word I just made up!) I decided to give it a go on the day it is closed. I figured there should be plenty of parking and there would be less crowds making their way up there. And, I pleased to say that I was right!
There will be signs at the bottom of the hill warning you the Observatory is closed and that the parking lot is also closed. Ignore these signs. My sister and I decided we’d just see how close we could get.
As we approached the top, we saw many cars parking in the parallel spots on the side of the road. Don’t fall prey to assuming you won’t find a spot farther up just because cars are parking lower down, keep going up, the worst case scenario is that you’d have to loop back around.
But, that wasn’t the case for us. There were plenty of spots at the top lot! There was a parking attendant directing people as well. If you are disabled there are a slew of handicap spots right in front as well. You do have to pay to park in the top lot though. Be prepared and go earlier in the day as it is cheaper to park before 11:00 am.
There were more people there than I thought that day, I suppose others either had the same idea I had or they didn’t realize the Observatory was closed on Mondays.
You really do get the best view of the Hollywood Sign from the Observatory! I go so many great shots of the sign as well as the city of LA.
If you are a photographer, I highly recommend utilizing your zoom lens for these shots!
I was able to zoom in so close I could spy on rich people (I didn’t actually spy on anyone, it wouldn’t have been polite, but I was surprised how much I could see with my camera) and read billboards on high rises!
If you don’t have a zoom camera or binoculars with you, you can pay a quarter to look through their binoculars.
The Observatory is closed, but they still allow you to walk around the outside, so make sure you walk up the ramp on the left or right and follow the deck of the Observatory all the way around.
If you aren’t allowed to enter there will be signs telling you so, otherwise adventure into every nook and cranny if you can.
The building itself is beautiful too!
There are picnic and playground areas down one side of the park. And, there are public restrooms at the top as well. I hadn’t found that tidbit anywhere and coming from a family of notoriously small bladders, know there is a bathroom is sometimes a game changer!
I highly recommend visiting the Griffith Observatory when open or closed as it does provide amazing views of the Hollywood Sign and Los Angeles. If you are the outdoorsy type there are plenty of walks in the area as well.
Have you visited the Griffith Observatory? What are your impressions? Share in the comments section below!
Want more travel throughout the US? Check out my other US Travel Posts!