The Griffith Observatory is perched atop Mount Hollywood and looms over the vast LA basin like a silent protector. It's history is vast and it's lessons on astronomy and other sciences have entertained me for years. For me, it is the most iconic structure in all of Los Angeles.
To get to the observatory, drive up into Griffith Park, past the Greek Theatre (pretty much the best concert venue in LA), and through the old-timey tunnels that are straight out of Roger Rabbit. I always wonder if Toon Town is going to appear on the other side. This area is classic Hollywood, but also contemporary life filled with tourists, cyclists, and hikers. If you're lucky, you can score a parking spot in the lot and take an easy stroll to the grounds.
Before I was a sucker for art deco architecture, I was fascinated with the cosmos on display as a kid and later watched trippy Pink Floyd laser shows in the planetarium as a young adult. The exhibits on science essential to California-living bring a sense of community to the great interior halls of the observatory. My favorite has always been the Richter scale where you can jump up and down on the floor and make your own seismic waves (I love a good earthquake!).
My other 3 favorite things to do at Griffith Observatory are:
1. Catch a planetarium show (the only thing you have to pay for)
2. Hike one of the many trails, including one that leads to the back of the Hollywood sign
3. Have lunch on the lawn
Los Angeles is one of those cities where there are many spots we all visit again and again, wanting to share them with the new generations, but it's also filled with things we have never experienced before making any given weekend perfect for being a tourist in your own city.
What is your favorite landmark in your home town?