The Griffith Observatory has been a major Los Angeles landmark since 1935. It was visited by nearly two million people each year and ranked as one of the top tourist attractions of Southern California. It sits on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood where it commands a stunning view of the Los Angeles basin below. Tens of millions of people enjoyed the view from its balconies and terraces, especially at night. For safety reasons, the grounds (and some nearby hiking trails) are closed to the public and the Observatory site is a fenced-off hard-hat construction area. There is no public access to the Observatory or its lawn. The trail from the Observatory parking lot up to Mt. Hollywood remains open during construction.
The Observatory is owned, operated, and financed by the City of Los Angeles, Department of Recreation and Parks. It was a gift to the city by Col. Griffith J. Griffith (1850 - 1919), who also donated Griffith Park and the Greek Theatre. The Observatory is a non-profit educational institution whose purpose is to provide information on astronomy and related sciences to the public. It is not a research institution, although from time to time it carries out modest research projects. The Satellite continues the mission of the Observatory for the duration of construction.
The history of the Observatory spans more than six colorful decades and is summarized in two articles: "A History of Griffith Observatory" and "Dinsmore Alter and the Griffith Observatory." Publicity photographs at high resolution are collected on a separate page, and you can take a virtual tour of the Observatory as it existed just prior to closing in 2002 or look at a quick guided tour from late 2001.
The Observatory is undergoing its first major renovation and expansion. This project will restore and refurbish every system of the Observatory, including the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. The planned expansion will more than double the public space in the building while maintaining the classic look and feel.
Friends Of The Observatory (FOTO) is the non-profit membership organization established to support and promote Griffith Observatory. FOTO members help preserve the Observatory and enjoy benefits and privileges reserved only for Friends. FOTO is playing a major role in the renovation of the Observatory. Consider becoming a member of FOTO and contributing to the renovation project.
Click here for hiking information in Griffith Park.
Click here for information on school show visits to the Satellite.
Lat = 34° 06' 46.8" N; Long = 118° 18' 5.5" W
elevation = 1134 ft = 345.5 m
magnetic deviation = 14° 7.5' E
Mailing Address and Contact Numbers
2800 East Observatory Road
Los Angeles, CA 90027-1255 USA
Offices (323) 664-1181
Observatory Information (323) 664-1191
Observatory Fax (323) 663-4323
Sky Report (323) 663-8171
Renovation Hotline (323) 664-0155