An L.A. must-see: Griffith Park

See recent posts by Lesley Bracker

View from the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park, L.A.

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[Flickr/Lucas Janin]

Encompassing over 4,107 acres of natural terrain covered with California oak trees, wild sage and manzanita, Griffith Park is the United States’ largest municipal park, and truly spectacular. Famous for being featured in Rebel Without a Cause, Griffith Park is a favorite for both tourists and locals alike (which is a rarity in Los Angeles), and is home to the famous Hollywood sign that stand atop Mt. Lee. It’s close to both Downtown and Hollywood, and an especially easy trip from the Hollywood Roosevelt or Magic Castle hotels.There’s something for everyone at Griffith Park, and each is as unique as the next!

Griffith Observatory – Originally opened in 1935 and re-opened in 2005 after a four-year renovation, the Griffith Observatory features space-related exhibits, star shows in the planetarium (tickets required) and often hosts special events such as star parties. And as a bonus, admission is free! 2800 East Observatory Road

Sunset BBQ horse ride–Every second Friday in the month from April through October the Griffith Park Horse Rental outfit in Burbank hosts a 1 1/2-hour Sunset Trail Ride followed by a Western-style barbecue — all for only $40. For more information call 818-840-8401. Horseback riding and pony rides are also available year round.

The Greek Theater – This is one of LA’s best venues for concerts during the summer months (which in LA means May through October). See your favorite performers under the stars in this outdoor theater – everyone from Elvis Costello to The Gipsy Kings to The Flaming Lips to Crosby, Stills and Nash play here. The calendar is announced each year in early spring.

Gene Autry Museum of the American West – Gene Autry, a cowboy star of radio and television, wanted “to build a museum which would exhibit and interpret the heritage of the West and show how it influenced American and the world”. See if he lived up to this aspiration – the museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, and is a great place to take kids enthralled with the Wild West.

Or…just simply hike the nearby trails and experience the dramatic views of Los Angeles – all for free! It’s also an excellent place to picnic on the grounds and enjoy the scenery.

Scenic walking paths in Griffith Park



Griffith Park is northwest of downtown Los Angeles, just west of I-5, roughly between Los Feliz Boulevard and the Ventura Freeway (SR 134).

You can get to Griffith Park from these freeway exits:

  • I-5: Los Feliz Boulevard, Griffith Park (direct entry) and Zoo Drive
  • Eastbound SR 34: Forest Lawn Drive or Victory Boulevard
  • Westbound Sr 34: Zoo Drive or Forest Lawn Drive

Griffith Park
4730 Crystal Springs Drive
Los Angeles, CA
(213) 485-5501
Open to the public from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

– Lesley Bracker

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