You have probably either heard of or seen photos of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. The observatory is located on Mount Hollywood. The land surrounding the observatory was donated to the City of Los Angeles by Griffith J. Griffith.
Mr. Griffith made his fortune from mining and had an incredibly successful career. His private life, however, was another story. Mr. Griffith was sentenced to prison for shooting his wife due to his ‘alcoholic insanity’. It was called a ‘condition’ at the time – I am thinking it might have been a case of one too many fancy cocktails. Either way… The sentence? Given that he didn’t kill his wife, but only left her disfigured and with one eye left, he was sentenced to two years in prison. While in prison, Mrs. Griffith was granted a divorce.
The intense personal history of Mr. Griffith aside, the observatory is really worth a visit. As mentioned, it is sitting on top of Mount Hollywood and offers stunning views of the entire city. It was recently renovated and has an extensive collection of science- and space related displays. Mr. Griffith wished to make science and astrology accessible for everyone, not only for scientists.
Mr. Griffith wanted the observatory to be open and free to the public. It opened in 1935 and has been free to the public ever since.
We actually went to Griffith Park to check out the trails surrounding the observatory. The griffith Park is one of the largest urban parks in North America and is located right in the middle of LA. The park has more than 85 kilometers of trails in the rugged terrain.
The trails are nice, wide and scenic. There are many great vista points making it easy to get a good view of the city.
You can see downtown LA clearly, the San Gabriel Mountains to the east as well as Santa Monica and the coast to the west.
We found a parking spot on Fern Dell Drive not far from the Trails Cafe. This is also a good place to end your hike as the Trails Cafe offers drinks and food. It’s a cute little cafe with plenty of seating.