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Helpful Guidelines

Things to Do

Griffith Observatory is filled with opportunities to observe, learn, and be inspired. Check out the amazing live programs in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. See one of the daily or monthly programs in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon. Look through a telescope, check out the exhibits, or enjoy the views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign. Enjoy something to eat or drink at the cafe or buy a fun memento at the gift shop.

Building Map

Observatory Floor Plan - here is a PDF file of the upper and lower levels of Griffith Observatory.

No Smoking

Smoking of any kind, including e-cigarettes and vaping, is prohibited in all areas of Griffith Park, including inside and outside the Observatory.

Cell Phones

Most mobile phones have difficulty getting a clear signal near the Observatory. A public payphone is available by the café for visitor use.


The Observatory allows photography for personal use inside and outside the building. This includes by a professional photographer for personal use (such as a wedding photographer working for an engaged couple). Taking photographs must not interfere with or displace other Observatory visitors or their access to, or use of, the Observatory and its grounds or with Observatory staff or activities. Photography is never permitted inside the theaters or in the Zeiss telescope dome. The only equipment permitted for personal photography is a camera and discrete use of a tripod (on the exterior only); no other unattached equipment (e.g., extra lighting, reflector boards, etc.) is permitted. "Staged” photographs (like engagement or wedding photos) may not take place anywhere inside the building, on the roof, in the telescope dome, in the Gottlieb Transit Corridor, or on the Sunset Terrace (outside the café) and may not block steps, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, and roads; these areas are off limits for safety reasons or because their use would affect the experience of other visitors.

Commercial photography or filming always requires a City film permit and advance coordination with Observatory staff. Commercial photography is subject to rules set by Griffith Observatory, the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, and FilmLA. Per those rules, commercial photography involves rental and staffing fees.

Restricted Behavior

Griffith Observatory is a historic facility we must preserve for future generations. It is also a very heavily-visited institution, so we must protect both visitors and the facility. As a result, we have the following restrictions on visitor activity.

  • Food and drinks are prohibited inside the building.
  • Alcohol is prohibited in the building, on the Observatory grounds, and in all other areas of Griffith Park
  • Balloons are not permitted inside the Observatory.
  • Skateboards, scooters, and other similar items may not be used in the building or on Observatory grounds.
  • "Wheelie" and "Heelys" children's shoes may be worn in the building, but NOT with the wheels deployed.
  • Animals are not permitted inside the building, except designated service animals and service animals in training.
  • Bikes may not be ridden on the Observatory’s sidewalks, brought inside the building, or locked to any part of the Observatory building. There are bike racks available near the bus stop and by the public restrooms.
  • Flying any kind of drone or remote-control aircraft is prohibited in all city parks.
  • Flying any kind of kite on Observatory grounds, lots, or roads is prohibited.

Staff may also ask any visitor at any time to stop any behavior which may damage the building or pose a threat to other guests or employees. Visitors who fail to behave appropriately may be directed to leave the building or grounds.

CAFE SEATING FOR CUSTOMERS: Seating in the cafe and on the adjacent Sunset Terrace is reserved for cafe customers.

Chaperone Responsibilities

Groups with children must have sufficient adult chaperones (1 adult for every 10 children) who must stay with the children at all times. Chaperones must ensure the safety of all children by prohibiting horseplay, running, climbing or jumping on exhibits, or other disruptive activity. Chaperones should ensure children do not bring food, drinks, or gum into the building.

Purchasing Tickets

Admission to the observatory building, grounds, and telescopes is free. There is a nominal charge for admission to the shows in The Samuel Oschin Planetarium.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click the link for a listing of the questions most often asked by visitors.