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Roof and Terraces

Observatory at night

Griffith Observatory’s roof and terraces give visitors a chance to observe the panorama of Los Angeles. Connected by the Observatory’s lawn and sidewalks, the terraces provide vantage points facing in every direction, accessible each day from sunrise until 10:00 p.m. (when Griffith Park closes). The roof is accessible when the building is open to the public.

Roof Deck

The roof of Griffith Observatory is known for offering one of the most stellar views of Los Angeles. Open whenever the Observatory is open (unless there is inclement weather), the east side of the roof is where people line up outside the Zeiss telescope dome to look through the Observatory’s famous telescope. In the middle of the roof is the copper clad cupola covering the W.M. Keck Foundation Central Rotunda; the bright green color of the copper reflects continuous patination since the building opened in 1935; it is the only one of the four copper roof surfaces not to be either cleaned or replaced. On the west side of the roof is the coelostat (solar telescope) dome, which is not open to the public. The entire roof also serves as a gathering place for visitors to observe the landscape around the Observatory.

The roof is accessible from the outside by the stairways on the east and west ends of the building and from the inside via the elevator in the W.M. Keck Foundation Central Rotunda.

West Terraces

The upper and lower West Terraces provide stunning vistas and views of downtown Los Angeles, the Pacific Ocean, and everything in between. Coin telescopes on the upper terrace give visitors the chance to observe their favorite landmarks up close. The upper terrace is also where visitors enter the Ahmanson Hall of the Sky exhibit gallery and line up (after buying their tickets) to enter the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. The lower terrace overlooks the Gottlieb Transit Corridor and features the sunset and moonset lines. At the north end of the lower terrace is the elevator that leads to the lower levels of the building. An accessible ramp leads from the bottom of the lower terrace to the upper terrace. There is also a ramp from the upper terrace to the Promenade Walkway.

East Terrace

Added during the 2002-06 renovation and expansion, the East Terrace provides visitors with panoramic eastern and southern views of downtown Los Angeles, Mount Wilson Observatory, and the location of the knife-fight parking lot scene in the famous movie Rebel Without a Cause. Coin telescopes give visitors the chance to observe their favorite landmarks up close. The East Terrace is also where visitors enter the Wilder Hall of the Eye exhibit gallery. The terrace is accessible from the Wilder Hall of the Eye, a ramp from the front sidewalks, and from the Promenade Walkway.

Promenade Walkway

Connecting the East and West Terraces around the south side of the building is the architecturally-dramatic Promenade Walkway. Beautiful arches frame the narrow walkway, which offers amazing southern views of the Los Angeles basin. Coin telescopes give visitors the chance to observe their favorite landmarks up close.


Hollywood Sign Terrace

This terrace on the west side of the parking lot overlooks Western Canyon and the Hollywood Hills. The most prominent landmark is the world-famous Hollywood Sign; the terrace offers the best views and photo opportunities for the Sign. The terrace features several benches, and coin telescopes give visitors the chance to observe park features up close. Just to the north are public restrooms adjacent to the parking lot.

Mt. Wilson Terrace

Located near the northeast edge of the front lawn, the small Mt. Wilson Terrace faces east towards Pasadena and the San Gabriel Mountains. The terrace features benches and bike racks. On clear days, it affords a view of Mt. Wilson’s radio and TV towers and observatory. Mt. Wilson Observatory, founded in 1904, had the largest telescope in the world for much of the first half of the twentieth century and remains a working research observatory. The terrace is also the designated stop for the daily DASH Observatory bus from the Vermont/Sunset Metro Red Line station.