Fodor's Expert Review Griffith Observatory
Most visitors barely skim the surface of this gorgeous spot in the Santa Monica Mountains, but those in the know will tell you there’s more to the Griffith Observatory than its sweeping views and stunning Greek Revival architecture. To start, this free-to-the-public mountaintop observatory is home to the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, a state-of-the-art theater with an aluminum dome and a Zeiss star projector that plays a number of ticketed shows. Those spectacular shows are complemented by a couple of space-related exhibits, and several telescopes (naturally), as well as theater programs and events at the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater. For visitors who are looking to get up close and personal with the cosmos, monthly star-viewing parties with local amateur astronomers are also on hand. For a fantastic view, come at sunset to watch the sky turn fiery shades of red with the city's skyline silhouetted.