Hollywood Heights for Starlit Nights

During our short stay in Los Angeles last October, one of the absolute musts on my ‘To Go’ list was obtaining the perfect view of the Hollywood sign. Of course, actually going to Hollywood was next on the list, but I craved a far away glimpse where traffic, buildings and bright lights weren’t in view.

Lance took me to the best possible place where this can be found: Griffith Observatory. In my naive little New Jersey world mind, I thought we were heading for a spot where we could see the sign and then be done with it.

Thank goodness the limits of my imagination were not all that Griffith Observatory held. As we entered Griffith Park, we considered being dropped off right at the entrance but then decided to have our Uber driver take us closer to the Observatory entrance. We drove and drove and drove, up hill most of the way, and soon felt quite glad we chose not to be dropped off at the entrance we passed several years ago.

Thus began the start of how little I knew about what to expect from Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory.

We passed The Greek Theater and I did a double take and then asked Lance to confirm that this was in fact: The. Greek. Theater.

It was.*

*Of which, I only know of from the absolutely horrible movie “Get Him to the Greek” meant to be a spin off of one of my favorite movies “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”.

Once at the observatory we were greeted by hundreds of cars and school buses. It was a pretty overcast day; even so it only took us a moment to get our bearings.*

*Seeing which way most people were looking/taking selfies helped, too.

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A woman offered to take our picture, and even though I knew she would have a bear of a time trying to figure my camera out, I let her. She was so eager I assumed that taking this picture was going to somehow make her life better.

That’s how I ended up with this masterpiece:

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We’ll call it artistic.

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Though I entered Griffith Park intent on seeing the Hollywood sign, I went away having seen so much more. Griffith Observatory, which in case you have yet to realize is within the massive park known as Griffith Park, offers more than a beautiful view of the classic sign. The Observatory itself, of which basic entrance is free, houses a planetarium, several exhibits, elevated views of Los Angeles, public telescopes and star parties.

Though I was able to gain a few shots of Los Angeles*,

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*I swear it was overcast that day…not smoggy.

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I wish we had had the time to return during the night so that we could take advantage of their perfect view of the sky. Being a closet astronomy geek* I was excited then disappointed to learn just how much Griffith Observatory has to offer in relation to learning about and spending time with the night sky.

*Secret dream job: Astronaut

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We did something out of character for us while at the Observatory. When we had seen all that we could see, we had the choice of calling an Uber to get us from the Observatory or hiking down to a different entrance to the park which would save us a few dollars and gain us a little exercise.

As a general rule, I hate the outdoors, particularly hiking. I enjoy beautiful views and love to go shopping in close proximity to nature (with mountains, oceans, etc as my background), but do not get any kicks from spending hours and hours with nature. So it is fair to say that it was almost miraculous that Hubby managed to get me to take a hike, even a short one.

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Please note my hero carrying my backpack that had become too heavy for me during our walk.

Despite my lack of desire for walking among trees and hills, a small part of me wanted to take the long walk, if only to say I did it.

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Luckily, we were going downhill. We passed many brave souls going uphill and I had to wonder just what exactly was wrong with them.

It was about half way down that I decided we had made a terrible decision. It was hot. I had already stripped myself of my hoodie, transferred my book bag from my shoulders to Lance’s, and was starting to feel muscles in my calves that I didn’t know were there.

We continued on, because at this point it was do or die, and finally made it to the bottom where a small snack shop waited. Though they had a tempting apple pie on their menu, we decided to sit at their picnic tables to catch our breath, rather than eat.

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Should I find myself in Los Angeles again, Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory will both be on my ‘To Do’ list again. Though I certainly do not want to ever hike uphill, I think I could give this nature thing one more try as I wait for the skies to darken and the stars to come out.

Griffith Observatory
2800 East Observatory Road
Los Angeles, CA 90027

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