Griffith Park spans more than 4,300 scenic acres, making it one of the largest municipal parks in the country. The range of available activities is sizable too, including everything from ogling elephants at the Los Angeles Zoo to hearing top-flight musicians perform at the open-air Greek Theatre. Here are five compelling ways to spend a day in the park.
Hike along pristine, scenic trails
Escape the city on your own or with a knowledgeable guide on 53 miles of hiking trails that lace Griffith Park’s remarkably unspoiled terrain. Follow well-marked paths through the lush, fern-filled glen at Fern Dell, amble through an urban wilderness to Bronson Caves (the Bat Cave in the 1960s Batman TV series), or trek to the Griffith Observatory. Afterward, grab an avocado sandwich and Stumptown Coffee at the Trails Café.
Discover the wonders within the Griffith Observatory
A Los Angeles landmark since 1935, this formidable Art Deco–style building houses a triple-beam solar telescope and a twin refracting Zeiss telescope, both for public use. (Perhaps you remember the facility’s star turn in the film La La Land.) Its outdoor deck provides an awesome view of the L.A. basin and its mountains-to-sea environs. Visit the astronomy exhibits in the Hall of Science or be awed by the stars at Samuel Oschin Planetarium, which boasts one of the largest planetarium domes in the world.
Transport yourself back to the Wild, Wild West
Learn the truth about the shootout at the OK Corral at The Autry Museum of the American West, a beloved museum Gene “The Singing Cowboy” Autry helped launch in 1988. Eight galleries explore the mythic history of the American West through collections of buckskin jackets, branding irons, saddle blankets, barbed wire, Native American baskets, and Frederic Remington sculptures. The museum store is a winner for gift-givers.
Hop on a horse and hit the trails
Let Trigger or Flicka do the walking for you at Sunset Ranch Hollywood. Daily horseback rides include a one-hour excursion that delivers a close-up look at the world-famous Hollywood Sign plus grand views of the chaparral-covered hillsides sloping down to the metropolis below. Longer rides include a trek to the top of Mount Hollywood for a 360-degree Los Angeles vista.
Take a spin on the Griffith Park merry-go-round
This carousel inspired Walt Disney, whose daughters loved to climb atop the gilded horses. While they galloped on this 1926 Spillman merry-go-round, Disney imagined a much grander amusement park, which later became… well, you know. The carousel’s 68 prancing steeds are jumpers, and a custom-built organ plays more than 1,500 marches and waltzes.