Griffith Park is one of LA’s top attractions but did you know that there are an assortment of things to do within the park? This post covers all of the top things to do in Griffith Park. It includes a top ten list and sections for free, evening, and family-friendly activities.
For more ideas on what to do in Los Angeles, make sure to check out our master Things to do in LA post.
TOP TEN THINGS TO DO IN GRIFFITH PARK
This section covers our top ten things to do in Griffith Park. Whenever possible, we’ve noted when activities are free and/or family-friendly.
Visit the LA Zoo & Botanical Gardens (kid-friendly)
Fun for people of all ages, the 133-acre LA Zoo and Botanical Gardens offers a vast amount of animals and plant species. The zoo is categorized by geographical region and animal highlights include elephants, tigers, hippopotamus, koala bears, lions, great apes, and a number of reptiles and amphibians.
Tip: Visit the Zoo for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass!
Enjoy the View from the Griffith Observatory (kid-friendly)
The historic Griffith Observatory opened in 1935 and is perched on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood. It offers some of the best views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign and on clear days you can see all the way to the ocean! Visit the ground and observatory for free six days a week--the observatory is closed on Mondays.
Take a Horse Ride at Sunset Ranch (kid-friendly)
Explore Griffith Park by horseback! LA’s famous Sunset Ranch offers a variety of guided horseback tours. Enjoy the popular one hour or two hour tour which will offer stellar views of Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood Sign, and downtown LA. Reservations are encouraged and touring is open to children over 8 years old.
See a Show at the Greek Theatre
Located in the heart of Griffith Park, the Greek Theatre is an open-air amphitheatre that features a number of live musical performances, comedy shows, and plays throughout the year. Opened in 1930, the music venue offers beautiful mountain views while concert goers enjoy some of the best acts in the industry. Check the calendar to see what’s on!
Go Hiking! (kid-friendly)
Griffith park offers a 53 mile trail network so you can keep discovering more and more of the park every time you hike! One of the most popular hikes begins from the Griffith Observatory parking lot and summits Mount Hollywood, the highest point in the park, offering spectacular views of the LA basin, Observatory, and Hollywood Sign. For more hiking ideas click here.
Autry Museum of the American West (kid-friendly)
For those who are looking to discover the history, cultures, and art of the American West, this is the museum for you! Conveniently located across the street from the LA Zoo in Griffith Park, the Autry Museum of the American West showcases a wide variety of film memorabilia, Native American art and materials, paintings, historic firearms, and more. Hours and ticket prices vary.
Griffith Park is home to two historic golf courses--both dating back to the 1920s! Spend a beautiful LA day golfing 18 holes at the Wilson or Harding golf courses. Both courses share amenities with a golf shop, restaurant, and driving range. Don’t forget to request a tee time in advance!
Rent a Bicycle! (kid-friendly)
Explore LA’s largest municipal park by bicycle! Operating from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Spokes-n-Stuff offers daily bike rentals from Griffith Park. They are located on Crystal Drive next to the Ranger Station. Check their website for more information!
Bronson Caves (kid-friendly)
Batman enthusiasts will love this spot in Griffith Park! Believe it or not, the Bronson Caves were actually man-made and are the remnant of an early 20th Century rock quarry. They’ve been used in countless movies and TV shows as filming locations. Most notably, they served at the entrance to the “Bat Cave” in the 1960s Batman TV series. Hiking to the caves is easy (approx ⅔ mile round trip) and begins off of Canyon Drive.
Have a Picnic! (kid-friendly)
There are loads of grassy areas in Griffith Park to relax and have a picnic! One of our favorite locations is Amir’s Garden. This oasis in the park is an all-volunteer run ornamental garden that features a number of picnic tables and excellent views. For more information and directions, click here.
THINGS TO DO IN THE EVENING IN GRIFFITH PARK
Most of the attractions within Griffith Park close at sunset for safety and other reasons but there are a few activities that can be enjoyed while the sun is setting. Most of the performances at the Greek Theatre, for example, are night time events. Here are a few more ideas for evening activities in the park.
Star Parties at the Griffith Observatory (kid-friendly)
Free public telescopes are offered nightly for viewing the stars and planets until 9:45pm at the Observatory. Once a month, the Observatory also hosts Public Star Parties where volunteers from a number of organizations like The Planetary Society and the LA Astronomical Society come out to answer questions and discuss what can be seen through the telescopes. These events also run until 9:45pm, are free, and are welcome to people of all ages!
Take an Evening Horseback Tour with Sunset Ranch (kid-friendly)
Watch the sunset over the City of Angels with a two hour guided horseback tour on Mount Hollywood with the famous Sunset Ranch. You’ll get 360 degree views of downtown LA, Griffith Observatory, and the Hollywood Sign! Evening tours occur Sunday-Friday at 4pm, 4:30pm, and 5pm and are by reservation only. Children 8 years and older welcome.
Grab a Snack at the Trails Cafe (kid-friendly)
To be fair, this is more of a late afternoon activity (the cafe closes at 5pm) but worth it nonetheless! Take the family to the cute woodland Trails Cafe before or after a nature hike and enjoy freshly made sandwiches, pastries, or whatever they have on the menu for that day. Fair warning--the lines can sometimes be long.
FREE THINGS TO DO IN GRIFFITH PARK
Luckily, most attractions in Griffith Park are free of charge! Activities like hiking or visiting the Griffith Observatory come at no cost. Here are a few more ideas for free things to do in the park.
Visit the Old Zoo (kid-friendly)
The location of the original LA Zoo (from 1912-1966), the “Old Zoo” still harbors a number of now-empty animal enclosures and even some cages. While it can be a bit eerie, it’s a neat place for families to explore and is surrounded by grassy areas, making it a great place for a picnic! Naturally, it’s also been a popular filming location for movies.
Travel Town Museum (kid-friendly)
Visit this free outdoor museum and wander through a variety of vintage trains and other vehicles while you learn about railroad history particularly pertaining to Los Angeles. The Travel Town Museum is open daily from 10am-5pm and is great for children.
Visit Shane’s Inspiration (kid-friendly)
Not only just a children’s playground, but the first all inclusive and accessible children’s park in Los Angeles. Located in the heart of Griffith Park, this 2-acre playground features a large variety of equipment that children of all skill levels can enjoy! For more on Shane’s Inspiration click here.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY THINGS TO DO IN GRIFFITH PARK
Griffith Park is easily one of the most family-friendly locations in LA! Activities like the visiting the Travel Town Museum and LA Zoo are wonderful for people of all ages. Here are a few more ideas for kid-friendly things to do in Griffith Park.
Ride the Merry-Go-Round
Located between the LA Zoo and the Los Feliz entrance to the park, the 1926 Merry-Go-Round has been entertaining for generations. Rumor has it that it was also one of the inspirations for Walt Disney to create Disneyland, as he used to take his daughters there often. It operates on weekends throughout the year and weekdays during the summer from 11am-5pm, features 68 horses and plays 1500 selections of music.
Take a Ride on a Miniature Train
Head over to the Travel Town Museum and opt for a fun ride on a miniature train! The train will take you along a track that goes around the perimeter of the museum (a one mile long ride) for a small fee. Trains open at 10am every day but then hours vary.
A fun activity for children ages 1-14 that’s been taking place in Griffith Park since 1948! Take a ⅕ mile pony ride in a safe and controlled setting for only $5. As an added bonus, let two miniature goats, Itsy and Bitsy, welcome you to the pony corral!