Situated in Los Feliz, on the eastern side of the Santa Monica Mountains, Griffith Park is one of the largest urban parks in North America, stretching out for an impressive 4,310 acres. Considered to be a wilder and more rugged version of New York’s Central Park by many, Griffith Park boasts an incredibly wide range of attractions, from the iconic Hollywood Sign to the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens to the one and only horse ranch in the greater Los Angeles area, placing it at the top of every to-do list for first-time visitors.
Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Home to around 250 species of animals, totaling over 1100 creatures altogether, the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens were founded in 1966, and remain a popular attraction in the city. In addition to touring the many exhibits at the zoo, from the Elephants of Asia to the Campo Gorilla Reserve, visitors will also be able to explore the 800 plant species that live in the selection of botanical gardens here.
The Hollywood Sign
The Hollywood sign is one of LA’s most legendary icons, and this is located in Griffith Park. Standing at 45 feet tall and 350 feet long, the sign is surrounded by a 138 acre protected piece of land that ensures that no developments can block this world famous view. There are many different areas of the park that provide views of the sign, with some of the most popular being found on the many hiking trails that criss-cross around Mt. Hollywood.
After it first opened in 1935, the Griffith Observatory quickly became one of the top cultural icons in the city, offering some of the best views of LA, stretching all the way from the Pacific Ocean to Downtown, and includes the Hollywood sign. The Griffith Observatory is also where you will find the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, the Zeiss Telescope and the Gottlieb Transit Corridor, all of which contribute to the observatory’s goal of inspiring people to “observe, ponder and understand the sky”.
Sunset Ranch Hollywood
The only horse ranch that is located within the greater Los Angeles area, the Sunset Ranch Hollywood provides visitors with the opportunity to enjoy a truly unique perspective of Griffith Park. There are a number of activities here that visitors can sign up for, from a horseback riding lesson to a Sunset Dinner Ride to a BBQ ride. For those who want to properly explore the park on horseback, there are a few different guided tours to choose from, with the one hour trail ride providing you with spectacular views of the Hollywood sign, and the two hour trail ride taking you to the top of Griffith Park to experience a 360 degree panorama of Los Angeles.
With so many different awesome attractions available, it is no surprise that Griffith Park receives millions of visitors each and every year. Whether you are looking for unparalleled views of the Hollywood sign, or want to enjoy a day out at the zoo, Griffith Park is, without a doubt, the best place to go.