Griffith Park

Griffith Park is a large municipal park at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. The park covers 4,210 acres (17.0 km2; 6.58 sq mi) of land, making it one of the largest urban parks in North America. It is the second-largest city park in California, after Mission Trails Preserve in San Diego, and the tenth largest in the United States. It has also been referred to as the Central Park of Los Angeles, but it is much larger and with a much more untamed, rugged character.

Attractions

Visitors can attend concerts under the stars at the magnificent Greek Theatre, which was built to resemble a Greek amphitheater. Visitors can study the stars at the newly renovated Griffith Observatory and planetarium. In addition to the observatory and Greek theater, Griffith Park hosts the Los Angeles Zoo, the Museum of the American West and a merry-go-round. The Hollywood Sign is located on the southern flank of Griffith Park's Mount Lee. The William Mulholland Memorial Fountain, which is dedicated to the engineer who built the first aqueduct that supplied water to the city, is located opposite the park entrance. At the Travel Town Museum, one can ride on a miniature railroad operated by the Los Angeles Live Steamers and see retired railroad locomotives, passenger cars and streetcars from bygone eras.
Griffith Observatory.

There are two 18-hole golf courses (and the 9-hole Roosevelt Golf Course as well), a baseball field, athletic fields, along with several basketball and tennis courts on the grounds. The park also has a swimming pool which is open during the summer months. The park is laced with many hiking and equestrian trails deep within the mountains away from neighboring residential districts. The local (Angeles) unit of the Sierra Club has been leading free evening and weekend conditioning hikes in Griffith Park every week for almost 50 years.
Mount Lee with the Hollywood Sign.

Sitting atop the southern slope of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park, the Griffith Observatory is featured in the classic film, Rebel Without A Cause (1955) starring: James Dean, Natalie Wood, and Sal Mineo, and serves as the backdrop for key scenes that are threaded throughout the movie. Moreover, the steps of the Observatory set the stage for the film’s climactic ending. Notably, James Dean, who played the lead role of Jim Stark in the movie, also shot a Coca-Cola commercial in Griffith Park during his early years as an actor. A bronze bust of him is on the grounds just outside the Observatory's domed building that commemorates the making of the scenes for Rebel, in addition to other movies that have utilized the site as their scenic locale.

Griffith Park has many other locations familiar to moviegoers. It was used as a location in the first two Back to the Future movies. In the first movie it was used for Marty's starting point when accelerating to 88 mph (142 km/h) in the film's climax, and in the second movie it was used for the "River Road Tunnel" scene when Marty was trying to get the almanac back. The same tunnel was used as the entrance to Toontown in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. The park was also featured in the Robert Altman movie Short Cuts and in Disney's The Rocketeer. The park's craggy Bronson Canyon is a popular location for motion picture and television filming, especially of western and science fiction low-budget films, including Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). A tunnel entrance in this canyon was used as the entrance to the Batcave in the Batman television series of the 1960s. The Nickelodeon television show Salute Your Shorts was filmed in Griffith Park.

Another seasonal attraction during late November through December is the annual holiday light festival display sponsored by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. Spectators can walk or drive their vehicles through it.

Park hours and parking

The park is open 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. All hiking trails and mountain roads close at sunset. Ample free parking is available on the south side off of Vermont Canyon Road inside the park; cars can be left parked at the parking lot next to the Greek Theater until 10:30 pm, even though the park gates are closed to entering cars at sunset.

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