The Griffith Observatory

Los Feliz Luxury Real Estate

James Dean raced around in “Rebel without a Cause,” Arnold Schwarzenegger run through it in “Terminator,” and, oh yeah, it has been used to help millions of people discover some of the Universe’s deepest secrets.

The Griffith Observatory is the heart of the over 3,000 acres of Griffith Park. It was donated 1896 by Colonel Griffith J. Griffith (so nice they named him twice).

It wasn’t until the Works Progress Administration built the observatory in 1933 that there was an observatory, per Col. Griffith’s instructions. The observatory opened in 1935.

Now the observatory is open five days a week to the public.

There is also the Samuel Oshcin Planetarium, which features a Zeiss star projector, laser digital projection system, state-of-the-art aluminum dome, comfy seats, sound system and theatrical lighting for 285 people.

Currently there are four live shows to catch: One is titled “Centered in the Universe.” It takes you on a journey of cosmic exploration and discovery. There is also “Water is Life,” which is about the search for water and possible life beyond Earth. “The Light of the Valkyries” shows the wonders of the northern lights. Finally, “Time’s Up” is about the false claims of the end of the world from late 2012.

Tickets range from $3-7 and shows are offered on weekdays from 12:45-8:45 and weekends from 10:45am to 8:45.  

“The Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon” is a new 190 seat presentation theater that is featuring “The Once and Future Griffith Observatory,” a 24 minute film history and the recent renovation, as well as the future of the observatory. It is played every hour on the hour.

If you are looking for something to do with the whole family, the Public Star Parties are your thing. They are free and are held monthly from 2-9:45pm. It is a chance for the whole family to look at the sun, moon and visible planets and other objects, as well as to try a variety of telescopes and talk to amateur astronomers The upcoming dates for this event are June 15, July 13, August 17, September 14, October 12, November 9 and December 7.

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The Griffith Observatory and Planetarium is open Tuesday – Sunday with Tuesdays-Fridays hours being noon-10 and the weekends being 10-10.

Stellar Emporium Gift Shop and Book Store offers gifts, clothing, toys, and more. You can shop online by going to http://enssc.com/default.aspx?store=524 .

Probably named after Douglas Adams book “The Café at the End of the Universe,” operated by the famous Wolfgang Puck, offers drinks, full meals, deserts, salads, sandwiches, wraps, soups, specials of the day and a convenient grab and go section. Everything is prepared fresh daily.

The Griffith Observatory is one of the most important places in the history of Los Angeles and introducing the public to the wonders of the Universe.

It’s only a few minutes from Los Feliz, in Griffith Park, and it’s the perfect place to take the family for a day under the stars.

 

The Autry National Center Museum and Cafe: Family Fun Right in Los Feliz

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The Autry’s Mt. Washington Campus is located on 234 Museum Drive and is open to the public every Saturday 10-4 with free admission. They currently have an exhibition that features ceramics and archeological artifacts. Also, there is a special installation of “How the West was Worn by…Michael Jackson.” While you are there also make sure that you check out the ethno-botanical garden that features native California plants. 

This summer is full of family activities. The third Sunday of every month from noon to 3, there is a Western Music Association Monthly Jam. Make sure to visit the Autry farmers’ market on Saturdays from 8-1. On Sunday June 2nd from 2-4, come and be a part of American Indian Culture Family Day. On June 21, come for the Summer Solstice Celebration from 6-8.  

On Saturday June 15th there are two Store events happening: the Navajo Rug Auction 11-3 and an Artist Talk with Virgil Ortiz at 2. Free admission for everyone for both.   

This will be the 12th year for the Rug Auction. More than 100 contemporary and antique weavings will be auctioned valuing from 100 to 10000 dollars.  There is a members-only preview from 10-11am.   

For the Virgil Ortiz talk space in limited and so reservations are recommended. Call 323.667.2000 ext 228 to insure yourself a spot.  Virgil Ortiz grew up in New Mexico. His family is Cochiti Pueblo potters where telling stories, collecting clay, gathering wild plants and producing pottery were a part of everyday life. Ortiz will be celebrating his L.A. launch of his fashion line of fine leather garments, select handbags, and scarves at the Autry Store. He will be sharing information about his inspirations. 

The Autry Café offers soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, baked goods, hot entrees, beverages….all food prepared in-house. Sure to satisfy the whole family and museum admission is not required to visit the café.  

The Autry store has unique gifts for that hard to buy for family member or friend along with great items to help you remember your trip. They have books, music and fine art as well as a large selection of Native American jewelry, pottery, baskets and a wide range of western memorabilia from local artisans’. You can shop the Autry anywhere in the world by going to their online store: http://shop.theautry.org/ .  

The Autry National Center Museum and store hours are Tuesdays-Fridays 10-4 and Saturday and Sunday 11-5 and parking is free. 

Adults: $10 

Students and Seniors: $6 

Children: $4  

Children under 3: Free

Autry Members always get in free.  

Members pay $55 individual, $75 family per year. It is 100% tax deductible and they receive unlimited free museum admission, free admission to programs and events, and a 10% discount in museum store and café and more. 

They are closed Mondays, except for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents’ Day. They are also closed on Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. 

Free admission is offered on New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Presidents’ Day. You can also get in free if you are in the military, are a veteran, a peace officer or a park ranger. 

Frugal friends! It is FREE to the public on the second Tuesday of every month.   

They accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover. 

This is a great place to stop off at while you are touring around Griffith Park.

Watch for the rest of the Griffith Park information.

(Of course, the Autry Center may change their information, so check out the website to confirm this information: http://theautry.org/)

  

Griffith Park, Los Feliz: A Disneyland in the birthplace of Mickey Mouse

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Griffith Park has so much to do that it could contend with Disneyland. From a zoo to an observatory to a water park, this is a playground right here in Los Feliz.

It could take months to get to everything in Griffith Park, but I think everyone should go there for a least a day or two.

Here is a list of the things to do there:

27 tennis courts

3 golf courses

4,310 acres

Autry National Center *

Greek Theatre *

Griffith Observatory and Planetarium *

Hiking and Equestrian Trails

Los Angeles Zoo *

Merry-go-round

Miniature train and horse ride *

Outdoor Basketball Court

Picnic area

Soccer Field

"The Plunge" swimming pool*

Travel Town Museum *

Walt Disney’s Carolwood Barn *

I will be publishing a separate blog for each of the items with the asterisk, so look forward to great guide to this amazing place!

The highlighted items will have their own blog posting coming up.

Do you have any memories of Griffith Park? Have you been there lately?

If so please share your knowledge and memories by posting a comment

 

Laughlin Park, Los Feliz's exclusive gated community

The W.C. Fields Estate

The W.C. Fields Estate

Laughlin Park, originally only 40 homes, is an exclusive, gated community in Los Feliz that was rated by Los Angeles Magazine as one of the “top five” neighborhoods of Los Angeles. Due to lot splits, the community now houses about 60 homes.  The luxury estates run the gamut in architectural styles from English, Mediterranean and Craftsman to Traditional and Modern, many with remarkable city and ocean views. Many famous architects have designed homes in Laughlin Park, including several by Frank Lloyd Wright.  

Established in 1905, the enclave is secure behind gates between Los Feliz Blvd and Franklin Avenue on the Western edge of Los Feliz.  Laughlin Park was once home to many of Hollywood’s rich and famous including W.C. Fields, Charlie Chaplain and Cecil B. DeMille. DeMille’s villa was built by developer Homer Laughlin on the largest, highest lot in Laughlin Park and has amazing panoramic views. Today many well-known celebrities and filmmakers are still drawn to the neighborhood with its quiet seclusion and peaceful tree shaded streets: In 2012 Twlight star Kristin Stewart purchased a home for close to $2.2 million in Laughlin Park.

The W.C. Fields estate on De Mille Drive, the "main drag" of Laughlin Park,is a return to Hollywood's Golden Age and has recently been put on the market, but after not takers at close to $8 million, the listing has expired from the market.  Linwood Drive, Cummings Drive, and Laughlin Park Drive are the main streets in Laughlin Park.

Visit my "locations" pages to read more about Laughlin Park and all the Los Feliz area neighborhoods.

 

 

Driving Through The Oaks Tells the Story

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Sitting right on the edge of Griffith Park on the hilly outskirts of Los Angeles is one of the city's most beautiful and quiet neighborhoods. On a map each of the streets in the Oaks looks like a winding snake lying on the edge of the green park. Each street has the word “Oak” in the name: Spreading Oak, Hill Oak and Alto Oak.

In a city famous for its gray concrete and buildings, the Oaks is a verdant, green oasis. The hills are covered with flowers, palm trees, creosote bushes and, of course, beautiful, stately oak trees.

A Diversity of Homes

The Oaks is a quiet vacation from the bustle of the big city. The homes in the Oaks range from 1920's Spanish Revival style to 1960's ranches to ultra-modern hillside homes. The homes all have balconies, verandas and huge windows to take in the views of the ocean, the city and the canyon. Two of the homes in the Oaks were designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and another by Richard Neutra.

A Neighborhood with Actual Neighbors

People who live in the Oaks can live their lives exactly as they wish. All the plants and trees create natural barriers for privacy, but the roads and streets are so quiet that neighbors can walk to and from each other's homes, something you can't do in most of Los Angeles.

The Rich, the Famous, the Neither

The Oaks has been home to lots of Hollywood stars, famous musicians and some of California's entertainment elite. Today, the Oaks has quickly become home to a new generation of Los Angeles “mover and shakers” looking for a refuge from the traffic, smog and bustle. Because home prices in the Hills is not out of reach for many Angelinos, there are many families and couples moving in, keeping the area vibrant and fun.

A drive through the Hills can tell you a lot about the people who live there. There are huge in-ground swimming pools and lots of plastic kiddie pools. There are Porsches in the driveways and trampolines in the back yard. Most of all, you can see people out for a walk on a sunny day, just to enjoy the sounds of birds, the smells of the flowers and the breathtaking views of the city, the canyon and the ocean.

Never Far from the World

Only minutes from the center of Los Feliz, the Hills is close to restaurants and nightlife, without having to be in the middle of it. There are famous landmarks, museums and the Griffith Observatory all within a few minutes.

But really, why would you ever leave home with a pool in the yard, birds in the trees and a long distance view of the rest of the world rushing everywhere?

There is a lot going on the Hills, none of it requires you to do anything more than what you want to.

Click here to read more about The Los Feliz Oaks and the other neighborhood of Los Feliz.