My LA visits always start at the Griffith Observatory. It’s the perfect place for a panoramic view, crisp air, fresh trees and to see the Hollywood sign.


Told my boyfriend to take a hike…at the #griffithobservatory 😛. #LA #california #travel #hollywood #losangeles

A photo posted by Monica Wong (@_monicawong) on

The “hike” up to the Griffith Observatory is always the first thing I do when I’m in LA. I call it a “hike” and a not a hike because the car is usually parked near the observatory’s free, but limited, parking lot. The Griffith Observatory is not the only place with a panoramic view of LA. It is my favorite though. I always enjoy the fresh air, the winding drive up the mountain, and as it usually is in LA, the bright sun and blue skies. Plus, here is where everyone takes the obligatory selfie with the Hollywood sign in the backdrop.

I prefer to go early to get a spot in their free parking lot. The mornings are more pleasant with fewer visitors and selfie sticks. When it starts to fill up, I head into the observatory and take my time cruising through the exhibitions. Hand sanitizers come in handy as many installations are interactive. When you’re done pushing all the buttons to your hearts content, you can take a hike or a stroll on one of the many trails near the observatory.

I haven’t visited the observatory at night yet and come to think of it, I probably should since it is an observatory after all. Just imagine how the city lights up in the dark if I had taken the same shot below at night.

Monica reflects on her travels by sharing her thoughts on A Cup of Moca. She writes about her journey as she experiences the destination to encourage others to marinate in the moment instead of just checking things off a bucket list.