The Griffith Observatory has reopened this year after 5 year, multi billion dollar renovation project. I finally was able to visit it to see what was done and I was very happy to see that this landmark got the upgrade that it was in dire need for. The building and courtyard look almost the same and the pendulum is still in the center of the main lobby. But the big changes are the new underground exhibit area featuring an enourmous photo of outer space called "the Big Picture". The new planetarium show is a definite must see and you get a good crash course in astronomy 101 with all the observatory exhibits. The views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign are always picturesque (smog permitting) and the addition of the new cafe allows for a nice afternoon outing at the top of Griffith Park.
Pros: It's free, you can drive up to it again, it's open!
Cons: Parking is limited so consider getting there early