For people visiting LA during the summer time, where's the best place to watch the Perseid meteor shower or to star gaze in general? With all the city lights in the LA area's urban sprawl, it's really hard to find a good spot. I went to Griffith Park a few years back and couldn't see anything.
Know of a good spot that's closer than driving out to the Mount Wilsonh/Pacific Crest Highway Area?
It might be nice to be around avid star gazers that know when to look and where in the sky to look.
Templin Hwy is very popular among stargazers. It's about 45 minutes out of Los Angeles off the 5. This is the main gathering spot for meteor shower viewers in L.A. It's close enough to L.A. that it's not terribly inconvenient, but it's far enough away there's no light pollution from the city.
Saddleback Butte State Park is another popular destination. There are 50 (+/-) campsites where you can set up a telescope or just lie back on a blanket.
Topanga State Park. Topanga has some surprisingly dark skies considering how close it is to Los Angeles. The further west in the park you go, the darker it gets.
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Great question! The reality is the la lights are super intense, so if you want a good star show you sort of have no choice but to drive for a bit. Pyramid Lake is a pretty decent spot, about 30 minutes or so north on the 5 fwy. It's right off the hwy and usually you'll see some other stargazers there if it's a special night in the sky. You can hear the highway next to you so it may not be the most pleasant place in the world... Or you could always keep driving on the 5 and consider the grapevine area if need be. Best of luck!
One of the very best places to star gaze in the L.A. region is on top of Mt Pinos. It is a well known site with the Los Angeles, Ventura, and Kern County astronomy crowd. On weekends you'll find a host of telescopes set up on top of the mountain. Many people will let you look through them if you ask. It is particularly good now with coastal fog putting a lid on Los Angeles' night glow.
Mt. Pinos is just a bit further than Templin Highway and Pyramid Lake. It is also much, much higher at 8,800', which is an advantage that other sites do not share. Astrophotographers like Mt. Pinos for the clear, steady skies.