Lick Observatory

7281 Mount Hamilton Rd
Mount Hamilton, CA 95140

(831) 459-5939


Lick Observatory is the first mountaintop observatory ever built.  Run by the University of California, the observatory is open to visitors nearly every day of the year. Visitors can view exhibits in the main Observatory building, peek at the Great Lick Refractor in the 36-inch telescope dome, and join talks and docent led tours. 

Place Information

  • Place Category


  • Place Cost Free
  • Place Hours
    Sunday 12:00pm - 5:00pm
    Monday 12:00pm - 5:00pm
    Tuesday 12:00pm - 5:00pm
    Wednesday 12:00pm - 5:00pm
    Thursday 12:00pm - 5:00pm
    Friday 12:00pm - 5:00pm
    Saturday 12:00pm - 5:00pm

Word on the Street

The Shane Dome, with its 120-inch Reflector, is just a short walk away.  Visitors can view it from the Visitors’ Gallery and read from displays that explain the Shane reflector, one of the major telescopes used to discover planets outside of our solar system.In the summer, the observatory sponsors a summer concert series as well as a Summer Visitors Program, which allows the public (note: tickets are limited) to view the skies through two Lick telescopes.  However, both events are recommended for children above 8 years.  It's a long drive up Mt. Hamilton, and the road up is often closed in the winter due to snowy conditions, but the view of the city below and the stars above makes the trip worthwhile -- especially for families with older children. 

Lick Observatory: From the Parents


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