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Palomar Observatory

Certificate of Excellence
Observatories & planetariums, Museums
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Address: 35899 Canfield Road, Palomar Mountain, CA 92060-0200
Phone Number: 760-742-2119
Website
Today
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Open now
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Hours:
Sun - Sat 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Description: The observatory's telescope is capable of viewing up to 10 billion...
The observatory's telescope is capable of viewing up to 10 billion light-years away.
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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 52 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 26
    Excellent
  • 19
    Very good
  • 4
    Average
  • 3
    Poor
  • 0
    Terrible
Most recent review
Wonderful drive location

One of the best approach drives to an attraction on planet earth! Wonderful switch-back roads - amazing vistas along the way; particularly if you're on a motorbike. The... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed January 20, 2015
ndsci
,
Calgary, Canada
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52 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Date | Rating
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English first
Calgary, Canada
Top Contributor
135 reviews 135 reviews
14 attraction reviews
82 helpful votes 82 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2015

One of the best approach drives to an attraction on planet earth! Wonderful switch-back roads - amazing vistas along the way; particularly if you're on a motorbike. The observatory, itself, is interesting and spectacular to walk around. The gift shop is a little on the "light" side - with very few items for sale.* If you're trying to escape the... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Toronto, Canada
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
4 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2014

Not a lot to see here. The visitor's centre has some interesting displays, and a nice gift shop. The telescope dome itself doesn't offer a whole lot to see, but the tour guide was very knowledgable. However, I'm really glad we went if only for the drive. A winding road that ascends quite quickly, with amazing views on the way... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
San Diego, California
Top Contributor
102 reviews 102 reviews
55 attraction reviews
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 24, 2014

I have visited this point many times over the years. Public access to the actual observatory is somewhat limited but worth the effort. The drive from either San Diego or Losangeles metros can be a bit exciting for flatlanders. Be aware that visitor facilities on the mountain are limited. Also, because of the relatively high elevation and steep escarpment, winds... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes
San Diego, California
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
26 attraction reviews
55 helpful votes 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2014

My husband and I are geek/nerds and love all things scientific. Visitors need to remember that this is a living and breathing research facility and was not and is not designed to be a modern museum or place for visitors. They have graciously allowed visitors to see them at work and get up close and personal with an incredible display... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Rochester, Minnesota
Top Contributor
178 reviews 178 reviews
54 attraction reviews
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2014 via mobile

The drive is beautiful, don't be in a hurry. Let others pass. Stop often and take in the scenery. Don't bother with pictures the vastness can't be captured. The observatory is beautiful. Yes I'm into telescopes but my wife is not. She really enjoyed the time we spent there. We are off season so didn't get a tour. Self guided... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
4 attraction reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2014

A beautiful, scenic trip up the mountain to well-kept grounds and picnic area at the observatory. A tiny museum and gift shop sets the stage, then up to the observatory for a look around. We were disappointed to learn there're only two tours daily, having arrived about 20 minutes late for the last one. We still found plenty of information... More 

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Los Angeles, California
Top Contributor
192 reviews 192 reviews
135 attraction reviews
124 helpful votes 124 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

The trip to the top of Palomar mountain will take you at least an hour from the base, but along the way you'll have several scenic look out opportunities that are breath-taking. Once as the top there is a very large parking lot to accommodate the folks going up there. Start at the "museum" and gift shop, which gives you... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Anchorage, AK
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
10 attraction reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 16, 2014

Home to the Hale 200 inch telescope, this observatory is still a highly productive scientific tool 65 years after is opened. It is also a classic art deco building in a beautiful natural setting. The dive up is a sports car enthusiast's dream. My only slight complaint is that the museum is somewhat small and the tour length, at 90... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
5 attraction reviews
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2014

I am a physics teacher and decided to visit this famous telescope for my own sense of history and get photos for my students. However, the experience was so poorly designed that I really would not even advise my students to visit. The good parts are that visits are free, they are open every day and there is a small... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Dallas, Texas
Top Contributor
197 reviews 197 reviews
102 attraction reviews
104 helpful votes 104 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2014

We were staying in nearby Julian and decided to drive to Palomar. There is a gift shop and museum there as well as several telescopes. The view is nice. Unless you are a telescope enthusiast, don't expect too much inside the observatory itself; in and out in less than ten minutes. Some of the videos in the museum are interesting.... More 

Was this review helpful? Yes 1

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Typical questions asked:
  • Do I have to buy a ticket for my infant?
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  • Is there a restaurant or café onsite?