If finding something free to do in Beverly Hills seems impossible, guess again! If you haven’t ever visited its gorgeous grounds, I would highly recommend a trip to Greystone Mansion. Heck, even if you’ve been there, go back!
Located on Loma Vista Drive, Greystone Manion is actually the largest home ever built in Beverly Hills. The 55 bedroom mansion is situated on 16 acres of land and was constructed by oil Tycoon Edward Doheny in 1928 as a gift to his son. Unfortunately, the whole family was plagued by tragedy and the estate was abandoned. But, one family’s misfortune is another city’s treasures (yeah, that was a stretch). In 1955 the property was willed to the City of Beverly Hills where it is now a gorgeous park – free to the public.
So what makes Greystone Mansion so special? For starters, it is truly beautiful. The mansion itself is more like a modern day castle, featuring stone courtyards, slated roofs, and heavy wooden doors. The City of Beverly Hills does not take its duty to maintain the estate lightly. As you embark on a self-guided tour around the property, you’ll be taken past perfectly landscaped gardens and lawns, flourishing trees, fountains, and even a little pond with coy fish in it. Be mindful that there are a lot of stairs throughout the property and many winding cobblestone roads to be followed, so wear some comfy walking shoes when you visit.
Beyond beauty, there’s a good chance that you’ve probably already seen Greystone Mansion in the movies or on a TV show. The estate is probably best known for its appearance in Gilmore Girls where it functioned as Rory Gilmore’s prep school: Chilton High. In Spiderman, the film location for Harry Osborne’s father (the Green Goblin) was Greystone, and Greystone Mansion was also the star of exterior shots of the Xavier School of Higher Learning in the X-Men movies. You may also see the Beverly Hills mansion pop up in other features like Indecent Proposal, What Women Want, The Big Lebowski, Ghostbusters II, The Beautician and the Beast, the vampire soap opera Dark Shadows and others. Pretty neat.
Being a big Gilmore Girls fan myself, I was pretty flippin’ excited to see what Chilton looked like up close. Although you can’t go inside the building, you can peep in through the windows and even see the grand staircase and some of the rooms used for interior shots of Rory in class with her on-again off-again pals Paris, Madeline, and Louise.
As an added bonus, you’ll enjoy stellar views of western Los Angeles from all over the park. We got there close to closing time during the winter, so were afforded a sunset view of the city.
The park is open daily from 10am to 5pm during winter months and from 10am to 6pm during daylight savings time. There are occasions when Greystone is shut down for filming, weddings, or other events (hey- even Barack Obama hosted an event on the grounds), so it’s always smart to call in advance to make sure you’ll be able to enjoy the estate.