Mount Hamilton Road (CA Hwy 130) is closed between Three Springs Road and Quimby Road for road repairs, and will remain closed until repairs are completed (November 2023). Visitors driving from San Jose will need to take Quimby Road, which is narrower and steeper than Mount Hamilton Road. Please drive carefully.
Event Information

Evening with the Stars. Photo (c) Laurie Hatch.

Experience a Friday night to remember at Lick Observatory!

Our Evenings with the Stars programs are held annually as part of our Summer Series. Each year we bring world-renowned astronomers to the summit of Mount Hamilton for a night with the “stars” you won’t forget!

The event activities include:

  • Astronomy talk by “star” scientists
  • Viewing through the historic 36-inch Great Lick Refractor telescope
  • Viewing through the 40-inch Nickel Reflector telescope
  • Fascinating history talk about Lick Observatory
  • After-hours gift shop access
  • Astronomy discussions with amateur astronomers and viewing through small telescopes
Please note: Weather may restrict telescope viewings, but other activities will still take place. Due to safety regulations and the nature of the event, children must be at least 8 years of age for admission and accompanied by an adult.


Lick Observatory Evening with the Stars 2023 public event dates

Doors open 1 hour before the event begins. Numbered telescope viewing passes will be distributed in the order that guests come through the door.


General Admission: $25.00 per person (8 years and older).

VIP (August 11 and 25 only): $149.00 per person

  • VIP ticket holders enjoy the general admission events plus:
  • Private group tour of the Shane Telescope starting 2.5 hours before the event.
  • Catered buffet dinner in our historic Dining Hall.
  • Priority seating at the Astronomy Lecture.
  • Priority viewing through the 36″ Great Refractor.
  • Priority viewing through the Nickel Telescope.
  • 20% Discount at our gift shop.

Tickets always sell out fast!

Tickets will be available to the general public on May 8th, 2023 at Eventbrite at Noon.
There is a limit of 4 tickets per customer.
EARLY TICKETS: If you’d like advance access to public event tickets, join our Friends of Lick Observatory (FoLO) membership program by March 1st, 2023. As a thank you for supporting the observatory, you’ll get special access to purchase tickets one week before the general public. Please email if you have any questions.
Our upcoming Evening with the Stars events will have the following COVID-19 safety protocols:

  • COVID-19 safety protocols may change according to the conditions in Santa Clara County and the University of California Santa Cruz policies to ensure the safety of visitors, staff and volunteers.   Ticket purchasers will be notified of the current safety protocols and masking rules shortly before the event.
  • By purchasing a ticket, you agree to abide by the COVID policies in place at the time of the event.

Important Ticket Information

Doors open 1 hour before the concert begins. Numbered telescope viewing passes will be distributed in the order that guests come through the door.

Due to the historic construction of the telescope domes and safety concerns, the 36-inch Great Refractor Telescope and the 40-inch Nickel Telescope are not wheelchair accessible at this time. Those who have difficulty navigating stairs may also find the telescopes inaccessible. Funds are being raised to repair the elevating floor of the Lick 36-inch telescope to re-enable handicap access. Please contact Natasha Pedroza at if you would like more information about supporting these or any other fundraising efforts.

Tickets are non-refundable. Please be advised that unpredictable weather patterns may restrict telescope viewings, though lectures and other activities will still take place. Please email if you have any questions.
Driving to Lick Observatory

Please allow a one-hour drive from San Jose. The road is good, but windy. The event typically lasts between 4 and 6 hours; prepare to drive home late in the evening. Parking is limited at the Observatory, so we encourage carpooling. There are no automative services or gas stations for 20 miles, so please plan ahead. See more information on driving directions and parking here.

Recommended Attire

Casual, comfortable clothing and walking shoes.  It can get surprisingly cold and windy after dark, so a sweater or coat is recommended.


Please be careful when walking around in the dark outside; bringing a flashlight is recommended. Children under age 8 are not allowed at this event, and it may be unsuitable for children under the age of 12 due to late hours.


The large telescopes will be available for viewing as soon as the sky is dark. Telescopes will remain open until every guest has had an opportunity to see through both the 36-inch Great Refractor and the 40-inch Nickel Telescope.

In order to view through the telescopes, guests will receive a numbered pass at the door. Guests with the lowest telescope numbers are admitted to the telescopes first – so we recommend getting to the observatory early!

Please note: Due to the historic construction of the telescope domes, the 36-inch Refractor and the 40-inch Nickel Telescope are not wheelchair accessible at this time.

Volunteer amateur astronomers also set up small telescopes in the back parking so guests can view additional cosmic objects.

Gift Shop

Lick Observatory souvenirs and astronomy merchandise will be available for purchase between 7:30 to 11:30 p.m at the gift shop. You can also visit our gift shop online 24/7.


Snacks and beverages will be available for purchase at the refreshment table and gift shop. Vending machines and fountain water are also available.


We strive to make your visit as complete and meaningful as possible. Please let us know if you will need special assistance (for example, if you will have difficulty climbing stairs) by emailing, so we can make the necessary arrangements.

Venue Map

All events take place at the Main Building visitor center.  Directions and parking

Mailing List

Join the Summer Series mailing list to get updates on when events are scheduled, when tickets will go on sale, and announcements of new programs.