Lick Observatory Summer Series of Events are on for 2022! Tickets go on sale on April 13th, 2022 at Noon.
Event Information

Tour group watches the fog rolling in below Lick Observatory. Photo by Xavier Prochaska.

Book a Private Tour of the Observatory

At Lick Observatory, we offer private daytime and evening tours from April through October.

Here is a brief outline of each of our private tour packages:

Daytime Tours

A daytime tour starts at our Visitor’s Center and is a walking tour of the Observatory, including behind the scenes access to the 3-m Shane Reflecting Telescope (the main research instrument used by the astronomers at Lick) and the 36″ Great Refractor. History and current science conducted at the observatory are highlighted on the tour. Typically 2 hours long. Each tour can accommodate groups of up to 40 participants.

  • $625
  • $475 Non-Profit Organization

Add a History Lecture about James Lick and the building of the Observatory.

  • $100
  • $75 Non-Profit Organization
(c) UC Regents / Lick Observatory
(c) UC Regents / Lick Observatory

Evening Tours

An evening tour starts at our Visitor’s Center and guests can look forward to behind the scenes access at the 3-m Shane Reflecting Telescope (the main research instrument used by the astronomers at Lick) and learning about the ongoing research in astronomy and astrophysics, history lecture, and, weather permitting, viewing astronomical objects through the historic 36″ Lick Refractor. Typically 4.5-5.5 hours long. Each tour can accommodate groups of up to 40 participants.

  • $2,150
  • $1,600 Non-Profit Organization
  • $875 College Physical Science Class 
  • No Charge for UC Astronomy/Physics Classes
Main Building after sunset. (c) UC Regents / Lick Observatory
Tour group watching sunset. (c) UC Regents / Lick Observatory

During each of these tours, participants may purchase photographs, posters, booklets, T-shirts, etc. at the Gift Shop.

Tours can be scheduled anytime between the months of April and October, as long as the facilities and staff are available.

For more information and availability, please register at the UCSC IRIS site: https://ucsc.irisregistration.com/Form/licktours.

Private Events/Weddings

Custom events and parties can be arranged.  Maximum group size is 150 people.

Facilities Use Fee (up to 8 hours):

  • $3,325 per event
  • $2,475 per event Non-Profit Organization

Add Caterer Use Fee (if you are having the event catered):

  • $900 per event
  • $675 per event Non-Profit Organization

Add Telescope Viewing Fee (if you are requesting telescope viewing for your guests):

  • $1,200 per event
  • $900 per event Non-Profit Organization

Private viewing sessions only, up to three hours, through the historic 36-inch Lick Refractor telescope can also be arranged.  Astrophotography aficionados can inquire for more information about using their camera on the Lick Refractor.  Maximum group size for telescope viewing only is 40 people.

  • $1,725 per event
  • $1,300 per event Non-Profit Organization

For more information and availability, please register at the UCSC IRIS site: https://ucsc.irisregistration.com/Form/lickrequest.   A non-refundable 20% deposit will be required to save the date once the event is confirmed.

Lick Observatory offers spectacular views above the city of San Jose, with a romantic venue that can accommodate up to 150 guests for a wedding that is truly out-of-this-world.

Wedding at Lick Observatory. Photo courtesy of (c) Ian Martin Wedding Photojournalism.

Our packages include indoor or outdoor ceremony location, use of the 36″ Refractor dome for photoshoots, use of the outside areas around the main-building for stunning views above the city, and/or private telescope viewings after dark.

Weddings are available year-round from Monday – Wednesday, noon to midnight, and Thursday through Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to midnight. Dates may be limited from June through August due to our public events: Music of the Spheres, Evening with the Stars, Public Evening Tours, and Photography Nights.

For more information and availability, please register at the UCSC IRIS site: https://ucsc.irisregistration.com/Form/lickrequest. A non-refundable 20% deposit will be required to save the date once the event is confirmed.

Elopement at Lick Observatory. Photo by (c) Candice Benjamin.

Conferences/Business Meetings

Includes use of lecture hall and A/V equipment. Maximum group size 70 people.

Daytime Facilities Use Fee:

  • $1,200 per event
  • $900 per event Non-Profit Organization

For more information and availability, please register at the UCSC IRIS site: https://ucsc.irisregistration.com/Form/lickrequest. A non-refundable 20% deposit will be required to save the date once the event is confirmed.

After Hours Observatory Access

Maximum group size 10 people.

Outdoor Access around the historic Main Building, for up to 3 hours after 5pm:

  • $475 per event
  • $350 per event Non-Profit Organization

Indoor/36″ Dome Access for up to 3 hours after 5pm (Note this does not include viewing through the 36″ Lick Refractor):

  • $525 per event
  • $400 per event Non-Profit Organization

For more information and availability, please register at the UCSC IRIS site: https://ucsc.irisregistration.com/Form/lickrequest. A non-refundable 20% deposit will be required to save the date once the event is confirmed.