A hike to the Hollywood Sign is one of the most fun things to do in Los Angeles. Here’s how to get the best view of the world-renowned sign so that you can photograph it.
Best Place to View and Photograph the Hollywood Sign
The Hollywood Sign is perched high upon Mount Lee but its view is not restricted to the Hollywood Hills; in fact, on a clear day the sign can be seen for miles and miles.
The sign is famously hard to get near, so let’s take a look at four easy spots to get a terrific view of the landmark.
The Hollywood Sign is one of the most famous landmarks in the world. It is 45-feet tall and spans 350-feet wide. Originally created as a real estate advertisement in 1923, the iconic Hollywood Sign has fallen into disrepair many times, reaching its most dilapidated state in the 1970s. At one point the sign read: “HullyWO D.”
In 1978 Alice Cooper campaigned to save the sign and the Hollywood Sign Trust was formed to maintain the sign and protect the area. This means you cannot actually visit the sign itself, not without getting arrested anyway. So here are four safe and legal places to view the Hollywood sign.
Hollywood Sign View #1: Griffith Observatory
The Griffith Observatory is on Mount Hollywood, east of the Sign’s Mount Lee. This tall spot has become almost as memorable as the sign itself after appearing in Rebel Without A Cause — so when it comes to sight seeing you’ll kill two birds with one stone. This location also offers great views of Downtown LA.
This is one of the city’s preferred spots for you to view the sign. There is lots of parking for visitors and hiking trails that offer different views of the sign (even if this is not the spot you choose to see the sign from, it’s still an excellent place to visit).
Hollywood Sign View #2: Hollywood & Highland
The Hollywood & Highland Center is a shopping complex with 75 shops and restaurants. Built in 2001 along with the Nokia Theater, which is home to the Academy Awards, the center piece is a three story courtyard with two giant statues of elephants on pillars. The design was inspired by the Babylon set from D.W. Griffith film Intolerance.
At the back of the courtyard on the third floor is a bridge which offers a picturesque view of the Hollywood Sign and comes with coin operated viewing binoculars. It’s the easiest place to visit and offers a fantastic view of the sign. Unfortunately the bridge isn’t very wide so it’s hard to fit you and your friends in a photo with the sign from this location.
Hollywood Sign View #3: Beachwood Drive
Off the beaten track you can view the Hollywood Sign up close by traveling into the Hollywood Hills through Beachwood Drive. This street heads north from Franklin Ave and is just east of the Vine exit on the 101.
The Hollywood Hills is a residential area that isn’t fond of the extra traffic from sign seekers so be respectful and drive carefully up the long windy roads. At the top you’ll see an area to park just before a Ranch. The Ranch is private property but a small trail by the gate leads to some nice views of the sign without trespassing.
This is probably the best spot to get a photo of someone with the sign. To get a good look at the sign on your photo make sure there is some distance between you and who your photographing, and then zoom in (if you are too close to the person you are photographing they sign will look tiny).
Hollywood Sign View #4: Lake Hollywood
Lake Hollywood is my favorite view of the Hollywood Sign, it has the benefit of being nice and close to the sign up in the Hollywood Hills but it’s also a hiking spot and so you are surrounded by picturesque wildlife and nature.
I recommend you enter at the Weidlake Gate which is the southern exit. You can access this from the Vine exit on the 101 but be sure to have a map or fully charged GPS as the roads can be a bit of a labyrinth.
Once you enter the Reservoir head towards the Dam on the left. Crossing the dam you will see the glorious lake and trees with the Hollywood Sign looking down on you.
This is a great place to take guests and visitors wanting to see the sign because it also shows off many of LA’s hidden nature spots.
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