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The Best Places To Spot The Hollywood Sign in LA

November 26, 2013 11:00 AM

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The first thing any visitor to Los Angeles asks is, “Where can I see the Hollywood sign?” It is surprising how many Angelenos are still looking for fun places to spot the city’s iconic sign.

The original sign, funded by Los Angeles Times publisher Henry Chandler, read “Hollywoodland,” and it debuted in 1923 on top of Mount Lee. After falling into disrepair, the entire sign was torn down and resurrected in 1978 with the last four letters removed. Today, with three separate agencies responsible for its care, the Hollywood sign is kept up in pristine condition and is one of Los Angeles’ most iconic attractions. There are few places around town that afford you a glimpse of the Hollywood sign whether you’re looking for it or not. Sit outside for a concert at the Hollywood Bowl, take a long hike up Runyon Canyon or walk up the stairs to the top level of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and you will have a great view of the iconic symbol. Sometimes you will see it when you least expect it, and other times it will remain part of the silent backdrop without your knowledge. That is part of the beauty that makes the Hollywood sign a majestic and long-lasting part of Los Angeles’ history. Here are the top five places to spot the Hollywood sign.

signs for sign jessyca brown The Best Places To Spot The Hollywood Sign in LA

(credit: Jessyca Brown)


Beachwood Canyon
North Beachwood Drive and Franklin Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90068

The residents of Beachwood Canyon in the Hollywood Hills are begrudgingly accustomed to tourists and locals snaking through the winding streets to park and then hike up the mountainside for a quick snap of the camera. Out of all the places to see the Hollywood Sign, this has to be up there as the best. If you’ve ever seen the Hollywood Sign in a movie, chances are it was shot from Beachwood Canyon. Head up North Beachwood Drive, and grab great shots along the way between Scenic Avenue and Glen Oak Avenue. This is a busy neighborhood, so it is best to watch for traffic should you choose to take pictures outside of the car. Explore the markets and shops of Beachwood Canyon as well – it was the original advertised residential area for Hollywoodland.

hollywood sign jessyca brown The Best Places To Spot The Hollywood Sign in LA

(credit: Jessyca Brown)


Lake Hollywood Park
3160 Canyon Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 913 4688

If you’d not rather drive through residents’ backyards to see the sign, head over to Lake Hollywood Park. Tourists and locals alike mingle together on the grounds, relaxing on the sunniest of days with their friends, families and dogs. There are open fields, barbecue pits and picnic tables, making it a great place to pack a lunch and a camera and settle in for memorable photos. The park is open everyday from 5:00 AM to sunset.


Griffith Park Observatory
2800 East Observatory Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(213) 473-0800
www.griffithobs.org

Griffith Park Observatory is a prime place for viewing the Hollywood sign. Snap a picture in the parking lot, take a peek through the telescopes for a better view, then head inside to view the exhibits. Parking and admission are always free, but keep in mind the Observatory is closed every Monday and a number of Tuesdays throughout the year. If find yourself standing outside locked doors, ask any park ranger which hiking trails will take you closer to the sign. There are several paths that will lead you to great photos.


Mulholland Scenic Parkway and Corridor
7036 Mulholland Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90068

Many Angelenos travel along Mulholland Drive on a daily basis to traverse the city, but it is probable that many do not know the official name for the perfect viewing spot here – the “Hollywood Bowl Overlook.” Not only can you catch a vast expanse of the city, but you’ll see the Hollywood sign, the Hollywood Bowl and Griffith Park. There is an area for a handful of cars to park, and from there it is just a short walk up the path to view the sign. Searching for the address will send you just past your intended stop. Refer to this map for the specific location.

hollywood and highland ext The Best Places To Spot The Hollywood Sign in LA

(credit: hollywoodandhighland.com)


Hollywood & Highland Center
6801 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 817-0220
www.hollywoodandhighland.com

The intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue is undoubtedly the epicenter of Hollywood’s tourism. The Dolby Theatre, Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum and Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, along with the Walk of Fame, all meet near this point, which makes it a very busy place. The Hollywood & Highland Center is a multi-level shopping, dining, entertainment and nightlife hub in the middle of the hustle and bustle. It is also an easy place to catch the Hollywood sign. Take the escalators up to the third and fourth levels and walk to the observation decks. The view is picture perfect on a clear day.

View The Best Places To Spot The Hollywood Sign in LA in a full screen map

Chrystal Baker is a freelance food and events contributor for CBS Los Angeles, Basil Magazine and Frugivore Magazine. She is the co-editor of a recipe blog, The Duo Dishes, and manages her own lifestyle and travel blog, Any and Everywhere.
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