(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)
(credit: David McNew/Getty Images)
Visitors to Los Angeles often want to take in our urban sprawl in one fell swoop, a tall order for a city that stretches from the sea to the mountains while taking up a whopping 464 square miles in total. Still, this can be done, either in whole or in part, by using the following five places as your special lookout points. So, set up your agenda with any or all of these places on the roster and remember to take your binoculars for advanced viewing pleasure if at all possible.

(Credit: MILA Zed/shutterstock)

Runyon Canyon
2000 N. Fuller Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
(323) 666-5046

Dog and power walkers love the well worn, dirt paths that belong to this popular park located on the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains; so do thrill seekers simply in search of a full view of our fine city. At the top of Runyon Canyon, from dawn to dusk, you’ll get a clear shot of the Hollywood Sign and our busy downtown, all at the same time. When you go to garner these panoramic views, be sure to wear your hiking shoes because getting to the right spot will mean expending quite a bit of energy Still, doing so is most definitely well worth the trouble for the awesome and unencumbered chance to look at what the City of Angels has to offer from up above the fray of tantalizing Tinseltown.

(Credit: OUE Skyspace LA)

OUE Skyspace LA
U.S. Bank Tower
633 West Fifth Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 894-9000

OUE Skyspace may not be well known to some, but it’s one of the best places in Los Angeles to not only get a thrilling ride, but also to get 360 degree unobstructed views of the city! Feel the thrill of a heart-pounding adventure on the world’s first Skyslide where you’ll slide down a glass enclosed slide 1000 feet above downtown LA before you head to 2 observation decks that offer stunning scenic views!

(credit: Vivian Patao)

(credit: Vivian Patao)

Griffith Park Observatory
2800 E. Observatory Road
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(213) 473-0800

Remember James Dean in his iconic pose from “Rebel without a Cause” that showed a pensive person looking out into the atmosphere for as far as his eyes could see? Well, this fine actor in his prime was just one of millions who have enjoyed the view from the Observatory, an iconic outpost located at the top of Griffith Park. Indeed, from this vantage point sitting atop the largest municipal park in the nation you’ll be able to take advantage of a plethora of telescopes in order to zoom in on certain sections of the city below. However, don’t just depend on these specific tools to assist you. By looking all around from behind your shades or by taking them off, you will be privy to discovering the wonders of the City of Angeles from an angle not found anywhere else in our neck of the woods.

(Photo credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
6300 Hetzler Road
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 558-5547

For a 360-degree view of all of Los Angeles, trek up to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in Culver City where, on a clear day, you’ll almost see forever. Or at least you’ll be set to take in Southern California’s string of sandy beaches, our busy downtown metropolis and the picturesque Angeles National Forest, just for starters. This is the ideal spot for your viewing pleasure, especially while enjoying the view as well as some special moments, up to and including dynamic fireworks displays that take place all over town on the Fourth of July and on New Year’s Eve. This particular Los Angeles outpost is still relatively undiscovered so maybe it’s best to only tell your visiting friends about this special and somewhat secret place to keep Baldwin Hills Overlook from getting too crowded.

Related: The Best Places To Spot The Hollywood Sign In LA

(credit: Julius T./Yelp)

(credit: Julius T./Yelp)

1999 N. Sycamore Ave.
Hollywood, CA 90068
(323) 466-5125

Hollywood boasts bragging rights to the legendary hilltop Yamashiro, a top-flight restaurant and arguably the best place to hunker down and enjoy a magnificent, 180-degree view of the City of Angels. The so-called Sunset Room is the place where locals gather with their out-of-town guests for a chance to see that blazing ball of fire set over the sprawl us Angelenos call home. Try to snag table eight, considered the best seat for viewing at this nostalgic Asian restaurant that is decked out in all kinds of koi ponds, manicured gardens and even an authentic pagoda.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Standard Downtown
550 S. Flower St.
Los Angeles, CA 90071
(213) 892-8080

If your friends are staying downtown, they won’t need to go far to get a good glimpse of this prime part of Los Angeles from above. Simply head for the roof of the Standard hotel and sit among the hipsters to sip on expensive drinks served around an inviting swimming pool while peering into the windows of the other skyscrapers in this part of La La Land. This is one of the best places to get oriented with the high-rise section of our metropolis in the best Hollywood manner possible, especially nifty since you can be doing so while being seated on a heated waterbed.

Related: Best Places To Play Tourist In Downtown LA

TEST Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist. Check out her articles on Examiner.com.