The Secrets to Finding the Best Views of the Iconic Hollywood Sign
Tinseltown (as Hollywood is known) may be feeling the pinch of the COVID-19 Pandemic, but the lure of the place that made the Silver Screen famous is still as strong as ever. You may be eagerly awaiting that Hollywood blockbuster that has seen delay after delay in terms of theatrical release – but that is no reason to avoid immersing yourself in the magic of the place that has kept movie lovers glued to their seats for decades. There can be no more emblematic representation of the magic that is Hollywood than that sign on the slopes of Mount Lee in Los Angeles.
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The Hollywood Sign That Defined Hollywood!
Those letters may only measure 50 feet high – but it is no exaggeration to state that they represent a promise of entertainment that has seized the world’s imagination as representing that unique Hollywood ambiance, even though they first appeared in 1923 as an advertisement for a property development called ‘Hollywoodland’.
However, as widespread as the knowledge of these iconic letters is – there can be very few more thrilling experiences than seeing the Hollywood sign in person, and for those who want to immerse themselves in that experience, finding the right view of the Hollywood sign is essential. Here are some great choices.
1. The Griffith Observatory
In 2010, Hugh Hefner, founder of the Playboy empire came to the rescue of the Hollywood sign by donating $900,000, which was to be the seed for a fundraising effort that eventually raised around $12.5 million. This preserved the area around the sign from the predations of developers. The 138 acres became known as Griffith Park.
View the Hollywood Sign like an LA Local
The view from the Griffith Observatory over the Hollywood hills fully encompasses the sign and offers incredible photo opportunities. Getting to the Griffith Observatory using the buses departing the Sunset/Vermont Station of the Metro Red Line is simple. There are also numerous hiking trails that start in the parking lot of the Griffith Observatory that will allow visitors to get closer to the Hollywood sign.
2. Hollywood and Highland
One would not think that a shopping mall would be the best place to view the iconic Hollywood sign – but you could not be more wrong. Hollywood and Highland (which also houses the TCL Chinese Theatre) have numerous views of the Hollywood sign that are ideal for those in search of an iconic photo opportunity. It also offers some exceptional dining opportunities – so after you’ve finished taking those Instagram snaps, you can enjoy a great meal (and some retail therapy if you are so inclined).
3. Sunset Ranch Hollywood
For those who want to take a step back to simpler times, when Hollywood was a simpler place and Los Angeles was, for all intents and purposes a frontier town, then exploring the opportunities to view the sign up close on horseback should not be missed. Your only option is Sunset Ranch Hollywood, the only horse ranch in the city of Los Angeles proper. But the folks at this professional venue in the Hollywood Hills are dedicated to making your experience of the hollyridge trail around the famed Hollywood sign an experience that you will not forget. Sunset Ranch offers an incredible choice for outrides in the Hills – but an experience that should not be missed is a Sunset Dinner Ride.
Views of the Hollywood Sign with a Nod to the Old Westerns
Remember, when Hollywood was established it was fueled by the scenery and light which were ideal for the filming of Westerns which were tremendously popular. By taking part in a horseback experience, you will not only get great views of the Hollywood sign, but you will also be tipping your hat to the history of Hollywood itself – a Stetson may provide that extra aura of authenticity.
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4. Barnsdall Art Park
On the peak of Olive Hill, at the intersection between Vermont Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard is 11 acres of wonder known as Barnsdall Art Park. The views from this elevated position over Hollywood are almost unparalleled. From here, one can take in Griffith Park, the Observatory, and the Hollywood sign in all its glory.
This is the ideal spot for photography as it offers a panoramic view of the Hollywood sign and the rest of the iconic landscape in all its glory. Adding the attraction of a visit to Barnsdall Art Park is Hollyhock House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. In addition, those who want to explore can enjoy the delights of the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and the Barnsdall Art Center.
See the Sign and Enjoy Much More
The Junior Arts Center and the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre all offer world-class entertainment experiences. If you want to start off the weekend with a combination of culture and fun there are regular Friday evening wine tastings on the Hollyhock lawns. If it’s weekend entertainment that you crave, then the Saturday evening open-air outdoor movies are a must.
Those looking for the ideal spots to see the Hollywood sign often get much more than they bargained for. The best view of the sign almost inevitably have attractions that add to the value of the experience. You’ll go to get a perfect view of the sign, and stay to enjoy some of the best experiences that Los Angeles has to offer.
Honorable Mentions for Views of the Sign
Driving along Mulholland Drive is an experience in itself, but as you cruise along the ridge of Mulholland Drive to find the best views, you’ll approach the Hollywood Bowl Overlook on the eastern side which provides a great spot to view the sign. As you continue to drive along this famous stretch of road, you’re basically driving behind the sign looking out to the San Fernando Valley.
Lake Hollywood Has It All
The Hollywood Reservoir, also known as Lake Hollywood, is a reservoir located in the Hollywood Hills. Lake Hollywood park wraps around this breathtaking reservoir with some of the best views of the city. This is a perfect spot to view the sign, and take in some of the wonder of Los Angeles.
Beachwood Canyon, An Artist Colony and a Great View of the Sign
While driving along Franklin Avenue in Hollywood, you’ll make a left hand turn on Beachwood Drive, and “vuala”! There is the sign in all its magic. This iconic Los Angeles street gives you the most straight view of the sign. This road leads straight up, and the feeling you get as you drive up this quintessential street as you get ever so close to the sign, is a feeling you’ll never forget. Beachwood Canyon is a wonderful place to grab a coffee, immerse yourself in the artist scene, and settle in for a great view of the Hollywood sign!
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