The Guide to the Best Views of the Hollywood Sign

Since it was dedicated in 1923, the Hollywood Sign has become a Los Angeles icon and synonymous with the city. Originally built as "HOLLYWOODLAND" for a real estate development, the sign was rebuilt as "HOLLYWOOD" in 1949 and was nearly lost in the 70's due to vandalism and neglect. Today the 45-foot-tall, 350-foot-long sign is in its best condition ever, thanks to the ongoing preservation efforts of the non-profit Hollywood Sign Trust. From hiking trails to unique views on horseback and even in a helicopter, read on for the best ways to view the world-famous Hollywood Sign.

LADOT DASH Observatory Bus at Griffith Observatory
DASH Observatory Bus at Griffith Observatory | Photo: @LADOTofficial, Twitter

DASH Observatory Bus - Griffith Observatory & Greek Theatre

The DASH Observatory Bus offers convenient transportation to two L.A. icons, the Griffith Observatory and the Greek Theatre.

  • The service runs every day — even on Mondays, when the Observatory is closed.
  • Connect to the bus via the Sunset/Vermont Station of the Metro Red Line.
  • The bus runs every 20 minutes Monday-Friday from noon to 10 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Board at the northeast corner of Vermont/Sunset.
  • DASH fare is $.50 if you pay cash, or $.35 with TAP card. Rides are free through June if you have a Metro 7-day or 30-day pass!

For more information, visit the DASH Observatory Bus page.

Griffith Observatory sunset
Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Sign | Instagram by @dronepals

Griffith Observatory

In 2010, thanks to a $900,000 donation by Hugh Hefner, a $12.5 million fundraising goal was met and the area around the Hollywood Sign was saved from developers. The 138-acre parcel became part of Griffith Park, preventing any construction that would affect the world famous view. So it's only fitting that you can view the Hollywood Sign a short distance from the parking lot of the historic Griffith Observatory. Walk along the railing on the right side of the lot for a great view. To make the most of your trip, take advantage of the free admission to the Observatory.

Photo courtesy of Mark Luethi, Flickr

Griffith Park Hiking Trails

There are multiple hiking trails on Mount Hollywood leading from the back corner of the Observatory parking lot, the main trail of which leads to an advantageous spot that allows you to view the Hollywood Sign in comfort. Another popular hike is a three-mile loop that's accessed from Vermont Canyon Road, north of the Greek Theatre.

Bikes and Hikes at the Hollywood Sign
Photo: Bikes and Hikes

Bikes and Hikes LA

Consistently rated LA's top outdoor tour provider by TripAdvisor, Bikes and Hikes offers Hollywood Sign hikes with highlights including the Hollywood Sign, Griffith Park Observatory, Greek Theatre, Mount Hollywood and spectacular city views. Bikes and Hikes offers two Hollywood Sign options: the 90-minute Express Tour and the more challenging 2.5-hour Original Hollywood Sign Hike. Private Tours are also available and are ideal for travelers on a set schedule or families/groups.

The Hollywood Sign and Griffith Observatory viewed from Barnsdall Art Park
The Hollywood Sign and Griffith Observatory viewed from Barnsdall Art Park | Instagram: @ashleyllee.ig

Barnsdall Art Park

Located near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Vermont Avenue, Barnsdall Art Park sits on 11 acres atop Olive Hill, offering breathtaking views of the city and the Hollywood Sign. The site was deeded to the city of Los Angeles in 1927 as a cultural art center. Today, it is home to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, the Barnsdall Art Center, the Junior Arts Center, and the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre. Popular seasonal events at Barnsdall include Friday night wine tastings on the Hollyhock lawn, Saturday night outdoor movies, and Sunday art workshops.

Hollywood & Highland view of Hollywood Sign
The Hollywood Sign viewed from Hollywood & Highland  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Ovation Hollywood

The easiest way to catch a photo opportunity is from Hollywood & Highland. With a design inspired by the D.W. Griffith film, Intolerance, the shopping and entertainment complex also houses the famed Dolby Theatre and the landmark TCL Chinese Theatre. There are multiple areas throughout the structure that are actually dedicated to visible views of the Hollywood Sign. While you're there, you can also browse major retail stores and dine at one of the many restaurants in the center.

Sunset Ranch Hollywood riders Hollywood Sign
Photo: Sunset Ranch Hollywood

Sunset Ranch Hollywood

If you enjoy horseback riding, you will relish the experience of a guided trail ride from Sunset Ranch Hollywood, the only horse ranch in greater Los Angeles. Centrally located in the beautiful Hollywood Hills, with the iconic sign above and Griffith Park nearby, Sunset Ranch offers a variety of services and activities, from guided trail rides, boarding, and lessons to its famous Sunset Dinner Rides. In the 1920s, the film industry came to Los Angeles to take advantage of the sunny weather and scenic locations, especially for Westerns. A piece of that Hollywood history can still be found at Sunset Ranch.

Photo courtesy of Renee Silverman, Flickr

Aerial Views

While the hiking route will be the most physically rewarding way to view the sign, an air tour will undoubtedly prove to be the most extravagant - not to mention the most stylish. Flying out of the oceanfront heliport at the Queen Mary in Long Beach, IEX Helicopters takes passengers up close to the Hollywood Sign and soaring over landmarks from the coast to the skyscrapers of Downtown L.A. Group 3 Aviation offers a 30-minute "Hooray for Hollywood Tour," or a 45-minute flight that combines Hollywood and the beach. You can also "Fly & Dine," a tour that starts with dinner at the 94th Aero Squadron restaurant in Van Nuys. You can also fly with Star Helicopters, which will allow you to view the sign in both its "Star VIP" tour or the shortened "Hollywood and More" tour for those who don't want to commit to the entire city. And for those who want to celebrate a special occasion while getting up close, Orbic Air has you covered, with specially themed packages for upcoming holidays.