Discover the Best Views of the Hollywood Sign
From horseback to helicopters, see the iconic Hollywood Sign like never before.
Since its debut in 1923, the Hollywood Sign has become a Los Angeles icon and synonymous with the city. Celebrating its centennial in 2023, the 45-foot-tall, 350-foot-long sign is in its best condition ever, thanks to the ongoing preservation efforts of the Hollywood Sign Trust.
Originally built as "HOLLYWOODLAND" for a real estate development, the sign was rebuilt as "HOLLYWOOD" in 1949 and was nearly lost in the '70s due to vandalism and neglect.
In 1978, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce launched a "Save the Sign" campaign that met its $250,000 fundraising goal thanks to celebs like Hugh Hefner, who hosted a fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion. Rock star Alice Cooper donated $27,700 to replace an "O" (in honor of Groucho Marx), the "singing cowboy" Gene Autry sponsored an "L," and Andy Williams the "W."
From hiking trails to aerial views by helicopter and even on horseback, read on for the best ways to view the world-famous Hollywood Sign.
DASH Observatory Bus
The DASH Observatory Bus offers convenient transportation to two L.A. icons, the Griffith Observatory and the Greek Theatre.
The service runs every day of the year — including holidays and even on Mondays when the Observatory is closed.
Connect to the DASH Observatory bus via the Vermont/Sunset Station of the Metro B Line (Red).
The DASH Observatory Bus runs every 20 minutes Monday through 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. Save with a 7-Day DASH Pass ($5) or a 31-Day DASH Pass ($18).
For more information, visit the DASH Observatory Bus website.
In 2010, Hugh Hefner came to the Sign's rescue again. Thanks to Hef's $900,000 donation, 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 there’s a great view of the Hollywood Sign just a short distance from the parking lot of the Griffith Observatory.
To make the most of your visit, be sure to take advantage of free admission to the Observatory, an icon in its own right that's appeared in movies like La La Land and Rebel Without a Cause.
Griffith Park Hiking Trails
The best place to see the Hollywood Sign is at Griffith Park. There are multiple hiking trails on Mt. Hollywood that start from the back corner of the Griffith Observatory parking lot. The main Observatory hike leads to a popular spot, and a 3-mile loop can be accessed from Vermont Canyon Road.
Other hiking options include Bronson Canyon (home of the Batcave from the Batman '60s TV show) and the Cahuenga Peak Trail - a strenuous trek that rewards you with a unique view from behind the Sign.
Formerly known as Hollywood & Highland, Ovation Hollywood is a shopping and entertainment complex that houses the Dolby Theatre (home of the Oscars since 2002) and the TCL Chinese Theatre. There are multiple areas throughout Ovation Hollywood that are dedicated to viewing the famed sign, especially the 4th level bridge. While you're there, you can also shop major retail stores and dine at one of the many restaurants in the center.
Sunset Ranch Hollywood
For an "only in L.A." experience, book a tour with Sunset Ranch Hollywood, the only horse ranch in Greater Los Angeles. Centrally located in the Hollywood Hills, Sunset Ranch offers guided trail rides with spectacular views during the day and evening. 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 - an unforgettable way to view the Hollywood Sign as you ride into the sunset.
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 at the nexus of East Hollywood and Los Feliz. The site was deeded to the City of Los Angeles in 1927 as a cultural art center.
Today, Barnsdall Art Park is home to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House, LA's first UNESCO World Heritage Site; the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, Barnsdall Art Center and Junior Arts Center.
While hiking 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 Van Nuys Airport, Group 3 Aviation offers a 35-minute Hooray for Hollywood Tour and the 50-minute Hollywood & The Beach Tour, which combines the Hooray for Hollywood and California Coast tours.
Based at Hollywood Burbank Airport, Orbic Air boasts the closest views of the Hollywood Sign with its ten-minute tour, which includes bird's eye views of Universal Studios Hollywood and the Griffith Observatory.
Star Helicopters' one-hour Star VIP Tour takes off from Hawthorne Municipal Airport and includes a fly-by of the Hollywood Sign along with sweeping views from the South Bay to the Valley. The Hollywood and More Tour is a shorter version of the Star VIP Tour.
From the Queen Mary Heliport in Long Beach, IEX Helicopters takes passengers up-close for an incredible view of the Hollywood Sign, soaring over landmarks from the coast to the skyscrapers of Downtown L.A.
It is hard to imagine Los Angeles without the Hollywood Sign. Now you have all the tools you need to see this piece of history from multiple vantage points - including from above. Whether you're in the mood for a hike and an up-close view, or a unique view from the saddle, the way you see this world famous, historic landmark is completely up to you.