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Why the Hollywood Sign is a must-see when visiting LA

Published On: April 8, 2023Categories: Monuments, Parks, Tourist attractionsTags:

Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world, is home to countless tourist attractions, but one iconic landmark stands out above the rest: the Hollywood Sign. This iconic symbol has represented the glitz and glamour of the American movie industry since its creation in the 1920s, attracting millions of visitors from around the globe. 

If you plan on staying with us at Freehand LA, then a trip to the Hollywood Sign is a must-do when visiting the city of angels. Not only does it offer breathtaking views of LA, but it’s also steeped in history – not to mention it’s the perfect backdrop for a selfie or two. 

In the guide below, we’ll explore why the Hollywood Sign is a must-see attraction and share our tips on the best ways to experience it during your visit to Los Angeles. Let’s dive in!

Where is the Hollywood sign in LA?

Looking for the Hollywood sign? Well, it’s pretty hard to miss! This iconic landmark is located in the Hollywood Hills, in the Santa Monica Mountains just above the Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles. Specifically, it is situated on Mount Lee, in Griffith Park, which is one of the largest urban parks in North America.

The history of the Hollywood sign

Believe it or not, the Hollywood sign actually turns 100 years old in 2023! Yes, it has a rich history that dates all the way back to 1923. 

It was created by Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler, who originally erected it as a $21,000 advertisement for his real estate development called ‘Hollywoodland. The sign was made up of 13 letters that were each 50 feet tall and illuminated by 4,000 light bulbs. In 1949, the last four letters were removed, and the sign was refurbished to become the iconic symbol that we know today. 

Over the years, the sign has become synonymous with the movie industry and has been featured in countless films and TV shows. The Hollywood Sign has also undergone several restorations and renovations to preserve its legacy and ensure that it remains a landmark attraction for generations to come.

Where to find the best viewpoints

If amazing views are your thing, then you’ll be happy to hear that there are several places that offer stunning vistas of the Hollywood Sign and the city below nearby. These include:

  • The Griffith Observatory – arguably the most popular viewpoint, the observatory is situated on a hill overlooking the sign. It also offers panoramic views of the city. 
  • The Hollywood and Highland Center – this features a viewing platform that offers an unobstructed view of the sign from a lower elevation. 
  • The Mount Hollywood & Brush Canyon Trails – both are popular hikes that offer breathtaking views of the sign and the surrounding mountains. 
  • The Hollywood Bowl Overlook- not only is this a great spot to view the sign but the perfect location if you’re a keen photographer wanting to snap a couple of pictures for the ‘gram. 

Explore the hiking trails at the Hollywood sign

One of the best ways to see and spend a morning/afternoon at the Hollywood sign is by hiking one of the many trails nearby! There are several trails of varying difficulty levels, ranging from easy to challenging, that offer stunning views of the sign and the surrounding landscape. These include:

  • The Mt. Hollywood Trail: an easy 5.3-mile hike
  • Brush Canyon Hike: an easy 6-mile hike
  • Cahuenga Peak Trail: a hard 3-mile hike

These authorized hiking trails are open from sunrise to sunset, 365 days a year.  But remember, hiking does pose risks – bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and appropriate hiking shoes, as the trails can be steep and rugged in some areas. It’s important you respect the natural landscape by sticking to the designated trail!

How to get there from Freehand Los Angeles

How to get to the Hollywood sign depends on which viewpoint you want to see it from. The most popular is Griffith Observatory, which takes around 15-20 minutes from Freehand Los Angeles in a car or taxi. If you are planning on driving your own car or a rental to the observatory, be aware that there are parking costs. If you plan on hiking a trail, the easiest way to reach the start points is also via car or taxi. Some trails have parking lots, but it’s recommended you check ahead of arrival.