10 Best Hollywood Sign Photo Spots in Los Angeles

Hollywood Sign photo spots are among the first destinations first-time visitors of Los Angeles look for. The best places to take incredible photos with the Hollywood Sign in the background, however, require some persistence, creativity, and… often hiking.

Last updated: April 25, 2024

Hollywood Sign - Roads and Destinations
The best Hollywood Sign photo spots in Los Angeles

The 10 Best Hollywood Sign Photo Spots in Los Angeles

After living in Los Angeles for more than a decade, I knew exactly where to find the best Hollywood Sign photo spots, but had never really ventured there. Earlier this year, though, we decided to get to the famous attraction as close as possible. Since Dylan, our 2-year-old sunshine, was going to hit the trail with us, we chose the easy, relatively flat Mt Hollywood Trail.

Although our group of three enjoyed the unobstructed views of the Hollywood Sign, it was certainly not one of the most relaxing photo spots for families on an early Sunday morning. Crowds of hikers, already climbing up and down the hill, made us feel like we were searching for the best places to gaze at and photograph the Hollywood Sign somewhere near the intersection of Hollywood and Highland, not Griffith Park.

As we were heading to the trailhead, located near the Griffith Observatory, an Uber pulled over almost in front of us. A young girl emerged as soon as the car stopped. Before she even bothered to close the door of the car, in her “flavorful” Russian she started cursing her friend. Apparently the Griffith Observatory, one of the most convenient Hollywood Sign photo spots, was not what the girl had expected.

Indeed, Los Angeles, a proud owner of the most famous sign in the world, offers many places to admire its precious jewel from a distance. The Instagram-worthy Hollywood Sign photo locations, however, are scarce. You need to be a local or have a local by your side to find them. Let me be that virtual local guide who can show you the best places to photograph the iconic Hollywood Sign.

Hollywood Sign Photo Spots - Roads and Destinations
The best places to photograph the iconic Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles


1. Griffith Observatory – One of the Easiest Hollywood Sign Photo Spots in LA

Address: 2800 E Observatory Road, Los Angeles, CA 90027

The friend of that disappointed Russian tourist was right. The Griffith Observatory falls into the category of the best Hollywood Sign photo spots. Yet the landmark is not that close. In fact, in order to make the Hollywood Sign look Instagram-appropriate, you want to get a little bit creative. Zoom in, try different angles, play with lenses – do whatever it takes to make the most of the place that requires practically no hiking, but offers quite impressive Hollywood Sign photo spots.

Why Should You Photograph the Hollywood Sign at the Griffith Observatory?

1. Practically No Hiking Is Needed

You can walk around the observatory and try different angles until you find that vantage point that looks right to you. Be sure to bring a zoom lens as the Hollywood Sign is still quite far.

TIP: If you want to photograph an object in front of the Hollywood Sign, step farther away from your model and zoom in. In the photos, the sign will look really close, almost as if the person is standing next to it.

2. Visit LA’s Iconic Landmark

At the Griffith Observatory you can kill two birds with one stone: find one of the best Hollywood Sign photo spots and visit LA’s most iconic structure. Normally, you need 2-3 hours for this excursion.

Griffith Observatory | Roads and Destinations
The Griffith Observatory is one of the best Hollywood Sign photo spots in Los Angeles

2. Photograph Hollywood Sign from Mt Hollywood Trail

If you still struggle to find a unique place to photograph the Hollywood Sign near the Griffith Observatory, consider hiking. The moderate Mt Hollywood Trail is the best option for those who are short on time.

You can hike the entire trail, 1.2 miles one way, to an observation point with incredible views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign. Alternatively, stop anywhere along the trail. The Hollywood Sign photo opportunities are endless here.

3. Hollywood Sign from Dante’s View

If the time is not an issue and you want to get as close as possible to the Hollywood Sign, continue on to Dante’s View along the Mt Hollywood Trail. It’s a very short detour, and the views are worth it. Similar to the Mt Hollywood observation point, you’ll get plenty of opportunities to photograph the Hollywood Sign, the Griffith Observatory, and downtown LA. But the photo angles will be different.

4. Front-Facing Photos of Hollywood Sign from Hollyridge Trail

The story of the Hollyridge Trail is quite dramatic. The hike used to be one of the easier ways to photograph the Hollywood Sign. Yet Google Maps complicated things a lot. Instead of sending visitors to an easy trailhead near the Sunset Ranch, it directed them to the end of Beachwood Drive. An influx of tourists didn’t please locals who requested the closure of the trail.

The new trailhead of the Hollyridge Trail is at the end of Canyon Drive in Brush Canyon now. The overlook with the up-close views of the Hollywood Sign sits uphill, 1.9 miles from the trailhead. The hike is easy to moderate and can be completed in 1.5-2 hours. Expect to see many hikers trekking up and down the hill.

TIP: You can try the same trick with a zoom lens to make it look like your subject is standing right in front of the Hollywood Sign.

Hollywood Sign Photo Spots | Roads and Destinations
Behind the Hollywood Sign. Photo by Izayah Ramos

5. Tyrolean Tank: A Photo Spot with the Backside View of Hollywood Sign

For photos with a backside view of the Hollywood Sign, head to the Tyrolean Tank. The trail starts at the same trailhead in Brush Canyon and spans 2.3 miles (one way). Some people get disappointed by the photos of the Hollywood Sign they get to take at the end of the hike. It’s NOT a front-facing view. But if you look for a unique vantage point to shoot from, this Hollywood Sign overlook will do the job.

TIP: You can take a short side hike and take a few photos of Bronson Caves, a famous Batcave in the 1960s Batman television series, before venturing to the Hollywood Sign overlook.

6. Photo Spots from Behind the Hollywood Sign

Standing behind the 45-foot white capital letters is a dream come true for the majority of the picture-thirsty locals and visitors of LA. But while the photos look amazing, you need to shed some serious sweat in order to get to this coveted Hollywood Sign spot. Here are a few trails that can take you to the place.

  • Brush Canyon Trail. The 6.4-mile, round-trip trail starts at the north end of Canyon Drive in Hollywood (Bronson Canyon) and terminates on Mt Lee summit behind the world-famous landmark. The end of the trail is by far one of the most popular Hollywood Sign photo spots. Naturally, the area is busy.
  • Hollywood Sign Photos from the Burbank and Cahuenga Peak Trail. The trail is more challenging, but shorter, approximately 3 miles, out and back. It leads to the summit of Mt Lee behind the sign that is separated from the hikers by a fence. Tons of cameras are installed all over. So don’t try to break any laws while photographing the Hollywood Sign from this spot.

7. The Hollywood Sign from Lake Hollywood Park

Address: 3160 Canyon Lake Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068

Hiking lets you explore different vantage points and offers you a bunch of popular and lesser-known Hollywood Sign photo spots. If stretching your legs is not a part of your Los Angeles photography tour, you can take pretty spectacular pictures from Lake Hollywood Park. Just arrive at your location, park, and shoot.

I’ll tell you more, you can even bring all kinds of props to the park to add some authenticity and creativity to your Hollywood Sign photos.

Hollywood Sign Photo Spots - Roads and Destinations
The views of the Hollywood Sign from Lake Hollywood Park

8. Runyon Canyon Park

Address: 2000 North Fuller Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046

The first time I went to Runyon Canyon Park I was not looking for the best Hollywood Sign photo spots in Los Angeles. Hiking, in particular the fame of the park as every celebrity’s hiking place, lured me. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Naturally, I didn’t see any movie stars. Maybe they were hiking somewhere nearby. But once I got to the park, I was more focused on the splendid views of the Hollywood Sign in the distance.

Just like it is the case with the Griffith Observatory, many don’t consider Runyon Canyon Park one the best places to photograph the Hollywood Sign. It can be true to some extent. Just point and shoot is not an option to get interesting pictures of the iconic landmark here. Still give it a shot, but try to be creative. Runyon Canyon Park has all the potential to surprise you.

TIP: One more thing before we move to our next Hollywood Sign photo spot. Be sure to arrive early. Runyon Canyon Park gets packed quickly.

9. Ovation Hollywood (Hollywood & Highland Center)

Address: 6801 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90028

The Hollywood Sign is a symbol of Hollywood. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that Ovation Hollywood (formerly known as the Hollywood & Highland Center) located on Hollywood Boulevard, is also one of the best Hollywood Sign photo spots in Los Angeles.

TIP: Use an escalator to get to the third and fourth levels for the picture-perfect views. The crowds, however… oh well, you can’t have it all.

10. Hollywood Sign Photos from Palm Tree Lined Street

Address: South Windsor Boulevard, between 4th and 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90020

South Windsor Boulevard between 4th and 5th Streets will surprise you with an epic palm tree lined street with the Hollywood Sign in the background. The landmark is far away, though. So grab a zoom lens and take your best Hollywood Sign photos yet.

Iconic places in Los Angeles - Roads and Destinations
The iconic palm tree lined street with the Hollywood Sign in the background

Little History of Hollywood Sign

One of the main reasons why the majority of visitors make their way to Griffith Park or shed an excessive amount of sweat on its trails is to get to that perfect spot where they can take unique photos of the Hollywood Sign.

Interestingly enough, the sought-after landmark was not always as popular as today. In 1923, the Hollywoodland Real Estate Development erected the 45-foot white letters on Mt Lee as part of a temporary campaign. HOLLYWOODLAND instead of the familiar sign HOLLYWOOD towered over some neighborhoods of Los Angeles back then.

With the increasing popularity of American cinema during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the sign soon received international recognition. Eventually, it became the symbol of Hollywood and remained on the summit of Mt Lee after the campaign was over. The name, however, was shortened. The last four letters, LAND, were removed from the mountain.

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