10 Things to Know When Visiting the Hollywood Sign

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The Hollywood sign is one of the most recognizable and iconic landmarks in the world.

It also happens to be in an area of outstanding natural beauty, making it a hit with sightseers and nature lovers alike!

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Let’s take a look at 10 things to know when visiting the Hollywood sign.

1. Protected Land

The Hollywood sign is located specifically on Mount Lee in Griffith Park, which is one of the largest urban parks in North America.

The area around the sign is protected and managed to preserve the cultural and historical significance of the site.

The sign is owned and looked after by the City of Los Angeles. However, the surrounding land falls under the jurisdiction of a few different organizations, including the Griffith Park Conservancy and the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.

There is great emphasis on maintaining the area around the sign and protecting its natural beauty and historical worth. It is important to locals that it is kept free from development and that its history is preserved.

2. Location and Access

Access to the Hollywood sign is heavily restricted, as is access to the area around it. There are no public roads leading there either.

These restrictions are there to protect and preserve both the sign and the surrounding area due to previous acts of vandalism.

 

If you are caught trespassing near the Hollywood sign, you can expect to receive a fine of between $75 to $250.

3. Hiking Trails

Several trails take you to sign viewing points. Most of the trails are classed as easy to moderate level.

The most popular trails that give a good view of the Hollywood sign are:

  • The Mt Hollywood Trail: This is a 6.5-mile round trip that involves a gradual ascent, incorporating some steep sections. It is a moderate hike and is suitable for hikers with a reasonable level of fitness.
  • The Wonder View Trail, formerly known as the Burbank Peak Trail, is renowned as the shortest path to reach the iconic Hollywood Sign. While it presents a moderate level of challenge, it rewards hikers with breathtaking vistas of the glamorous Hollywood scenery.
  • Griffith Observatory Trail West: A moderate 2.5-mile hike. The best part is the incredible vantage point, where you get a great view of the Hollywood sign.
  • Brush Canyon Trail: This trail starts near the Griffith Observatory and takes you through the scenic Brush Canyon.
  • Canyon Drive Trail: A moderate 3.8-mile round trip hike, starting near the Ferndell Nature Museum in Griffith Park.

4. Weather Conditions

Although California normally enjoys a Mediterranean climate, the weather conditions may vary.

As such, it’s a good idea to check a reliable local weather forecast before heading out on any of the trails.

Before planning a trip, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Temperature: In Summer (June to August) temperatures can get as high as 80 to 90 Fahrenheit (30-35°C). Staying hydrated and sheltering from the sun is important. Winter is generally mild and layered clothing is recommended.
  • Fog: Fog is common in the early morning and late afternoon, especially in spring and early summer. Though not necessarily a problem in itself, you might want to avoid these times if you’re keen on getting a good picture of the Hollywood sign.
  • Rainfall: The rainy season is from November to March. Hikers should be prepared for muddy conditions on any hiking trails.

5. Parking Near the Sign

Parking can be a bit challenging near the Hollywood sign, so it’s important to plan ahead.

The Griffith Observatory has a large parking lot, but it does often get crowded during peak times.

Beachwood Canyon has a large residential area nearby, which is close to the Hollywood sign. It is important to check the parking regulations, as certain streets require parking permits.

It’s important to check local information regarding parking before your visit as rules and access often change.

To avoid problems with parking, the DASH Observatory bus (Line 3) goes from Vermont/Sunset Metro Red Line station to the Griffith Observatory, where many hikes to the sign begin.

6. Best Viewpoints for Photographs

If you’re keen to get a decent photograph of the sign, there are several key viewpoints, including the following:

  • Griffith Observatory: Located in Griffith Park. Here you can find the most picturesque views of the Hollywood Sign.
  • Lake Hollywood Park: Located in the Hollywood Hills, this park offers a closer view of the sign, with a stunning cityscape backdrop.
  • Canyon Lake Drive: This street offers a unique view of the Hollywood sign. Drive up Beachwood Drive and continue onto Canyon Lake Drive until you reach the viewpoint.
  • Mulholland Drive: This scenic road winds through the Hollywood Hills, offering stunning vistas of the city and the Hollywood sign itself.

7. Photography Etiquette

It’s important to be mindful of residents and fellow visitors when visiting the Hollywood sign.

Always make sure to stick to the designated paths or hiking trails. Trespassing is illegal and could cost you a big fine.

Respect the locals. Many areas around the Hollywood sign are residential areas, making excessive noise, and arriving in large, noisy groups, will not go down well.

The area around the Hollywood sign can get crowded, so it’s important to be considerate of others who also want to enjoy the view and take photos.

Make sure to wait your turn and ensure you are not blocking any paths or obstructing others’ views.

8. Nearby Attractions

If you want to do more than just see the Hollywood sign, there are many attractions nearby.

The Griffith Observatory has free public telescopes, daily shows in the planetarium, a large Tesla coil, and more. The buildings and grounds are free to access but there’s a small fee for the planetarium shows, which happen between 8 and 10 times a day.

The Ovation Hollywood (formerly called the Hollywood and Highland Center) is an entertainment complex in the heart of Hollywood, with a huge choice of shops and restaurants. The Dolby Theatre’s VIP terrace offers a distant view of the Hollywood sign within the Ovation.

On the outskirts of Griffith Park, Lake Hollywood Park delivers a closer view of the Hollywood sign. Its address is 3160 Canyon Lake Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068.

9. Protect the Environment

It is important to consider sustainability and the environment when sightseeing. By making a few small changes we can help with the preservation of the areas we are visiting.

Restoration and conservation measures are in place to protect the surrounding area of the Hollywood Sign.

Public transportation is available for tourists wishing to view the Hollywood sign, this is an eco-friendlier option compared to driving. Cycling and walking are great options too.

Supporting the formation and maintenance of green spaces and parks near the Hollywood sign is crucial.

10. Nearby Refreshments

When you’re planning a trip somewhere so iconic, it’s nice to know where you can find refreshments.

Thankfully, there are many cafes in the vicinity of the Hollywood sign.

Here are a few good options:

  • Beachwood Café: This sweet café is located in Beachwood Canyon, near the base of the Hollywood sign. It offers a cozy atmosphere and a great variety of breakfast and lunch options as well as cold drinks.
  • Trails Café: Trails café is a gorgeous outdoor café, adjacent to the Hollywood sign. It offers sandwiches, pastries, salads, and beverages.
  • The Oaks Gourmet Market: This lovely gourmet market is situated on Franklin Avenue. It serves sandwiches, salads, and specialty items. It’s just a short drive from the Hollywood sign.

Final Thoughts

Representing the glamour of Hollywood and sitting proudly in the Hollywood Hills, the Hollywood sign is a must-visit.

Just remember to stick to the designated paths when hiking and plan ahead with plenty of water and sunscreen if you are out in the Californian heat.

Hello, I’m Emma! I’ve been exploring the world since 2015. People always ask me lots of questions when I travel and come back. So, I started a blog to answer them all and share with the world. If you are curious about something, use the search bar on my site or send me an email emma@timetositback.com