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How to see the Hollywood sign

As you drive around the rolling hills of Los Angeles and Hollywood, it’s easy to expect to see those big white letters anywhere you look. But they can actually be tricky to track down! I’m going to share with you the best and easiest place to get a great view of the Hollywood sign.

One of the most famous United States landmarks, the Hollywood sign actually used to say “Hollywoodland” and was originally placed on the hill to advertise a housing development

The first time I visited the LA area, it was to see my friend (now my sister-in-law) who was working at Universal Studios as one of the Madagascar penguins and Dora the Explorer! Pretty cool job, huh?

Madagascar penguin at Universal Hollywood

I’ve actually been a theme park entertainer too, but never a costume character!

After we visited her at work, we headed up to a street in a busy neighborhood where we could see the Hollywood sign…if we ran out into the middle of the street! Since I don’t recommend dodging cars to get your picture, let’s talk about a better place to get a good view of the Hollywood sign!

Great views of the Hollywood sign in Griffith Park

Griffith Park is one of my top recommendations of places to go with kids in Los Angeles. The observatory has lots of free exhibits and visitors can use their big telescope to see into space. Plus, the grounds are beautiful and provide an amazing view of the city.

Griffith Park View

Also, you can see the Hollywood sign from here!

Getting to Griffith Park is easy, but parking can be a little tricky. The park is often busy and, while there is plenty of parking, the main lot fills up quickly, which means you have to grab one of the many spots along the steep road. Nothing wrong with that except that it’s a steep walk up to the observatory, so bring some water — you might be taking a hike whether you planned for that or not!

You do have to pay for parking, whether in the main lot or on the road, but it’s a reasonable price. Alternatively, you could get dropped off or take the city bus.

However you arrive, there’s lots to see and do there. You can explore the observatory, take in the view of the city, enjoy lunch on the patio (there is a cafe), and see the Hollywood sign!

If you’re making that steep walk up from parking on the road, you’ll be rewarded with a nice view of the sign about halfway to the park.

Hollywood sign from Griffith Park

Our family visited Griffith Park early on our family gap year, after celebrating Halloween at Disneyland. The kids loved the observatory and it was a great place to spend the morning.

Griffith Park Observatory

We found ourselves back in Arizona in September 2019, and I decided I’d take a weekend to visit LA on my own (gasp!). I wanted to do a few things I hadn’t checked off my LA bucket list just yet — including walking the Hollywood Walk of Fame along Hollywood Boulevard and hiking to the Hollywood sign.

Best hikes to see the Hollywood sign

As I researched hikes to the sign, I learned that there are several options that involve varying levels of difficulty. The longest hike takes you above the sign, which provides a unique photo op, but on this trip I wanted to see the sign from the front (and not die on the side of a dry, hot mountain in late summer).

I opted for a 3-mile hike up Mount Hollywood that promised decent views of the sign along the way and at the summit.

The Mt. Hollywood trail starts from the Griffith Park parking lot, and I went on a day when the observatory itself was closed, so I was able to score a parking spot in the main lot.

Charlie Turner Trailhead Mount Hollywood

I set off up the mountain, with my water bottle and game face on. This was actually just about three weeks before I had gastric sleeve surgery, so I was not exactly in the best shape of my life, but I was determined!

Tiffany & Co. Foundation Overlook is the best, easiest place to see the Hollywood sign

A short distance into the hike takes you to Tiffany & Co. Foundation Overlook, where you can sit and relax and enjoy probably the best view of the Hollywood sign you’ll get all day.

And that’s my important tip! If you don’t care so much about completing the full hike and just want to see the sign, you can turn around here! It’s a pleasant, quick hike, and views of the sign from the peak of the mountain are not any better.

Hollywood sign from Mount Hollywood peak

I pressed on and completed my hike to the top (helloooo red face), and I felt very good about my solo accomplishment.

Red-faced after Mount Hollywood climb

But like I said, you don’t have to go all the way to the top for the best views of the sign. You will, however, be rewarded with a great 360 view of the city, so definitely keep going if you want to see that.

So there you have it — the best place to view the Hollywood sign is from Tiffany & Co. Foundation Overlook on Mount Hollywood. The next time we visit, I will definitely work into our plans another visit to Griffith Observatory and a quick hike to see the Hollywood sign!

Not a hiker? There are actually a few other places where you can get a good picture of the Hollywood sign without having to hike at all. This article from Sher She Goes covers some of the best Hollywood sign photo spots, so check it out!

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