Since its inaugural appearance in 1923, the Hollywood Sign has transformed into an emblematic symbol of Los Angeles, intrinsically linked to the city’s identity. Marking its centennial celebration in 2023, this 45-foot-tall, 350-foot-long landmark is currently in its finest state, courtesy of the continuous preservation efforts led by the Hollywood Sign Trust.
Originally erected as “HOLLYWOODLAND” for a real estate development venture, the sign underwent reconstruction in 1949, adopting the streamlined “HOLLYWOOD.” In the 1970s, it faced the imminent threat of deterioration due to vandalism and neglect.
In 1978, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce initiated the “Save the Sign” campaign, successfully raising $250,000 with contributions from prominent figures like Hugh Hefner, who hosted a fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion. Renowned rockstar Alice Cooper donated $27,700 for the replacement of an “O” in tribute to Groucho Marx, while the “singing cowboy” Gene Autry sponsored an “L,” and Andy Williams, the “W.”
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For the most captivating perspectives of the world-famous Hollywood Sign, explore the following options:
- Bar Lis at Thompson Hollywood: Transport yourself to the French Riviera at Bar Lis, exuding the charm of the South of France with a sophisticated design featuring a retractable roof, central water fountain, plush banquettes, and numerous cypress trees.
- The Highlight Room at Dream Hollywood: Encompassing the entire top floor of Dream Hollywood, The Highlight Room offers incomparable city vistas, from the Hollywood Sign to Downtown LA. Indulge in poolside relaxation on a plush lounger or private cabana, savoring delectable bites from The Grill. As the sun sets, dance to the tunes of DJs while sharing a pitcher of Bubbles & Berries.
- I|O Rooftop at The Godfrey Hotel Hollywood: Located on the hotel’s 7th floor, the expansive I|O Rooftop boasts both indoor and outdoor bars, offering breathtaking views. Enjoy light bites paired with drinks like the Peachy Keen and The A-List.
- Mama Shelter: Open daily from noon, the rooftop at Mama Shelter provides 360° panoramic views. Sip on signature cocktails and relish veg-friendly bar bites like Grilled Flatbread and Crispy Tofu Bao Bun.
- WET Deck at W Hollywood: Situated high above the iconic junction of Hollywood and Vine, the WET Deck presents stunning perspectives of the Hollywood Sign and LA. For hotel guests, there are W lounge chairs, daybeds, and private luxury cabanas. On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, DJs spin tunes from 1 pm to 5 pm.
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DASH OBSERVATORY BUS
- The DASH Observatory Bus offers convenient transportation to two LA landmarks: the Griffith Observatory and the Greek Theatre.
- Operating every day, even on holidays and when the Observatory is closed on Mondays.
- Connect to the DASH Observatory bus at the Vermont/Sunset Station of the Metro B Line (Red).
- The DASH fare is $0.50 when paying in cash, or $0.35 with a TAP card. Save with a 7-Day DASH Pass ($5) or a 31-Day DASH Pass ($18).
- In 2010, Hugh Hefner’s $900,000 donation played a pivotal role in preserving the area surrounding the Hollywood Sign. This contribution helped meet the $12.5 million fundraising goal, safeguarding the iconic view from any encroaching development.
- The Griffith Observatory parking lot offers a close and splendid view of the Hollywood Sign.
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GRIFFITH PARK HIKING TRAILS
- Griffith Park is the ultimate destination for viewing the Hollywood Sign, with various hiking trails on Mt. Hollywood accessible from the back corner of the Griffith Observatory parking lot. The primary Observatory hike leads to a popular vantage point, and a 3-mile loop can be accessed from Vermont Canyon Road.
- Other hiking options include Bronson Canyon, known for the Batcave from the ’60s Batman TV show, and the strenuous Cahuenga Peak Trail, offering a unique behind-the-Sign perspective.
- Formerly Hollywood & Highland, Ovation Hollywood houses the Dolby Theatre (home of the Oscars since 2002) and the TCL Chinese Theatre. Several areas within the complex are dedicated to viewing the Hollywood Sign, particularly the 4th level bridge.
SUNSET RANCH HOLLYWOOD
- Sunset Ranch Hollywood, the sole horse ranch in Greater Los Angeles, offers a distinctive L.A. experience. Located centrally in the Hollywood Hills, it provides guided trail rides with spectacular daytime and evening vistas, offering a timeless view of the Hollywood Sign.
BARNSDALL ART PARK
- Situated near the junction of Hollywood Boulevard and Vermont Avenue, Barnsdall Art Park occupies 11 acres atop Olive Hill, presenting breathtaking views of the city and the Hollywood Sign. The park includes the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Hollyhock House, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, Barnsdall Art Center, and Junior Arts Center.
- For the most extravagant and stylish view of the Sign, consider an air tour. Group 3 Aviation offers the Hooray for Hollywood Tour and the Hollywood & The Beach Tour, while Orbic Air boasts the closest Hollywood Sign views with a ten-minute tour. Star Helicopters offers a one-hour Star VIP Tour from Hawthorne Municipal Airport, including a fly-by of the Hollywood Sign. IEX Helicopters takes passengers up-close for a unique view of the Sign from the Queen Mary Heliport in Long Beach.
With these diverse options, you have all the resources needed to appreciate this iconic piece of history from various vantage points, including from the skies. Whether you’re in the mood for a hike and a close encounter or a distinctive perspective from the saddle, how you choose to experience this renowned and historic landmark is entirely up to you.