What Is the Hollywood Sign?
No trip to Los Angeles is complete without taking in the Hollywood sign. The 43-foot tall collection of white capital letters is 350 feet long and spells out “HOLLYWOOD.” It’s a cultural icon that’s been photographed by millions and featured in hundreds of movies, TV shows, video games, and music videos.The sign was created in 1923 and was originally built as an advertisement for a real-estate development named “Hollywoodland” in the days when Hollywood was growing into a destination for filmmakers. The “land” part of the sign was removed, and the entire sign was replaced in the 1970s.
Where is the Hollywood Sign?
The Hollywood sign is located on Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills area of the Santa Monica Mountains where it’s been situated since 1923. The sign is about 12 miles from downtown Los Angeles but can be seen in the distance from parts of the L.A. area and Hollywood well before you get close up.
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What Can I Do at the Hollywood Sign?
You should be aware that you can’t touch the Hollywood sign or get close to it legally. The sign is equipped with more than a dozen cameras, motion sensors, infrared detectors, loudspeakers, and is monitored 24/7. Occasionally, someone does try to climb up and onto the signs, but they are quickly arrested.
The sign itself doesn’t have a physical address. There are several vantage points, however, that offer spectacular views. One of the best is at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, CA. That’s at the intersection of Highland Avenue and Hollywood Boulevard. Visitors checking out the Walk of Fame or Grauman’s Chinese Theatre can see the sign in the distance above the city.
A drive along iconic Mulholland Drive also offers a good viewing point and provides spectacular night views of the Los Angeles skyline.
It’s not so much what you can do, but what you can see. The sign itself is an impressive sight even if you can’t get up close.
One of the best access points to the Hollywood sign is from Griffith Observatory, located at 2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles, CA 90027. Many visitors park there and do the 3-mile hike (6-mile round trip) to get somewhat close to the sign. It can take three hours to hike there, which can be difficult in the hot sun. There’s no water or facilities along the trail.
The trails will take you behind and above the sign for a unique vantage point. There are no direct paths to the front of the sign for safety reasons.
The DASH Observatory bus runs 7 days a week and goes to viewpoints of the sign in Griffith Park every 20 minutes. You can catch the bus at the Metro Red Line Sunset Station or at several stops along the way.