Hollywood Sign

2840 E Observatory Ave
Hollywood CA 90027

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If you can get only one picture on your trip to Los Angeles, it should be of the Hollywood Sign. No other landmark captures the spirit and essence of the city quite like the Hollywood Sign, and its 45-foot-tall letters atop Mount Lee in the Hollywood Hills make it an easy image to capture from just about anywhere in L.A.

How to get to the Hollywood Sign
The only way to get up close and personal with the Hollywood Sign is on foot; no vehicular traffic is allowed. Several hikes give visitors great views of the sign from a distance, including the Mount Hollywood Trail from Griffith Observatory and the Lake Hollywood Trail that circles the Hollywood Reservoir. The closest vantage point to the sign is via the Beachwood Canyon Trail (also known as the Hollyridge Trail) that passes 100 feet behind it. The sign itself is behind a tall perimeter fence and there is no direct access.

Best and worst time to go to the Hollywood Sign
As with all popular tourist destinations in Los Angeles, these hikes can be crowded and parking difficult during peak hours. Parking at Griffith Observatory is free but the lot is small and fills up fast, so it's best to arrive early morning, especially on the weekends. Parking for the Beachwood Canyon Trail is in a residential neighborhood with visitor parking prohibited on weekends and holidays, so plan to do this hike on a weekday. The easiest parking and the smallest crowds on any day are found at Lake Hollywood.

Admission to the Hollywood Sign
Most trail parking to view the Hollywood Sign is free. To eliminate the hassle of parking, there is now a shuttle to the Hollywood Sign Viewing Area on Mount Hollywood Drive that departs from the Greek Theatre. For about the same price as a movie, shuttle riders can see a piece of Hollywood in real life instead of on the silver screen. The shuttle runs every Saturday and Sunday, including holidays, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Must see/do at the Hollywood Sign
The Hollywood Sign is one of the most iconic images of Los Angeles, and no trip to the city is complete without a picture or two with the sign in the background. Take a selfie or ask one of the many other tourists to get a good shot of you with the sign.

Other places to visit near the Hollywood Sign
If you take in the Hollywood Sign from Griffith Observatory, be sure to stop in. Admission to Griffith Observatory is free and visitors can enjoy the exhibits, look through telescopes and even take in a planetarium show. The Hollywood Sign is also clearly visible from the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, where visitors can take a stroll along the Walk of Fame or view celebrity handprints at the famous Chinese Theater.

Insider tips for visitors to the Hollywood Sign
No matter how tempting it may be, DO NOT try to get a better look by jumping the fence surrounding the sign. The Los Angeles Police Department maintains a tight security system at the sign and it is under continuous surveillance, both with video monitoring and regular patrolling from police and park rangers. Anyone caught trespassing will be cited by police and taken away in a cruiser.

Author's bio: Amy Clites is a writer, content creator and actor who has been living in and loving Los Angeles for the last eight years. She is also an avid gardener, cook, reader and traveler and writes regularly about these topics and more on her blog ZeitClites and on Twitter at @AmyClites.