The Hollywood Sign is a USA icon on Mount Lee in Los Angeles. Originally put up in 1923, this iconic landmark has been a frequent addition to a variety of movies and TV series to establish scene settings. Numerous parody signs have also been built in for several comedies, though they often spell out different words.

    For first-time tourists, this 45-ft-tall sign is a must-see especially if you’re a movie buff. There are numerous ways for you to get up-close with the sign, but you must be willing to take various hikes up to the summit of Mount Lee. If you're looking for a more relaxed vacation, great views of the sign can be found around areas like Griffith Park and the Griffith Observatory. The park is usually open from dusk until dawn, but you’ll still be able to spot the sign from other spots outside of these hours.

    Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles - one of the highlights of 10 Best Things to Do in Los Angeles and 10 Free Things to Do in Los Angeles (Read all about Los Angeles here)

    History of the Hollywood Sign

    The Hollywood Sign was originally built to promote a proper development in the hilly areas of Los Angeles. It used to read "Hollywoodland", which was synonymous to the name of the housing project. As time passed, however, the Hollywoodland sign continued to gain popularity as visitors often stopped by for photo opportunities. Thus, the sign that was only meant to stay up for 1.5 years was allowed to remain on the hills.

    In 1949, the sign officially underwent refurbishment as it began to show signs of deterioration. It was also during this time when the authorities decided to change the sign to read “Hollywood” instead. This was done as the authorities wanted to have the sign reflect on the Hollywood district as a whole and not just to highlight the homes of Hollywoodland.

    Following this change, the sign unfortunately no longer lit up as the authorities found it financially difficult to sustain. The last time the Hollywood Sign was lit up was during the 2000 New Year's Eve celebration.

    Highlights on The Hollywood Sign

    The Hollywood Sign is best viewed at sunset as the sun rays will give you the illusion that the landmark is glowing. To get the best picture of the sign without having to hike up the Mt. Hollywood Trail, it’s recommended that you make a stop at the Lake Hollywood Park at 3160 Canyon Lake Drive.

    If you’re feeling adventurous, you may consider trailing up The Cahuenga Peak Hike. As this is a steep hike up, you’ll have to prepare comfortable shoes and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated. Once you’ve reached the end of this trail, you’ll be able to see The Hollywood Sign from behind that and capture a panoramic view of downtown Los Angeles from above. Do note that it's illegal to touch the sign, no matter how tempting it may be – it is continuously monitored by the LAPD. 

    What's good to know about the Hollywood Sign?

    Thanks to its towering structure, the Hollywood Sign makes a good backdrop for pictures taken in downtown Hollywood. One of the best spots includes the Hollywood & Highland Center, located in the heart of Hollywood Boulevard. You'll be able to catch a clear view of The Hollywood Sign from their observation decks, which stretch between their 2nd and 5th levels. While you’re there, don’t forget to stroll down the iconic Walk of Fame and spot the embedded star of your favourite artists.

    For a closer look at the sign, you could hop on the Red Line Metro from Hollywood & Highland to the Griffith Observatory stop. You can then make your way to Griffith Park where you’ll meet many likeminded visitors hoping to snap a memorable picture with the Hollywood Sign.

    Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles

    Location: Los Angeles, CA 90068, USA

    Phone: +1 323-258-4338

    Elie Lam | Contributing Writer

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