The Hollywood Sign

Perhaps LA's most iconic image, the sign is no longer just a symbol of a place, but an entire lifestyle.

TravelCurious Tip

If you opt for the hike then be sure to take water and a hat, and wear some appropriate footwear

Ask a non-American to name two cities in the USA and they will almost certainly say New York and Los Angeles. Ask them to name a landmark in each, and you’ll hear two things: the Statue of Liberty, and the Hollywood Sign.

LA’s iconic sign first appeared up in the hills in 1923 as an advertisement for a real-estate project called “Hollywoodland.” It was intended to last no longer than 18 months, but it coincided with the rise of American cinema during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Nearly a century later, the sign has been far more successful than anyone could have imagined. In the 40s, it shortened to become simply “Hollywood”.

The sign has not always been as valued as it is today. Each of the letters is made of sheet metal, stands 50 feet tall and was once illuminated by hundreds of lightbulbs — it was all quite high maintenance. In the 40s the sign began falling into disrepair, and it was only saved in the 70s when none other than Alice Cooper and Hugh Hefner spearheaded a project to preserve it. Hefner came to the rescue again in 2010 when he helped buy up the land behind the sign to prevent it being built on.

If you’re not content with the view from afar, there are several trails that can be hiked up to the sign itself. The Brush Canyon Trail, the Hollyridge Trail and the Wonder View Trail all offer satisfying hikes through Griffith Park. The former is the easiest, and the latter the hardest. You’ll get some great views of the sign on the way up, and a stunning panorama of Los Angeles from the top.

Nearby Attractions

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Wonder View Trail
Don't let its many signs deter you, the road to Wonder View trail is popular and heavily trafficked. You're in the right spot!
Burbank Peak
The first of three peaks along the trail, this spot allows you to see over the hills down into Burbank.
The Wisdom Tree
Part of an incomplete real estate development, the Wisdom Tree sits atop Burbank Peak.
Cahuenga Peak
The second of the three peaks on the trail, Cahuenga Peak is the highest point in Griffith Park, at 1820 feet above sea level.
Mount Lee
Mount Lee is the hillside on which the famous 'Hollywood' sign sits. From here, you're atop LA and the sign itself.
Mt Hollywood
The highest point on the hike and the second highest point in Griffith Park, Mt Hollywood is the perfect spot to snag the iconic picture of the Hollywood sign on Mt Lee.

Related Tours

The Best of Los Angeles: Private Full-Day Highlights Driving Tour
The City of Angels enjoys a stunning location: set within a broad basin, backdropped by vast mountain ranges, dark-green forests, desert sands and the beautiful beaches of the Pacific Coast. The "City of Angels" flourished into a world-famous entertainment industry throughout the twentieth century, as people and businesses alike moved to the city to be a part of the magic - and Hollywood was born.  

On your private full-day driving tour, you will:

  • Enjoy spectacular views over Los Angeles from Griffith Park and pop into the Griffith Observatory;
  • Venture down to Hollywood Boulevard, and stroll along the Walk of Fame, passing both the Dolby Theatre and TCL Chinese Theatre;
  • Snap pictures of the iconic Hollywood sign;
  • Continue along Sunset Strip, and walk by the Viper Room and Chateau Marmont;
  • Refuel yourself at La Brea Farmers Market;
  • Cruise through the highlights of Beverly Hills, such as The Playboy Mansion and Rodeo Drive- the best place in LA to see and be seen;
  • Unwind at the Santa Monica Pier amusement park;
  • End your tour by relaxing at Venice Beach and Muscle Beach as the sun sets over the Pacific.

Your adventure begins with a bird's eye view of a city that has been described as 500 miles wide and one mile deep. Should you fancy, pop into the Griffith Observatory (please note, the observatory is closed on Mondays).

Next venture down to  Hollywood Boulevard, where the Walk of Fame, the Dolby Theatre and of course the beautiful TCL Chinese Theatre await you. The concrete blocks in the famous forecourt bear the hand and footprints of film legends. 

Find the prints of your favourite star, and then ask your guide to snap a shot of you with the iconic 'Hollywood' sign in the hills behind you. Then meander down the Sunset Strip where you happen past iconic places like the Viper Room and Chateau Marmont. 

Enjoy your lunch (food not included in price) stopping at The Grove & Farmer’s Market, an LA institution where more than 100 produce stalls and restaurants cater for every conceivable foodie whim, from nutritious Californian superfood salads to gourmet burgers, man-sized steaks and fajitas. 

In this luxury district, you will see famous locations including the Greystone Mansion and the Beverly Wilshire Hotel,  where the classic ‘Pretty Woman’ was filmed.  You may even have the chance to grab a quick glance at the Playboy Mansion, Rodeo Drive, and the famous palm-tree-lined streets.

A trip to the Californian coast will give you time to unwind before our final stop. Enjoy some rides at the Santa Monica Pier amusement park and then soak up the Bohemian vibes of Venice Beach. 

There’s never a dull moment on the boardwalk, where you’ll see the colourful locals and the famous Muscle Beach.
Los Angeles Iconic Highlights: Private Half-Day Driving tour
Los Angeles is a city with much to discover. Take our half-day highlights tour to uncover the main attractions of the city! 

On your private driving tour, you will:

  • Begin your tour on Hollywood Boulevard and enjoy a walk amongst the stars down the Walk of Fame;
  • Pass iconic attractions such as the TCL Chinese Theatre and the Dolby Theatre;
  • Snap pictures of the Hollywood sign;
  • Continue along the Sunset Strip, passing famous haunts like the Viper Room and Chateau Marmont;
  • Keep your eyes peeled in Beverly Hills for stars popping in and out of their homes;
  • Visit Venice Beach, the hub of creatives, millennials, and foodies;
  • Return to your hotel or ask your private guide to leave you in Venice for the rest of the day.

Your experience begins on Hollywood Boulevard, home to some of the most iconic attractions such as the TCL Chinese Theatre, the Dolby Theatre and of course the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Created in 1958, this famous pavement celebrates the Hollywood greats - from silent film stars to modern-day heroes. 

Your knowledgeable guide will also point out the best spot to get that perfect snap of the Hollywood sign in the background. You will continue on to the Sunset Strip and see famous places such as the Viper Room and Chateau Marmont.

In this luxury district, you will visit famous locations such as the Greystone Mansion and the Beverly Wilshire Hotel (now the 'Four Seasons') where the classic ‘Pretty Woman’ was filmed. Other highlights include The Playboy Mansion, Rodeo Drive and the famous palm-tree-lined streets. 

Your adventure ends with a breezy drive to beautiful Venice Beach. Take the time to unwind and soak up the Bohemian vibes of this vibrant community. There’s never a dull moment on the boardwalk, where you’ll see the colourful locals and the famous Muscle Beach. 

At the end of your tour, your guide will be able to suggest great eateries for your lunch or dinner, should you choose to stay in the area, otherwise they will be able to transport you back to your hotel.
LA's Iconic Movie Locations: Private Full-Day Driving Tour
On your private, driving tour of Los Angeles, delve into entertainment and pop culture history as you take centre stage in the most famous scenes from the silver screen. 

On your private driving tour, you will:

  • Be whisked away by your driver guide to the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard.
  • Chinese Theatre
  • Sunset Strip
  • See iconic places, including Château Marmont, 
  • the Viper Room, and 
  • the Capitol Records building.
  • Playboy Mansion
  • Venture into Beverly Hills to see the Greystone Mansion and the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
  • Visit historic Downtown LA and visit the Bradbury building.
  • Enjoy lunch at one of the city's gastropubs, per your guide's recommendations (price not included).
  • Drive up to the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park and enjoy some of the city's best views. 

Your day begins on Hollywood Boulevard which has been featured in numerous blockbusters including Speed, The Italian Job, Blazing Saddles, and Borat. It is also home to the TCL Chinese Theatre and Walk of Fame, where you can compare your handprints to those of your favourite stars. Take a stroll onto Vine Street to see Capitol Records, famously ‘destroyed’ in The Day After Tomorrow

During your stroll, your guide will show you the best spot to get a shot of the iconic Hollywood Sign. Continuing on to Sunset Strip, you will see famous places such as Johnny Depp’s Viper Room, a classic Hollywood haunt. Other highlights include Château Marmont and the Playboy Mansion.

Then experience the luxury of Beverly Hills, whose highlights include the Beverly Wilshire Hotel from Pretty Woman and the Greystone Mansion, which has been used as a filming location over 75 times, including in the cult classic The Big Lebowski. 

Your tour continues in downtown L.A., where you will get to explore the magnificent Bradbury Building - itself used as the backdrop for countless shows, music videos, and film scenes. After, your private guide will help you find the perfect dining spot to relax and refuel, such as the Cicada restaurant located just a 10-minute walk away.  

Brad and Angelina tangoed here in Mr and Mrs Smith. Queen Latifah and Steve Martin also danced at the restaurant in Bringing Down the House. It looks exactly the same today as it did on screen.

Finish off your day with a drive to the beautiful Griffith Park and see the famous Greek Theatre from Russell Brand’s comedy hit Get Him to the Greek. Enjoy sweeping vistas over Los Angeles before returning to your hotel or a drop-off location of your choosing. 
Private Hike to Hollywood Sign, via Three Peaks
Most people only get a glimpse of L.A.’s famous Hollywood Sign from afar – now you can get an intimate look by hiking to it! Your epic hike to the sign on Mt. Lee is via the three peaks of Burbank Peak, Cahuenga Peak, and Mt. Lee in Griffith Park. This moderate hike will take you right up to the rear of the sign, with a gorgeous view of Los Angeles beyond. During your private, three-hour hike, you will:

  • Meet your guide at the designated place along Lake Hollywood Drive.
  • Take off on the Wonder View Trail towards the Hollywood Sign.
  • Stop at Burbank Peak and the Wisdom Tree, with a break to rest, taking in remarkable views of the Santa Monica Mountains.
  • Reach Cahuenga Peak, the highest point in Griffith Park (at 1,820 feet).
  • Stop at a clearing, and view plaques honouring Aileen Getty and Hugh Hefner.
  • Reach the final stop at Mt. Lee Peak and the Hollywood Sign (at 1,708 feet); stay for up to 30 minutes for photo opportunities and fantastic views.
  • Retrace your steps back to the trailhead.
  • Please note: this is a fairly strenuous hike, covering an elevation gain of about 1500 feet in one direction. The entire hike itself is 3 miles. We do not recommend this hike for young children or for families who are not seasoned hikers.  
The Hollywood Sign was first built in 1923 to promote a real estate development known as “Hollywoodland” on Mt. Lee’s southern slope. But the development never happened, and the land was purchased by broadcaster Tommy Lee in 1939, renaming the area to “Mt. Lee” after his father. Then, in 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce removed the last of letters and the remaining sign lives on today.

This is a 3-mile roundtrip hike (out and back), and parts of the trail can be rocky, sandy and dusty. It is recommended that you wear close-toed walking shoes with good traction, preferably hiking shoes. Dress in layers, and bring a good windbreaker in case of strong winds at the top. Be sure to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat for good measure. Also, please bring plenty of water (2 litres) as there is no water on the mountain. You are also welcome to bring snacks for energy if you like. And don’t forget your camera!

Please keep in mind when you book this tour: this is a fairly strenuous hike and will be hot (very hot) in the summer season, which can stretch through October.  While your guide can adapt somewhat on the day of the tour, there is little shade to be found on this trail.


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