Best Views in Los Angeles

Contrary to what one might think, Los Angeles has its own fascinating scenic viewpoints to offer. Some provide beautiful views that stretch as far as the eye can see to the horizon, such as the panorama over the city from Runyon Canyon Park, or the view of the ocean from the Santa Monica Pier. Others allow you to observe iconic landmarks that are a must-see during a visit to Los Angeles, such as the Hollywood Sign, the famous inscription nestled on the hills of Mount Lee. Let’s go discover the best views in Los Angeles.

Hollywood Sign

viewpoints in los angeles

On the slopes of Mount Lee, one of the most famous words in the world stands tall: the word “Hollywood” spelled out in capital white letters. Who doesn’t have at least one scene in mind where the camera captures this enormous sign, serving as a backdrop to a romantic moment or a thrilling chase in an action movie set in Los Angeles? However, there isn’t just one perspective from which to view and photograph the Hollywood Sign. There are many vantage points to consider, and in our dedicated guide, we highlight the best ones. Furthermore, the sign itself can be considered a panoramic viewpoint. By hiking up behind it, you can enjoy a splendid view of the city below.

How to reach the Hollywood Sign

Los Angeles City Hall Observation Deck

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A place that combines history, architecture, and a panoramic view is the Los Angeles City Hall. The City Hall is characterized by a 452-feet tower, which made it the tallest building in Los Angeles for a long period of time when there was a restriction on constructing buildings taller than 150 feet, and the City Hall itself was the only exception. The Observation Deck is a rooftop terrace on the tower that offers a splendid view of the city. When looking at the building from the outside, the Observation Deck is located on the floor with tall, elongated windows. Admission is free, although identification documents need to be presented at the entrance due to it being a government building.

Los Angeles City Hall Visitor Guide

Santa Monica Pier

los angeles best views
Santa Monica Pier: Let’s explore the characteristic pier near Los Angeles

The most famous point on the Los Angeles coastline is probably the Santa Monica Pier. This is where Route 66 ends, and you’ll find Pacific Park, an amusement park, and a unique atmosphere to enjoy, perhaps while savoring a plate of shrimp at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. inspired by the movie Forrest Gump. But the Santa Monica Pier is also a perfect location for photos. The main attraction is, of course, the ocean. What better viewpoint than the pier extending into the waters of the Pacific to capture the sun setting over the sea? But the pier itself is also photogenic, especially when illuminated at night, making it perfect for a shot while strolling along the beach. By the way, what are the best beaches in Los Angeles?

Santa Monica Pier Visitor Guide

Griffith Observatory

best viewpoints in la

In Griffith Park, there is an astronomical observatory situated in a location that also serves as a perfect vantage point overlooking the city. The Griffith Observatory, located on Mount Hollywood, can be reached by both car and public transportation from downtown Los Angeles. From the outdoor space, you can enjoy an excellent view of the city and it’s a good spot to catch a glimpse of the Hollywood Sign. In addition to the observation point, the observatory also offers numerous things to do and see, including the planetarium and telescopes. At the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, there are scientific-themed shows, focusing on space, while the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater hosts meetings and conferences centered around space-related topics.

Griffith Observatory Visitor Guide

Vista Hermosa Natural Park

Los angeles overlook

Very close to the downtown skyscrapers, there is this small park with a beautiful vantage point, easy to reach, and perfect for photographing the cluster of towering buildings that form the city’s economic hub. The Vista Hermosa Natural Park, whose name in Spanish literally means “beautiful view,” is one of the best spots in the city to capture close-up shots of the skyscrapers without too many visual obstructions. The existence of this green area can be considered quite a coincidence since, in theory, an educational complex was supposed to be built here. However, this area was situated on an old oil field and a fault line. Thanks to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, this beautiful park was created, providing the aforementioned excellent vantage point.

Mulholland Drive

los angeles city view

In the article dedicated to Mulholland Drive, we delve into the characteristics of this incredibly long road that connects some of the city’s most famous neighborhoods to the oceanic coast, passing through forests and mountains. Along its winding route, there are several lookout points, three of which are particularly noteworthy. The first is the Jerome C. Daniel Overlook, located just over 0.6 miles from the start of the road. It offers an excellent view of downtown Los Angeles and the area surrounding the Hollywood Bowl Amphitheater. Then there is the Universal City Overlook, named as such because it provides a view of the Universal Studios. Another panoramic point not to be missed is the Mulholland Scenic Overlook, which offers a great view of the northern area.

How to reach the different panoramic viewpoints:

Mulholland Drive Visitor Guide

Angel Point at Elysian Park

scenic views los angeles

Next to Dodger Stadium is Elysian Park, which stretches across the hilly area adjacent to the stadium. Walking along the park’s trails, you can find numerous panoramic viewpoints that offer different perspectives of the city. The best one is Angels Point, where you’ll also come across an intriguing monument, the Frank Glass and Grace E. Simons Memorial Sculpture. From here, you’ll have a beautiful and expansive view of the city, with skyscrapers rising above the green area below.

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

best views in LA

In the western area of Los Angeles, near the shores of Ballona Creek, there is a cluster of hills known as the Baldwin Hills. You can hike up to the highest point using trails equipped with stairs and enjoy a nice, albeit somewhat distant, view of the city. In addition to the main overlook, there are also other slightly lower terraces. This area is also adorned with “Citizen Seeds”: sculptures depicting giant seeds of six native California plants, providing information and naturalistic curiosities.

Runyon Canyon

runyon canyon

Runyon Canyon Park is one of the most captivating natural areas surrounding Los Angeles. It encompasses the Runyon Canyon, from which it derives its name, and includes the two mountain ridges on either side. Thanks to a network of trails, visitors can enjoy pleasant walks in the park and, most importantly, reach panoramic viewpoints that offer stunning views of the city. Some of these overlooks are equipped with benches strategically placed to enhance the viewing experience. In our dedicated article, we have suggested four different loop trails of varying lengths to explore different areas of the park and enjoy diverse perspectives of the city below. It is worth noting that the park has three entrances, and depending on where you want to go, it may be advantageous to enter from one side or the other.

Runyon Canyon Visitor Guide

Getty Center

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American industrialist Jean Paul Getty, founder of Getty Oil Company, left two significant legacies in Los Angeles. In Malibu, he established the Getty Villa, a magnificent Roman-style residence, while in the hills west of Los Angeles, he constructed the Getty Center. Set in a breathtaking natural setting, the Getty Center houses a museum showcasing sculptures, paintings, antique furniture, and much more. The museum also features notable works of art, and the center’s buildings themselves are architectural marvels. Moreover, from the beautiful gardens of the center, visitors can enjoy an excellent view of Los Angeles. While parking is available at a fee, admission to the center is free, making it undoubtedly one of the most beautiful places to admire the panorama of LA.

Getty Center Travel Guide


los angeles panoramic

What better way to admire the skyscrapers of Los Angeles than being right in the midst of them? The Perch is a restaurant with a rooftop terrace located on the 15th floor of a building. From this rooftop, visitors can enjoy an incredible view of the downtown skyscrapers while dining in a unique atmosphere. It is open every day until 1 am and on Thursdays to Saturdays until 2 am. The most enchanting time to visit is in the evening when you find yourself immersed in the heart of the illuminated city, facing Pershing Square at the intersection of Hill St and 5th St, surrounded by the tallest skyscrapers in the city. However, the weekend brunch should not be underestimated either.

Spire 73

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The Spire 73 is another bar and it’s even more panoramic than the Perch. The number in its name is not accidental: it is located on the 73rd floor of a skyscraper, the InterContinental on Wilshire Blvd. It boasts a spacious terrace where you can drink and dine outdoors and prides itself on being the highest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere. This very chic establishment is the perfect place to have dinner or spend a pleasant evening with breathtaking views in the heart of downtown Los Angeles.

In the middle of the terrace, there are large fire pits that create a unique atmosphere as night falls, but the food and drinks are equally impressive. There is an excellent selection of wines, beers, spirits, and champagne. It must be noted that the prices are not the lowest, but the view and the ambiance reward those who choose to spend a few dollars to have an evening here. Additionally, the InterContinental hotel also has a pool on the 7th floor, also outdoors (it is like an extension of the skyscraper, seven floors high with the pool on the rooftop), so combining an afternoon by the pool with an evening at the Spire 73 can be a great idea.


All our articles on panoramic viewpoints in Los Angeles.

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