on October 20, 2009
If there is one single obligatory thing you must make the effort to do in Hollywood - it is to see the Hollywood sign. And this might be more difficult then you would imagine. You could drive around Hollywood all day (and this is something that could very feasibly happen given the confusing streets and traffic in the area) and never spot it. At the risk of spoiling it - I should warn you that the legendary Hollywood sign is somewhat more...demure than you might expect. Or rather, it appears to be. The size of the sign in reality is quite impressive at 450 ft from end to end, and apparently each letter is 45 ft tall. Perhaps it's the size of the peak it's resting on - which is the tallest in Los Angeles. If you expect to see it towering over the hills above Hollywood the way it seems to do in film - you might be a bit disappointed. However - it's surprisingly accessible, too. You might have to drive around for a good bit in Hollywood in order to find a street with a good view of the sign, but to get the full experience then I highly recommend that you take a drive up through the Hollywood hills - a sight seeing excursion all on it's own. I was lucky enough to be spending my time in Hollywood with local friends who knew all the best places to spot the sign and see the sights - and they were especially useful in spotting the sign. Probably the best place to see it and the most chilled and relaxing place to stop off for a good view and photo opportunity is the Hollywood Reservoir and the area locals know as the dog park. Drive up (you will be best served if you have a car for this particular route) Canyon Lake and past the very obvious dog park (it seems there are always a lot of locals out walking their dogs here) to where you can see an excellent view of the Hollywood sign. And to add to this - you even get a really great view of LA out over the reservoir - go at sunrise or sunset if you can. And if you are lucky enough to get a clear sky then you can walk away with some amazing photos. Pose in front of the sign to your heart's content - it's a pretty quiet spot and seems to be populated with an interesting selection of travellers, dog owners, and students with guitars. It's one of the few really peaceful places I visited in LA - and is worth a viewing, even if you're not really bothered about the Hollywood sign of views of some big celeb's houses on the hill.Unfortunately you can no longer walk (or even hike) up to the actual sign. Though it wouldn't be a strenuous hike - it is now gaurded and and alarmed to keep visitors from tampering with it. And you can't actually get that close to it driving, either - but luckily you can see it well from this spot, and there is plenty of space to pull over and walk around for a good view.
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009