Recently, after almost a decade away we moved back to Southern California, and while we really enjoyed living here the first time around, it wasn’t until we moved away that I realized just how much we hadn’t seen or done. Last time we were newlyweds, with full time jobs, a small child and an even smaller bank account… Now we are back and this time I’m doing it right!
There’s a reason Southern California is one of the worlds most popular tourist destinations and there’s no reason we shouldn’t take advantage of it just the way a tourist would! Not only that, I really want my boys to get a sense of their new home and all it has to offer! Pulling up a list of “Things to do in Los Angeles” on Google, Simon’s first choice was the Hollywood Sign! What a great idea! Not only is it one of the most famous icons in Los Angeles and the world, but it would be new for me too making it the perfect place to start!
The Hollywood Sign
First things first, you can’t actually get to the sign, not legally anyway, and since I tend to be a “stay on the path” kind of girl and setting good examples for my children is key, we needed to find another way. We consulted the Sign’s official website and learned that there are a number of optimal viewing spots around town. One of which was the Griffith Park Observatory located in… Griffith Park. Perfect! We would visit the Sign and the Observatory and check two of LA’s most famous institutions off our list at the same time!!
Looking out from the Observatory and it’s grounds there are incredible views in every direction and I imagine on a clear day you can see practically forever. It was somewhat hazy on the day of our visit and we could still see an incredibly long way. If, like me, you love to take photos keep in mind that although the view of the Hollywood Sign from this location is great, you’ll still need a decent long range lens on your camera to get a good close up photo*. There are also many hiking trails in the park, which would probably offer different viewpoints of the sign, but they won’t lead you to the sign, not if you want to “stay on the path.”
Free Free Free
Los Angeles is a very large city, not just in terms of people, but square miles as well, so depending on where you’re staying be prepared for a long drive with a lot of traffic. However, it is worth it and the good news is that most of your visit will be free! Yes, that’s right the parking, sign viewing, Observatory tours and entrance to the halls of space are all free! If you’re interested in visiting the planetarium or eating at the End of the Universe Cafe you’ll spend some money, but otherwise this is a free activity!
*I use a 50-200mm f4-5.6 ED OIS III Telephoto Zoom Lens with my Samsung NX2000.