The Sign measures 450 feet long, its mammoth letters are 45 feet high, and it's visible from all parts of Hollywood. Erected in 1923 as an advertising sign for a real estate development in Beachwood Canyon, the Sign originally read "Hollywoodland." The last four letters were removed in 1945, after Hollywood had become the world's movie capital, and the Sign had already become a well-known landmark. (In fact, it's been officially declared "Los Angeles Cultural-Historical Monument #111.")
In 1932, during the Great Depression, one despondent young actress, Peg Entwistle, even jumped to her death from the Sign's giant letter "H."
The original sign contained thousands of light bulbs, which were changed daily by a caretaker who lived in a small house behind one of the Sign's giant "L's."
And in the 1998 Disney remake of "Mighty Joe Young," the oversized ape climbs the Hollywood Sign and perches in one of its giant letter "O."s
Unfortunately, there is no easy way to reach the Sign itself, which is located atop an undeveloped hillside, far from roads. And if you did manage to reach the area, you would discover that the Sign has been fenced in to keep out the curious, and that a new high-tech alarm system has recently been installed. I recommend that you settle for just looking at the Sign from a safe distance.
The best way to see
the Hollywood Sign is to drive up Beachwood Drive (north of Hollywood
Boulevard). The Sign is clearly visible most the way up Beachwood,
although the hills begin to obscure the view of the Sign near the top of
the drive. (But be warned that the local residents are up in arms
about the traffic generated by tourists trying to see the sign.)
If you don't want
to drive up Beachwood, here are a few of the other obvious places where
you can easily spot the Hollywood Sign on a clear day:
Beverly Center mall: the Sign can be seen when riding the
In 2013, Ron B. sent me this photo of the view of the Hollywood Sign
as seen from the Bronson Caves (click on the photo for a larger version):
Getting there: The Hollywood Sign is located atop Mount Lee, in the Hollywood Hills, northeast of downtown Hollywood. For the best view, take Beachwood Drive north up into the hills. / To reach Beachwood Drive from Hollywood & Vine, take Hollywood Boulevard east (a quarter mile), to Gower Street. Turn left (north) up Gower (three blocks, under the freeway) to Franklin Avenue. Turn right (east) on Franklin, then immediately turn left (north) up Beachwood Drive, into the hills. It's a long, twisting drive. To reach Beachwood Drive from the Hollywood (101) Freeway, take the Gower Street exit, then turn right (north) up Beachwood Drive.
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