13 BEST Views in LA: Scenic Spots, Downtown & When To Go

Reviewed by Jodelle Marx
Last updated:

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If you’re hunting for the most picturesque scenes in Los Angeles, you’ll love this list of the best views in LA.

Los Angeles geography offers stunning natural beauty mixed with the city’s glamour everywhere you go. 

The rolling hills, mountains, canyons, and cliffs plunging into the Pacific Ocean characterize Southern California and make for amazing views anywhere in the area. 

There’s tough competition for the title of the Most Beautiful View in Los Angeles. 

However, several key spots throughout LA offer absolutely breathtaking views of the city and landscape.

I love finding the best spots to whip out a picnic lunch or sip a sunset beer as I travel around California in my camper van. 

I’ve compiled a list of the best views in LA, both within and just outside of the city, so that you can get a mix of the rugged California wilderness and LA’s iconic downtown skyline. 

Best Views in LA
A busy highway leads into downtown LA, showing the different heights and densities of buildings as the natural area turns to city scape, with a blue sky and wispy clouds.

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Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory
A view of the Griffith Observatory lit up in the foreground, demonstrating the magnificent view that it offers of the shimmering city in the distance.

Where: Griffith Park, 2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA
When: Open daily year-round (except Mondays), 12pm-10pm (weekdays) & 10am-10pm (weekends)

The Griffith Observatory takes the cake for panoramic views of the Los Angeles Basin out to the Pacific Ocean. 

Griffith Park offers spectacular views all year round from the side of Mount Hollywood. It may not be the biggest hill in LA, but it’s one of the highest viewpoints in the city. 

The rainier months through the winter get foggier, limiting viewing opportunities more than in the Spring and Summer. 

Good for: Anyone wondering, “Where is the best view of LA at night?” Everyone will enjoy this spot, day or evening. And the surrounding park has some of the best free views in LA.  

Walking trails throughout Griffith Park offer different views of Hollywood, downtown Los Angeles, and the surrounding mountains. 

Hollywood Hills & The Hollywood Sign

Hollywood Hills & The Hollywood Sign
Looking up the hill at traditional and modern mansions hiding in the trees, downhill from the Hollywood sign.

Where: Hollywood Hills neighborhood, central Los Angeles
When: Daily, year-round

There are plenty of options for stunning views of downtown Los Angeles in the Hollywood Hills neighborhood. 

I recommend driving through the hilly streets and stopping whenever you feel inspired. 

You’ll see stunning, gravity-defying mansions built into the hills. 

Good for: If you want to get closer to The Hollywood Sign, you can hike right into Mount Hollywood, right up to the sign. 

Hollywood Bowl Overlook

Hollywood Bowl Overlook
A swirling sky with the sun just above the horizon, silhouetting LA's skyscrapers, as a rock wall and tuft of seeding grass catch the light in the foreground.

Where: 7036 Mulholland Dr, Los Angeles, CA
When: Open daily year-round, 7am – 6pm

Hollywood Bowl Overlook is the most famous scenic overlook on Mulholland Drive and by far one of the best views in LA. 

This overlook offers amazing views of Los Angeles from over The Hollywood Bowl. 

You’ll see the iconic Hollywood Sign, Griffith Observatory, The San Fernando Valley, The Pacific Ocean, and even out to Catalina Island on clear days. 

Good for: If you’re seeking the best free views in LA, this one is top of the list.

Top Of Topanga Overlook (San Fernando Valley)

Top Of Topanga Overlook
Two shirtless men dancing on a cement platform that's covered in graffiti and offers a clear view of the city and mountain ridge in the back.

Where: 3400 N Topanga Canyon Blvd, Topanga, CA
When: 6am – 9pm daily, year-round

The Top Of Topanga Overlook is one of the highest points in the Santa Monica Mountains and one of the best viewpoints in Los Angeles. 

It offers breathtaking vistas with views of the Santa Monica Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains, the Santa Susana Mountains, and the entire San Fernando Valley. 

Good for: Families on a day trip. There is also a cool park area to hang out for the day with a picnic lunch.   

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier from underneath as the tide crashes in and the sun sets over the ocea.

Where: Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica, CA
When: Open daily year-round, 6pm – 10pm

The Santa Monica Pier is another iconic LA landmark that offers scenic views of the surrounding nature and the pristine waterfront mansions lining the coast. 

If you look north, you’ll get magnificent views of the Santa Monica Mountains set against the wide open water around you. 

Good for: Families with energetic kids, as there are lots of entertainment options right on the pier. 

You can visit all year round, but the pier is most lively in the spring and summer.

Universal City Overlook

Universal City Overlook
A sprawling view of LA neighborhoods with the sun on the horizon, mountains meeting the sky, and clouds rolling through.

Where: 7701 Mulholland Dr, Los Angeles, CA
When: Daily year round, 6pm – 9pm

This scenic overlook offers an amazing view of the San Fernando Valley, the Verdugo Hills, Culver City, and, of course, Universal City and Universal Studios below. 

This vantage point offers stunning views of LA’s most famous film industry hot spots. It also offers incredible Los Angeles views at night.

It’s among the best views in Los Angeles of Universal, as it sits among the surrounding mountains. 

Good for: Anything on Mulholland offers the best view by car.

Greystone Mansion & Gardens: The Doheny Estate (Beverly Hills)

Greystone Mansion & Gardens: The Doheny Estate (Beverly Hills)
A peaceful fountain with lily pads is bordered by shrubs, flowering bushes, walking paths, and a stone wall.

Where: 905 Loma Vista Dr, Beverly Hills, CA
When: Daily year round, 10am – 6pm

This once private estate is now a publically accessible park open daily and offers some of the best views in Los Angeles of downtown LA, Culver City, and the surrounding mountains. 

The Greystone Mansion is in Beverly Hills, allowing visitors to get in on the glorious hillside views that Beverly Hills residents see from their private windows. 

If you’re looking for a romantic view in LA at night, strolling through the gardens to the lookout is dreamy. 

Good for: Best suited for adults. It makes for a perfect day date, year-round. 

The Getty Center

The Getty Center
Looking out over one of the gardens at the Getty Center, with sprawling trees and neighborhoods that fade into downtown LA.

Where: 1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA
When: Daily year round (except Mondays), Sunday – Friday 10am – 5:30, Saturdays 10am – 8pm

The Getty Center is one of Los Angeles’s largest and most prestigious museums that offers stunning grounds and gardens with city views from The Plaza of The Getty. 

You’ll need tickets to enter the museum but can walk around the grounds without tickets. 

There is also a parking garage that offers free parking for visitors and another parking lot with a tram to the museum. 

Good for: Couples or adults seeking a daytime outing. I wouldn’t recommend it for children.

Point Dume State Park (Malibu)

Point Dume State Park (Malibu)
An orange rock cliff juts out into the surf on a blue-sky day with turquoise ocean and mountains in the background.

Where: Cliffside Dr & Birdview Ave, Malibu, CA 90265
When: Year-round, best in spring, summer, and early fall

It’s hard to narrow down the best views in Malibu because, no matter where you end up, you’ll have phenomenal coastal views from the Pacific Coast Highway winding through it all.

Still, Point Dume tops the list. All you need to do is take a short hike up the hill overlooking the coast, which, at just 347 feet of elevation, is on the easier side.

Point Dume State Park is unique because it’s at the tip of Malibu, jutting out into the Pacific, and so has majestic, panoramic views. During the winter months, you might even see grey whales!

There are lots more options for hiking trails in Malibu all year round if you want to explore additional views in one of the prettiest spots in LA.

Good for: Adventurous adults looking to spend the day outdoors, at the beach, whale watching, doing easy hikes, and catching the sunset.

Elysian Reservoir, Grand View Point (Elysian Park)

Elysian Reservoir, Grand View Point (Elysian Park)
Taken from above the highway, which leads directly into the city, seen in the distance.

Where: Elysian Reservoir, Los Angeles, CA 90012
When: Daily year round, 5am – 9pm

This one is lesser known to tourists visiting LA, but that makes it a hidden gem. 

It’s a stunning viewpoint that offers panoramic city views and a wonderful way to spend a sunny afternoon. You can even see the Dodger Stadium. 

Good for: Families and friends looking for a day trip.

Temescal Canyon Loop (Pacific Palisades)

Temescal Canyon Loop (Pacific Palisades)
Looking out over the mountains, with downtown LA in the distance, taken from Temescal Canyon Loop.

Where: Trailhead at the base of Temescal Gateway Park (15601 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA)
When: Best in spring and summer, accessible year-round

While there are really no bad views in Pacific Palisades, this trail offers some of the best in the area.

Located just off of Sunset Blvd in Pacific Palisades, this loop trail starts in the parking lot at the base of the Temescal Gateway Park and offers stunning mountain and ocean views the entire way. 

Good for: Adults looking for some exercise. The loop is 2.6 miles and gains quite a bit of elevation along the way. It’s well worth the workout for the stunning views. 

City Hall Observation Deck

City Hall Observation Deck
A ground view, looking up at City Hall, which is a goliath compared to the surrounding palm trees.

Where: Los Angeles City Hall, 27th floor (200 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA)
When: Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm

You may not expect City Hall to be the answer when you ask, “Where is the best view in Los Angeles?” But you’d be surprised!

The Observation Deck is truly one of the best spots to take in the iconic LA skyline.

You’ll enter from the main street entrance and head straight up to the 27th floor for some of the best views in town. 

This one is accessible all year round. If you go closer to the end of the day during winter, you can see the city lights start to twinkle as the sun sets. 

Good for: An indoor sight-seeing option.

Yamashiro Hollywood

View of LA at night from Yamashiro Hollywood restaurant, taken with the Buddha in the foreground.

Where: 1999 N Sycamore Ave, Los Angeles, CA
When: Daily year round, 5pm – 11pm

If you’re still wondering, “Where is the best view of downtown LA to enjoy a meal?” this is a great option for stunning LA views that don’t involve hiking. 

Yamashiro is a unique 1920s Japanese palace that offers a stunning outdoor dining experience and takeaway options to nibble on as you enjoy the scenery. 

You’ll get views of the 600-year-old Pagoda and the giant antique Buddha, with all of LA beneath you. This one also offers the best view in LA at night.

There aren’t many options for street parking. I’d take public transit or park in one of the nearby neighborhoods and walk down. 

Good for: Date night.

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Taylor Neal

Taylor is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer, yoga instructor and frontline worker who spends most of her time in her van (Vannigan) winding through the coastal and mountain roads of California where she feels most at home. From navigating the realities of van-life to the fluctuations in diverse climates and landscapes, Taylor is excited to bring everything she’s learned about California to fellow wanderers seeking beauty and adventure.

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Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.


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