Some of the most common shots of Downtown Los Angeles are taken from the 110 freeway.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a beautiful view of LA’s skyscrapers. But I love uncovering hidden gems so I went on a hunt to find other locations that boast spectacular views of the City of Angels but aren’t given as much credit, and here they are:
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
111 N Hope Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
How often do image search results display photos of LA’s skyscrapers with the Walt Disney Concert Hall in sight? This is probably my favorite view of Downtown Los Angeles. It can be found on the left side of the LADWP building and it’s great to appreciate while the sun sets. The entire building is surrounded by water that resembles a moat, which adds a nice touch to the view. (If you decide to visit and the LADWP building is open, there’s a free museum inside that explains how and where Los Angeles gets its water. You just have to go through security, which is similar to that at the airport.)
Los Angeles City Hall
200 N Spring Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
One of LA’s best kept secrets is the observation desk on the 27th floor at City Hall. Up at the top is a panoramic view of the city. On each side of the deck there is a diagram that identifies what each building is. Visitors should enter through the doors on Main Street and will have to go through airport-like security, as well as provide a government-issued ID. (According to a guard I spoke to, the deck is not available to foreign visitors, but it doesn’t hurt to try even if you’re from out of the country!) Visitors will also have to take two separate elevators to get to the 27th floor. But the hassles tied to entrance procedures are minimal compared to this gorgeous, not-so well-known view.
Vista Hermosa Natural Park
100 N Toluca Street
Los Angeles, CA 90026
This park offers a peaceful view of Los Angeles for those who make it there on a day when there aren’t too many people. Of all the views listed in this post, this location is probably the one with the most visitors since it’s a park. But don’t let that deter you from checking it out! Yes, there may also be other people trying to take pictures of this unique view of LA’s skyscrapers, but they usually won’t take too long. There’s a bench conveniently situated at the viewpoint so visitors can just sit there and absorb the beauty in front if photos are not desired.
Hollywood Bowl Overlook
7036 Mulholland Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90068
This viewpoint is nestled up on Mulholland Drive and provides a more panoramic view of Los Angeles. The photo above was taken on a foggy morning, so it doesn’t look as nice, but if you search for the view in clearer conditions, it’s quite stunning. I enjoyed going up here in the morning because the city was still asleep, and it’s fascinating to see a quiet Los Angeles. (And a virtually empty 101 freeway!) The parking lot is also not too big, so it’s nice to come at a time when it’s less likely to be busy.