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5 Best Views of Los Angeles

When I visit a city, I am usually the first to seek out a great view. I want to see an overview, see how the city spreads out and how the neighborhoods line up. A little beauty is also what I’m after.

Ringed with mountains on almost all sides, LA is full of great views. We can take you to see many of them on our private Los Angeles tours, and if there are any here you like, just ask us to take you there!

Here are 5 of our favorites:

Griffith Observatory

Probably the best. The Griffith Observatory is nestled in the hills just northwest of downtown LA, affording perhaps the best view of downtown you can get. But it doesn’t stop there — it’s also a gem for viewing the Hollywood Sign, Hollywood, and the Hollywood Hills.

You can also see the San Gabriel and San Bernadino Mountains stretching for miles and miles to the east. On a clear winter day, you’ll see them snow-covered just like the Rockies. Didn’t think you’d see THAT in LA, did you?

The Getty Center

Enjoying the view from the Getty

Enjoying the view from the Getty

The Getty is the place I tell our clients to go when they All LA in a Day tour (which covers almost everything in LA) and ask “Well we’ve seen almost everything on our tour, where should we go tomorrow?” It’s one of my favorite spots in LA — and we can take you there on a Build Your Own Tour if you request it.

Opened in 1997, this stunning modernist masterpiece sits on more or less the same ridge of mountains as the Griffith Observatory. It is however much closer to the ocean, and its views are more about the azure blue Pacific stretching out before you. It also provides excellent views of LA’s West Side, Century City, downtown LA, and Santa Monica. You can even see the ferris wheel whirring on the Santa Monica Pier.

Los Angeles City Hall Observation Deck

At the top of LA’s City Hall, the pointy tower made famous on Dragnet, is the Observation Deck on the 27th floor. It provides commanding views of downtown LA and Disney Hall, and best of all, it’s free! Just request a trip to the Viewing Deck from the guards downstairs and they’ll show you the way.

Runyon Canyon

If you (a) like to hike, (b) hope to see a celebrity, and (c) love great views, then Runyon Canyon is a can’t miss on your trip to L.A. It’s high up in the Hollywood Hills, where so many young celebs live nowadays. In fact, Katy Perry’s new digs are abutting the hiking trails. It’s not uncommon at all to see an A-lister hiking with their pooch in this off-leash hiking trail.

It’s also full of wonderful views of L.A.’s West Side. Popular with locals, it’s a fun hike with lots of friendly Angelenos joining you.

The Standard Downtown

A view with a drink is what you’ll get at the rooftop pool bar at the Standard Downtown. The bar is complete with pool and very expensive drinks, possibly with celebs. The view is of the downtown skyline so close you could touch it as well as the beautiful people holding their foo foo drinks. The prices will prevent you from adding to the view — of the crazy drunk person doing backstrokes in the pool.