It’s been said that one of the most underrated aspects of Southern California is its outdoors, and there’s no better example of this than the Hollywood Hills. Being sandwiched between Burbank and Hollywood, the hills are best known as a monument to the film industry. But oft overlooked is the backdrop, the bare chaparral landscape that defines California near the coast. Griffith Park is here with its many Hollywood landmarks, but there are urban hideaways to appreciate, too. Exploring the hills will take a weekend. Here are some suggestions to get you started!
It’s no mystery that the Hollywood Hills have been a focal point of the movie industry for decades, and there’s plenty of film history to explore at Griffith Park. Start early and head up to Griffith Observatory via the East Observatory Trail, made famous by the James Dean film Rebel Without a Cause. Stick around to soak in the views of the Los Angeles city skyline and recreate Dean’s signature steely-eyed pout. From the observatory, continue up the Charlie Turner Trail to Dante’s View at the top of Mount Hollywood. After lunch, check out the Bronson Caves. Formerly a rock quarry, Hollywood studios have used the area as a set for years, most notably as the Batcave for the 1960’s TV series, Batman. Follow up with a hike to the Hollywood sign, and finish your Saturday recreating Anchor Man at Jerome Daniel Overlook or the Universal City Overlook.
Believe it or not, there are places in the Hollywood Hills to find some peace and quiet and a respite from the Los Angeles crowds. Begin unwinding early at The Getty Museum with a stroll to the 134,000 square-foot Central Garden, a living piece of art that has evolved over time. The museum features many different types of art, from photography to written manuscripts, as well. A stay here is likely to take a few hours; after lunch, head over to Runyon Canyon Park. Hike up Runyon Canyon Road with your yoga mat and take part in one of the park’s free yoga sessions, then wander back over to Griffith Park to visit Amir’s Garden, a lush, labyrinthine garden of succulents that is surprisingly quiet. When you’re through exploring its twists and turns, close out your weekend at Laurel Canyon Dog Park. Even if you don’t have a dog, find a bench or a new friend and watch the playful pups as the sun sets on your weekend.