18 of the Best Scenic Views of Los Angeles

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If you live in Los Angeles, you see great views everyday.  But often, we are too busy running around to notice.  And even when stuck in traffic, we’re often more worried about getting to our next destination.  I didn’t really appreciate all the great views until I decided to take photos them.  So here are my favorites, in no particular order.  If you like to take photos of landscapes or cityscapes, I suspect you will like these too.  

Here’s the downtown skyline with the snow-capped San Gabriel Mountains in the background, shot from the Kenneth Hahn Recreation Area.  Of course, the snow only appears in winter, and on most days, there’s smog floating around, so it’s actually very hard to get a clear day.

Photo by Ming Lo

This is the Griffith Park Observatory.  So some tricky things about this shot I learned the hard way.  Better not to shoot on a weekend, because the lights in downtown LA won’t be on.  Or at least, not as many.  Also, something I’m going to have to do better next time – consider stack focusing.  That is, take a shot and focus on the foreground, and another shot and focus on the background.  You do need a 70-200mm lens for this shot.  To get to this view, all you need to do is hike north from Griffith Observatory.  The trail will wind to the west, and you’ll find this view about a quarter mile from the Observatory.    

Photo by Ming Lo

Who can resist a shot of Dodger Stadium and downtown Los Angeles?  This was taken in Elysian Park, and although this shot is the most popular, Elysian Park has great views in all directions.  

Photo by Ming Lo

This is the view from Lincoln Heights in the northeast.  A better angle because it’s in the direction of sunset, and you can get more dramatic skies.  Notice City Hall to the left.  

Photo by Ming Lo

This is the classic view over the 110 Freeway headed into downtown.  

Photo by Ming Lo

This view from just north of downtown is not as often seen, but one of my favorites.  I love the quietness of this photo, how the big city looms behind a peaceful neighborhood.  

Photo by Ming Lo

This is the view from Echo Park Lake, one of the busiest parks in LA.  It’s also one of the few lake views with downtown Los Angeles in the background.  And of course, gotta love the fountain.  

Photo by Ming Lo

You’ll see this classic view from Vista Hermosa Park in lots of movies, and this may be one of the most photographed benches around.  And guess what, there’s literally a line to take photos on this spot.  

Photo by Ming Lo

This is a photographer favorite, although not a public favorite, it’s not a view you’d run into by chance.  It’s near Mission Road (obviously) just east of downtown.  

Photo by Ming Lo

I’ve shot this one several times from the 1st Street Bridge.  As you may guess, I was on the tracks shooting this, and had to keep looking over my shoulder to make sure the train wasn’t coming, or that I wouldn’t be trapped on the tracks by cars coming to the right.  Especially a concern if you’re doing long exposure lol.

Photo by Ming Lo

I really lucked out on this one, I just happened to be here at this time by chance.  The sunset was stunning, I had no idea how well it would fit the city lights at dusk.  That’s Walt Disney and the Broad on the right.  

Photo by Ming Lo

This was another piece of luck.  I just happened to be on the roof when this stunning sunset came by.

Photo by Ming Lo

You don’t often see this view of Los Angeles.  That’s Westwood and the 405 Freeway in the foreground, downtown Los Angeles to the left.  

Photo by Ming Lo

Here’s a shot with several iconic elements. That’s the Hollywood Bowl to the right and the 101 Freeway to the left.  Hollywood is in the middle, and if you look carefully you can see landmarks like the Capitol Records Building and the W Hotel.  

Photo by Ming Lo

Here’s another view from the northwest, with Hollywood in the foreground and downtown Los Angeles in the background.  

Photo by Ming Lo

The photographer in me tells me there’s a better version of this shot, so it’s on my to do list.  Of course, a lot of elements would have to fall into place for that – a nice sunset and so forth.  Also, nowadays, this pool is usually empty and the fountains are usually off.  They make it hard for us photographers lol.  

Downtown Los Angeles, view from the Department of Water and Power. It’s rare that the fountains are on. Photo by Ming Lo

This is a hard shot because tripods aren’t allowed here, so I had to shoot it handheld in very low light.  That’s Pershing Square at the bottom.  Ideally, I’d love to do a panorama here.  

Photo by Ming Lo

You almost never see this view.  That’s Chinatown in the foreground, City Hall on the far left.  In the plaza to the right is the restaurant where they shot Rush Hour.  

Photo by Ming Lo

Believe it or not, there’s still a few views I’m working on, I will post when I have them.  

 

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