10 Best Places in Los Angeles To Take Pictures

Los Angeles is home to miles of picturesque coastlines, vast landscapes, and unique street culture. The city is made to entertain with carnivals on piers, gorgeous beaches, and an abundance of different styles of art everywhere you go. If you plan to visit Los Angeles you’ll find no shortage of places to point your lens at and capture a beautiful city full of diversity. Here are 10 of the best places to photograph while visiting the famous City of Angles.

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory first opened in 1935 and is now a very popular Los Angeles landmark. It sits atop Griffith Park on Mt. Hollywood and offers unobstructed views of Downtown L.A., the Pacific Ocean, and the well-known Hollywood Sign. This location is the perfect spot to catch an L.A. sunset and even check out an array of space and science-related activities.

Chris Gladis – Griffiths Observatory
griffiths observatory

crispymen – Griffith Observatory
crispymen - Griffith Observatory

Santa Monica Pier

This is a terrific location for a beautiful Southern California sunset photo. The Santa Monica Pier, situated at the end of historical Route 66, is a popular landmark and tourist attraction that stretches out into the Pacific Ocean. It houses the world’s only solar-powered Ferris wheel that stands at 85 feet tall and creates a colorful silhouette during the evening hours. You can capture the scene anywhere along the sand on Santa Monica Beach.

Pacheco – Santa Monica Pier – Santa Monica Ca – while supa moon waitin
Pacheco - Santa Monica Pier - Santa Monica Ca - while supa moon waitin

Pacheco – The memory Seeker, Santa Monica Pier, Ca
Pacheco - The memory Seeker, Santa Monica Pier, Ca

Venice Beach Boardwalk

If you’re visiting the Los Angeles area, then you owe it to yourself to take a stroll along Southern California’s number one tourist attraction, Venice Beach. This is a great spot to capture some of L.A.’s culture because the boardwalk is unique with its diversity of people and their expressions of character. From mimes, to musicians, to jugglers, and break-dancers, you’ll be sure to take a lot of fun photos of L.A.’s very own locals.

Steven Straiton – Venice, California
Steven Straiton - Venice, California

The Old Zoo

When the L.A. Zoo opened its current location in Griffith Park, the former zoo was abandoned and converted into a picnic area. You can stroll along a half-mile trail though the picnic area and past old animal cages and exhibits. It’s by far one of the strangest ruins in Los Angeles as well as L.A.’s best off-the-beaten-path attractions. This location creates a unique and spooky atmosphere to take photographs of former “habitats” of Los Angeles’ zoo animals or create a unique backdrop for portraits.

Eli Duke – Los Angeles: The Old Zoo at Griffith Park
Eli Duke - Los Angeles: The Old Zoo at Griffith Park

David Fulmer – Abandoned zoo cage
David Fulmer - Abandoned zoo cage

Hermosa Beach Pier

The Hermosa Beach Pier offers vast views of the beach and the Pacific Ocean making this an ideal spot to photograph. You can take pictures of everything from glowing sunsets to some of the best surfers in the world here. It’s also situated right in-between Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach, making it a convenient spot to access all three piers.

Keith Yahl – Hermosa Beach Pier
Keith Yahl - Hermosa Beach Pier

Rex Boggs – Hermosa Beach Pier
Rex Boggs - Hermosa Beach Pier

Ascot Hills Park

Located just east of Downtown L.A. is Ascot Hills Park, one of the newest outdoor areas in the city. It opened its gates in 2011 and offers canyon scenery and multiple trails to go hiking along. On clear days, you’ll see views of the Hollywood Sign, downtown L.A., Catalina, and the infamous LAX airport.

Christopher Cook – Ascot Hills Park
Christopher Cook - Ascot Hills Park

The Hollywood Sign

The nine white letters that spell out the city’s name is a landmark that’s well-known throughout the world. The Hollywood Sign is a universal metaphor for success, glamour, fame, and ambition, and it’s also a popular photography subject. You can get amazing views of the sign if you hike along trails that wind through the Santa Monica Mountains. Taking photos of the sign after the sun goes down also makes for a great photograph of the letters illuminated by their flood lights and the city lights surrounding it.

James Gubera – Downtown Los Angeles from behind the Hollywood Sign
James Gubera - Downtown Los Angeles from behind the Hollywood Sign

aepg – Hollywood & Sunset
aepg - Hollywood & Sunset

El Matador State Beach

A favorite beach to visit on the coast of Malibu is El Matador. After a scenic drive along the Pacific Coast Highway you’ll come across this gem that gives you an interesting landscape to photograph. With large monolithic rocks that stand tall in the water and massive boulders that sit on the white sand, this is an excellent place to capture one of Malibu’s stunning beaches.

Pacheco – El Matador State Beach, Ca
Pacheco - El Matador State Beach, Ca

Marc Cooper – El Matador State Beach CA
Marc Cooper - El Matador State Beach CA

Urban Light

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art features 202 restored street lamps from the 1920s and 1930s. Most of them once lit the streets of Southern California. They’re organized into a grid giving them the appearance of a forest of lights that can be wandered around by visitors.

Sarah Ackerman – Los Angeles County Museum
Sarah Ackerman - Los Angeles County Museum

4th Street Bridge

To get a great view of downtown skyline of Los Angeles, visit the 4th street bridge.

Brian Hawkins - Twilight Traffic

The Flower Fields

Although not in Los Angeles, you can drive 2 hours south to visit “The Flower Fields” in Carlsbad and experience the vibrant display of flowers during the spring months of March to May. It sits right along Interstate 5 and features fifty acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers that make up the bed of colors announcing the Spring season in Southern California.

K M – The Flower Fields
K M - The Flower Fields

Rob Bertholf – The Flower Fields, Carlsbad, CA
Rob Bertholf - The Flower Fields, Carlsbad, CA

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