Boasting several of the tallest skyscrapers in Western USA, Los Angeles’ downtown skyline is famous around the world. With sunshine for over two-thirds of the year, many a day in Los Angeles can yield a picturesque urban panorama. Each of the following vantage points offers not only a spectacular view, but a unique viewing experience.
Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.
Autumn’s Peak, Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
Tucked away in a county park, Autumn’s Peak is a true diamond in the rough when it comes to views of downtown. The peak can be most quickly accessed from the Olympic Forest parking lot, at a trailhead that is marked by a rattlesnake warning sign. The trails are poorly marked the entire way, so it is advisable to check in with the park staff at the community center before beginning. The hiker who reaches the summit will see the downtown skyline rise majestically above the surrounding urban sprawl, while standing defiantly against the towering peaks of the San Gabriel Mountains. The views extend in all directions, offering particularly good perspectives of the Mid-Wilshire business district and Santa Monica Bay.
Griffith Park Observatory
Vista Hermosa Natural Park
Vista Hermosa Park offers a 10-acre slice of secluded nature, along with a soccer field and amphitheater, in the literal shadow of the throbbing city. Follow dirt pathways until the foliage gives way to a grassy meadow that sits in the imposing presence of downtown skyscrapers. Spread a towel on the grass and lie down, take in the sounds of families at play, the songs of the birds and the urban scenery. You will never feel closer to the city, or further away.
Echo Park Lake
Defying stereotypes of a city stranded in a desert and lacking in public space, Los Angeles boasts a picturesque urban lake minutes from its city center. That’s right, a lake where you can feed ducks, rent a pedal-boat or simply relax by the waterfront with a cup of Intelligentsia Coffee (purchased from the pricey boathouse café), and take in the people and scenery. The most visually impressive feature is the pair of geyser fountains, which shoot water to incredible heights. Jog over to the promontory at the north end of the Lake (fronted by the Depression-era Lady of the Lake Statue) to witness the fountains appear to ‘soar’ over the Financial District’s tall skyscrapers, situated in the backdrop. You will never again consider traveling thousands of miles just to visit Central Park.
First Street Bridge
Looking westward from the sidewalk in the middle of the First Street bridge, the observer not only gets to see the downtown skyline but feel the pulse of the city. Gold Line light rail cars cross the bridge into and out of downtown, emanating an electric hum amid the rush of automobile traffic in the vehicle lanes. Passenger and freight trains can be heard rumbling below, carrying goods to nearby warehouses or passengers to Union Station. Turning to the right or to the left affords a view of the parched LA Riverbed, surrounded by train tracks and warehouses, and crossed by a series of auto-choked bridges. Focusing back towards the west rewards with a unique eastern perspective of the skyline. Finally, take a moment to admire the neoclassical architecture of the bridge, designed in the City Beautiful style in the late ‘20s.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.