Best Photo Spots in Los Angeles

One of the best photo spot in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is one of the most visited cities in California and the United States. In years before Covid 19, it has been visited by 51 million tourists. L.A. is also in a great location between mountains and the ocean, so there are a lot of locations that will enable you to get fantastic photos.

If you read some of our earlier published guides you know that these guides are not a kind of standard guide for tourists. Like overview of things to do, what to see, and stuff like that. So, this guide is devoted purely to travelers who are also photographers. That’s said, we are focused to recommend you photo spots in Los Angeles that will make your photos the most photogenic, or most Instagrammable if you want to share them with the world.

If you are in the process of planning your trip to L.A., we recommend you to explore things to do and what to see elsewhere and then back here to add photo stuff. We mean on which are the best photo spots in Los Angeles to fit with your desired itinerary. But also we will add our recommendations about which gears are best suited and which time of the day is best for each photo spot, also how to get to all of them, etc.

But before we move to the photo locations, let’s first take a look at some essentials.

Table of Contents

Essentials for Photographers

Hollywood sign

Photo by Jake Blucker on Unsplash

L.A. is the biggest city in California and the second biggest city in the United States with a population of 18.8 million. It’s one of the most important cities for media, movies, and music businesses, not only in the USA but also globally.

The position of L.A. is excellent for sunset photos, no matter if you want to get images of the skyline painted with golden hour colors or to get images of the sun that goes down to the ocean.

Also, Los Angeles is well known for its beaches and it’s a very popular destination for surfers. The ocean is a bit warmer than in San Francisco, so you will be able probably even swim if you visit it during summer.

The Best Time to Visit

The climate of L.A. is very similar to the Mediterranean climate. It means that winters are usually mild, and summers are warm and dry.

However, the best times to visit Los Angeles are spring or autumn. Between early March and early May, you can expect warm weather. However, May could bring more clouds and even fog. The second best time is between mid of September and late-November.

Winters and summers can also fit, but you should count on more rainy days during the winter. On the other hand, summers are hot, especially in areas that are not on the coast.

Tips for Getting Around

Without any doubt, we recommend you rent a car for getting around especially if you are going to visit areas outside of the city. The reason for this is because you will have the most flexibility and won’t be dependent on buses schedules that can vary a lot. For example, some bus routes have services often (i.e. every 10 or 15 minutes), but some of them are rare. So, if you are forced to wait 30-60 minutes or more, you will spend a lot of time on nothing.

If you don’t want to explore areas outside of the city, you can count on the metro (a combination of subway and light rail systems) with a total of 7 lines. This is perfect for transportation if you want to focus on Downtown, Hollywood, Westside, Santa Monica, and Long Beach. To make it easier to pay a far we recommend you buy a TAP card and recharge it when needed. In addition, you can use a TAP card for buses and bike-sharing.

L.A. is famous for traffic jams on freeways so be prepared if you drive a car. Also, you can rent a motorcycle to be a bit faster. In any case, we don’t recommend you ride a bicycle outside tracks for bicycles (on the coastline mainly) because L.A. drivers can be impatient.

If you’d like to avoid public transport, but don’t like to drive a car, there is a pretty expensive taxi or Uber/Lyft. Also, there is the option for ride-sharing for both platforms (UberPool/Lift Line).

A Few More Travel Photo Tips

There are many photo spots in Los Angeles that fit perfectly for sunsets, so pay attention when are golden hours. We recommend you use free apps like Magic Hour for iOS or Golden Hour for Android.

Also, considering that there are a lot of natural viewpoints make sure you have a wide and telephoto lens to make nice cityscape photos both with panoramic and details. Furthermore, we encourage you to keep a small tripod and be prepared to make nice nighttime cityscapes.

Best Photo Spots in Los Angeles

L.A. is a very big city with a lot of locations for taking photos. Considering that you probably won’t go there just to take photos, we divide locations by neighborhood. 

Besides that, we add some locations in Malibu and Long Beach, because a lot of visitors go there as well. Also, this will help you organize your other activities and match them with photo spots easily.

Let’s move on photo spots in Los Angeles:

Downtown L.A. Photo Spots

1. The Walt Disney Concert Hall

The first location in downtown on our list is The Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Its architecture is pretty interesting mainly because of steel and a lot of shapes so you can play with lights. We recommend you come here with an ultra-wide (or wide) lens, but also have another mid-range or telephoto lens for details.

Also, the hall is great for daylight photos, but considering its exterior if the day is sunny, we recommend you visit this location somewhere about golden hours or after sunset. Also, don’t miss night photos of this building.

How to get there

Address: 111 S Grand Ave

You can access it here by metro or by car. Both options are easy because the subway station Civic Ctr / Grand Park Station is 2 minutes away. Also, there are parking lots and garages, so you can access here easily by car and won’t worry about parking lots. There is also a garage within the hall.

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2. The Broad Museum

It is located right beside The Walt Disney Concert Hall. The Broad is a contemporary art museum and you can access it free of charge. The architecture and facade of the museum are unusual so you will be able to find interesting angles. So, don’t miss a telephoto lens for details.

How to get there

Address: 221 S Grand Ave

As we already said The Broad Museum is located next to The Walt Disney Concert Hall, so you can use the same parking garages if you come by car, or leave at Civic Ctr / Grand Park station if you come with a metro.

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3. Los Angeles City Hall (OBSERVATION DECK)

This building is one of the oldest skyscrapers in L.A. completed in 1928, and now is the center of the city government. It is also popular as a filming location, so this skyscraper appeared in a lot of movies and tv series. What’s more, there is an observation deck on the 27th floor.

How to get there

Address: 200 N Spring St

It’s located close to The Broad Musem so you use the metro and leave at Civic Ctr / Grand Park Station. Or if you come by car you will find public parking within a walking distance.

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4. Union Station

Union Station is the main railway station and transportation hub of Los Angeles. Both the interior and exterior of this railway station can inspire for to find interesting angles and get nice shots.

How to get there

Address: 800 N Alameda St

There is a metro station within the railway station. Also, there is underground parking if you come by car.

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5. Bradbury Building

This building is most famous because of its skylight atrium, elevators, and stairs. This building has played in a lot of Hollywood movies, television series, and music videos. 

Depending on which part of the day you visit this building, you can see and play with light effects. Regarding your photo setup, try picking an ultra-wide or wide lens to frame the whole interior easily.

How to get there

Address: 304 S Broadway

The nearby metro station is Pershing Square. Also around the building, you will find parking lots and garages to leave your car.

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6. The Last Bookstore

The Last Bookstore pretty Instagrammable photo spot in Los Angeles. The reason for this is because of uniquely displayed books. If you like books and want to take some angles, we recommend you do not miss to visit The Last Bookstore.

How to get there

Address: 453 South Spring St

Pershing Square is the closest metro station. Also, there are few public parking garages.

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7. Arts District

This neighborhood is located in the eastern part of downtown. Previously it was an industrial district, now it’s revitalized and it’s full of art galleries. If you like to take photos of murals, you shouldn’t miss visiting Art District.

How to get there

Location on Google Maps

The nearby metro station is Little Tokyo/Arts District. But if you go by car there are several public car parks.

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8. Fashion District

If you like taking street life photos, don’t miss the fashion district.

Within the area, you will find Santee Alley which is a flea within the pedestrian area with stores besides. It’s usually crowded, but it will make a lot of opportunities for spontaneous street life photos.

Also, you will find a lot of murals on walls of buildings, so don’t miss capturing them as well.

How to get there

Location on Google Maps

There are no metro stations nearby, so you can go there by bus, or by car and find public parking spots.

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9. Crypto.com Arena (ex Staples Center)

Crypto.com Arena is home to well-known NHL (Los Angeles Kings), NBA (Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers), and WNBA (Los Angeles Sparks) teams. 

No matter if you like or don’t like basketball and hockey, we strongly recommend you visit this Arena and take a few shots. The best view you will have is at Gilbert Lindsay Plaza.

How to get there

Address: 1111 S Figueroa St

You will find easily public parking and garages. Also, you can exit Pico Station if you come there by metro.

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Northwest & Eastside L.A. Photo Spots

10. Elysian Park

Elysian Park is located a bit north of Downtown L.A., but it’s one of the best locations for distant photos of a skyline. The best photo spot is Angles Point. From there you will have the opportunity to take fantastic shots of skyscrapers.

We recommend you visit this park afternoon or about golden hours to get the best photos. As always with cityscapes combination of wide and telephoto lengths will suit them best. On the other hand, it’s a school example for which kind of photos all-round lenses are perfect for travel photography.

How to get there

Google Maps Location of Angles Point 

There are few parking lots within the park. Also, you should make nice walking and a bit of hiking while you search for interesting photo spots.

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11. Echo Park

Echo Park is located west of Elysian Park. It’s much smaller than Elysian, but the main thing on Echo Park is a lake. We recommend you rent a pedal boat and take shots from the water. Besides daylight shots, don’t miss to make distant night shots of skyscrapers of downtown L.A.

How to get there

Location on Google Maps

The best option is to go there by car and you will find public parking nearby. Metro and light rail stations are not close, so regarding public transport, you can reach the park by bus only.

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12. Vista Hermosa Park

It is another good spot for taking shots of the L.A. skyline. This is a small but nice park and picnic area. Vista Hermosa Park is a great location for both daylight and night photos of the L.A. skyline.

How to get there

Address: 100 N Toluca St

The easiest way to get there is by car.

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13. Micheltorena Stairs

If you like taking Instagrammable shots, you shouldn’t miss this location.

How to get there

Address: 3400 Sunset Blvd

The easiest way to get there is by car.

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14. L.A. Skyline from Bridges

The area around the L.A. River is industrial and it’s not so interesting, but this location is fantastic to make distance photos of Downtown’s skyscrapers. We recommend you to find angles on the 4th St bridge or the 6th St Bridge.

How to get there

Location on Google Maps

The easiest way to get there is by car.

Hollywood Photo Spots

15. Hollywood Sign

It’s one of the most iconic things in L.A, so you shouldn’t miss visiting it. Although there is no option to climb directly to the sign (because it’s illegal), you can hike close to the sign.

We strongly recommend you to make this hiking even if you are a beginner. The easiest way to access trails is from Griffith Park. P.S. make sure you have enough time for hiking and count that you will spend about 2-3 hours.

How to get there

Location on Google Maps 

The easiest way is to approach by car to Griffith Park and then hike from there.

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16. Griffith Observatory

This is probably the best viewpoint in L.A. (in our personal opinion, we are aware that you may think differently). 

From there you will have an unobstructed view of the Los Angeles skyline. We strongly recommend you to visit it not only during the day but also at night.

How to get there

Address: 2800 E Observatory Rd

You can go there by car, but if you go there during a weekend or peak hours, finding a parking spot could be a problem. Also, there is an observatory bus service that you can use to approach viewpoints throughout Griffith Park.

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17. Lake Hollywood Park

If you don’t like to hike, but want to see the Hollywood sign as closely as possible, we recommend you visit Lake Hollywood Park.

How to get there

Address: 3160 Canyon Lake Dr

The easiest way is by car.

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18. Runyon Canyon Park

Runyon Canyon Park is located in the Hollywood Hills and it’s probably the most popular hiking location in L.A. Also, it is another location with a fantastic view of Los Angeles and the surrounding area. If you like hiking we recommend you to visit it. 

You should count on a few hours devoted to hiking here, so plan to spend one whole day on it. We encourage you to keep both wide/ultra-wide and telephoto lenses.

How to get there

Location on Google Maps

The most convenient way is by car or by taxi/Uber/Lyft if you don’t want to search for parking. You can access it from the north or from the south. South access is in a residential area, while north access is on Mulholland Dr.

If you like driving on mountains curved road, we’d recommend you north access, you will definitely like it.

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19. Hollywood Bowl Overlook

This spot is located on Mulholland Dr so you can combine it with Runyon Canyon Park if you access it from the north side. It’s one of the best viewpoints to Los Angeles. 

We recommend you consider visiting it late afternoon or at night because you will be able to take fantastic night shots of the city. So, don’t miss your tripod and bright lenses.

How to get there

Address: 7036 Mulholland Dr

The easiest way is by car (because of spots like this we recommended you to rent a car instead to rely on public transport).

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20. Stahl House

This house is well known as a filming location for a lot of movies and fashion shots. There are official tours of the house and you can find more information and book tours here

Important note for photographers (based on information on the official website): only smartphone cameras are permitted. Selfie sticks and other mounts are not permitted.

How to get there

Address: 1635 Woods Drive

The easiest way is by car.

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21. Hollywood Walk of Fame

One of the most popular locations in Hollywood. There are currently more than 2.700 stars with names of celebrities, built into sidewalks through Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street. 

We recommend you try to find some interesting angles with your ultra-wide lens and make a shoot with the name of your favorite celebrity.

How to get there

Address: Hollywood Boulevard, Vine St

Nearby metro station is Hollywood / Vine. If you go by car there are a few garages nearby.

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Westside Photo Spots

22. Beverly Gardens Park

It’s a park located on Santa Monica Blvd. Its length is 1.9 miles, so you can make a good walk. If you are creative you will find a lot of photo spots here. In the park, you will find also Beverly Hills Sign. 

This is one of the most Instagrammable spots in Beverly Hills, so you can count that there will be crowds. But if you are patient enough you will be able to take a great shoot. In any case, to avoid crowds you should be an early bird.

How to get there

Beverly Hills Sign on Google Maps

The easiest way to go there is by car. Public garages are nearby.

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23. Rodeo Drive

This is the most famous street in Beverly Hills. If you like fancy people high-end designer stores and a great place to shoot the street life of Beverly Hills.

How to get there

Location on Google Maps

The easiest way is by car. You will find public parking nearby.

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24. Urban Light at LACMA

This sculpture consists of restored street lamps (originally dated between the 1920s and 1930s). We recommend you try to visit Urban light somewhere after sunset because your photos will be more attractive when lights are turned on.

How to get there

Address: 5905 Wilshire Blvd

The easiest way is by car. You will find public parking nearby.

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25. Kenneth Hahn's Viewpoint at Autumn's Peak

If want takes a shot of the skyline of L.A. with mountains in the background, you should visit Kenneth Hahn’s viewpoint at Autumn’s Peak.

We encourage you to take both wide and telephoto lenses to get both types of photos. Also, the most attractive view is in the later afternoon, around golden hours, and the sunset when the city will be covered with the most attractive best colors. If you visit L.A. during winter you will probably see snow on peaks in the background. 

Besides this viewpoint nearby is located another viewpoint on Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Grove. 

How to get there

Location of Kenneth Hahn’s Viewpoint on Google Maps 
Location of Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Grove on Google Maps

The easiest option to go there is by car.

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26. The Getty Center

It is another fantastic photo spot in Los Angeles. The Getty Center is the museum of American & European art & architecture. There is also a beautiful garden from which you will be able to see the downtown of L.A.

If you like architectural photos and cityscapes visiting Getty Center is a must. Plus it’s free to enter, you just need to pay a fee to park your car.

We need to say that you can visit Getty Center only during their working time, so there is no option for nighttime photos.

How to get there

Address: 1200 Getty Center Dr

The easiest way is to go there by car.

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27. Santa Monica Beach

It’s one of the most popular beaches in Los Angeles and a very good location for beach life photos. We recommend you also visit the famous pier and take a few photos from there. It’s also one of the best places to take photos of L.A. sunsets.

If you have enough time we recommend you visit the beach and pier in the afternoon and wait until the sun goes down and then take a shot of the pier with lights in the twilight.

Also, when you are in Santa Monica Beach, we recommend you visit Tongva Park which is nearby to spot a few more opportunities for nice photos.

How to get there

Location on Google Maps

There is big public parking if you go there by car. But if you come by metro, the closest station is Downtown Santa Monica and then you can walk to the beach. It’s no more than 10-15 minutes of walking.

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28. Venice Beach & Canals

Venice Beach is well known by bohemian vibe, street performers, and public recreational areas on the boardwalk.

When you are on Venice beach, we recommend you visit also the Venice Canal. It’s an artificial canal that has been built to simulate canals in Venice, Italy. There are a lot of photo opportunities for afternoon and twilight photos.

How to get there

Location on Google Maps 

The easiest way is by car, plus you will find a lot of parking spaces nearby. The closest metro station is Downtown Santa Monica, but you will need to walk about 30 minutes to Venice Beach.

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Surrounding L.A. Photo Spots

When you are in Los Angeles we recommend you make day trips to at least Malibu on the west, and Long Beach on the south.

They are close the Los Angeles downtown, so you will get to Malibu in 1 hour of driving, while Long Beach is even closer and you will reach it in 30 minutes by car.

In both cities, you will find several interesting photo spots and we will pass you through them below:

29. Zuma Beach (Malibu)

It’s the biggest and one of the most popular beaches in the Los Angeles area, especially for surfers. When you are in L.A. we strongly recommend you visit Zuma Beach at any period of the year. It is a fantastic spot for beach life photos. 

How to get there

Location on Google Maps

This beach is very easy approachable by car. It’s located alongside Pacific Coast Hwy and there are parking lots you can left your car.

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30. Point Dume Nature Preserve (Malibu)

This is another fantastic location for hiking lovers. The whole trail is full of viewpoints toward the ocean, cliffs, and beach below. Regarding photo equipment, don’t miss your wide or ultra-wide lenses. And also wear comfortable shoes, hat and bring a bottle of water if you hike on a hot day.

How to get there

Location on Google Maps

The easiest option is to go by car. There is parking on the beach and there is a beginning of the trail. 

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31. Corral Canyon Park (Malibu)

It’s another perfect location for hiking and taking great panoramic shots toward the ocean. 

How to get there

Location on Google Maps

The easiest way is by car. But you can also access it using a bus (metro bus).

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32. The Queen Mary (Long Beach)

The Queen Mary is a retired cruise ship and now it’s permanently moored at Long Beach. Don’t miss a chance to take shots with this legendary ship in the background.

If you want to take some distant photos we recommend you go to Shoreline Village Dr to have an unobstructed view of the ship.

How to get there

Address: 1126 Queens Hwy

The easiest way is by car. There is big parking nearby.

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33. The Aquarium Of The Pacific (Long Beach)

If you are an animal lover you shouldn’t miss visiting The Aquarium of The Pacific.

How to get there

Address: 100 Aquarium Way

You can get there easily with both – by car or using public transport. If you go by metro the nearest station is Downtown Long Beach. And then you will walk 10 minutes to the aquarium. If you go by car, you can use a garage within the aquarium.

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34. Rainbow Harbor & Lagoon (Long Beach)

Both are nice walking areas we recommend you to visit for some additional shots. Also, you can rent a swam boat and take shoots from the water. 

How to get there

Location on Google Maps

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Want More Locations for Nice Shoots?

Griffith Observatory at blue hour aerial shot

Photo by Cameron Venti on Unsplash

Rooftops

Los Angeles and surrounded area are perfect for panoramic shots due to their orography. However, based on our example, there is never enough location for great panoramic shots. So, if the photo spots we recommended above are not enough for you to make nice panoramic shots, you should take a look at L.A. rooftops.

Of course, a lot of them are private and you can access them, but there are a lot of rooftop restaurants and bars that will offer you a unique rooftop experience. As we like to say, you can connect a nice lunch/dinner break and the opportunity to get some nice shots.

List of the best rooftop bars in Los Angeles by The Rooftop Guide
List of rooftop bars in L.A. by TimeOut

Helicopter Tours

If you want some really unique panoramic angles you need to move up. It can be done with drones in locations where drones are allowed. But if you don’t have a drone or want to fly with your pilot where you are focused purely on taking photos, we recommend you take a helicopter tour. 

However, these tours are not cheap, so be prepared to spend a bit more, but probably the end result (fantastic photos) you will get will pay it off.

Helicopter tours

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Conclusion

Los Angeles is the most visited destination in California. Besides that it is the biggest city on West Coast, it’s a fantastic place for travelers who like cities that never sleep. Los Angeles is also a perfect destination for travelers who like taking cityscapes and sunset photos, who like hiking, surfing, or just enjoying beach life.

The climate of the L.A. area is similar to the Mediterranean, so you can expect good weather conditions mostly throughout the year. However, the best period to visit is spring with nice and warm weather.

In this guide, we were focused to let you know about the best photo spots in Los Angeles, but we also passed through photo spots in Malibu and Long Beach, because they are close to L.A. and easily reachable by car. 

As always at the end, we want to stress that this is not a complete list of all interesting photo spots in Los Angeles. We imagine this guide as something that will enable you to start exploring L.A. from a photographer’s standpoint. We are pretty sure you will find additional photo spots and we encourage you to do so.

So, if you’ve already visited write in the comment which are your favorite photo spots in Los Angeles? Is there any other location we missed? Let us know about it in the comment section below.

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