The Best Places to Catch the Sunset in LA
The West Coast probably gets its “Best Coast” name for its sunsets. I mean… there’s also the amazing food, the hiking, the National Parks, the Pacific Ocean, the friendly people, the good weather… you know what, forget it, the sunsets are merely the baking powder in the recipe that makes the cake. Regardless, you can’t beat a West Coast sunset. And there are plenty of places in LA to head at the end of the day to take in those orangey, pinky hues in all their glory.
Barnsdall Art Park
While most make the trek west to get a better sunset, there are some pretty stunning views from the East as well. Relatively unknown Barnsdall Art Park at the foot of Los Feliz, and the easternmost end of Hollywood Blvd, is an elevated little park that houses a Frank Lloyd Wright house. Cool! More cool? The little green park in front, with a view of the palm-lined iconic Boulevard, and the hills of Griffith Park, including the iconic sign. East LA kids know the drill… bring a blanket and a picnic with goodies from the local Silverlake or Echo Park farmers markets, pour some wine in a water bottle (stealth) and make a night of it.
Ah, yes, Runyon. Surprisingly relatively empty (for Runyon, at least), mid-day during the week, but this popular spot, known as a favorite among celebrities (and celebrity stalkers) is among the best, and easiest places to get a panoramic view of the sunset, with all of LA as its backdrop. Either make the trek from one of the trailheads from the bottom, or, if you’re really just in it for a quick pic, take the weakboi route and drive up to the lot at the Northern Entrance - there’s an outlook about ten minutes by foot from the lot. Best way to go though is to hike out to the West Ridge Trail, which boasts the absolute best views in the park (photo above from West Ridge in Runyon)
Santa Monica Pier
Does it get any more iconic than this? *crickets* Okay, I’ll answer for you - no, it doesn’t ! Go out on the Pier itself (crowded, warning), and watch the Pacific waters reflect the orange glow. Or, better yet, take a stroll just south of the famed boardwalk to watch the sun light up the action on the boardwalk.
Angel’s Point at Elysian Park
The first time I went to this spot was in broad daylight, and I ran into a straight up nudist colony. You’ve been warned! Nah, if you follow the directions on Google Maps like a goodboi/grl, you shouldn’t have any problems finding this funky installation in the heart of East LA’s Elysian fields. The beauty of this spot is that you’re likely to be the only one up there (except for the nudist colony lurking around… BOO!), so you’ll be able to take in the DTLA skyline in peace. Excellent photo ops here - downright angelic.
People might think the boardwalk is the move to see the sunset in Venice, but people also listen to Coldplay and unironically wear crocs. If you want to see some crazy cloud reflections at sunset, head to the Venice Canals. A totally underrated spot on the Westside, since most flock all the way to the ocean, the canals are full of charm, and while worth seeing any time of day, they really shine (no pun intended) when the sun begins to sink, especially if there are some golden clouds in the skies to reflect on the canal waters.
This is the obvious choice for hordes and hordes of tourists being dumped off every night a half hour before sunset. But ditch the observatory itself and go up the easy Boy Scout Trail right in front. I guarantee you’ll be the only one there (this is a great way to avoid car traffic leading up to the top - you might even miss sunset, as it’s bumper to bumper every night as the sun goes down), and there are some great views of the city along the way. You’ll hit the observatory, but don’t bother elbowing your way in for a view… instead, follow the directions here about finding a stellar, isolated view of the Hollywood Sign feat. sunset.
Behind the Hollywood Sign
Speaking of the sign, it’s one of the best places to watch the sun go down. Make your way to the top (options here), and you’ll be surprised to find only one or two other groups up there, if even that…which, for the sign, is pretty much a private viewing. This is about as iconic LA as it gets. Be sure to stick around 15 minutes after the sun actually sinks and watch the entire sky turn red, from all the way south in Culver City, to the Valley behind you.
Braahhh the stake park is a Venice classic any time of day (want more Venice classics? here u go) to watch some of the best skaters do their thang in the world’s most famous stakepark. Golden hour is when the photographers come out to catch the shredding, so if you can muscle your way in, you’ll get the chance to see the action with a particularly magnificent backdrop (i.e. the sunset).
Drive out west, take the tram up, and skip the art collection. (JK - art is dope! Go see art! Art art art!). For real tho, The Getty offers one of the best views of West LA, and therefore, a pretty killer sunset view. Definitely factor in some time to wander the grounds (it’s free btw)… not only is there some cool art on display, but some expertly curated gardens as well. Best views can be found from actually GOING INTO THE MUSEUM and out onto the expansive observation decks.
This is a great place to watch the sunset sans hiking. Drive up to the lot or get dropped off (warning: there will be loads of tourists), to the overlook above the Hollywood Bowl. It’s particularly enjoyable to watch all the lights flick on throughout the city - the most common color you’ll see is red, from all the taillights lined up along the 101. Praise BE you’re up here instead enjoying lyfe (yes, that’s lyfe with a “y”; it’s v different) and not stuck in your Corolla listening to the same 40 songs on Ryan Seacrest edit on KISS FM.