Even if you’ve never been to Los Angeles, you’ve no doubt seen the Hollywood Sign in films and TV shows. Situated on Mount Lee in the Santa Monica Mountains, the sign has become a symbol not only of the Hollywood industry but also of the hopes and dreams of millions, including those who arrive in LA every year hoping to become the next big movie star.

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A star in its own right, the sign was originally erected in 1923, as an advertisement for a local property development, and spelt out the name of the development: “Hollywoodland”. Then, in 1945, the sign was donated to the City of Los Angeles, and four years later, its last four letters were removed.

Save the Sign

For decades, the sign survived earthquakes and windstorms, but after it was damaged by a particularly violent storm in 1978, a campaign called Save the Sign was launched to replace it. Local celebrities, including Playboy magnate Hugh Hefner and rock star Alice Cooper, contributed to the campaign, and the old sign was replaced by the one that exists today.


Each of the sign’s letters is about 45 feet (13.7 metres) high and between 31 and 39 feet (9.4 and 11.9 metres) wide. Although the sign was illuminated in the 1920s and 30s, it is not illuminated today. However, because of its enormity, it is visible across Los Angeles, for up to fifteen miles away. And if you’re not content with seeing it from afar, you can take a bus to the sign, hike to it through Griffith Park, where Mount Lee is situated, or even look at it live via a webcam.