March 6th, 2015 at 7:30 am

Image courtesy of Konstantin Sutyagin /

Image courtesy of Konstantin Sutyagin /

The Hollywood Sign has been an L.A. landmark since it was built in 1923. While millions have viewed it from the city below or Griffith Observatory a few miles away, getting close to the icon has been a challenge. Steep, narrow roads through residential neighborhoods with limited parking lead to several rugged hiking trails that don’t even come near the alarmed security fences surrounding the nine world-famous letters (formerly 13–it was Hollywoodland until 1949).

But online maps and smartphones now make it easy for gawkers and walkers to try to visit the 45-foot-high sign–perhaps to catch a glimpse of the ghost of Peg Entwistle, an out-of-work 24-year-old actress who committed suicide by jumping from the top of the letter H in 1932. (Ironically, soon after her death, a letter arrived from the Beverly Hills Playhouse, offering her the starring role in its next production: a story about a young girl who commits suicide.)

Up to 10,000 people now clog Hollywood Hills’ streets each weekend, guided by their phones and tablets. A quick web search yields plenty of viewing and hiking suggestions, much to the dismay of nearby residents. If you’re planning to visit, plan your trip carefully and obey all posted signs. The locals don’t like to report trespassers, but will if necessary.

On the way up or down, Hollywood and environs offer a wide range of places to grab just a bite or a full meal. Some of them are almost as famous as the sign itself. Here are a few favorites and their fare:

Photography provided by Konstantin Sutyagin /

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