The Best Places to Take Pictures in L.A.

The Best Places to Take Pictures in L.A.

By California.com
September 01, 2020

As California mitigates health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, some travel restrictions may remain in certain communities. Call the local and regional tourism offices to learn more about the restrictions in your intended destination. Thank you for reading, and stay safe. 

A picture is worth 1,000 words, and there's no better place to take an impactful picture than in Los Angeles. Far from being camera shy, Los Angeles (also known as "La La Land") is arguably the country's most photogenic city. With innumerable palm trees, stunning ocean vistas, rugged mountainous terrain, and a vibrant downtown scene, L.A. is a hot spot for photo-op sessions. 

The camera loves L.A.—whether you're taking a scenic L.A. drive or strolling through Hollywood, photographing the city is just too enticing, so indulge in the picture-perfect backdrops. When it comes to prime Los Angeles photo spots, we've got you covered.

The Top Spots to Photograph in Los Angeles

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Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory is quintessential to the Los Angeles scene. Make sure to stop by and snap a photo for the 'Gram.

Resting atop a hill overlooking the City of Angels, Griffith Observatory is a definite must-see Los Angeles attraction and one of the best places to take pictures in L.A. Breathtaking views of the Los Angeles skyline will sweep you off your feet. For an exciting twist to your trip, trek along the Ferndell Trail to the West Observatory Loop Trail to reach the iconic observatory—gracing you with stunning vistas of the L.A. gorge. 

You can also hike to the Griffith Observatory from Western Canyon Trail for an hour-long trip, starting with a smooth ascent into Griffith Park. With an elevation of 540 feet, the West Observatory Trail is a rewarding cardio-booster—indulge in the city views along the way. For a quick pick-me-up, stop by the on-site Café at the End of The Universe for delectable (and Instagrammable) treats. 

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Stop by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and photograph the unique Urban Light installation.

Whether you visit LACMA during the day or at night, the large-scale Urban Light created by Chris Burden will astound you. It's no wonder the outdoor art installation is a popular stop for Instagrammers. The display features an array of restored street lamps dating back to the 1920s and 1930s; it showcases the city's historical style while also enhancing your L.A. photo ops. While it's all about the lights, LACMA also features fascinating exhibitions, including Not I: Throwing Voices and Bill Viola: Slowly Turning Narrative, where more photographic opportunities await you.

Korean Friendship Bell

For an extraordinary shot under the bright blue summer sky, head to the Korean Friendship Bell at Angels Gate Park.

Located in San Pedro, Angels Gate Park is home to the prominent Korean Friendship Bell. This massive bronze bell housed in a stone pavilion is among the ultimate Los Angeles photography spots. Cast in Korea and shipped to the United States, the 17-ton copper and tin bell was gifted to the people of Los Angeles by the people of the Republic of Korea, celebrating the U.S. Bicentennial. Take in the historical ambience as the camera clicks away. After a lengthy photo sesh, feast on mouthwatering dishes at the nearby 22nd St. Landing Seafood Grill & Bar.

Santa Monica Pier

Calling all shutterbugs: California's iconic Santa Monica Pier awaits you. Take photos of the gorgeous vistas and capture the marvelous sunset.

No visit to the Golden State is complete without a stop by the iconic Santa Monica Beach and Pier. Considered one of the best beaches to visit in L.A., this is a divine backdrop for your sun-kissed summer photoshoots. The L.A. sunsets are not to be missed, and the Santa Monica Pier adds extra dazzle to an already magnificent view. Sit by the ocean, watch the waves crash as the sun makes its way across the horizon, and capture this priceless moment. 

Pedestrian Bridge at Slauson Station

When on Pedestrian Bridge at Slauson Station, have your camera ready and prepare to get edgy.

On the search for cool places to take pictures in L.A.? Head to the Pedestrian Bridge at Slauson Station for unforgettable snapshots. A bus transport station for the Metro Silver Line, Slauson is a staple for shutterbugs. At nighttime, the bridge is illuminated by a single light source, so spice things up with a grungy 'Gram photo. 

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Marvel at the extraordinary Walt Disney Concert Hall's sleek steel exterior, which is a hot spot for photographers.

Disney is integral to SoCal's vibe, so when in L.A., make your way over to the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Known as an L.A. photographer’s go-to spot, this downtown L.A. cultural attraction is among the state's architectural masterpieces, boasting fascinating outlines and shapes. Snap your shots around dusk to enjoy spectacular views mirroring off of the steel structure. Abernethy’s is just a four-minute walk away, so stop by for an elegant dining experience after your photo sesh.

The Broad

As you meander through the streets of Los Angeles, stop by contemporary art museum The Broad for an excellent photo-op sesh.

Merely two minutes away from the Walt Disney Concert Hall is the contemporary art museum The Broad. With awe-inspiring interior and exterior designs, The Broad is a must-visit for your photoshoots. (Come during the day to capture its unusual magnificence.) Recognized as one of the top-visited museums in L.A., this three-story icon is home to excellent galleries and exhibits, too. 

The Queen Mary

All aboard The Queen Mary—it's time to put your fantastic photography skills to use and capture the undiscovered.

A retired British ocean liner that sailed through the North Atlantic Ocean from 1936 until 1967, The Queen Mary is one of the most historic L.A. photo spots. The Queen Mary is a popular tourist attraction in Long Beach, complete with a museum, a hotel, shops, and restaurants. To savor a bowl of delightful clam chowder on the ocean, head to the Chelsea Chowder House & Bar situated on the Queen Mary.

Bradbury Building

Head to the historic Bradbury Building to take snapshots at a skylight rooftop and on the unusual staircases.

Who doesn’t love a skylight rooftop? Take advantage of the unique features found inside the Bradbury Building. An architectural landmark in downtown Los Angeles, the Bradbury Building was built in 1893. The structure is best known for its skylit atrium and vintage stairways, making it a popular Southern California film location; it's also one of the few five-story office buildings in the region and is the oldest remaining commercial structure in L.A. With elaborate ironwork, walkways, stairs, and elevators, you'll have no trouble finding your photo-worthy spot at the Bradbury Building.

Museum Of Illusions

Capture mesmerizing and surprising photos at the one and only Museum of Illusions.

Why photograph the ordinary when it's the obscure that raises questions (and eyebrows). Snap your photo under Marylin Monroe’s famous white skirt or capture your once-in-a-lifetime boxing match with President Donald Trump. At the Museum of Illusions, anything is possible—even faux surfing on California’s gnarly waves. The museum offers a fun and interactive experience for both children and adults.

A visit here is unlike any other. Be prepared for lifelike photo sessions and numerous backdrops of 3D paintings. The museum is constantly showcasing new exhibits, too; the latest one is Upside Down House, where visitors can photograph themselves in an upside-down room. 

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