It goes without saying that people in LA love hiking up the various hills surrounding the city. Of course, there are many famous spots in Griffith Park and Hollywood Hills for that Insta-worthy photo overlooking the distant downtown skyline and palm-tree lined streets. One such viewpoint is from the peak of Runyon Canyon, which is undeniably gorgeous especially on a clear day. However, this post is not about Runyon Canyon; it is about Baldwin Hills, which I believe gives any viewpoint hike in LA a run for its money.
Where is the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook? Well, this gem is located on the westside, technically in Culver City. The surrounding neighborhood of Blair Hills is pretty nice, though the Baldwin Hills area itself does not have the best reputation. This, however, does not detract from the experience whatsoever, as the park felt secure and was very family-oriented.
There are a couple of ways to make it up to the viewpoint – you can start at the Culver City Stairs and step your way up the hill (while getting some great exercise!), or there is parking available near the top where the photo op is a only a short walk away. We parked in the residential area of Blair Hills on Wrightcrest Drive; if you do this be sure to abide by posted signs and be considerate of the neighborhood. There is also a lot near the Community Center on Hetzler Road, which costs a few dollars to park in.
Here are the highlights:
- Want to experience a cool LA spot for absolutely free? Well, this is the place! I hosted a couple of friends during their stay in LA, and this activity was definitely a winner.
- As I’ve mentioned before, the view is breathtaking. Really, I might have to say it a few more times so that the point is really driven home.
- Many active LA locals come here to exercise – most people are dressed in athletic attire and it isn’t uncommon to see dudes and gals doing sit-ups or push-ups at the top of the hill.
- Of course, if instead you’re looking for a place to capture some headshots or modeling portfolio pics, you’ll fit right in.
- The Baldwin Hills Overlook is pretty easy to get to from the Westside, Hollywood, or Downtown (if you have a car).
- Visiting this spot is definitely not an all-day affair – you can see most, if not all of the park/hill in an hour or less!
- It’s undeniably beautiful.
- There aren’t many cons, but if crowds aren’t your thing I would avoid coming here during peak times. Late mornings on weekends are quite popular, as are late afternoon hours as dusk approaches. Probably your best bet would be to go in the early morning to avoid the people, and the heat.
Price: As mentioned, entry into the hill and viewpoint are free. If you plan to park in the lot, bring a few dollars for every hour you plan on wandering around.
Is it worth it? Yes, yes, and a third yes! For a free activity with gorgeous views of LA, you really can’t go wrong. This is definitely more of a locals spot, but tourists can enjoy it just the same (I’ll probably face some heat for saying that). Do yourself a favor and go check it out!