14 mi / 22 km
Los Angeles (LAX)
A road that captures "the spirit and history of Hollywood" – that's how award-winning filmmaker David Lynch summed up the 21-mile route of Mulholland Drive. It's hard to disagree. This winding route navigates the eastern flanks of the Santa Monica Mountains, with La La Land spreading out to the south, Tinseltown just below, and the homes of A-list actors peppering its whole length. It's one of the most star-studded drives in America.
In the early 20th century, when Hollywood was rapidly growing and attracting stars and filmmakers, Mulholland Drive became a sought-after location for extravagant mansions and luxurious estates. Celebrities and industry moguls were drawn to the sweeping views, privacy, and exclusivity offered by the hillside properties along Mulholland Drive. It became synonymous with luxury living and served as a backdrop for extravagant parties and gatherings hosted by Hollywood's elite.
Over the years, Mulholland Drive has also gained notoriety as a setting for various films and television shows. Its scenic winding roads and panoramic vistas have made it a popular choice for filmmakers to capture the essence of Los Angeles on screen. David Lynch's iconic film "Mulholland Drive" further immortalized the mystique and allure of the road.
We recommend starting in the east, just off Franklin Avenue. You'll begin your trip amid some totemic locations. The Hollywood Bowl is there. Opened in 1922, its stage hosted the likes of The Beatles and The Doors in the 60s. Later, it was ranked among the world's top 10 music venues by Rolling Stone mag. Next door, the Hollywood Heritage Museum offers a more academic intro to this part of LA, telling the story of filmmaking from its earliest – silent – days.
After connecting with Mulholland proper, snake your way through the hilly neighborhoods between groups of twisted old oaks and find the Universal City Overlook. The whole of the San Fernando Valley spreads out from that, revealing the lesser-known northern half of the big city, with the sinewy peaks and dusty chapparal of the Santa Susana Mountains commanding the horizon.
The next six miles or so of driving is spectacular stuff. It takes you right across the main ridge of the Santa Monica Mountains. Occasionally, you'll happen upon a panoramic lookout – the Charles & Lotte Melhorn Overlook deserves a special mention since it's named after the couple who lobbied for extra lookout points along Mulholland back in the 70s. Other times, you might happen upon a park like Fossil Ridge or Oak Canyon, where you can do short hikes through the scrub woods and enjoy picnic spots perched above rows of millionaire houses.
With each curve conquered and each breathtaking view witnessed, Mulholland Drive leaves an enduring impression on all who traverse its path. It is a road that embodies the spirit of a city, where dreams are born, and the pursuit of creativity reign supreme.
For a more boutique experience, The Mosaic Hotel offers stylish rooms, a chic outdoor courtyard, and a prime location just steps away from Rodeo Drive. The Sunset Marquis Hotel, located just off the Sunset Strip, offers a tranquil oasis with spacious suites, lush gardens, and a rock 'n' roll history.Parking fees may apply to some areas - see signage on site. Got a tip to share for this route? Send us yours! The roads in Los Angeles are sealed. View current alerts and warnings from the City of Los Angeles.
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