Where To Catch A Sunset In LA
Sunsets are one of the few things that Angelenos (most people in general, really) can agree on. When the sun goes down, and the sky changes colors, blue to orange or pink, it always makes you stop and enjoy, even if it’s just for a moment.
And because you can watch the sun go down from all sorts of vantage points in L.A., I figured: most people probably have a favorite place to watch the sun set, right?
We got some replies, and also some dope stories. Stories about Angelenos finding escape from the L.A. hustle, about coming to love it, and about missing it. Angelenos searching for new connections and others who were rekindling a romance.
And we wanted to share these stories — and sunset spots — with you.
Mallory Carra first moved to L.A. in 2010 for graduate school. Searching for new spots to hang out, she followed the recommendation of a Facebook friend and ended up at the Yamashiro Night Market perched above Franklin Avenue in Hollywood Heights.
I felt like when I walked in there, all the troubles of the earlier week melted away because I was here, I was gonna eat some good food ... I was gonna watch a great sunset. You can always tell because the colors start to illuminate in the sky, like these pinkish and blue hues that just start to move across the sky and just get brighter and brighter. And there's also this one point where the sun just gets so bright that, you know, even looking at it, it's hard, but you want to so badly because it's so beautiful.
Though the restaurant Yamashiro is still around, the Yamashiro Night Market eventually closed down because of COVID-19. And Carra moved to the west side. She says that because of traffic, it’s less convenient to get to this spot.
Tom LaBonge Summit
The pandemic quarantine was tough for a lot of folks. But feeling alone and feeling the need for connection in a big city are problems Angelenos have faced before.
For Robert Sandoval, sunset spots were a way to find community. He said his partner of 30 years was hired to work on the new Star Wars project in Florida, so he was looking to meet some new people and get out of the house.
Sandoval wanted to find a group of people with whom he could hike. Through the Meetup App he found the Gay and Lesbian Sierrans, which gathers every week in Griffith Park to ascend to the Tom LeBonge Summit. It’s about 2.5 miles round trip from Griffith Observatory and it boasts some amazing views of the city.
I especially love the Griffith Park hikes because you can be right on the ridge of Griffith Park and do a 360 and see the Warner Brothers Studios, Burbank Studios, Disney Studios, look over your shoulder and see the observatory and all of L.A. and Hollywood. The way the sun hangs low, it could be straight in your eyes, but when you're on hikes it's a different experience. It just washes the city, the whole valley, with light.
Heading west on Sunset Boulevard
Besides sunsets, sitting in traffic is another thing most Angelenos can agree on — except the agreement is to hate on it.
But our next sunset story gives that experience a rosier hue. It’s from Steve Cha. His favorite spot to see the sunset is actually from his car, inching along Sunset Boulevard, heading west, during evening rush hour.
When Cha first came to L.A. in 2008, he worked at Sunset Gower Studios. Like so many others, he just wanted to be a part of the entertainment industry. But he found his connection to the city after the work day ended.
I learned that the entertainment industry was probably not what I was looking for, but that the city was something that I have come to love — like the sunset. It looked like the postcards. The reality was actually more beautiful than the fantasy that you see in the images about LA. And that specific image, the darkened silhouettes of palm trees in the distance and the way it bleeds into the sky, it helps you deal with traffic.
After college, Nicole Vas followed newspaper jobs to other cities, but she always felt like she was missing something. Her favorite spot is a call back to her memories as a kid at Redondo Beach.
My dad would hold my shoes so that I could dip my toes in rather than me holding them myself. I would squish my feet in the sand, be mesmerized by the water rolling in and then feel the pull as it rolls back, washing the sand off a little bit, and then my feet would sink in deeper. Sometimes it would come in a little higher and get a little splash on my jeans unexpectedly, and the back and forth of the water coming in, coming out. I'm not even saying that this is the best thing about L.A. But being able to go to the ocean is the part that is home for me.
San Pedro's Korean Friendship Bell
For some, sunset spots meant meeting new people. For Marc Esposo, it was about reconnections.
Marc says his favorite spot to watch a sunset is the Korean Friendship Bell in San Pedro. He went there with his ex-boyfriend Oscar in 2013. He admits it wasn’t in the happiest of circumstances but this spot provided him with calm during a turbulent time.
We started at the bell and then we continued to walk along this trail closer to the water because there's a cliff. That was really nice. That's when I fell in love with the place.
And I felt at peace, and whatever stressful or rough patch we were going through wasn't there at that moment because we were both just enjoying the scenery and the sunset. I felt like we understood each other more and we communicated.
The sun is setting earlier these days but you can still catch the sunset…somewhere. Hopefully, these stories gave you a little inspiration for some places to check out. Listen to all these stories and more ways to discover L.A. on the How To LA podcast. Listen here.