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Forget Google Maps, here's the best way to get the best view of the Hollywood sign

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WATCH  |  It's becoming harder to see the Hollywood Sign properly, but here's the best way to see it for that perfect money shot.

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Lake Hollywood Park is an ideal viewing platform. It is a public dog park, with plenty of street access and parking, and by far the easiest and safest way to get a great shot. (We should mention, you cannot get right up to the letters.)

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There's another viewing point just behind an intersection at Mulholland Dr. and Deronda Dr., which requires you to walk through a residential neighborhood. But you do get this view, which is pretty great. 

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And last, if you're really in the mood for a nice long hike, you can keep walking all the way up Mt. Lee Drive -- an official hiking trail set up and maintained by the city -- to take you above the sign. It gets you to this breathtaking view. 

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But there's a very complex back story about why the sign has become so hard to reach. The sign sits right above a glitzy neighborhood called Beachwood Canyon, and the residents of that neighborhood are mad as hell. 

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The simple explanation is the Beachwood Canyon neighbors who live around the sign are tired of tourists crowding their streets, so they've made it hard and very confusing to find the sign. 

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They put up hostile-looking signs on the surrounding streets to confuse tourists. While these might look official, they're not. They've gotten the city to cooperate by marking the streets with (very official) permit-only parking. 

But perhaps the most shocking is they've managed to get map software companies to purposely redirect people away from the sign. You'll be redirected to Griffith Observatory, a nearby landmark, if you type in "the Hollywood sign." 

It is an ongoing battle that gets dirtier each year, with the Beachwood Canyon residents and the rest of Los Angeles locked in a fight for access to the Hollywood sign. Beachwood Canyon residents want access to the sign closed forever, while everyone else wants it to remain open. 

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Beachwood Canyon residents say tourists come up their streets, dump trash on their front lawns, and some claim tourists poop in their flower beds. (Seriously.) Others claim it's a safety hazard. Right now, some are suing the city to close access. 

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The sign is a public landmark, owned by the city of Los Angeles. Those in favor of keeping access open say the sign was there LONG before the residents, and they don't have the right to block off access to a public, iconic landmark. 

But as we mentioned earlier, this is a complex issue. Resentment runs very deep, and new developments happen every few months. What we've mentioned here is just the tip of the iceberg. 

So far, the methods to reach the sign that we mentioned in this story are all still open. But if the residents of Beachwood Canyon get their way, access in the future might look very different -- if there is even access at all. 

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