Have you noticed how many bridges we drive or walk over everyday in L.A. county? Probably not because Los Angeles isn’t really known for any landmark bridges like the famed Golden Gate Bridge up north in San Francisco or Bixby Bridge along Highway 1 in Big Sur.
Did you know there are 27 bridges over the L.A. River alone? Imagine how many more there are around the L.A. Harbor, over the jam packed freeways and even in the nearby mountain regions.
Some look like how you would imagine a bridge to be and others simply blend in with their surroundings, but there’s tons that are downright gorgeous and totally worth the time to take a trip out to see and photograph.
As a photographer one of my favorite things to do is explore Los Angeles and capture the cool and unique things we sometimes take for granted. If you’ve seen my Instagram then you know how much I love architecture in L.A. and I try to capture it all. Bridges, if you haven’t noticed, are one of my favorite subjects to photograph.
And here are my 10 (top) favorites. 🙂
1. Vincent Thomas Bridge
This is one of my favorite bridges in LA, located in San Pedro, it spans 1,500 feet over the LA Harbor linking San Pedro with Terminal Island. The beauty of this bridge is that you can see it from the 110 fwy, while boating below or even just driving across it.
Tip: Park your car near the Fanfare Fountains off of Harbor Blvd, and enjoy the dancing water show along with a magnificent view of the bridge- makes for a nice picture at night.
2. Colorado Street Bridge
Also known as suicide bridge, this old bridge in Pasadena is nice to drive over for a scenic view of old town and the surrounding area.
Tip: You can burn a few calories by biking or walking across the bridge for a wide shot of the bridge OR explore it by parking your car at La Casita Del Arroyo and hiking under (around the bridge) to see how spectacular it is, I dare you not to take a picture.
3. 6th Street Viaduct
Among the numerous bridges in downtown, the one that stands out as the most iconic isn’t ‘technically’ a bridge. The viaduct has played a scene or two in several movies and photo shoots because of the marvelous view of the L.A. skyline surrounding it.
Tip: Going by foot is best way to capture this bridge. You can see the whole bridge from the 4th Street or 7th Street Bridges (both pretty cool in their own right), don’t forget to look down and marvel at the L.A. River and train yard.
4. Shakespeare Bridge
Located in the Los Feliz neighborhood, built in Gothic style, and named after the famous playwright, the altar like posts make it a unique and cultural landmark. This is one of the smaller bridges on the list so, if you aren’t paying attention then you’ll definitely drive across it without realizing.
Tip: Be very, very cautious if you’re crossing the street to get a centered shot like I did to capture the bridge as a whole.
5. Elysian Park 110 Freeway Bridge
In the heart of Elysian Park there is a small bridge that goes over the 110 Freeway South. Take a minute to enjoy the view of Downtown LA, laugh at the congested freeway below and try not to resist taking a selfie or two.
Tip: Visit in the late afternoon or early mornings for nice lighting when shooting the skyline and surrounding hills.
6. Venice Canals
Not Venice Italy but Venice, CA! It’s a great place for an evening stroll with a cup of coffee. There are many foot bridges surrounding the Venice Canals and lots of pretty houses to ogle at.
Tip: Make all your Instagram followers jealous and go an hour before sunset so you can get pictures of the residential landscape reflecting onto the water with flaming sunset colors as a backdrop.
7. Pacific Electric Railroad Bridge
This free standing structure is a historic double track arch train bridge, located down the street from downtown Torrance. It is no longer in use, but was once used to connect Torrance with San Pedro instantly via train.
Tip: Go in the daytime to enjoy the natural beauty of this bridge’s arches unless you are daring enough to go play at night and try a slow shutter shot with a tripod, of course.
8. Alex Baum Bicycle Bridge
This bridge is mainly for you bikers out there (and walkers too). Located 120 feet above Los Feliz Blvd near Los Feliz Golf course, this bike bridge stands above where the 5 and 110 freeways cross, the path continues along the 110 fwy and the LA River so you’ll never be short of sights to see.
Tip: Take a friend and go for a nice bike ride or walk and make sure to bring some form of a camera because the best pictures of this bridge are from actually crossing it.
9. Ballona Creek Bridge
Located in Marina Del Rey, this bridge crosses over Ballona Creek to the marina where you can watch sailboats come and go out to sea. The bridge is popular among a large crowd of bikers and fishermen alike.
Tip: Go around sunset and stand on the bridge facing the ocean to capture the sailboats with a sunset backdrop. You can also explore this bridge by kayaking under it, with a camera of course.
10. Ocean Trails bridge by Trump National Golf Course
This bridge will take a short walk to get to but it’s worth it for the spectacular coastal views in Rancho Palos Verdes. This nameless bridge is apart of the Ocean Trails hiking path and is bedded between two cliffs.
Tip: Stand on the bridge if you’re daring enough to do so to take a panoramic shot. Also, if you have time, I’d suggest taking one of the many trails down to the shore and look up to see where the bridge stands for unbelievable pictures.
BONUS: The Bridge to Nowhere
Located in the San Gabriel Mountains, is nothing short of amazing. It takes a hiking trek to get to this arch bridge that stands 900 feet over the San Gabriel river. Currently the bridge is owned by a private bungee jumping company so you can take the plunge and hike all in one day.
Let us know in the comments section below if we missed your favorite L.A.. bridge. Or better yet post a picture of your favorite!