Highland Avenue to Cahuenga Blvd West - from Hollywood
101 Freeway to Barham to Cahuenga Blvd West - from Downtown LA and all points south and east
Crescent Heights to Laurel Canyon - from Hollywood, The Grove & Farmers Market, Museum Square in Miracle Mile, Beverly Center
Beverly Drive to Coldwater Canyon - from Beverly Hills, Hollywood, The Grove & Farmers Market, Miracle Mile,
Beverly Glen - from Westwood, Century City or Beverly Hills
The 405 freeway or Sepulveda Blvd - from West LA, including Westwood area, near the Getty, from LAX or Santa Monica
West to East (405 freeway to 101 freeway) - in this direction it is easier to stop at the Hollywood Bowl overlook near the 101 freeway. This is the recommended direction, because the Hollywood Bowl overlook is a "must-see" stop on Mulholland Drive.
East to West (101 freeway to 405 freeway) - in this direction it is much more difficult to stop at the Hollywood Bowl overlook, because it's on the opposite side of the street and it's near a curve.
Drive west on Hollywood Boulevard, all the way to the end at Laurel Canyon Boulevard. Turn right, northward, up the hill.
Proceed to Mulholland Drive (there is a traffic signal at this intersection), turn left (west).
Drive about 3/4 mile to the Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook, on the right side of the road.
OPTIONAL: If you just want a quick look, then Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook is a great choice because there's plenty of parking and the viewpoint is only steps away. But if want to stay awhile, or hike down into the canyon, then continue past the overlook and head to TreePeople, and walk down to Coldwater Canyon Park. There are longer trails and more interesting things to see. The view is equal from either location, although you will need to walk farther to see the view from Coldwater Canyon Park. It is an easy "hike" on dirt roads with a section of incline.
Park, get out and enjoy the views of the San Fernando Valley. You can also hike down into the canyon below on the Betty Dearing Trail.
When you leave (either the overlook or the park), turn left onto Mulholland Drive, back in the direction from which you came.
Pass Laurel Canyon Boulevard.
OPTIONAL: 1.3 miles east of Laurel Canyon, on the north side of the road is the Universal City overlook. It offers a great view of Universal Studios and the eastern portion of the San Fernando Valley, but it's on the opposite side of the street as you drive eastward. There is a narrow turnout on the south side of Mulholland Drive (on your right) where you can stop, but you'll need to walk across to the other side of road to get a good view. The turnout itself is very narrow and easy to miss. If you miss it you'll need to drive about a half mile to make U-turn to get back here.
3.3 miles east of Laurel Canyon, on the south side of the road is the Hollywood Bowl overlook. It has a small parking lot. If the lot is full you can drive about 200 feet further on Mulholland Drive to park in a large dirt turnout.
At the Hollywood Bowl overlook you can view the city from the parking lot. You can see the Hollywood Bowl directly below, to the left. Walk up the stairs to see the Hollywood Sign and Griffith Park Observatory.
When you leave, turn right onto Mulholland Drive, driving downhill. Soon (about 0.7 mi) you will be at the bottom, turn right onto Woodrow Wilson Drive for just a few dozen feet, then turn right again onto Cahuenga Boulevard.
Stay on Cahuenga Boulevard - as it passes the Hollywood Bowl, it runs into Highland Avenue.
Proceed on Highland Avenue to Hollywood Boulevard.