Los Angeles is such a well-known city that some folks think it’s the capital of California. Hey, we can’t blame them – Los Angeles has been featured in more films and TV shows than we can count. Big budget blockbusters, low budget indie films, sitcoms, TV dramas – you name it, LA’s been featured.
We would be here for years trying to list every famous film location in LA. Really, we would: there are parks, restaurants, apartments and hotels that have all appeared on the silver screen. Or, we could just present our movie buff’s guide to Los Angeles. Use a luggage storage service before heading out. “The city of Lost Angels” is also a city with very little elbow room.
LA is a city that goes above and beyond to preserve relics of the past. That is exactly what the Bradbury Building is – a cherished relic of 1893. This building is known as the oldest commercial structure in central LA. A few architectural styles influenced its design – namely, Italian Renaissance and Romanesque designs.
So, why is a building from 1893 on this list? Because it was prominently featured in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982). Scott and his team filmed the climax of the film in this building, making it look rundown and dilapidated to fit Blade Runner’s dystopian themes.
We’re hopping from a beloved sci-fi franchise to a die-hard action series with Fox Plaza. While the Bradbury Building is a locale in Blade Runner, this building served as the primary location where John McTiernan’s Die Hard (1988) took place.
Fox Plaza was transformed into the Nakatomi Plaza – a high-security building taken over by terrorists. It’s been decades since Bruce Willis and Alan Rickman traded blows at this building, but Fox Plaza is just as popular. What can we say? Old memories die hard.
Most Angelinos first visited Griffith Observatory when they were very young, either via field trips or family getaways. Anyone who lives in or around the greater Hollywood area of LA probably has a clear view of the observatory most days of the week.
We can’t think of a better place to go stargazing in the city of Lost Angels, but that’s not why it’s in this article. Griffith Observatory was featured in La La Land (2016) and Rebel Without A Cause (1955).
A movie buff’s guide to Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete with mentioning this iconic California landmark. The Hollywood Sign has been featured in more pieces of media than we could possibly hope to count.
Books, TV shows, short films, movies (naturally), a few board games and even several cereal boxes have paid tribute to this landmark in one way or another. Visitors are encouraged to hike up to the sign and admire it up close. Should you make that hike, you will see Los Angeles from the Hollywood Sign’s perspective.
LA Times Building
Way back in 1881, Nathan Cole Jr. and Thomas Gardiner founded a newspaper publication called the Los Angeles Daily Times. They reported on every major event that took place in the late 1800s and continued this tradition well into the 1900s. Publishers came and went, the world changed, but the LA Times remained.
The Los Angeles Times Building, also known as the Kaufmann Building, served as the Times’ headquarters for many years. This building has been featured in numerous films and TV shows, such as Argo (2012) and Scandal (2012 – 2018).
Sandy beaches and palm trees are hallmarks of Southern California. These two features are pervasive in almost every city you will come across, including LA. So, what makes Point Dume so special? Well, it’s the location where parts of Franklin J. Schaffner’s Planet of the Apes (1968) and the Coen Brothers’ The Big Lebowski (1998) were filmed.
Specifically, this is the venue where Charlton Heston found the remains of the Statue of Liberty. As for the Big Lebowski, this is where the Dude and Walter have trouble with Donny’s ashes.
Most of the landmarks in this article can be appreciated from a distance. Not The Prince. You have to visit this venue yourself to fully appreciate it. Parts of Mad Men (2007 – 2015) and Chinatown (1974) were filmed here.
The Prince isn’t just for show either – it’s a full-service restaurant that offers amazing food and drinks. If you have ever wanted to walk (or dine) in Don Draper’s shoes or brood like Jake Gittes, then you have to visit the Prince.
Santa Monica Pier
Many first dates and graduation parties have been held at the Santa Monica Pier. Even miles away, you can see the pier’s famous Ferris wheel making its rounds. It’s actually a little tricky reaching the pier, as it’s tucked away from the nearest main street. You will have to find parking (a mission in and of itself in LA), then make your way to the pier on foot.
The trip is well worth it, however. Santa Monica Pier is a bonafide California landmark. Scenes from Beverly Hills Cop 3 (1994), Cellular (2004), and Iron Man (2008) were filmed here. We have a strong hunch that the casts and crews of those projects hopped on the Ferris wheel a few times.
The Westin Bonaventure Hotel
Projects from every genre of film and television have been filmed at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel. Everything from J.J. Abrams’ Mission Impossible III (2006) to episodes of Fear Factor and CSI.
The Westin has even been featured in music videos, video games and anime franchises! Special mention goes to Christopher Nolan for filming at the Westin during the production of Interstellar (2014) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).