Traveling in Los Angeles can often feel like déjà vu: “Have I been here before?” “Why do I feel like I’ve seen this place somewhere?” “Why is this whole setting so familiar?” It is probably because you have actually seen it before: in your favorite movies. While most Hollywood films are shot at Motion Pictures Studios, many of the scenes are also filmed at prime locations in LA.
Though Motion Pictures Studio might not have its doors open for tourists, these spots are open for you to pop in and get a few pictures. From romance in La La Landto action in Planet of The Apes, L.A. is filled with spots to remind you of your favorite movies.
The Bench – 500 Days of Summer
500 Days Of Summer is an iconic indie film and has been a fans’ favorite ever since its release in 2009. One of the prettiest scenes in the movie is when Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel) talk on a bench that overlooks the city. Lucky for you, this bench is accessible to tourists and is in the heart of downtown LA at Angels Knoll, right next to Angels Flight and Grand Central Market.
A few blocks away from the legendary Bradbury Building, the bench is closed during the night. If you visit during the day, you can walk in and take a picture.
Randy’s Donuts – Mars Attacks, Iron Man, and More
With the massive donut sign, some have hypothesized that Randy’s Donuts is visible from space. Established in 1953, Randy’s Donuts (805 W. Manchester Blvd, Inglewood) has been a constant appearance in many of your favorite films, Mars Attacks, Iron Man 2, Get Shorty, and Earth Girls Are Easy. Located just off the 405 Freeway, the shop is a sight luring you in.
That being said, Randy’s Donuts is one of the most popular landmarks in LA. People from all over the world travel to Inglewood to click photos with the donut sign.
Union Station – 24, Catch Me If You Can, Nancy Drew, and More
Opened in 1939, Union Station LA is an architectural masterpiece. It is the main railway station in Los Angeles and is near Chinatown and the Civic Center. Serving as the backdrop for numerous epic films like Blade Runner, Catch Me if You Can, and The Dark Knight Rises, the train station looks amazing on film.
One of Los Angeles’s most famous places, Union Station is more than just a train station. The landmark has also adopted conducting events and fairs, making it a true cultural hub.
Point Dume – Planet of the Apes
Point Dume might be one of the prettiest beaches in Los Angeles. With its proximity to the film and television industry, Point Dume’s westward beach has been a spot of frequent visitation for shooting films, television, advertisements, and videos, appearing whenever a beach scene is required.
While fans of the iconic film Planet of the Apes might recognize the bluffs from the movie’s climax, it is to be noted that Point Dume has also been featured in Iron Man and The Big Lebowski.
Griffith Observatory – Rebel Without a Cause, La La Land, and More
One of the most iconic and beautiful places in Los Angeles County, the Griffith Observatory sits atop the Griffith Park and looks over the entire city. The views from the observatory are spectacular and breathtaking. The observatory is a great escape from the bustle of the city and has the most glorious view of the iconic Hollywood sign.
It is hard to name more than a few movies which haven’t featured the observatory, but movie buffs will recognize it from Rebel Without A Cause,La La Land, and Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.
Old LA Zoo – Anchorman
The Griffith Park area is full of stunning tourist spots, and one of the best of these is the Griffith Park Zoo, more often called the Old Los Angeles Zoo. The Old LA Zoo is simply the remains of the original Los Angeles Zoo which was left as it is when the zoo changed locations. A few park benches were added to the place after it was adopted into Griffith Park, which welcomes thousands of visitors each day.
The zoo was also featured in Anchorman. While the film was shot all over LA, the part at the end with the cages and Ron Burgandy jumping in was filmed at the Old LA Zoo.
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – Wall Street, Men in Black 3, and More
Built in 1926, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was once home to Marilyn Monroe, who lived at the hotel for two years early in her career and posed for her first commercial photography shoot by the pool. Opened on May 15, 1927, the hotel boasts elegant architecture and is minutes away from Times Square and Grand Central Terminal.
The Roosevelt had appeared in a long list of Hollywood films, including (but not limited to) The Irishman, Quiz Show, Men in Black 3, 1408, Wall Street, The French Connection, Malcolm X, The Dictator, Man on a Ledge and Maid in Manhattan.
Pink’s Hot Dogs – Hell’s Kitchen, House of Lies, and More
Found in 1939 as a rolling cart bought for $50, Pink’s Hot Dogs is Los Angeles’s favorite hot dog joint. Officially a city-recognized “Treasure of LA”, Pink’s Hot Dogs serves two dozen foot-longs and goes through 1500-2000 hot dogs a day.
Pink’s Hot Dogs has been featured in countless movies likeHell’s Kitchen, Mulholland Drive, Jackass, The Today Show, House of Lies, Huell Howser, and Leno. Pink’s was also the spot where Bruce Willis proposed to Demi Moore.
Santa Monica Pier – Forrest Gump, The Kissing Booth 2, and More
If you’ve ever received a postcard of Los Angeles, you’ll recognize Santa Monica Pier for its iconic Ferris wheel and spiraling rollercoaster. Just 20 miles east along the coast is a jam-packed carnival for tourists, amusement park rides, and the best fast food there is.
After its construction in 1901, Santa Monica Pier quickly gained a reputation among locals as the best fishing spot, and fishing is practiced in the area to date. The Pier has been featured in numerous films including The Kissing Booth 2, The Sting, and Forrest Gump.
Bradbury Building – Blade Runner, The Artist, and More
A dazzling architectural gem, the Bradbury Building is a remarkable sight due to the atrium which fills the building with light. The building was built with ornate brick, wood, and iron in 1893. With five open floors showcasing the geometric staircases, the Bradbury Building is the perfect backdrop for any number of classic Hollywood films.
The building has seen more roles than most A-list actors, featuring in many incredible films including Blade Runner, Double Indemnity, D.O.A., The Artist, and 500 Days Of Summer.
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