5 Movie Landmarks Worth the Visit (and 2 to Skip)
So many movie locations, so little time. We drilled down our movie location must-sees to Los Angeles spots that are not only from films we enjoyed but also are places we want to hang out. (That’s why we're skipping the Bates House from Psycho—sorry, Universal Studios tour.) From the hills to the beach, here’s where visit and it’s totally OK to skip.
Go: Cicada restaurant from “Pretty Woman”
Remember the scene where Julia Roberts’s character wrestles with a ricocheting snail? That was filmed at this Northern Italian restaurant downtown, which today is decorated in that same opulent style. Order the escargot for that decadent ’80s flair, but don’t fuss too much over the salad fork (no one really cares which fork you use).
617 S. Olive St.; 213-488-9488 or cicadarestaurant.com
GO: The Bradbury Building from “Blade Runner”
The interior is the site of an inventor’s workshop, and the roof is where a climactic battle ensues in the 1982 cult sci-fi film. Built almost a century before the film, this 1893 building is the perfect film noir backdrop with its marble staircase and a domed window that refracts moody light onto wrought-iron grillwork.
GO: Chemosphere from “Charlie’s Angels” and “Iron Man”
This big, round house on stilts is where Cameron Diaz saves Drew Barrymore from a terribly bad date with villain Sam Rockwell, serving up the immortal line, “Do you know how hard it is to find a quality man in Los Angeles?” You can visit the space-age-chic property, built in 1960, which is currently the Los Angeles home of German publisher Benedikt Taschen, although you get a great view just from going to the street address and looking up.
7776 Tennyson Dr.; laconservancy.org
Go: The Chateau Marmont from “Somewhere”
This one’s a no-brainer, since director Sofia Coppola’s moody 2010 film about a movie star’s relationship with his tween daughter is set almost entirely on the grounds of this hotel, where you can eat lunch on the patio and watch stars being interviewed for celebrity profiles. Take the elevator up to the fifth floor and linger outside room 59, where lead character Johnny Marco (Stephen Dorff) stayed, and walk by the pool, where he suns himself with his daughter, played by Elle Fanning.
8221 Sunset Blvd., Hollywood; 323-656-1010 or chateaumarmont.com
Go: Abalone Cove Shoreline Park from “Inception”
In this Rubik’s Cube of a film by David Fincher, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character walks along a beach where buildings that look like cliffs tumble into the sea. Walk along this gorgeous waterside in Rancho Palos Verdes, where the cliffs are stable, earthquakes notwithstanding.
5970 Palos Verdes Dr. S., Rancho Palos Verdes; rpvca.gov
Skip: Stone Canyon Reservoir from “Chinatown”
The spot where detective Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson) gets his nose sliced for snooping around is called Oak Pass Reservoir in the film, but we know it’s really Stone Canyon Reservoir. As far as overlooks go, this one is meh; better to hit the Universal City Overlook at Mulholland and Nichols Canyon Road.
13931 Mulholland Dr.; lamountains.com
SKIP: Cathy’s Corner in Griffith Park FROM “LA LA LAND”
It seems like a good idea to recreate the delightful soft-shoe routine of the star-crossed lovers, but in reality, you’d have to hike more than two miles up Mt. Hollywood Drive on a street with no shoulder. (Plus, the bench and street lamp were just production props.) Better to go visit Griffith Observatory, which is also in the park, has ample parking and was another place the movie duo danced.
Griffith Park, 4730 Crystal Springs Dr.; 323-913-4688 or laparks.org