The romantic musical La La Land, tickets for which are on sale now, will have your toes tapping. It’s the story of Mia (Emma Stone), an aspiring actress, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a jazz musician, who fall in love as they explore the magical city of Los Angeles. It’s just the latest of many movies shot in the City of Angels, as you can see in our mash-up above, which includes such classics as Chinatown, Back to the Future and Rebel Without a Cause (how many can you pick out?).
La La Land was directed by Whiplash‘s Damien Chazelle, who shot the movie in just 42 days at more than 40 locations in Los Angeles including such iconic landmarks as the Griffith Observatory, Angels Flight, Colorado Street Bridge and Warner Bros. Studios. Check out our map below that highlights some of the famous locations from the film.
A big thank you to Lionsgate and the film’s location managers Robert Foulkes, Tristan Daoussis, Dave Henke, Shasta Kinney, Ian Rutherford, Steve Beimler, Scott Trimble & Carter Schmidt – plus members of Location Managers Guild International.
A Guide to the La La Landmarks:
1. THE SMOKEHOUSE, 4420 Lakeside Drive, Burbank
The SmokeHouse provides the cheery interior of jazz-hating J.K. Simmons’ L.A. supper club where Ryan Gosling plays yuletide tunes on the piano. Serving as the club’s exterior is actually the famous “You are the Star” mural at Hollywood Blvd. & Wilcox Ave. In real life, the SmokeHouse has been across the street from Warner Bros. since 1948.
2. RETRO DAIRY MART, 4420 W Magnolia, Burbank
Gosling grabs breakfast at this working 1962 drive-through, where to this day attendants deliver groceries to customers in their cars. Here, he looks wistfully across the street at a once-famous Magnolia Blvd jazz hotspot (in real life, Barbara Streisand’s former Evergreen Recording Studios) and dreams about restoring it to its former glory.
3. WARNER BROS. STUDIOS, 4000 Warner Blvd, Burbank
Stone works as a barista at a fictional coffee house on the studio lot (near Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman’s apartment in Casablanca and the Gotham courthouse from the old Batman TV series). Stone and Gosling stroll by famous soundstages, including Stage 6 where classic musicals like 42nd Street were filmed. The studio is available for touring: see www.wbstudiotour.com.
4. “CATHY’S CORNER” OVERLOOK ON MT. HOLLYWOOD DRIVE, Griffith Park
After leaving a Hollywood Hills party together, Stone and Gosling stumble upon a hilltop overlooking the San Fernando Valley that serves as the site of the film’s six-minute, single take, song-and-dance number performed to Justin Hurwitz’s “A Lovely Night.” It was a particularly difficult, two-night shoot since they rehearsed it on a flat studio stage as opposed to the overlook’s sloping, irregular surface strewn with potholes. The viewpoint overlooks an historic filming location known as Sennett Canyon, named after silent comedy king Mack Sennett who shot many of his slapstick shorts here, and near the site of the climactic battle in D. W. Griffith’s 1915 The Birth of a Nation.
To reach this magical spot, which locals call “Cathy’s Corner,” park where Observatory Drive meets the Vermont Canyon Road Tunnel (the entrance to ToonTown in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and NORAD in War Games). Hike up Mt. Hollywood Drive for 2.2 miles, bearing left until you reach the crest. Then take the left fork to find the clearing on your left. Along the way, you may remember scenes from Back to the Future, The Blues Brothers, Mulholland Drive and Fast & Furious.
5. RIALTO THEATER, 1023 Fair Oaks Ave, South Pasadena
Gosling takes Stone to see James Dean’s Rebel Without a Cause at this 1925 theater, one of the last single-screen cinemas in Southern California. The Rialto has appeared in The Player, Scream 2 and Michael Jackson’s classic Thriller. Although it’s currently shuttered, plans are afoot to reopen the Rialto next year.
6. GRIFFITH OBSERVATORY, 2800 E. Observatory Rd, Griffith Park
Stone and Gosling waltz through the star-filled planetarium and beneath the rotunda mural. The building’s 1935 retro-futuristic architecture has appeared in Rebel Without a Cause, The Terminator, Devil in a Blue Dress, The Rocketeer, Bowfinger, Transformers and Gangster Squad, also starring Stone and Gosling. Later, the couple sits on a prop bench facing the landmark at the intersection of the Boy Scout Trail & Observatory Trail.
7. ANGELS FLIGHT & GRAND CENTRAL MARKET, 351 Hill Street & 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles
In a summer romance montage, Stone and Gosling discover the city, embracing and dancing alongside of L.A.’s iconic landmarks, including Griffith Park’s Fern Dell, Watts Towers and two DTLA must-sees: the 1917 Grand Central Market and the 1901 Angels Flight funicular, which has appeared in many movies over the years.
8. COLORADO STREET BRIDGE, 532 West Colorado, Pasadena
Stone and Gosling take a stroll on this graceful 1913 landmark in the “summer romance” montage. The 1,500-foot long span appears in many movies including Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid, Being John Malkovich and Sky High.
9. LIGHTHOUSE CAFÉ & HERMOSA PIER, 30 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach
Gosling introduces Stone to “pure jazz” at this old-school club dating back to 1949, a former haunt of Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. After their visit, Gosling strolls and sings “City of Stars” on the nearby pier. The club is open to all kinds of music today, not just jazz.
10. HARBOR FREEWAY OVERPASS, as seen from the Metro Station (MTA Green Line) at 11500 S. Figueroa at Imperial Highway
The off-camera Harbor Freeway Metro station offers your closest vantage point of the film’s 105-110 freeway overpass, site of the film’s “Another Day of Sun” opening production number.
11. JAR RESTAURANT, 825 Beverly Blvd, Beverly Grove
This trendy chophouse is the posh eatery where Stone runs out on a double date (she was sitting at Table #23). As the music swells, she flees west on Beverly Blvd and north on N. Harper Ave.
Other La La Land Landmarks: Sunset Strip’s Chateau Marmont, West Hills’ Orcutt Ranch (for Chateau Marmont’s interior), Miracle Mile’s El Rey Theater (for a John Legend performance), Café Club Fais Do-Do in mid-city (as a theater exterior), the Chinatown-adjacent Royal Pagoda Motel (Stone takes an important call), Long Beach’s Rose Tower Apartments (Emma Stone’s pad) and Blind Donkey Bar (as a jazz club towards the end of the film).