First day in LA: Tracking down some movie locations

Great view over LA from the Griffith Park Observatory

Great view over LA from the Griffith Park Observatory.  It’s rumoured that at least one mountain lion roams the vast plains.  it was too hot to do much hiking on the day I went, so no lion sightings to report.

As somebody who can’t sit through anything filmed in London without having to tell anyone who will listen exactly which street it is, what’s nearby, what’s been replaced by what now, etc, etc, then LA clearly could keep me busy for years. Everywhere you go there is a reminder of a scene from a film or TV series.

My first day in Los Angeles I went to Griffith park.


Griffith Park came out top for filming locations (meaning more filming permits were issued for Griffith park than any other place in LA over the past year). This is probably due to the variety of different terrain that you can find here, suitable for all kinds of features.


Observatory, famously featured in James Dean’s Rebel without a cause

James Dean

James Dean

Another thing about the Griffith Observatory: there are good views of the Hollywood sign.


Originally a real estate advertisement reading ‘Hollywoodland’ the sign has seen a suicide of a young starlet who plunged to her death by jumping from the ‘H’. It also battled a termite attack and spent much of the 1970s missing an ‘o’.

You can hike up the hill and get a little closer, but it was too hot for me.  Plus I really didn’t fancy climbing the hill just to do battle with a hundred selfie sticks.


On the way home I stopped off at the Las Palmas hotel in Las Palmas avenue to look at another film location.

Any ideas?

Any ideas?



Well right at the end of the movie Pretty woman, when Richard Gere turns up with a bunch of flowers to ‘rescue’ Julia Roberts from her life of debauchery, this was where she was living.  Ahhh, sweet.  Because all us girls just want to be rescued, right?

8 replies »

    • Ah I always hated that ending, i thought it was a cop-out. I’m not a child anymore I don’t need happy-ever-after endings on films. But I recognised the building as soon as I found it.

  1. Really enjoy your posts and this one is no exception. Vancouver, my home town, is often called Hollywood North because many, many LA productions come north for the beneficial exchange rate on their dollar, not to mention the professional film crews. So when I watch films I often see Vancouver standing in for many big American cities, which can be bizarre sometimes.

    • Oh I didn’t now about Vancouver. I know they do a lot of filming in South of Spain; same varied landscape and a lot of sunshine, yet cheaper.
      I think it’s mainly the other way round though, and LA becomes whatever city they need. There’s a street in the downtown that has been Tokyo, London and New York.
      I went to Paramount studio yesterday. They did Fraiser there and just had a big screen of Seattle outside the window.

      • Film production has gone global to take advantage of monetary fluctuations as production companies realize there are film professionals in many locations other than LA. Right now the Canadian dollar is at a low at about 76 cents so an American production can save millions shooting in Vancouver. Plus it’s a quick plane ride for directors, producers, etc.

  2. Hi Sarah

    No, I do not need to be rescued thank you very much! I am like you, in the real world. Hollywood looks amazing. I did not know about the James Dean statue and I would like to see that as well. I always see LA as a very superficial place with a dark underbelly that no one wants to talk about. I guess films like Pretty Woman just cover over these cracks. I mean just de-construct that film. Really? Nah, not even in Hollywood would that happen.

    Safe travels my friend and oh I have blue skies today as well so thanks for sending them to me xx

    • I always enjoyed the Pretty Woman movie; I think it’s an easy feel-good film. It’s just the ending I always hated, which turn it into a formulaic rom-com. But still enjoyed seeing places where these things were filmed.
      You’re right about LA and that is how it is; glitzy on the outside and somewhat seedy on the inside. But I met some fascinating characters. You should definitely put it on your list.

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