13 Los Angeles Locations Every 'La La Land' Fan Should Visit
At this point, it’s become cliche to say that a city plays a character in certain films. But, then again, not every film spends as much time running around a city as “La La Land.”
The hit movie, which has already been nominated for over 140 awards—including seven Golden Globes—dedicates as much time showing off the city of Los Angeles as it does to the love story between its two main characters, Mia and Sebastian.
“The way the film mixes two people leading very hip, modern lives with all these iconic Hollywood locales is unique,” Marc Platt, producer for the film, said in a statement. “You get a feeling both of the romantic fantasy of the city and its grounding in real lives.”
The film was a whirlwind around the city of angels; It was shot at 48 locations in just 42 days.
Here are 11 of the locations featured in the film that should be on any “La La Land”-inspired itinerary.
Griffith Park spreads over 4,300 acres, which gives Mia and Sebastian plenty of room to bust out the showstopper “A Lovely Night.” The dance was recorded (in one take!) at a spot in the park called “Cathy's Corner,” just off Mt. Hollywood Drive.
Since 1949, the Hermosa Beach jazz club has hosted famous figures. Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Art Blakey and Cannonball Adderley all performed at the club in their time. Sebastian frequents the club and it’s the first place he takes Mia when she says she doesn’t like jazz.
No visit to Los Angeles is complete without taking in the Pacific Ocean. Before visiting, learn all of Sebastian’s moves to “City of Stars” and then waltz up and down the pier while singing on your own.
Colorado Street Bridge
The bridge that spreads over Pasadena was the world’s highest concrete bridge when it was completed in 1913. Today it offers visitors fantastic views of the city, best enjoyed at sunset.
To pay homage to “Rebel Without a Cause,” filmmakers decided to have Mia and Sebastian spend a night roaming the planetarium. But because filming is prohibited inside the planetarium itself is prohibited, they were forced to recreate the space on a set. However, there’s no rule about visitors dancing inside the planetarium, so feel free to recreate your favorite moves inside.
Although the funicular has been closed since 2013 due to a derailment, filmmakers got permission to use it for one day of shooting. The railway dates back to 1901 and many are actively working to bring it back into public use.
Grand Central Market
Although the market only makes a brief appearance as the location for one of Mia and Sebastian’s first dates (they stop by Sarita's Pupuseria for Salvadorean food), it has quickly become a Los Angeles staple. The open-air market features stalls with plenty of Mexican and Chinese options, alongside trendier options like Eggslut.
While touring Los Angeles, Mia and Sebastian stop at Watts Tower, a gigantic metal sculpture which took one Italian immigrant 33 years to build (1921 to 1954). Today the tower hosts events like the Day of the Drum Festival and the Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival
The SmokeHouse restaurant goes by the name Lipton’s in the film, where Sebastian has a gig playing holiday tunes. The restaurant is located right across the street from Warner Bros. and has thus been a Hollywood favorite since it opened in 1946.
Nothing has ever made audiences wish they were stuck in traffic quite like “La La Land”’s opening scene. Film crew shut down the ramp where Interstate 105 connects to Interstate 110 for two days to shoot the impeccably-choreographed and colorful first scene.
Mia and Sebastian head to the opulent theatre for a screening of another classic LA film, Rebel Without a Cause. It was built in 1925 and gained a spot on the National Register of Historic Places for its elaborate and eclectic architectural features. Unfortunately the Rialto closed in 2007 and now only opens for special occasions.
Few L.A. addresses announce the arrival of a new star as clearly as the Chateau Marmont. Whether you swing by the Bar Marmont for a drink or book a room for a stay in Hollywood, take a tip from Mia when you’ve decided that it’s your moment to shine.
Warner Bros. Studios
Every celebrity has those funny list of jobs they worked before they made it big. For Mia, it was a coffee shop on the Waner Bros. Lot. Although the filming location was not a real coffee shop, visitors can take a tour of the lot and get behind the scenes of their favorite Hollywood fantasies.