April 02, 2021
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Looking for famous movie locations to visit? Los Angeles isn’t the only place. California is home to a myriad of filming locations. Unique buildings, historical landmarks, and iconic streets make the Golden State easily recognizable as a movie location. Find out where Hollywood classics were filmed and rewatch the movie before paying a visit to their filming locations.
Iconic Filming Locations in California
Two Pines Chapel
Also known as the Kill Bill Church, Two Pines Chapel is famous for its appearance in Quentin Tarantino’s blood-filled action film. At this filming location found in Lancaster, assassins crash the pregnant bride’s wedding, turning the celebration into a massacre. Surrounded by farms and ranches, this Spanish-style church makes for a scenic backdrop. The solitary Joshua tree adds to the ominous vibe. The chapel is also featured in Crossroads and True Confessions.
Hotel del Coronado
There’s no better place to imitate Florida (without all the classic Florida humidity) than Coronado. That’s why Hotel del Coronado was chosen as the setting for the ‘50s rom-com Some Like It Hot. The castle-like Victorian building along with the charming coastline fits perfectly into the movie. Other movies filmed here include My Blue Heaven, K-9, and Daydream Hotel.
Alfred Hitchcock knew what he was doing when he picked out the most thrilling filming locations in California. Overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, the beautiful brick building of Fort Point is surrounded by the crashing waves of the Pacific. This is where Madeleine Elster leaps into the bay in the Hitchcock classic Vertigo. Fort Point has also been featured in High Anxiety, Dark Passage, and Point Blank.
Gorgeous filming locations in the Golden State
The Lake Britton Bridge
In the wilderness of Shasta County hides an iconic horror movie filming location—the Lake Britton Bridge. This beautiful movie location became iconic after being featured in the 1986 film Stand By Me. Based on Stephen King’s novel, Stand By Me tells a story of four young boys searching for a local teenager’s body. Secluded among the tall ominous pines, the bridge was the perfect backdrop for the spine-chilling scenes.
From luscious gardens to mountainous landscapes, Simi Valley is a favorite spot for movie producers. Owning up to most of the movies filmed in Ventura, CA, Simi Valley has served as the backdrop for many flicks. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Men in Black, The Big Lebowski, and the action-packed Captain Marvel were all filmed here. The notorious house from the cult classic Poltergeist is also located in Simi Valley.
Winchester Mystery House
Ask anyone about movies filmed in San Jose, CA, and they’ll tell you that the Winchester Mystery House is the most popular location. The mansion creates an eerie atmosphere in every film featured.
The movie Winchester—starring Helen Mirren—tells the story of how the house became one of the most terrifying places in the world. While grieving the deaths of her husband and child, heiress Sarah Winchester built a mansion that’s allegedly haunted. The 2018 film Project Dead Zone also used the Winchester Mystery House as its primary filming location.
Famous Filming Locations in Los Angeles
Los Angeles Union Station
Los Angeles Union Station is one of the most famous SoCal filming locations. Ridley Scott’s futuristic thriller Blade Runner and Spielberg’s crime drama Catch Me If You Can were filmed in this gorgeous location. This filming location in Los Angeles showcases architecture that’s anything but plain. Luxurious chandeliers, tall half-moon windows, and gorgeous marble floors cover the area. Name any era and Union Station can make it work—the movie location in Los Angeles is easily transformable.
Pink Motel rose to stardom after being featured in a number of movies. The Los Angeles filming location has made appearances in Drive, The House Bunny, Grease 2, and The Whole Ten Yards. Sun Valley’s infamous motel has a vibrant facade—its neon sign sets it apart from every other roadside motel. With many producers opting for this spot, Pink Motel has become one of the most famous movie locations in Los Angeles. The vivid hues of this last-century building give off an authentic 80’s vibe—the perfect setting for the Netflix series Glow.
Nestled atop a landscaped estate, the Greystone Mansion has long been a popular filming location in Los Angeles. The perfectly trimmed English gardens of the Tudor-style mansion were the ideal set-up for the 2006 movie The Holiday. Visit the Christmas classic’s filming location and tour the historic estate. The Greystone Mansion was also featured in X-Men, Eraserhead, The Social Network, and The Prestige.
Palm Springs Filming Locations
Also known as the Frank Sinatra House, Twin Palms is perhaps the most stunning Palm Springs filming location. Designed by E. Stewart Williams, Twin Palms is the perfect example of desert modernism. The gorgeous estate was the true star of The Damned Don't Cry—a 1950 film noir crime-drama. The piano-shaped pool makes a cameo appearance at the end of the film.
Our Lady of Solitude Church
Our Lady of Solitude Church stole our hearts in Steven Soderbergh’s biographical drama Behind the Candelabra. While popping up only once, the church sets the mood for one of the most touching moments in the film. Both the exterior and interior of Our Lady of Solitude Church were used in the film.
Filming Locations in San Francisco
2640 Steiner Street
2640 Steiner Street is where Mrs. Doubfire and the Hillard family made us laugh and cry. This Thanksgiving classic starring Robin Williams and Sally Field is one of the most heartwarming stories. The S.F. filming location is instantly recognizable—the famous brick steps, amazing glasswork, and classic interior are not to be missed. Decades after being featured in Mrs. Doubtfire, this timelessly beautiful house still flatters the eye.
If you’ve ever wanted to feel like Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries, head over to the Musée Mécanique with a pocket full of coins. The museum is one of the coolest filming locations in Northern California. It's also the setting where Mia introduces her grandmother to corndogs and persuades her to play an arm-wrestling game. Step into Julie Andrews’ shoes and wrestle the same arm that Queen Clarice did for only a quarter.
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