Location Scouting: Northern California Film Locations To Add to Your To-Do List

Location Scouting: Northern California Film Locations To Add to Your To-Do List

By Oliver Jenkyns March 02, 2020

As communities across the world and in California mitigate health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, we are shifting our content strategy and will not encourage any travel or social activities during this time.  We will, however, continue to shine a light on and celebrate the many beautiful aspects of our State with the intention of being a source of inspiration and joy during this difficult period. We will also be providing tips and resources specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic safety measures in the coming weeks. Thank you for reading, and stay safe!

When you think of film locations, you probably go straight to the man-made movie sets in Hollywood. But the fact is, many of the most popular movies and TV shows were filmed (at least in part) in Northern California. With iconic landmarks such as San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, lush forests like Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park’s Fern Canyon, and thousands of unique towns to explore north of Los Angeles, you won’t want to limit your location scouting road trip to Southern California

Northern California Movie Locations

San Francisco is home to several popular film and TV locations such as Oracle Park, which is depicted in San Andreas and Fuller House.

1. Oracle Park, San Francisco

Appears in: Silicon Valley, San Andreas, Fuller House
Also visit: The Painted Ladies at 1709 Broderick Street (a.k.a. the Full House house) as well as Pier 43 and the Financial District, which both appeared in San Andreas.

2. Forest Hill MUNI Station, San Francisco

Appears in: Milk, Dirty Harry

3. Oakland Coliseum, Oakland

Appears in: Moneyball

4. Musée Mécanique, San Francisco

Appears in: The Princess Diaries
Also visit: Mia’s house at 724 Brazil Avenue and her high school (Anthony R. Grove High School) at 2601 Lyon Street.

Big Little Lies fans will immediately recognize the famous stretch of coastline that serves as the backdrop for the acclaimed HBO TV series.

5. Bixby Bridge, Monterey

Appears in: Big Little Lies
Also visit: Big Little Lies filming locations throughout Monterey and Big Sur, including Garrapata State Park, Carmel River State Beach, Del Monte Beach, Lovers Point Park, Old Fisherman’s Wharf, and Monterey Bay Aquarium.

6. Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Appears in: Jurassic Park
Also visit: Jurassic Park filming locations throughout the state, including Patrick’s Point State Park and the forested areas north of Eureka.

7. Redwood National Park, Orick

Appears in: Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi 

8. The Paramount Theatre, Oakland

Appears in: Who Framed Roger Rabbit

One of the most iconic scenes from Mrs. Doubtfire was filmed in the East Bay town of Danville. Photo courtesy of The Travel.

9. Bridges Restaurant, Danville

Appears in: Mrs. Doubtfire
Also visit: The Claremont Hotel and Spa in Berkeley; KTVU Fox 2, located at 2 Jack London Square in Oakland; and the family home at 2640 Steiner Street in San Francisco.

10. Posey Tube, connecting Oakland and Alameda

Appears in: The Matrix: Reloaded
Also visit: The Financial District to scope out filming locations for Matrix 4.

Want to visit even more film locations? Check out the following movie places and TV locations: 

  • Steve Jobs film locations include San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House and Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall
  • Some scenes from The Incredible Hulk were shot on Treasure Island and at the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley
  • See Oakland’s Fentons Creamery from Up 
  • View Lombard Street, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Ferry Building as depicted in Inside Out
  • Pier 14, the Bay Bridge, Union Square, and Market Street appear in Terminator: Genisys.  

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