The Mythbusters may be no more, but you can still see the famed M5 Industries if you make it up to the Bay Area. Founded by former Mythbuster Jamie Hyneman in 1996, the building has served as a research and development lab, custom build shop, movie effects house and host to a variety of unusual projects, which were so famously documented during the run of Mythbusters. M5 served as the show’s primary headquarters, with Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman and the team occasionally attempting experiments in front of the building. Since the conclusion of the series in 2016, the shop is still operational, continuing to handle research and development for outside companies.
To visit the location in person, two things are striking. First, the building is quite small. The Mythbusters teams did in fact utilize other buildings at times during the run of the show, which may lead viewers to assuming M5 was much larger than it is. Secondly, the building is very inconspicuous. Even if you’re a fan of the show, unless you’re specifically looking for it, you could drive right by and not even notice it.
LOCATION: 1268 Missouri St, San Francisco, CA 94107
With the revival of David Lynch’s classic television drama, there is a lot of renewed interest in the filming locations of Twin Peaks. Here, we’ll take a look at the show’s iconic, opening shot, with the sign to the entrance of the fictitious town of Twin Peaks. You’ll have to head to Snoqualmie, WA to find it, taking a drive down Reinig Road. There you’ll find Mount Si, which doubles as the titular twin peaks.
You’ll need to drive with the Snoqualmie River facing your right-hand side, looking toward Mount Si to get the exact spot. It’s not too difficult to locate, as the sign was posted at a point in the road where there is a small shoulder on the right, which comes very close to the river. The shoulder makes it pretty identifiable and it should be recognizable once you see it. If you do make it to Snoqualmie, we highly recommend taking time to walk around the river and surrounding area, which is quite beautiful. Everything remains relatively untouched from how it appeared in the original run of the show.
LOCATION: SE Reinig Rd, Snoqualmie, WA 98065
The waterfall from the opening credits is Snoqualmie Falls. Though it may appear rural in the show, it’s actually very accessible and receives frequent pedestrian traffic. There is nearby parking available and a walking path right up to this viewpoint of the falls.
LOCATION: Snoqualmie Falls, 6501 Railroad Ave, Snoqualmie, WA 98065
In 2017, to celebrate the revival of the series, Showtime hosted a pop-up exhibition of the Double R Diner in Los Angeles. The pop-up lasted for one week and has long since closed. Inside, visitors could find merchandise from the show, memorabilia and even David Lynch’s coffee brand. The same spot was later used as a pop-up for the “Peach Pit” from “Beverly Hills, 90210.”
While once used a movie set, Spahn Ranch is mostly remembered for it’s notorious connections with the Manson Family during the late 1960s. It’s a unique and significant part of Californian and American history and we wanted to show it as it is today.
Located in Chatsworth, CA, about 30 miles north of Los Angeles near Simi Valley, you’ll find nothing more than empty land there these days. The property is currently part of Santa Susana State Historic Park, which is owned by the state of California and open to the public. Today, many joggers and bicyclists enjoy the scenic pass. This is what the land currently looks like.
Here is the same area, as seen from Santa Susana Pass.
The property was once located at 1200 Santa Susana Pass Road, but that address has long since been retired. Today, the location is most commonly identified by the large, rocky hill in the background. There is a private road, which starts at a nearby gated entrance and runs behind the former ranch, along the foot of the rocky hill, which is not state property or open to the public. That land belongs to the Rocky Peak Church, which also owns the land across the street. As long as you do not go on the private road or up the rocky hill, the rest of the land, which includes the full area in which the ranch stood, is part of the state park and you are welcome to access it. There is additional land down a steep embankment, which is not visible from the road, which is also part of the state park.
Another way to quickly spot the land is the Santa Susana State Park sign, which is located almost immediately in front of the former ranch. If you’re looking to get there by using an address, the closest would be that of the Rocky Peak Church in Chatsworth.
LOCATION: *Formerly 1200 Santa Susana Pass Rd, Chatsworth, CA 91311 (now defunct), nearest present address is 22601 Santa Susana Pass Rd, Chatsworth, CA 91311
If you visit the park, be sure to avoid parking anywhere on Santa Susana Pass, which has moderate to frequent traffic and does not allow parking. Instead, parking is available nearby on Iverson Road. You’ll see a large parking lot on the left on Iverson, which is property of the church and not available for public use. Parking on the right shoulder of Iverson Road, however, is permissible and available to the public.
Before we get into what can be seen there today, we’ll first discuss the history of the land. Santa Susana Pass began as a transportation trail between the settlements of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. By the 1860s, the trail had been expanded for the use of stage coaches. In 1897, a settler by the name of James Williams staked his claim to a section the land, part of which would eventually become Spahn Ranch. Silent film actor William S. Hart later bought the land and started using it to stable his horses, as well as using the ranch for movie productions. In 1948, the land was purchased by George Spahn. Spahn looked to continue to utilize the property as a movie and TV location and further developed the buildings, adding prop storefront signs, such as the “Longhorn Saloon” and the “Rock City Cafe.” Television series such as “Bonanza,” “The Lone Ranger” and “Zorro” all filmed at the ranch.
With the steady decline of the western genre, by the late 1960s, productions at the ranch had likewise diminished, with mostly low-budget, exploitation flicks filming there. Spahn began using the property primarily for families to take horseback rides around the nearby trails. He also staffed a ranch crew and a variety of mechanics for repairing cars (which included future Manson Family member Steve “Clem” Grogan). By 1967, the ranch had fallen into a state of disrepair. Manson Family member Sandra Good knew some of the mechanics at Spahn Ranch and would occasionally visit the property, eventually bringing Charles Manson with her during one of these visits. Manson immediately liked the site, due to it’s isolation, while still remaining adjacent to the greater population of Los Angeles County (the land is much closer to the freeways than you might expect).
By the time the Manson Family arrived at the ranch, George Spahn was 80 years old and blind. With his property in disrepair, Manson offered to have his group maintain the ranch, in exchange for free living quarters, which Spahn accepted. The Family then stole cars and would convert them into dune buggies, intending to take them to their other hideaway, Barker Ranch in Death Valley. Some of the cars are actually still located near Spahn Ranch, a bit further down Santa Susana Pass, where they were pushed down a steep canyon after they’d been stripped for materials.
In the summer of 1969, things reached a fever pitch at Spahn Ranch. The first significant step towards the Tate / LaBianca murders came when Manson Family member Charles “Tex” Watson arranged a drug deal with a pimp in Hollywood, only to rip him off. The pimp, known as Lotsapapa, called Spahn Ranch looking for “Tex,” but instead was put on the phone with Charles Manson, who was unaware of the situation up to that point. Lotsapapa threatened the Family and Watson’s girlfriend, which prompted Charles Manson to visit him in Hollywood, in an attempt to cool the situation. However, the situation instead escalated at the meeting, with Manson ultimately shooting Lotsapapa. Although Lotsapapa survived, Manson believed at the time that he had murdered him. After seeing news on the TV of an unrelated murder of a member of the Black Panther party, Manson mistakenly believed this to be Lotsapapa. Expecting retaliation from the Black Panthers, the Manson Family entered into a heightened state of paranoia and prepared for war at Spahn Ranch.
The next blow came when Bobby Beasoleil, a friend of the Family, murdered Gary Hinman. Bobby had sold some drugs to local bikers, who in turn claimed the drugs were bad and demanded their money back. Bobby had gotten the drugs from Gary Hinman, who insisted the bikers were lying and the drugs were good. With Bobby demanding money and Hinman refusing, the situation escalated, with members of the Family holding Hinman hostage in his house. Charles Manson paid a visit and threatened Hinman, slicing him with a sword. With other members of the Family present, Bobby Beasoleil eventually murdered Hinman. Soon after, Beasoleil was captured and arrested, which sent an already volatile Manson into further anger.
Just after the Beasoleil arrest, Manson Family members Sandra Good and Mary Brunner were also arrested for credit card fraud, after attempting to use stolen credit cards at a grocery store. With dead bodies accumulating, members of the Manson Family in jail and Manson himself believing he was a murderer and that others would soon come for them, be it the Panthers, police or others, Manson became enraged and ordered the first night of murders, which became the Tate murders. The women had suggested the murders be done to look like a copycat of the Hinman murder. Believing the women would not successfully carry out plans by themselves, Manson ordered Charles “Tex” Watson to lead them, insisting Watson owed him for Lotsapopa. It was at Spahn Ranch the murders were ordered and it was there the killers returned after the slayings.
Unhappy with the first night of murders, which Manson felt were not well-executed, he ordered a second night of random killings and went out himself, to show the others how its done. This lead to the LaBianca murders, although after he tied up the victims himself, Manson would leave back to Spahn Ranch, ordering the others to handle the killings instead.
Soon after, Spahn Ranch was raided by police, but not for the murders, which the police hadn’t yet connected to the Family. Instead it was for a car theft ring. Manson and others were all arrested at Spahn Ranch. However, all charges were later dropped after a clerical error on the date on the police warrant invalidated their raid and arrests. The Family then fled to Barker Ranch in Death Valley, where they were ultimately captured.
From here, we will cover a bit of what can be seen at the land today. First up is a view of the land where the ranch buildings used to stand. The entire area is much smaller than most people might expect. You can see the tree tops here, stemming up from the lower embankment, behind where the buildings once stood.
Here is a reverse view towards the street of Santa Susana Pass. The view of the road is obscured by overgrowth. It was towards the left where Manson Family member Susan Atkins posed barefoot on her toes in a pair of bell-bottom jeans, standing in the driveway near the mailbox at Spahn Ranch, for a well-known photograph. The famous photographs of the ranch itself were also taken from atop those rocks across the street.
Towards the left side of the land (right if you’re facing the road) was the last remaining artifact of the original ranch. A wildfire in 1970 burnt down all of the buildings, but remnants of the telephone pole survived the fires and it stood for decades, albeit somewhat hidden in the brush. We managed to capture it while it was still there, but as of 2021, it was taken by unknown persons and no longer stands at the grounds.
On the right side of where the ranch stood, you’ll find a trail, which leads down the embankment to the area behind the ranch. Be sure to wear proper clothing if you visit, as there is a lot of poison oak in the area, as well as possible rattlesnakes. Just keep a keen eye as you walk and these things can be avoided. As you make your way towards the lower area, you’ll come across this open area, where the 1969 exploitation film “The Ramrodder” shot scenes. The cast of the film included Bobby Beausoleil, as well as Manson Family member Catherine “Gypsy” Share.
Once you’ve reached the bottom of the lower embankment, the first thing you’ll see on your left is the location of the most famous photo of the Manson Family. Several Family members gathered under this small cave rock for a photograph for Life Magazine. As you see in the photo, the cave occasionally gets tagged with graffiti, but park rangers are usually quick to clean it off.
Just ahead on the right, you’ll see another location where members of the Family posed for Life Magazine, between these two trees, where a hammock was draped.
Charles Manson used to sit and play guitar on the large rock seen in the next photo. The rock has since been partially destroyed. It was here that Manson performed his audition for Terry Melcher.
There are many trees throughout the lower area, which are littered with bullet holes, where Charles “Tex” Watson and Charles Manson practiced firing guns.
There are, of course, many more sights to be found here, the deeper you dig into the history of the place. Countless books have been written about it. Our intention here is not a comprehensive breakdown, rather a broad overview. If you’d like to see footage of the ranch from when the Manson Family lived there, we recommend the Robert Hendrickson documentary “Manson,” which was nominated for an Academy Award, as well as his sister documentary, “Inside the Manson Gang,” which is mostly comprised of unused footage from the first film. If you’re considering a visit to the area, just be prepared by dressing appropriately and bringing plenty of water. You’ll find it mostly calm and quiet today, but there is obviously a great deal of infamy surrounding the area, so its not for everyone. We simply aim to acknowledge what happened here and show it as it is.
You may or may not know that you can see almost any television talk show for free. There are worse ways to spend an afternoon, if you’re curious to check one out. Just a warning, if you do, be prepared to endure long lines, sitting in waiting areas and a pretty fast taping, once you finally do get to the stage. The shows need to provide a lot of daily content, so it’s all done very efficiently and like clockwork. Just remind yourself it’s free.
If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you can check out Conan. The late night show tapes at the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, CA. One upside with Conan is he’s very interactive with the audience and feeds off every reaction they give him. While photography and video are not permitted during the taping of the show, you can see a shot at the stage from when the show was not taping.
LOCATION: 4000 Warner Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505
Upon arrival, you’ll wait with the event staff, where you can take pics with a couple Conan statues. There’s also a Conan merchandise stand.
Just outside of the show’s stage, you’ll find these life size Conan creations.
You’ll also get a glimpse of the Warner Bros. studio as you make your way to and from the stage, but it will be quite limited what you see. To check out the wide array of sets and props the lot has to offer, we’d recommend purchasing a studio tour pass.
While most of Stanley Kubrick’s classic 1980 film was shot on a studio lot in England, a couple of the film’s most iconic sites can actually be found as real locations.
Perhaps the most majestic opening credits sequence ever laid to film is also the most majestic film location we’ve ever personally visited. As Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, drives his family up the remote mountain road to the hotel, the aerial footage is breathtaking. Looking at it in person, however, is even more breathtaking.
The road in question is Going-To-The-Sun Road, located in Glacier National Park, Montana. There are a few entrances to get to the road. Those looking for the opening shot over the lake will want to head to the western banks of Saint Mary Lake entrance. You won’t have to drive far to begin to recognize the famous views.
Some advice for prospective visitors; leave early and plan to spend the day in the park. Going-To-The-Sun Road spans nearly 50 miles of winding, mountain road. It will take you hours, especially if you stop and soak in the many brilliant views to be seen, such as the glaciers, cascading waterfalls, towering mountains, beautiful wildflowers and active wildlife (you’ll likely encounter grazing, wild goats). We’d also recommend you visit during the summer months, as parts of the road may close in the winter months. There is an entrance fee into the park, but that’s nothing in comparison to what you get in return. Having traveled the United States many times over, in our opinion, we can comfortably say that we consider Going-To-The-Sun Road in Montana to be the crown jewel and the most beautiful, scenic drive the country has to offer.
This is the point of Saint Mary Lake where the opening shot takes place. It’s close to the St. Mary entrance of the road.
LOCATION: Going-To-The-Sun Rd, West Glacier, MT 59936 (inside Glacier National Park)
A view of the start of the winding road, which runs along the mountainside. The drive is fun and never felt particularly hazardous, as long as you drive safely and the weather conditions are optimal.
Another view of the lake, seen from the perspective of driving along the road.
And lastly, a view of the road from much higher up the mountain.
Moving on to the hotel itself, you’ll have to travel far away from the windy roads of Montana, out west to Oregon. The avoid confusion, there are actually three hotels widely associated with the fictional Overlook Hotel from the film. The first is the Stanley Hotel (located at 333 E Wonderview Ave., Estes Park, CO 80517). This is the hotel the novel’s author, Stephen King, stayed at, which inspired the story. King and his wife stayed in Room 217 in 1974 and were the sole, final guests of the season, before the hotel closed for the winter months. The empty corridors and lack of other guests helped inspire the author. In 2015, the Stanley Hotel added a maze outside, as an homage to the novel and film. The 1997 TV movie version of The Shining filmed at the Stanley Hotel.
The second hotel associated with the film is the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park, California. The interiors for this hotel inspired the set designs of the Kubrick version of the film. Those sets were built at Elstree Studios in England, while the real Ahwahnee Hotel was never seen in the actual film. As of 2016, due to a trademark dispute, the hotel has actually been renamed the Majestic Yosemite Hotel (located at 1 Ahwahnee Dr., Yosemite National Park, CA 95389).
The third hotel, the Timberline Lodge, is the sole hotel that was seen in the actual film. The exteriors provided the outside views of the Overlook Hotel. The Timberline Lodge can be found at Mount Hood in Oregon. It should be noted that only a few shots of the actual hotel are seen in the film, which are establishing shots. For all of the acted scenes, the production actually built a massive recreation of the Timberline Lodge just outside of their studios in England.
Here is a look at the back of the hotel.
LOCATION: 27500 E Timberline Road, Government Camp, OR 97028
Here’s a view of the front of the hotel, which is bustling with visitors, unlike the desolation seen in the film.
Moving on to a prop from the film, Jack’s axe from the film can be found at Planet Hollywood in Florida.
LOCATION: 1506 E Buena Vista Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
The majority of this ’90s staple was filmed in various studios around Los Angeles for the run of the series. A couple spots, however, can be found in the Chicago area.
The famous fountain in the show’s opening credits is Buckingham Fountain, located inside of Grant Park, Chicago. The fountain is quite large, bigger than you might expect if you’ve never seen it in person.
LOCATION: 501 S Columbus Dr, Chicago, IL 60605
The Bundy house can be found in a quiet neighborhood a bit north of Chicago, up in Deerfield, IL. It still pretty closely resembles how it appeared in the show.
LOCATION: 641 Castlewood Ln, Deerfield, IL 60015
Lastly, we leave you with Peggy Bundy’s costume from the show, as seen on the Sony Pictures Studio Tour.
Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2002 romantic drama, like many of his films, was shot largely around the Valley, north of Los Angeles, where the filmmaker grew up. However, some key sequences also took place in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The film begins at Eckhart Auto Body in Chatsworth, CA, where Barry, played by Adam Sandler, houses his offices. The owners are very friendly to fans of the film, so don’t hesitate to approach them if you visit.
LOCATION: 10101 Canoga Ave, Chatsworth, CA 91311
The view when Lena, played by Emily Watson, approaches and introduces herself.
Standing at the driveway, looking to your left out onto Canoga Ave, you’ll see the spot where the car crashes at the beginning of the film.
At the driveway entrance is where the harpsichord is dropped off.
Barry and Lana have dinner at this table at Le Petit Chateau in North Hollywood, which has since permanently closed. However, we were able to visit while it was still open. The specific table could be found through the main entrance, on the opposite side of the wall. There was a painting and plaque on the wall above the center of the table.
LOCATION: Le Petit Chateau, 4615 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91602
Barry excuses himself to the bathroom, where he quickly proceeds to destroy it, after Lana repeats an embarrassing story about him that his sister told her. The scene really was filmed inside the actual restaurant’s bathroom, which has changed only slightly since filming.
Barry is confronted by a staff member here and subsequently gets kicked out of the restaurant for destroying their bathroom.
Barry and Lana make their way out of the restaurant through this entrance way.
The couple then walks out of the restaurant, which is seen in a night shot.
Elsewhere in the the Valley, in Sherman Oaks, you’ll find Barry’s apartment.
LOCATION: 14926 Moorpark St, Sherman Oaks 91403
The reverse view out onto Moorpark St. is where Philip Seymour Hoffman’s thugs crash into Barry and Lana’s car.
Barry decides to travel to Hawaii to be with Lena. He is seen arriving at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu. These airport shots are provided courtesy of Christian Hernandez.
LOCATION: 300 Rodgers Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96819
The location immortalized on the movie poster is located on the beaches of Waikiki, Hawaii. The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is where Barry and Lena embrace for their kiss, with the backdrop of Waikiki behind them. Despite being a fairly upscale resort, access to the lobby is easily available to the general public. If you’re coming from Kalakaua Ave, the hotel is behind a large shopping plaza and housed on the beaches, right next to the Sheraton. Entry from the beach is also possible. Just make your way to the Mai Tai Bar of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel (same address as the hotel itself, only facing on the beach), which is where Barry and Lena enjoy a meal together in the film, with the band singing and the Diamond Head peak in the background at sunset. From there you can easily see and enter the hotel lobby where the pair kiss. There is no band performing at the real beach restaurant, in case you had your hopes up for that. It was added by the production.
LOCATION: Royal Hawaiian Hotel, 2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Lena’s hotel scenes, where she walks the hallways with Barry, were filmed at the Kahala Hotel & Resort. These Kahala Hotel shots are provided courtesy of Christian Hernandez.
LOCATION: 5000 Kahala Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816
Near the end of the film, Barry supposedly travels to Utah to confront Dean Trumbell at his mattress store. The real building can be found in Pamona.
LOCATION: 390 W Foothill Blvd, Pomona, CA 91767
Last, but not least, we leave you with a quick shot of Paul Thomas Anderson and Adam Sandler discussing the film.
The Doors are an iconic Los Angeles band and there are quite a few locations in Southern California closely tied to the band.
Lost in the decay of one of the more derelict areas of downtown Los Angeles sits the the former Morrison Hotel. In it’s heyday, the hotel was a place for transients, with rooms available at discounted rates. While the band originally asked permission to photograph on the premises, management declined. In typical Doors fashion, however, the band snuck inside anyways, when the clerk left the front desk. The famous cover photo was taken, without permission, on December 17, 1969.
Today, the building sits empty. However, just behind the boarded up doors and windows exists some wonderful architecture and the interior to one of the most famous album photographs of all time. Once a year, a pop-up event is held, which restores the place to looking like it did in it’s prime.
LOCATION: 1246 South Hope St, Los Angeles, CA 90015
Over in Laurel Canyon, you’ll find the house where Jim Morrison lived with his girlfriend and penned the song “Love Street,” about Rothdell Trail and the surrounding neighborhood. Morrison would sit out on the balcony and watch hippies outside, which is where the song title is derived.
LOCATION: 8021 Rothdell Trail, West Hollywood, CA 90046
Located right beside the Jim Morrison house is the Canyon Country Store. The store is referred to specifically in “Love Street” as “this store where the creatures meet.” At the height of the 1960s counterculture movement, the Canyon Country Store served as a meeting place for musicians, such as Joni Mitchel, David Crosby and Mama Cass Elliot, all of whom penned songs about the neighborhood, with the latter even living in the basement of the store for a period. The store is still open today and remains a popular spot for locals.
LOCATION: 2108 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90046
The Doors famously served as the house band at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, until they were fired after performing the spoken word section of their song “The End.” The Whisky remains an active music venue.
LOCATION: 8901 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069
Hidden away in the rural Iowa countryside, you’ll find an oasis for movie lovers; the Field of Dreams. Today, the house and field, still owned by the same family as when filming took place, is operated as a tourist attraction, with business hours and a gift shop. Visitors are even welcome to play baseball on the actual field from the film. Prospective visitors should take note, however, that the field is closed during the winter months, with visitation season limited to April through November.
LOCATION: 28995 Lansing Rd., Dyersville, IA 52040
Upon arrival, you’ll see this sign for the property.
The house from the film, along with the gift shop, which was constructed in the style of the barn in the background.
A closer look at the gift shop, which sells lots of merchandise related to the film, ranging from clothing to cups to baseballs. The shop is operated by the property owners, who are happy to chat with you about the film and the site.
A closer look at the farm house from the film, which now has the name of the film added onto the picket fence. Visitors were not permitted to enter the house at the time we visited, but the property owners have since changed that policy and opened up the house up to paid tours.
The house and the bleachers.
A closer look at the bleachers, which really are the originals from the film.
And of course, the baseball field. The field was constructed for the film, with the lights still in tact. What was not there at the time of our visit, however, was the corn field, which was actually grown by the production. However, since that time, the property owner have once again grown corn fields on the property, to more closely resemble the film. As stated before, visitors are welcome to play baseball on the field, if you want to add that item to your bucket list. Be sure to bring your own equipment, however, if you want to play and be prepared to possibly wait awhile for your turn, as the field receives a steady amount of visitors.
A sign on the site, with a history of the property, photos and trivia about the film.
The back of the sign, with more photos and trivia.
The site remains unique amongst film locations, due to the mystique and magic of the film itself. Traveling into rural Iowa to stand in person at this site, which so closely resembles the way it looked in the film, really does feel like stepping into a movie. It’s not heaven, it’s Iowa… and people will come indeed.
A bit removed from the touristy beaches of Honolulu, on the outskirts of downtown, you could find the HQ of Dog The Bounty Hunter. The offices and front window remained nearly identical to how they appeared on the show until January 2019, when new owners purchased the building. It is sadly now set for demolition and redevelopment.
LOCATION: 1381 Queen Emma St, Honolulu, HI 96813
Literally right around the corner, just a few steps down on Vineyard St, you could find the Dog the Bounty Hunter gift shop, which housed more Dog apparel than you knew existed. This too closed in January 2019 and is set for demolition.