Perhaps no movie has inspired more interest in it’s filming locations over the past several years than the love letter to the City of Los Angeles, “La La Land.” The 2016 musical, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, filmed at a wide variety of locations all over the greater Los Angeles and Orange County areas. There are so many locations, in fact, one would be challenged to see them all in a single day.
The opening dance scene in traffic was filmed on the Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange, which connects the 110 and 105 freeways in Los Angeles. The scenes were shot on the express ramp, which requires a non-cash toll. The bus jump from “Speed” was also filmed on the same interchange when it was still under construction.
LOCATION: I-110 / I-105, Los Angeles, CA 90061
Mia, played by Emma Stone, works in a coffee shop on the Warner Bros. Studio lot. The real building is indeed located on the Warner lot, however, it is not actually a coffee shop. Rather it is just a building facade, used for any number of settings for productions, such as the toy store in “Small Soldiers.” After the success of the film, however, Warner Bros. did decorate the building again to make it appear as it did in the film, for a few select weeks. The building can be seen as part of their studio tour.
LOCATION: 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505
Mia lives at this pink apartment building in Long Beach, known as El Cordova.
LOCATION: 1728 E 3rd St, Long Beach, CA 90802
The production filmed inside of unit 16.
Mia exits through the courtyard to join her roommates for a dance number.
She and her roommates then dance on E 3rd Street in front of her apartment.
Later in the film, Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling, visits the apartment and picks up Mia at this back entrance to the building.
They then drive down this back alley.
Mia is walking alone past this famous mural in Hollywood, known as the “You Are A Star” mural, when she hears music inside. She enters to find Sebastian playing piano. The mural can be found at the corner of Hollywood Blvd and Wilcox Ave. It can also be seen in the 1999 film “8MM.”
LOCATION: 1648 Wilcox Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028
After reconnecting at a party, Sebastian walks with Mia along Mt Hollywood Drive towards the viewpoint where the film’s most famous scene takes place; the dance sequence over the night skyline.
A lot of creative license was used by the filmmakers here, as to get to the dance spot, the characters would’ve had to hike nearly an hour. The spot is known as “Cathy’s Corner” in Griffith Park and it requires a bit of commitment if you wish to see it in person.
LOCATION: Cathy’s Corner, Mt Hollywood Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027
There’s surprisingly little information online about how to accurately reach Cathy’s Corner. Here we’ll attempt to detail that. First and foremost, the spot is completely inaccessible by vehicle. It is found along a fully paved road, but the road is gated off in all directions from motor vehicles. Aside from park rangers, the road is primarily used by hikers and bicyclists. Many GPS systems will offer different routes to drive to Cathy’s Corner, but rest assured, you’ll only get so far before you’ll encounter signs or gates preventing you from proceeding any further by car.
The viewpoint is accessible a couple different ways on foot, but the best way to do it is by parking at the Griffith Observatory. The lot at the Observatory itself is almost always full. You’re unlikely to find a spot in the actual lot. However, you can park along East or West Observatory Road. Unfortunately, these are now paid parking spaces. There are a few free auxiliary lots, but those fill up quickly as well, plus they get you pretty far away from where you need to be to get to Cathy’s Corner. You shouldn’t have a difficult time finding a paid parking space on Observatory Road, unless you’re arriving at peak evening hours. Your best bet is to arrive early.
The easiest way to spot the trail head to reach Cathy’s Corner is to look for the tunnel when approaching Griffith Observatory. Most traffic to reach the Observatory passes through it. The tunnel was famously seen in Back To The Future Part 2, when Biff and Marty McFly (riding a hoverboard) fight over a sports almanac. The very first road on your right, once you pass through the tunnel, is where you will need to hike. It will either be gated off, or if the gates are open, a guard will be parked there, making sure no motorists attempt to drive up it. The road is freely accessible to pedestrians on foot or bike, however, and you’ll likely see a lot of both. You simply take that road for 2.2 miles to reach Cathy’s Corner.
It is a moderate hike. Much of it is uphill, but considering you can walk a paved road the entire way, as well as the fact that there are resting spots and a water fountain along the way, it’s certainly manageable for most. A couple bottles of water should suffice, unless it’s an extremely hot day.
If you use GPS for walking, it should be accurate from Griffith Observatory to Cathy’s Corner. The hike takes anywhere from 90 minutes to a couple hours round trip, depending on your foot speed. Cathy’s Corner can be found along a winding corner of Mt Hollywood Drive and should be distinct from all other corners for it’s skyline view. Contrary to some information online, you do not likely need to worry about traffic, snakes or mountain lions. It’s a heavily used trail on a paved road. Your biggest challenge will be to simply bring adequate hydration and know where you are headed. You can visit there at sunset or night, but you’ll likely have a difficult time finding a parking space.
Taking a closer look at the viewpoint, Sebastian hangs from a lamppost here, which was added by the production.
Sebastian and Mia then sit at a bench, which was located here. The bench was likewise added by the production.
After their famous dance routine, Sebastian walks Mia to her car, which is also located at Cathy’s Corner, simply looking the opposite direction as the scenic view. The production added cars and lampposts all along the road.
As a final tip to film location enthusiasts, a location from the David Lynch film “Lost Highway” can be found along the same trail, much closer to the Griffith Observatory.
Excited about their budding romance, Sebastian sneaks onto the Warner Bros lot to visit Mai at her workplace and the two take a stroll together down the studio backlot. This area was famously also seen on Pink Floyd’s album cover for “Wish You Were Here.”
LOCATION: 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505
The pair then go see a jazz show at the Lighthouse Cafe, near the Hermosa Pier in Hermosa Beach. The Lighthouse Cafe really is a jazz bar.
LOCATION: 30 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
Right next to The Lighthouse Cafe is the Hermosa Beach Pier, where Sebastian does a dance at sunset. Lampposts were added along the pier by the production. After the success of the film, the City of Hermosa Beach began hosting occasional special events at the pier celebrating the film, where they add temporary lampposts.
LOCATION: 1 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
The two watch “Rebel Without A Cause” at the Rialto Theater in South Pasadena. The theater has appeared in numerous other films, including “Scream 2” and “The Player.”
LOCATION: 1023 Fair Oaks Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030
After watching the movie, the couple makes an impromptu trip to the Griffith Observatory to check out the filming locations.
LOCATION: 2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Sebastian drives his convertible, with Mia in tow, down the sidewalk on the right.
They then dance around this pendulum inside the Observatory.
The two gaze up at this mural inside.
They also pause to take a look at this Tesla Coil.
During a romantic “summer” montage, the two can be seen walking along the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena.
LOCATION: 504 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105
The pair can also be seen visiting the Watts Towers. The Watts Towers have appeared in many films, including “Colors,” “Menace II Society,” “Ricochet,” “CB4,” “Good Times,” “Melinda” and more, as well as the TV shows “Six Feet Under,” “Dragnet,” “Southland,” “Dark Skies” and more.
LOCATION: 1727 E 107th St, Los Angeles, CA 90002
Sebastian and Mia can also be seen riding up Angels Flight in downtown Los Angeles. They dance together briefly at the top.
LOCATION: 50 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Directly across the street from Angels Flight is the Grand Central Market, where another scene in the montage takes place. A popular eating spot, Grand Central Market has appeared in many films, including “Color Of Night,” “City Of Angels,” “I Am Sam” and many more.
LOCATION: 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Mia walks past this motel as she tries to call Sebastion.
LOCATION: 995 N Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Later in the film, Mia, now a successful actress, can be seen staying at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood.
LOCATION: 8221 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90046
Near the end of the film, Mia accidentally stumbles upon Sebastian, who has opened his own jazz bar, called Seb’s. In reality, Seb’s was a combination of two film locations. The exterior is a Los Angeles bar known simply as Black.
LOCATION: 6202 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038
Here is the angle from the sidewalk seen in the film.
The interior is a bar far from Los Angeles, located in Long Beach, known as The Blind Donkey. After the success of the film, The Blind Donkey hosted an evening based around the film, where they once again dressed the space to appear as it did in the film.
Here is the stairway Mia walks down to enter the bar.
Here is the stage where Sebastian played his piano. In the actual bar, it’s just an enclosed seating area.
LOCATION: 149 Linden Ave Ste. B100, Long Beach, CA 90802
As many locations as we’ve covered here, there are still countless more seen in the film. We hope we have covered most of the highlights.