Westworld

The early seasons of the TV series “Westworld” were largely shot around various western movie ranches in Southern California, with additional vistas shot in Utah and Arizona.  However, as the series narrative expanded, production followed suit, filming in places like Singapore and Spain.

One of the most heavily used locations in the series is Melody Ranch in Newhall, California.  Melody Ranch is private property, inaccessible to the general public most of the time.  However, unbeknownst to most, it does in fact offer tours, with the caveat being that no tours occur whenever active production is taking place on the ranch.  The challenge is the fact that production is almost always taking place there.  So opportunities for the general public to see it are rare and not something you can plan much in advance.  You simply need good timing or a lot of persistence.

Endless productions have taken place at the ranch over the years, including “Deadwood,” “Django Unchained,” “Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood,” “Peaky Blinders” and many more.  It’s a utopia for movie lovers, so if you ever get a chance to visit, we highly recommend it.

Here are the train tracks at Melody Ranch, where park visitors first arrive.  In the show, CGI was added to make it appear the train was rolling in from an open, Western landscape.

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LOCATION: 24715 Oakcreek Ave, Newhall, CA 91321

In a repeating scene, Teddy, played by James Marsden makes his way through this area, into the main street of Sweetwater.  The android hosts play out scenes and stories in which they are programmed to perform.

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Here is a look further down the main street of Sweetwater.

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The Mariposa Saloon is one of the central locations of the early seasons of the show.  Maeve Millay, played by Thandie Newton, works as the brothel madam there, helping visitors indulge in their fantasies.   The same building was used as The Bella Union in the TV series “Deadwood.”  The front boardwalk is also seen in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood,” when Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters are interviewed on a western set.

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This interior view of the Mariposa Saloon should be quite familiar to fans of the show, as it’s one of the most prominently featured locations in the series.  Many scenes take place in front of the bar.  The same interior was seen in the film “Django Unchained.”

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Here’s some additional looks at the inside of the Mariposa Saloon.

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Here are some views of the upstairs.

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Teddy first meets Dolores, played by Evan Rachel Wood, in front of this building.  This is another scene that repeats over and over on the show and where Dolores typically ties her horse up when she visits the town.

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Here’s an alternate angle of the same location, with the Mariposa Saloon a few buildings down on the right.

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Here’s a couple additional shots of Melody Ranch, seen in various shots in the show.

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Outside of the park is the Delos corporate headquarters, built inside a large mesa.  Quite a number of different locations were used as a composite of Delos.  Many of the lab scenes were built on sound stages at Melody Ranch.

As the hosts begin to show signs of malfunctioning, Bernard, played by Jeffrey Wright, heads down to sub-level 84 accompanied by security.  This is the cold storage area where the defective hosts are stored in the nude.  These scenes were filmed at the former Hawthorne Plaza Shopping Center.  The plaza has been abandoned for years, with on-again, off-again plans for demolition.  In the meantime, it has become a popular spot for filming and photography.  It has been seen in such films at “Gone Girl,” “Minority Report” and “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift,” as well as the TV series “Too Old To Die Young.”  The building is closed to the public and regularly patrolled by security, so unless you have permission from the city or someone filming, it is trespassing to enter the grounds.  It is a popular spot for abandon building enthusiasts, however, and quite a few people have managed to sneak inside over the years.

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LOCATION: 12124 Hawthorne Blvd, Hawthorne, CA 90250 (closed to the public)

The Mesa Gold Resort is another area where guests and staff can relax outside of the park.  We first see the area when Theresa talks with Lee about the hosts, but the location pops up repeatedly throughout the series.  These scenes were filmed at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.  Quite a lot of visual effects were added.  In the show, the characters are seen overlooking a beautiful western vista.  As you can see in the photos, the actual location faces the side of a hill.  The vistas composited into the shot were filmed in Utah.

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LOCATION: 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90049

The area of Skirball seen in the show is known as Taper Courtyard.  The building is open to the public, but there is an admission price, as there are many exhibits on display.

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In the first episode, one of the hosts goes on a killing spree in the Mexican border town Las Mudas, drinking milk as he kills.  This scene was filmed at what many people refer to as the Veluzat Movie Ranch.  However, the ranch has since changed its name to the Melody Ranch Studio Backlot.  It is owned by the same family who owns the Sweetwater sets, although it’s an entirely different location and backlot.  To make matters more confusing, right next to the Veluzat Backlot in Santa Clarita sits the Diamond V Movie Ranch.  This is owned by other members of the family, but not the same ones as those who own Melody Ranch and the Melody Backlot (a.k.a. Veluzat Movie Ranch).  People often mistake Diamond V and Veluzat Ranch as being one in the same, but they are two separate properties with different ownership.

While perhaps not quite as well known as Melody Ranch in Newhall, the Melody Backlot is actually larger.  To get to the ranch, you make a turn from Copper Hill Drive.  There is a very unassuming dirt road there (GPS coordinates: 34°27’36.5″N 118°30’32.0″W).  If you follow the long dirt road, you’ll sure enough arrive at the ranches.  However, a locked fence is at the entrance and you can proceed no further without permission of the owners.  The good news, however, is that the ranch is available for public tours.  You must book by appointment only and if productions are in active progress, that may inhibit their availability.

The ranch was also featured in Rob Zombie’s “3 From Hell” and “House of 1,000 Corpses,” as well as such films as “Dante’s Peak,” Friday the 13th: Part III,” “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter,” “Last Man Standing,” “Chaplin” and many more.  It was also featured in the TV series “The Young Pope.”

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LOCATION: Melody Ranch Studio Backlot (a.k.a. Veluzat Movie Ranch), Forest Rte 5N28, Santa Clarita, CA 91390 (GPS coordinates: 34°29’03.5″N 118°30’25.1″W)

In the first episode, Arnold later arrives with security to inspect the malfunctioning host.

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Las Mudas appears numerous times over the course of the series.  The Man in Black, played by Ed Harris, searches for the elusive maze, killing anyone in his path, while Dolores arrives in the aftermath.

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The Man in Black ties Teddy to a tree on the outskirts of the park.  These scenes were filmed at the iconic Vasquez Rocks.  Films which shot scenes at Vasquez Rocks include “Dante’s Peak,” “Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back,” “Hail, Caesar!,” “Blazing Saddles,” “Paul,” “Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey” and dozens more.  Television shows which featured Vasquez Rocks in episodes include “The Fugutive,” “The A-Team,” “MacGuyver” and perhaps most famous of all, the original “Star Trek” series, where the rocks were seen in numerous episodes, serving as multiple different planets.

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LOCATION: 10700 Escondido Canyon Rd, Agua Dulce, CA 91350

Logan, played by Ben Barnes, takes Dolores and William, played by Jimmi Simposon, to the town of Pariah.  These scenes were actually filmed on the Universal Studios Hollywood Backlot.  The Mexican themed sets can be seen as part of their studio tour.

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LOCATION: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

Logan attacks Dolores and a massacre takes place on a Confederate soldier campground.  These scenes were filmed at the Blue Cloud Movie Ranch in Santa Clarita.  This same area was seen in the film “Iron Man.”  Blue Cloud Movie Ranch very rarely offers public tours, but it does happen once in awhile.  The staff there is quite friendly if you do make it there.

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LOCATION: 20019 Blue Cloud Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91390

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Another major location in the first season is the town of Escalante.  An early testing site for the park, Dolores has visions of a massacre there.  This white church was featured prominently in the show, with a large steeple added by the production.  These scenes were filmed at the “Paramount Ranch.”  Paramount Ranch is unusual in that it is managed by the National Parks Service and is public property.  Even though the sets were frequently used for filming, the productions could not close the area to public visitation.  So visitors were free to roam the grounds any time during open park hours.

Paramount Ranch has also made notable appearances on such TV shows as “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” “The X-Files” and “Carnivàle.”  Countless films likewise shot at the ranch, including “Reds,” “The Flintsones in Viva Rock Vegas,” “Bone Tomahawk,” “The Great Outdoors,” “American Sniper” and many more.

Unfortunately in November 2018, the ranch fell victim to wildfires and nearly every building was burnt to the ground.  However, plans have been announced to rebuild the sets.  One of the few to survive the fires was the church set.

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LOCATION: 2903 Cornell Rd, Agoura Hills, CA 91301 (now mostly demolished, but being rebuilt)

Here is a look inside the church.

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The climax of Season 1 takes place at this saloon and gazebo, with Dr. Robert Ford, played by Anthony Hopkins and Dolores causing a chaotic scene.  These structures were all destroyed by fires, but we were thankfully able to visit Paramount Ranch prior to the destruction.

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“Shogun World,” an alternate park attraction, is introduced in the second season of the show.  This too was filmed at Melody Ranch.  Much of the sets still stand, which were a combination of new designs and re-purposing of existing sets to give them an ancient Asian appearance.

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Here is a quick look inside one of the Shogun World buildings.

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The house of Bernard can be found in Pasadena.  Seen in the second season, the home is known as the Millard House.  This is the back of the property, which is private and not available for tours.  Unlike what is depicted in the show, the home is not on a hilltop.  It is instead located in the middle of a neighborhood.  This back area is surrounded by fencing, but from certain spots on the sidewalk, you can still catch a glimpse.

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LOCATION: 645 Prospect Crescent, Pasadena, CA 91103

Ashley Stubbs, played by Luke Hemsworth, stays at the Pink Motel in Sun Valley in Season 3.  Bernard crosses the back of the property past the empty pool to visit Ashley.  The motel is never seen from the front, as its retro look is not in keeping with the show’s aesthetic.  The Pink Motel is not an operational motel, rather a set used for filming or special events.  According to many comments online, the property is not receptive to public visitation these days, preferring only professional clients.  The motel property has been featured in countless productions, including “The House Bunny” and “Drive” (interiors only), as well as the TV shows “GLOW,” “Dexter” and “The O.C.”

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LOCATION: 9457 San Fernando Rd, Sun Valley, CA 91352

In Season 3, Dolores and Caleb, played by Aaron Paul, are pursued by Serac’s men into Grand Lower in Downtown L.A.  This is a popular area for both filming and photography.  It has been featured in countless films, including “The Terminator,” “Demolition Man,” “Cobra,” “Batman Forever,” “Repo Man” and many more.

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LOCATION: Grand Lower, Los Angeles, CA 90071

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The chase then proceeds to upper S Grand Ave, directly above Grand Lower.

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LOCATION: S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071 (near 340 S Grand Ave)

Caleb fires a specialized weapon, which shoots into the air, then back down, exploding a car directly in front of The Broad Museum.

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LOCATION: 221 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Late into Season 3, Caleb learns about his history, as him and his partner stage an attack.  The two are walking past the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain in Grand Park in Downtown L.A., with City Hall in the background.

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LOCATION: Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain, Los Angeles, CA 90012

They walk towards the John Ferraro Building and carry out their attack.  A futuristic city skyline was added in behind the building.

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LOCATION: 111 N Hope St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

In the final episode of Season 3, William asks for his money while riots ensue just outside.  This scene was filmed at the famed Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown L.A.  The hotel is a staple of film, having appeared in such movies as “Ghostbusters,” “Beverly Hills Ninja,” “Independence Day” “Fight Club” and many more.

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LOCATION: 506 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071

At the end of Season 3, Bernard and Ashley Stubbs hide away at a motel.  These scenes were filmed at the Sierra Pelona Motel in Santa Clarita.  The motel was also used in “The Grifters,” the 2002 Britney Spears film “Crossroads” and the TV series “Too Old To Die Young.”

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LOCATION: 12117 Sierra Hwy, Santa Clarita, CA 91390

It is no easy task keeping up with the “Westworld” filming locations.  Many of the early season scenes were shot on private ranches, which are difficult, but not impossible to be seen by the public.  Later seasons went global, meaning you have to be well traveled if you hope to visit them all.  TV shows are often a challenge, due to the volume of locations.  Our photographs were taken over a period of years and some of these sets and locations have been scarcely seen outside of the show, so we hope you enjoy the areas we could showcase.

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