Tangerine (2015)

Sean Baker’s 2015 film “Tangerine” made waves at the Sundance Film Festival for being shot entirely with iPhones.  The film depicts the life of a transgender Los Angeles prostitute, Sin-Dee, played by Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, as she discovers her boyfriend and pimp has been cheating on her.

The opening scene, as well as later scenes, were filmed at the former Donut Time on Santa Monica Blvd.  The filmmakers aimed for authenticity in their choice of locations, as this section of Hollywood is widely known for prostitution.  The Donut Time has since been replaced by Trejo’s Coffee and Donuts, owned and operated by actor Danny Trejo.

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LOCATION: 6785 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Sin-Dee makes her way down to the Vermont / Santa Monica Metro Station.

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LOCATION: 1015 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90029

She sits at this bench in front of the station, considering her next moves.

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Sin-Dee makes her way to a motel full of drug addicts and prostitutes, in search of another prostitute, whom she believes is cheating with her boyfriend.  This is the former Grand Motel, which has since closed.  Amy Winehouse also filmed scenes for her music video for “Tears Dry On Their Own” at the motel.

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LOCATION: 1479 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90035

Another view of the former motel property, which is now fenced off until it is either remodeled or demolished.

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Related articles: Starlet (2012), The Florida Project (2017)

Bully (2001)

Larry Clark’s overlooked 2001 masterpiece “Bully” shot mostly in the suburban towns of Pembroke Pines and Hollywood, Florida.  The film is based on true events, using the real neighborhoods (but not the actual locations) where the tragic events unfolded as a backdrop.  These areas are relatively small and most of the filming locations are actually within minutes of each other.

Lisa, played by Rachel Miner, lives at this lakeside residence, when she begins dating Marty, played by the late Brad Renfro.

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LOCATION: 2251 Dogwood Ct, Pembroke Pines, FL 33026

Lisa’s concerned friend Claudia works at this Pizza Hut, which is still in business.

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LOCATION: 11091 Sheridan St, Hollywood, FL 33026

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Donny, played by Michael Pitt and Derek, played by Daniel Franzese, hang out at this store, which was depicted as an arcade in the film.  It can be found behind the Pizza Hut in the same shopping plaza.

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LOCATION: 2505 N Hiatus Rd, Hollywood, FL 33026

Bobby, the titular bully played by Nick Stahl, lives at this house.

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LOCATION: 1820 NW 113th Ave, Pembroke Pines, FL 33026

Derek, Lisa’s cousin, lives at this residence, which is similar looking to Lisa’s place.

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LOCATION: 11080 Redwood Ave, Pembroke Pines, FL 33026

Ready Player One (2018)

To promote the release of the Steven Speilberg film “Ready Player One,” Warner Bros. set up a pop-up, interactive maze called the “Ready Player One Challenge,” located on the corner of Hollywood and Vine in Hollywood, California.  It’s the same spot they created “The IT Experience: Neibolt House Hollywood” in 2017.

Visitors were invited to explore the OASIS in an interactive maze, which included A/V installations, interactive displays, nostalgic gaming stations, a store, props and a full-scale recreation of the sets from the film.  Here we’ll take a look primarily at the sets and the props.  The exhibition runs from March 18 – April 1, 2018.

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While the film was set in Columbus, Ohio, it was shot in England.  This exhibition allowed visitors to get a real life glimpse at how those sets appeared, in full scale.

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Wade, played by Tye Sheridan, wears this suit as he enters the OASIS.

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The exhibit also included a time-traveling Delorean, most well-known of course from the “Back To The Future” films.

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Some props from the film.

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Pretty Woman (1990)

In the 1990 romantic comedy “Pretty Woman,” Julia Roberts’ character stays at this Hollywood hotel.  The real hotel is located right off of Hollywood Blvd, exactly as depicted in the film.  At the end of the movie, Richard Gere’s character climbs the fire escape with roses and the two passionately kiss.

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LOCATION: 1738 N Las Palmas Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984)

One of the more well-known filming locations in Los Angeles is the house from Wes Craven’s 1984 horror classic, “A Nightmare On Elm Street.”  The house can be found, not on Elm Street, but a road just off of Hollywood Blvd, called Genesee Ave.

The house of Nancy Thompson, played by Heather Langenkamp, it a fairly popular spot and receives a regular stream of visitors and fans of the films.

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LOCATION: 1428 N Genesee Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Just across the street, you’ll find the house of Glen Lantz, played by a young Johnny Depp.

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LOCATION: 1419 N Genesee Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

The high school seen in the film is John Marshall High School.  A regular location in film and television, it has also appeared in such movies as “Rebel Without A Cause,” “Pretty In Pink,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Bachelor Party,” “Grosse Pointe Blank,” “Grease” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” as well as such TV shows as “Boy Meets World,” “Boston Public” and many more.  It was even used in the Van Halen music video for “Hot For Teacher.”

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LOCATION: 3939 Tracy St, Los Angeles, CA 90027

The cemetery seen in the film is Evergreen Cemetery, in particular the Ivy Chapel, which is located near the back of the grounds.  The cemetery closes early, so if you’d like to see it, don’t plan for an evening visit.

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LOCATION: 204 N Evergreen Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90033

La La Land (2016)

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.

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.  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.

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LOCATION: 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91505

Mia lives at this pink apartment building in Long Beach, known as El Cordova.

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LOCATION: 1728 E 3rd St, Long Beach, CA 90802

The production filmed inside of unit 16.

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Mia exits through the courtyard to join her roommates for a dance number.

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She and her roommates then dance on E 3rd Street in front of her apartment.

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Later in the film, Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling, visits the apartment and picks up Mia at this back entrance to the building.

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They then drive down this back alley.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Sebastian and Mia then sit at a bench, which was located here.  The bench was likewise added by the production.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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LOCATION: 1 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

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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.”

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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.

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LOCATION: 2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Sebastian drives his convertible, with Mia in tow, down the sidewalk on the right.

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They then dance around this pendulum inside the Observatory.

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The two gaze up at this mural inside.

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They also pause to take a look at this Tesla Coil.

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During a romantic “summer” montage, the two can be seen walking along the Colorado Street Bridge in Pasadena.

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LOCATION: 504 W Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105

The pair can also be seen visiting the Watts Towers.

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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.

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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.

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LOCATION: 317 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Later in the film, Mia, now a successful actress, can be seen staying at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood.

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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.

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LOCATION: 6202 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Here is the angle from the sidewalk seen in the film.

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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.

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Here is the stage where Sebastian played his piano.  In the actual bar, it’s just an enclosed seating area.

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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.

True Romance (1993)

In the 1993 Tony Scott directed, Quentin Tarantino penned film, “True Romance,” the outlaw couple of Clarence, played by Christian Slater and Alabama, played by Patricia Arquette, supposedly meet in Detroit.  In reality, most of the film was shot in Southern California.  Early in the film, they see a Sonny Chiba “Street Fighter” triple feature together.  This was filmed at the Vista Theater, one of L.A.’s greatest vintage theaters.

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LOCATION: 4473 Sunset Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027

After the movies, the couple goes for coffee and pie at Rae’s Restaurant in Santa Monica.

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LOCATION: 2901 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

The billboard location where the two sit outside and talk could be found in downtown Los Angeles at the Dewey Hotel Apartments.  Unfortunately, there is no longer an actual billboard on the side of the building.

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LOCATION: 721 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90014

The comic book store, “Heroes For Sale,” where Clarence works, was actually “Fantastic Store,” a former comic book, music and vintage store located near the famous intersection of Hollywood Blvd and Highland Ave in Hollywood.  The store has unfortunately long since closed and bears little resemblance to how it appeared in the film.

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LOCATION: 1718 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Later in the film, the couple stays at this motel, supposedly located on the Sunset Strip.  The real motel, the Safari Inn, is actually located just north of L.A., in Burbank, California.

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LOCATION: 1911 W Olive Ave, Burbank, CA 91506

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Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory is one of the most iconic locations in Hollywood, perched atop the Hollywood Hills.  It offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, Downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood and even the ocean.  The building opened in 1935 and has remained free and open to the public every since.  It has been seen in so many films, we felt it deserved an entire article unto itself.

The observatory is perhaps most famously know for it’s use in the 1955 James Dean film, “Rebel Without A Cause.”  However, the grounds have also been seen in such films as “The Terminator,” “La La Land,” “Back To The Future” and dozens more.  It has also appeared in countless television shows, such as “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “The Wonder Years,” “24” and even “The Simpsons” (as the “Springfield Observatory”).  The observatory has also appeared in music videos, such as Paula Abdul’s “Rush, Rush,” video games, such as “Grand Theft Auto V” and on album covers, for bands such as The Byrds.

Here we’ll take a look at some of the sights of Griffith Observatory.

LOCATION: 2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Arnold Schwarzenegger could be seen walking nude in the original “The Terminator” film on the sidewalk to the right.  He is approached by some street thugs, including one played by Bill Paxton, before the Terminator makes short work of them.  The scene has also been recreated in some of the film’s sequels.

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Ryan Gosling drives his convertible, with Emma Stone in tow, down the sidewalk on the right in “La La Land.”

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A bust of James Dean can be found at the observatory, in honor of Deen’s classic performance in “Rebel Without A Cause,” where the film shot a memorable knife fight scene.

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The best views of the observatory are of course at night.

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The inside of the observatory has several interesting sights as well.  Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone can be seen dancing around this pendulum in “La La Land.”

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In the same film, the two gaze up at this mural on the ceiling of the observatory.

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The two also pause and look at this Tesla Coil.

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Overall, whether you’re a movie lover, a tourist, a science fan, or someone who simply enjoys beautiful views, the Observatory has something to offer almost anyone.

Back To The Future (1985)

We’ll be the first to admit, with a film having as rabid of a fanbase the 1985 Robert Zemeckis classic “Back To The Future,” there are far more comprehensive websites than ours available to break down the filming sites.  Having said that, that doesn’t stop us from taking a look at some of our favorite spots.

Marty McFly’s house can be found in the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles, in the town of Pacoima, California.

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LOCATION: 9303 Roslyndale Ave, Pacoima, CA 91331

Doc Brown’s house can be found over in Pasadena.  It’s the Gamble House, a National Historic Landmark and museum, which is open to public tours.  However, only the exterior was used for Doc’s house in the film.  The interior was shot at 1777 Hillcrest Ave, Pasadena, CA 91106, which is a private residence.

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LOCATION: 4 Westmoreland Pl, Pasadena, CA 91103

The Burger King where Mary hitches a ride on his skateboard, grabbing onto the back of a truck, is still operational and going strong.  You can find it in Burbank, California.

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LOCATION: 535 N Victory Blvd, Burbank, CA 91502

The Twin Pines Mall is actually the Puente Hills Mall in City of Industry.  The mall occasionally hosts events in celebration of the film.

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LOCATION: Puente Hills Mall, 1600 S Azusa Ave, City of Industry, CA 91748

Inside the mall, you can even find this replica sign for the Twin Pines Mall.  Sometimes when there are special events surrounding the film, they will place this sign outside, as it appeared in the film.

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Few movie cars are as famous than the Delorean, with many fans building their own replicas.  There were in fact seven vehicles built for use in the original trilogy, with only three still known to exist.  Below is the first of those three, which appeared throughout the original film and in both sequels.  After spending 25 years as part of Universal Studio’s Hollywood Tour, the car had begun showing signs of wearing and many key pieces had been removed, including the famed flux capacitor.  A team was hired to meticulously restore the car back to it’s original form and the vehicle is now on permanent display at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California.  The second Delorean is on display at Universal Studios Florida, while the third is privately owned.

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LOCATION: Peterson Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

A look inside the restored vehicle.

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Here is the restored flux capacitor.

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One vehicle from the original film which can still be seen on the Universal Studios Hollywood Tour is Biff Tannen’s 1946 Ford Convertible.  Some vehicles from the sequels can also be seen there, but here we’ll strictly focus on the first film.

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

George McFly’s house can be found in South Pasadena.

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LOCATION: 1711 Bushnell Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030

Marty’s mother Lorainne lives at this house, located on the same street, just a few doors down from George’s house.  This house was also used in another Michael J. Fox film, “Teen Wolf.”

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LOCATION: 1727 Bushnell Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030

The courthouse square and clock tower can be found on the Universal Studios Lot in Hollywood.  The building has been used in countless other films, including “To Kill A Mockingbird,” “Gremlins” and “Bruce Almighty.”  In 2008, a fire destroyed much of the building, but Universal restored and reopened it in 2009.  Today, it can be seen once again as part of the Universal Studios Tour, but be warned, this area frequently hosts productions and the site is routinely closed off from the tours.  If you’re adamant about seeing the tower, it’s perhaps best to call ahead and find out if it’s showing on a given day.

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