True Detective (Season 2)

Our article on Season 1 of the TV series “True Detective” remains one of the biggest location searches we’ve ever done, through the small towns of Southern Louisiana.  For the second season of the show, writer Nic Pizzolatto shifts the setting to Southern California in the fictional city of Vinci, loosely based on the city of Vernon, which had a corruption scandal not unlike what is depicted in the show.

The locations are just as plentiful as the first season, spanning from Santa Paula to Santa Ana, from Mt. Baldy to Beverly Hills and everything in between. The show presents a more gritty look into Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. Visiting the locations is a deep dive into Southern California and one that should only be done if you’re a fan of the show, as it won’t take you to any tourist destinations. Sometimes you’ll even find yourself in somewhat unsafe neighborhoods.

The following article contains numerous spoilers for the show, so we recommend only reading if you’ve seen the complete second season.  As is often the case with TV shows, many of these locations appear in multiple episodes, so we’ll cover each location by where they first appear.

Episode One – “The Western Book of the Dead”

The season begins with Detective Ray Velcoro, played by Colin Farrell, dropping his son off at school.

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LOCATION: 2125 Lincoln Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

The Black Rose bar, where Ray frequently meets Frank Semyon, played by Vince Vaughn, over the course of the series is located in Vernon.  It is mostly seen from interior views in the show, but the building is not actually a bar.  It is a private building closed to the public and it is unclear if the interiors were actually filmed here or elsewhere.  The exterior is seen a few times in the show as well, however.  Frank gives Ray info on who assaulted his ex-wife, leading Ray to seek revenge on the assailant.

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LOCATION: 2465 E 53rd St, Vernon, CA 90058

The establishing shots of the fictional city of Vinci were shot around Vernon.

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LOCATION: Seen from the parking lot behind 3666 S Soto St, Vernon, CA 90058

The casino where Frank works could be found in Gardena.  The actual casino has since closed down.

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LOCATION: 1045 Rosecrans Ave, Gardena, CA 90247

Detective Ani Bezzerides, played by Rachel McAdams, runs an eviction raid on this home, which is located in Santa Paula, about 60 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

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LOCATION: 593 Orcutt Rd, Santa Paula, CA 93060

Ray’s house can be found in Vernon. It is located right next to City Hall, also seen in the show.

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LOCATION: 4322 Furlong Pl, Vernon, CA 90058

Bezzerides follows a lead on a woman to the Panticapaeum Institute, a spiritual retreat run by her father.  These scenes were filmed at Wayfarers Chapel in Ranchos Palos Verdes.  The same location was featured in the 1980s comedy “Innerspace.”

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LOCATION: 5755 Palos Verdes Dr S, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275

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Here are the stairs from which the detectives approach.

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The chapel is a very scenic place to visit, offering views overlooking the ocean.

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The California Highway Patrol Station where Highway Patrol officer Paul Woodrugh, played by Taylor Kitsch, works could be found in Hawthorne. It was a real police building, also featured in the TV series “True Blood” and the film “Zodiac.” The building has since been demolished. It formerly stood at 4440 W 126th St, Hawthorne, CA 90250.

Ray parks outside of this apartment building, where he plans to attack the man he believes raped his ex-wife Gena.

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LOCATION: 15464 Moorpark St, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

The apartment where he stages the attack is located across the street.

LOCATION: 15445 Moorpark St, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403

Ray visits this house at night, where a boy who has been bullying his son lives.  Ray beats the boy’s father in front of him at the front door, as a warning to stop bullying.

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LOCATION: 19825 Needles St, Chatsworth, CA 91311

Bezzerides gets escorted out of a casino when she receives a call about a new case.

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LOCATION: 6580 Auto Center Dr, Ventura, CA 93003

Woodrugh discovers the body of Ben Caspere sitting on a picnic table at Point Magu Rock, overlooking the ocean.  Detectives Ray Velcoro and Ani Bezzerides are called to the scene, where the three officers meet and the stage is set for the case.  There are no picnic tables at the actual location, but it is a popular scenic overlook.

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LOCATION: Point Magu Rock, 799 Pacific Coast Hwy, NAS Point Mugu, CA 93042

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Episode Two – “Night Finds You”

Ray visits the city of Vinci, where he sees kids playing in the toxic water draining into this river channel. In the same area, he meets with Frank. The drainage hole was a visual effect added by the show.

LOCATION: Near 2715 E Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90023

Woodrugh visits his mother at this trailer park.

LOCATION: 4456 Naval Air Rd, Oxnard, CA 93033

A brief transition shot is shown of these train tracks in Vinci.

LOCATION: Near 2552 E Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90023

Ray visits this shopping plaza to see his son, but is instead greeted by his ex-wife Gena. Angry over Ray’s violent assault on the bully’s father, Gena tells him she will be petitioning for sole custody. The scene was filmed at the Northridge Mall. It’s a large place, so we’ve provided GPS coordinates below to the specific parking lot.

LOCATION: 9301 Tampa Ave, Northridge, CA 91324 (GPS coordinates: 34.240655, -118.556896)

After some men attack a man on the street, Frank pretends to be a bystander, before threatening the man himself. This scene was filmed near the same freeway overpass seen in the films “Heat” and “Scarface.”

LOCATION: Near 749 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Ray and Bezzerides visit the clinic of Ben Caspere’s doctor. These scenes were filmed at the Hummingbird Nest Ranch in Simi Valley. The property regularly hosts weddings and special events. It is otherwise a private estate, only allowing guests by appointment. The only road leading to the ranch is typically gated shut with no trespassing signs. The property has also appeared in Oliver Stone’s “Savages,” “Jobs” starring Ashton Kutcher and in the TV series “Too Old To Die Young.”

LOCATION: 2940 Kuehner Dr, Simi Valley, CA 93063

Frank visits the mayor at the Vinci City Hall. The opposite side of the building is where Ray’s house can be found.

LOCATION: 4305 S Santa Fe Ave, Vernon, CA 90058

Episode Three – “Maybe Tomorrow”

Bezzerides and Woodrugh visit the house of the mayor of Vinci, which can be found in Beverly Hills.

LOCATION: 1091 Laurel Way, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Ray and Bezzerides follow up on a lead when their car is set on fire under this freeway overpass.

LOCATION: 11502 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90061

Episode Four – “Down Will Come”

Woodrugh is unexpectedly confronted by the press in front of this hotel.

LOCATION: 7023 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

Frank pays a visit to this apartment, where he informs the owner he is now 40% partner of the property. The apartment complex is seen from the interior courtyard in the show. The apartment next door was also featured in the film “Collateral.”

LOCATION: 1029 S Union Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90015

Woodrugh’s girlfriend informs him she’s pregnant at this restaurant.

LOCATION: 2601 S Soto St, Vernon, CA 90058

Woodrugh locates a stolen watch at this pawn shop.

LOCATION: 5901 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90038

After Bezzerides find out she has a sexual misconduct complaint filed against her, she has an argument with her partner outside the police department. The same location was featured in the film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.” This building has since been demolished. It formerly stood at 333 N Prairie Ave, Inglewood, CA 90301.

The pawn shop lead brings the detectives to a suspect. While the cops are watching the area ahead of their raid, workers file into this building.

LOCATION: 615 S Anderson St, Los Angeles, CA 90023

Protesters gather in front of this building.

LOCATION: 560 S Mission Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90033

Bezzerides and her team approach past this building to begin the raid.

LOCATION: 607 S Anderson St, Los Angeles, CA 90023

A shootout ensues from this building, with a large explosion on the top floor.

LOCATION: 621 S Anderson St, Los Angeles, CA 90023

Ray and Woodrugh make it through the gunfire over to this door at foot of the building.

They then cross these stairs in front in pursuit of the suspects in a vehicle.

The suspect vehicle then crashes into a bus at this intersection, where another shootout ensues.

LOCATION: Jesse St / S Anderson St, Los Angeles, CA 90023

Episode Five – “Other Lives”

Burdened by financial issues, Frank is forced to move into a more modest home.

LOCATION: 1400 N Spaulding Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Bezzerides meets the woman she ran a raid on in the first episode at this hotel. While speaking to her, she obtains information on a private party.

LOCATION: 401 S Westlake Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90057

Ray follows a group of prostitutes to a nondescript building. He parks in front of this building.

LOCATION: 1951 Staunton Ave, Vernon, CA 90058

He sees the prostitutes enter into this building.

LOCATION: 2001 Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90058 (seen from E 20th St)

Frank has a business meeting, where a man offers him a deal to own some land again, if Frank can locate a hard drive owned by Ben Caspere. The location is next to Union Station and the establishing shot shows Union Station, then pans slightly toward the building to the right, where the meeting takes place.

LOCATION: 800 Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012, panning towards 700 Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Ray meets his ex-wife Gena at this scenic area overlooking Dodger Stadium and Downtown Los Angeles. His wife informs him her rapist was captured and it wasn’t the man Ray believed it was, therefore the information Ray had was incorrect. This area is the Elysian Park Helipad. There is parking nearby and a path that leads up directly to this area. It is not a difficult walk to reach it. This area is located close to where a dream sequence in “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” was shot.

LOCATION: Elysian Park Helipad, Solano Canyon Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (GPS coordinates: 34.082766, -118.236997)

Bezzerides and Woodrugh follow a lead in the Caspere case to a lodge in the woods. Known as the Harwood Lodge, it can be fount in Mt. Baldy, about 50 miles away from Los Angeles. There is a dirt road that leads up to the lodge, which is sometimes best reached by walking, depending on weather conditions.

LOCATION: 6700 Mt Baldy Rd, Mt Baldy, CA 91759

Bezzerides notices birds circling in the air in the woods nearby, leading them to the discovery of another crime scene.

Episode Six – “Church in Ruins”

Frank and his crew arrive at this home in search of a prostitute. Instead, he finds out the home belongs to the Mexicans criminals seen previously in the show, when Frank refused to form a partnership with them. Frank now renegotiates.

LOCATION: 1521 Colton St, Los Angeles, CA 90026 (seen from Lake Shore Terrace)

After the Mexicans put Frank in touch with the woman he’s been searching for, he arranges to meet her at this location, only to discover her dead body there. The Mexicans have killed her as retribution against Frank for not accepting their initial terms.

LOCATION: 2901 Fruitland Ave, Vernon, CA 90058 (seen from E 50th St)

Episode Seven – “Black Maps and Motel Rooms”

After Ray and Woodrugh rescue Bezzerides from a party in which she was drugged and attacked, the three stay at this motel in Mt. Baldy, located not far from the cabin seen in episode six.

LOCATION: 6867 Mt Baldy Rd, Mt Baldy, CA 91759

Woodrugh searches police records at the LAPD building in Downtown Los Angeles.

LOCATION: 100 W 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Woodrugh goes to meet a man who is blackmailing him at the Hall of Records. It turns out to be a set-up.

LOCATION: 320 W Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (seen from N Hill St)

Woodrugh is shot at the steps of old Los Angeles Police Department in Downtown Los Angeles, which has since been demolished. The same building was featured in the film “Inherent Vice.”

LOCATION: 150 N Los Angeles St, Los Angeles, CA 90012 (now demolished)

Episode Eight – “Omega Station”

Frank sends his wife Jordan, played by Kelly Reilly, away at the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center. The same location was featured in such films as “Rain Man” and “Memoirs of an Invisible Man.”

LOCATION: 1000 E Santa Ana Blvd, Santa Ana, CA 92701

Jordon refuses to leave until Frank finally persuades her.

Ray and Bezzerides enter this home and discover a lot of evidence about the case, as well as the fact that Laura and Leonard Osterman were behind the attack on Caspere.

LOCATION: 1000 El Mirador Ave, Long Beach, CA 90815

Bezzerides sends Laura Osterman away on a bus at this station. The real location is not a bus station at all, rather a boarding terminal for cruise ships in San Pedro.

LOCATION: 100 Swinford St, San Pedro, CA 90731

Frank makes his way to the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center to meet the corrupt cops under the agreed plan of exchanging incriminating evidence in his possession.

LOCATION: 2626 E Katella Ave, Anaheim, CA 92806

Ray makes his way to the upper level inside the building.

Leonard Osterman then attacks one of the men and a shootout begins.

Ray parks at this intersection to see his son one last time, only to discover a tracking device on his vehicle. The intersection really is located next to the school, seen in the first episode.

LOCATION: Lincoln Ave / Apple Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

The Mexican criminals kidnap Frank at this intersection.

LOCATION: E 16th St / Hooper Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90021

They proceed onto the freeway here.

LOCATION: E 17th St / Naomi Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90021

Bezzerides escapes to what is supposedly Venezuela. In reality, the scenes were shot in Downtown Los Angeles, with a lot of set decoration and some visual effects to fill the city backdrop.

LOCATION: E 11th St / Wall St, Los Angeles, CA 90015

There remain dozens more locations we did not document from the second season. Some are minor, others are major, but not easily visible for photography. Los Angeles is a constantly changing city and just a few short years later, several locations already no longer exist. We’ve tried to document as any as we could here. If you do plan to visit the season 2 filming locations, it requires a lot of time and distance, so do your research and allow yourself many days to navigate it all.

Related articles: True Detective (Season 1)

Some Kind Of Wonderful (1987)

The 1980s film “Some Kind of Wonderful,” written by John Hughes, was filmed entirely around Southern California.  Amanda, played by Lea Thompson, lives at this house located in Wilmington.

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LOCATION: 1319 W E St, Wilmington, CA 90744

Here is another view of the home.

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Keith, played by Eric Stoltz, lives at this home, also located in Wilmington.

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LOCATION: 1441 W I St, Wilmington, CA 90744

The high school scenes were filmed at the San Pedro High School.

LOCATION: 1001 W 15th St, San Pedro, CA 90731

Hardy Jenn’s house can be found in Central Los Angeles.

LOCATION: 516 S Hudson Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90020

Related articles: Pretty In Pink (1986)

50 First Dates (2004)

The 2004 comedy “50 First Dates” was filmed primarily in Oahu, Hawaii, with some additional scenes filmed in Southern California.

The Hukilau Cafe, where Henry, played by Adam Sandler, first meets Lucy, played by Drew Barrymore, was a set built for the film.  Contrary to some information online, it definitely no longer exists.  It was filmed near the Moli’i Fishpond, which is adjacent to Kualoa Ranch.  The ranch in fact owns this land and it has been featured in many films, including “Jurassic World,” “Triple Frontier,” “Snatched,” “Tears of the Sun,” “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” “You, Me and Dupree” and the TV show “Lost.”  There are some buildings there, but they were not used as the restaurant set, which was torn down after filming.

There are a couple ways to see this area.  The local shops near the pond, which rent their buildings from Kualoa Ranch, offer tours of their own near the water for a small fee.  However, the Premier Movie Site Tour offered by Kualoa Ranch itself stops at this area and covers it in detail, which is our recommended way to see it.  Here is a view of the general area where the cafe set was built.

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LOCATION: 49-243 Kuukama St, Kailua, HI 96734

Here is a small sign nearby marking it as the filming location.

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It is a challenge to find the house of Lucy and even more of a challenge to photograph it.  There is a lot of conflicting information about its location and GPS does not offer a definitive address.  So the easiest way to pinpoint the general area is to find the Waikane Store on Kamehameha Hwy, located at 48-377 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744.  There is an unnamed road sitting right beside the store.  That is the road that leads to Lucy’s house.  You can in fact walk down this road, as we did, but the houses do not appear to have any registered addresses.  From where the road dead ends, you still can’t see the house very well, as you’re facing behind it and from a distance.  You would need to actually continue onto the property, which is private, in order to obtain a good view.

The best alternative we could find by land was traveling a bit down Kamehameha Hwy over to Waiahole Beach Park at 48-199 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744.  Despite the name, the area is quite grassy, with little sand.  There is a small section around the trees that extends out from the shoreline a bit, offering the best view of the house.  It’s still not ideal, but it is the closest point on public land to obtain a view of the actual house.  If you have a long-focus lens, you can probably obtain a better view.  It should also be noted there is no parking on Kamehameha Hwy at Waiahole Beach Park.  There are some nearby side streets, however, where you can park and walk over.

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LOCATION: GPS coordinates: 21°29’34.1″N 157°50’50.6″W (nearest registered address is 48-377 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744)

Here is a wider view of the area.  The pier, known as Waikane Pier, is also seen in the film, though only remnants of it exist now.  The TV show “Lost” also featured the pier.

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Further out in the water, you can see a small island known as Mokolii, or sometimes referred to as Chinaman’s Hat, which can also be seen in the film.  It is a popular photo spot for tourists.

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The road where Henry keeps finding creative ways to stop Lucy can be found on Kualoa Ranch.  Countless other films have shot in this area, ranging from “Jurassic Park” to “Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle” to “Windtalkers.”  If we have one complaint about the Kualoa Ranch tours (which are otherwise great), even on their Premier Movie Site Tour, they drive through this area rather quickly and do not stop.  This makes getting decent photographs a challenge.

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LOCATION: Kualoa Ranch, 49-560 Kamehameha Hwy, Kaneohe, HI 96744

Later in the film, Lucy is admitted to the Callahan Institute for Brain Injuries.  This was filmed at the Cabrillo Beach Bath House in San Pedro, California.  The same location was famously featured in the film “Face/Off.”

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LOCATION: 3800 Stephen M White Dr, San Pedro, CA 90731

The Cabrillo Beach Bath House interiors were also used in the film.  The staff is very friendly there and welcoming to the public, so don’t hesitate to visit.

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Lords Of Dogtown (2005)

In the 2005 film “Lords of Dogtown,” the filmmakers chose to recreate the legendary Zephyr shop in San Pedro, California.  The original building where the real shop was located is in Venice Beach, but was not used in the film.

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LOCATION: 157 N Bandini St, San Pedro, CA 90731

The restaurant where Stacy officially joins the team and a fight breaks out with the manager is Rae’s Restaurant in Santa Monica.  A staple of film and television, Rae’s has been seen in such films as “True Romance,” “Bowfinger,” “Starsky & Hutch” and more.  The restaurant is only seen from interior views in this film.

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LOCATION: 2901 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Face/Off (1997)

John Travolta plays FBI Agent Sean Archer in John Woo’s 1997 action film “Face/Off.”  Archer lives with his family at this Pacific Palisades home, right near the ocean.  Later in the film, Nicolas Cage’s villainous character, Castor Troy, bearing the face of Sean Archer, comes to his home and begins role-playing as husband and father.

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LOCATION: 326 N Swarthmore Ave, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

The hospital where Eve Archer, played by Joan Allen, works can be found in Baldwin Park.  This entrance sits closest to Dalewood Street.  A different area of the same facility was seen in the movie “Starship Troopers.”

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LOCATION: 1011 Baldwin Park Blvd, Baldwin Park, CA 91706 (near Dalewood St)

Caster Troy and his brother plant an explosive at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  This particular section is near the intersection of S Figueroa St and W Pico Blvd.  The same building was seen in the film “Demolition Man.”

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LOCATION: 1201 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90015 (near the intersection of S Figueroa St / W Pico Blvd)

Near the climax of the film, Victor Lazarro’s funeral takes place at the Cabrillo Beach Bath House in San Pedro.  The Adam Sandler comedy “50 First Dates” also notably shot at the same location.

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LOCATION: 3800 Stephen M White Dr, San Pedro, CA 90731

Archer’s daughter is dropped off outside at the entrance to the building.

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Inside, an epic John Woo gunfight takes place, featuring his signature use of doves and slow motion.  Thankfully, the staff is quite friendly and welcoming and allows visitors inside.  Here are some areas where the shootout takes place.

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The gunfight spills out to this area, with Archer’s daughter trapped in the crossfire.

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Archer’s daughter runs down these stairs to the lower level.

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As the fight spills outside, Archer’s daughter is taken hostage in this area.

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Castor Troy flees and runs to a boat.

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The Usual Suspects (1995)

The 1995 film “The Usual Suspects” was filmed mostly in Southern California, with a few scenes shot in New York City.

Keaton, played by Gabriel Byrne, needs to catch a flight from New York to California. At the Flatiron Building in Manhattan, he wants to tell his attorney girlfriend goodbye, but Verbal Kint, played by Kevin Spacey, pushes him to leave without doing so, as they are running late.

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LOCATION: 175 5th Ave, New York, NY 10010

The suspects meet up with Redfoot at the Korean Bell of Friendship in San Pedro, California.  Perched right in front of a spectacular ocean view, it’s a great place to visit, even if you’re not a fan of the film. The bell was given as a gift by South Korea to celebrate the U.S. bicentennial in 1978.

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LOCATION: 3601 Gaffey St, San Pedro, CA 90731

The flashback scenes of Keyser Söze’s Turkish home, where his family is attacked, were actually filmed at the McNally House in Altadena. The home has been featured in such films as “Elizabethtown,” “Beautiful Boy” and “Kingdom Come,” as well as such TV shows as “Entourage,” “Ghost Whisperer” and more. The house is only seen from interior views in the film.

LOCATION: 654 E Mariposa St, Altadena, CA 91001

The police station seen in the film is the San Pedro Municipal Building

LOCATION: 638 S Beacon St, San Pedro, CA 90731

Near the end of the film, after he posts bail, Verbal Kint walks down this sidewalk out front.

Dave Kujan, played by Chazz Palminteri, just misses a vehicle as it turns down W 6th St in San Pedro.