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5 Famous Filming Locations in L.A.

Take one of our Los Angeles tours and you’ll get to see a lot of places that may look familiar. We’re in Hollywood, after all, where many films are shot, so that feeling of deja vu you have is because you have seen some of these places — in the movies!

Of course on your tour we point these out so you get the thrill of putting together the place with the film and your memory. Here are 5 of our favorites:

Griffith Observatory

The Griffith Observatory is a common stop on our All LA in a Day tour, and can always be added with one of our Build Your Own tours. It opened in 1935 and has seen its share of filming ever since.

Perhaps the most famous is Rebel Without a Cause, the first film to actually refer to the location as the Griffith Observatory, and not pretend that it was a library, city hall, or some other public building. James Dean had his famous knife fight right on the large patio.

James Dean in Rebel Without a CauseJames Dean knife fight at the Griffith Observatory

It was also the spot where the original Terminator zapped in from the future. He walks across the front lawn naked and sees a gang looking at the view. They make fun of the crazy naked man and he demands their clothes.
Terminator filmed outside the Griffith Observatory.Observatory 1

A more fun scene was in Charlie’s Angels 2, where the three Angels have a confrontation with Angel-gone-bad Demi Moore.

Charlie's Angels at the Griffith Observatory

The Bonaventure

The Westin Bonaventure was the location for another variety of films, probably the most fun of which was True Lies when Arnold Schwarzenegger rode a horse through the lobby and up an elevator.

True Lies lobby
True Lies horse scene in the Bonaventure Hotel

It has also hosted scenes from Rain Man, In the Line of Fire, Forget Paris, and Blue Thunder. Go to the hotel and look inside the elevators — they have plaques indicating what film was shot in the elevator.

The Las Palmas Hotel

The Las Palmas in Hollywood is where they filmed the iconic scene in Pretty Woman when Edward drives up in his limousine standing through the sunroof to get Vivian. It was a crummy hotel in the movie and it’s a crummy hotel in real life. We take about all of our tours for a drive-by of this hotel — it’s recognized by everyone.
Las Palmas Hotel

The Clueless Fountain

In the movie Clueless, Alicia Silverstone’s character finally decides she is in love with her former stepbrother Josh, played by Paul Rudd. That was filmed right in Beverly Hills — ask us to point it out as we drive by.
fountainClueless fountain scene

Johnie’s Coffee Shop

Johnie’s opened under a different name in 1958 and became Johnie’s in the 1960s. It’s now closed but still stands and serves mainly as a filming location. Its 50s diner look is perfect for scenes that want that look.

It has been seen in a number of films including The Big Lebowski and American History X. My favorite, however, is Reservoir Dogs, where Tim Roth practices his drug dealer cover story with his handler.

Johnie's Coffee Shop in Los Angeles

Note the "Johnie's" in the window over Jeff Bridges' shoulder

Note the “Johnie’s” in the window over Jeff Bridges’ shoulder