Los Angeles is a sprawling city filled with iconic backdrops, buildings, streets and landmarks that have made multiple appearances in movies and TV shows. It’s quite an experience to see the famous filming locations in Los Angeles. While you could join a group or private tour, the DIY approach is much more fun. When you rent a car and go at your own pace, you’ll be able to explore more, get closer and see the city’s character beyond the glitzy façade. Here are our top picks to add to your self-guided tour of TV and movie locations in Los Angeles.
Bronson Canyon, aka Bronson Caves, is a man-made collection of tunnels and crevices carved into the Hollywood Hills. This rocky landscape is one of the most famous filming locations in Los Angeles and the industry. Its otherworldly setting is balanced out by its easy access, lying on the far western edge of Griffith Park. Hundreds of popular sci-fi, Western and action flicks have used Bronson Caves as a backdrop, including the original Batman movie (see if you can find the OG Batcave).
Other notable TV shows and films shot here: The Hills Have Eyes, The A-team
The Bradbury Building
This historic downtown landmark is most notable as the filming location for the 1980s sci-fi classic Blade Runner. On the outside, the building seems to just be another old brick structure repurposed for hip start-up office space. When you step inside however, you’re transported back 100 years. Natural light shines through the beautiful atrium down onto the ornate ironwork adorning the stairs and walkways. The Bradbury Building is close to LA’s Grand Central Market and the Million Dollar Theater.
Other notable TV shows and films shot here: 500 Days of Summer, The Artist
Pro tip: prepare to fill up on gas a couple of times and watch your mileage. You can easily rack up 60-100 miles a day driving in the LA metro area.
Bring a swimsuit (and maybe a sweatshirt) to this iconic spot in Malibu. From May through August, Point Dume is a popular beach for swimming and sunbathing. Get there early, as the parking lot can fill up quickly. Dramatic cliffs and rocky seaside outcroppings provide a picturesque backdrop against the Pacific. Various cliffs and coves in the area are among the famous film locations in Los Angeles. The most recognizable is the “Statue of Liberty” beach scene from the original Planet of the Apes. Though when you see it, you might be more impressed that they were able to get the small stretch of beach completely deserted.
Other notable TV shows and films shot here: The Big Lebowski, Iron Man
This burgeoning section of east LA is filled with hipster shops, boutiques and coffee shops. Silverlake’s indie aesthetic and hilly streets make it a prime movie and TV film location for modern meet-cutes, comedies and dramas. You’ll probably find more interesting food and chic houses here than instantly recognizable movie backdrops. Still, Silverlake is definitely worth a walk, and is a good spot to see famous musicians, actors and social media influencers going about their daily lives.
Notable TV shows and films shot here: Transparent, You’re the Worst, Casual, Love, Togetherness
Glide down over the iconic Mulholland Drive, one of the most scenic and famous movie locations in Los Angeles. Mulholland meanders through the Santa Monica Mountains all the way from West Hollywood out to Ventura County. This 21-mile stretch of highway has been mentioned in countless songs (catch the ‘Free Fallin’ reference?) and movies, and is a favorite of filmmaker David Lynch. Many scenes in Twin Peaks are filmed in the hills near Mulholland, and the street itself is the namesake of Lynch’s 2001 neo-noir mystery movie. The views are worth the twists and turns. Just drive safely and don’t be afraid to pull over.