1. The Hollywood Sign
Located way up in the Hollywood Hills
As seen in: Earthquake and any one of a 100 movies.
If Los Angeles is being attacked or otherwise destroyed, the Hollywood sign is there to remind you exactly where you are. The best part is that it’s so easy to find, just center yourself somewhere north of Wilshire and look toward those mountains, they’re in the north. See it?
2. Griffith Observatory
2800 East Observatory Rd., Los Angeles, CA 90027
As seen in: Rebel Without a Cause, The Terminator
The world famous Griffith Observatory is a dramatic location already and made even more so by the knife fight that James Dean got into just outside this landmark. Arnold showed up buck naked, fresh from the future before killing some punks for their clothes.
Bonus TV Landmark: The entrance to the Batcave from the Adam West 60s TV show version of Batman is located in Griffith Park itself and only accessible by hiking. (But it’s not that far.)
3. The Dresden Room
1760 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, 90027
As seen in: Swingers
The Dresden Room featured the musical stylings of the duo of Marty and Elaine and played host to Jon Favreaus awkward dealings with the ladies in Swingers. Money!
Bonus Landmark: Be sure also to visit the diner that Fav, Vince Vaughn and company frequented, the 101 Restaurant located on Los Feliz Boulevard just east of the entrance to the 101 freeway.
4. The 110 Freeway Tunnel
From the heart of Los Angeles, or from the valley, just get on the 110 Freeway traveling north or south.
As seen in: Back to the Future part II, Blade Runner
The 110 was one of the first freeways constructed in the United States which explains why the road is so narrow. The futuristic looking tunnel seen briefly in Blade Runner and Back to the Future part II is just the reliable 110. Add some dramatic lighting and it does have a futuristic feel to it.
5. Far East National Bank – LA Shootout in Heat
977 North Broadway Los Angeles, CA 90012 as well as 5th Street in downtown Los Angeles and surrounding areas.
As seen in: Heat
It’s true what comedian Dane Cook has said about men. More than having sex, most men would like to be part of a heist just like the one from Heat. Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro starred in this manly cops and robbers epic directed by Michael Mann. It was shot entirely on location in Chinatown in downtown LA.
6. Musso and Franks
6667 Hollywood Blvd.,Hollywood, CA 90036. Call 323-467-7788
As seen in: Ocean’s 11 and more.
This classic Hollywood steakhouse has been around since 1919 and has appeared in a number of films including Ocean’s 11 and The Coen Brothers’ The Man Who Wasn’t There. Which, unfortunately, not a lot of people saw. There’s a lot of history at this restaurant as so many Hollywood legends made it their second home. Raymond Chandler actually wrote The Big Sleep in the eatery. True story.
7. Mann’s Chinese Theater
6925 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028. Call 323-464-8111
As seen in: Charlie’s Angels and countless others.
This historic theater was a landmark even before it appeared in Charlie’s Angels.
8. La Brea Tar Pits
5801 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
As seen in: Volcano
Tommy Lee Jones is a city worker who battles a deadly volcano in a film titled, oddly, Volcano. The lava pours onto Wilshire and begins its rise from the La Brea Tar Pits. A great landmark to visit as it conveniently already has a museum and a gift shop.
9. Bradbury Building – Downtown LA
304 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90013
As seen in: Bladerunner
It’s one of the few recognizable buildings in futuristic Los Angeles of 2014 – just 8 years from now.
10. Mulholland Drive
As seen in: Mulholland Drive
David Lynch’s weird (when are his films not weird?) exploration of, uh, not sure, but it’s set in LA and much of it happens on Mulholland Drive.