La La Land is perhaps one of the most popular movies to come out in years. Nominated for an astounding 14 Academy Awards, this old fashioned Hollywood style musical is set in a modern Los Angeles. It was filmed throughout Southern California in Long Beach, Pasadena, Santa Monica, Burbank and Hermosa Beach. These iconic locations are getting a fresh look from avid fans.
While Valentine’s Day is over for another year, there is no reason not to plan a romantic day or weekend in Los Angeles. If you or your significant loved La La Land, then plan a truly special adventure to the well known attractions that made La La Land a movie to remember. Breaking out in song and dance is purely optional.
Probably the most memorable scene in the movie, here is where our characters, Sebastian and Mia sing and dance (trivia note: it was filmed in one take) at a spot called “Cathy’s Corner” in Griffith Park. If you want to spend more time here, keep in mind that the park is massive. Sprawled over 4,200 acres, here you can hike, picnic, visit museums, visit the Griffith Observatory even enjoy the nine hole Roosevelt Municipal Golf Course. The Greek Theatre is nearby as well, as is the Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens.
In La La Land, this is where Sebastian takes Mia when she declares she is not a jazz enthusiast. This popular cafe is the real deal, and has been a staple in Hermosa Beach since 1949. Prominent musicians who have played here Art Blakey, Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley. Today, this jazz fixture offers food, entertainment and a great happy hour.
Here is where Sebastian slowly waltzes at sunset while singing the Academy Award nominated song, “City of Stars.” This is a great place to watch the surfers, look for dolphins or take a leisurely stroll after a good meal. It’s very busy during the day and night, so chances are, you won’t have the pier all to yourself like the movie suggests, but it’s truly a special place.
If you are looking to eat while in Los Angeles, and of course you are, yet want to stick close to the La, La Land theme, you may want to try The SmokeHouse, which in the movie, was named “Lipton’s.” Located across from Warner Brother’s Studio, this is where Sebastian was instructed, much to his annoyance, to play holiday tunes to the dining customers and where he and Mia met the second time. The SmokeHouse opened in 1946, and is considered one of the great steakhouses in LA, serving up standards in a dark setting with wood and leather booths. Yes, there is live music as well, just don’t expect to see Ryan Gosling playing the piano.
This Los Angeles staple is only briefly shown in the movie, however, this open air market is a huge favorite with the locals. The scene of one Mia’s and Sebastian’s first dates, where they eat Salvadorean food at Sarita’s Pupuseria, you will discover many other eating options as well, such as terrific Mexican and Chinese food.
Enjoy the sunset from this historic vantage point over Pasadena. When built in 1913 it was the highest concrete bridge in world, but today, you can see incredible city views as well. Full House, The Amazing Race and other productions have filmed here as well, but none more popular than La La Land.
When Mia finally decides it's time to shine, the Chateau Marmont is the place she takes control. If your trip to LA includes an overnight stayt, look no further. This historic hotel, located in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard, offers luxury bungalows and suites recalling the days of yesteryear. Completed in 1929, the hotel’s history is unparalleled. Howard Hughes, Greta Garbo James, Dean, F. Scott Fitzgerald and many more coveted the privacy the hotel is well known for. A must do: order a drink at the Bar Marmont.
Other locations featured in La La Land include the Century Freeway where the Interstate 105 connects to 110 and the film’s opening number is set, the Rialto Theatre which closed in 2007, but open for special events, the Warner Brothers Studios where it’s always fun to take a tour of this legendary lot, and the Watts Tower, a huge metal sculpture that Sebastian and Mia stop to view.
Whether you visit Los Angeles for the day, or plan to spend the weekend, this special getaway visiting the areas where La La Land was filmed, will be a treasured memory. If you are planning an anniversary, engagement, birthday or just a day to spend together, make the day even more memorable by avoiding the traffic, and relaxing while sipping your favorite beverages and perhaps listen to the movie’s soundtrack while one of our luxurious chauffeured cars takes you in style.