When we think of L.A., admit it, there are always the same typical locations that one can think of: Beverly Hills and Rodeo Drive, Venice Beach and Santa Monica, the Walk of Fame and Hollywood, and so on. But the City of Angels has a lot more to discover when it comes to usual and unusual sightseeing spots as I have learned during my latest visit. Let´s wander to eight Hollywood movie sets that you definitely will recognize again.
Located inside Griffith Park, the cave and canyon (or rather tunnel) are a popular film-making outdoor set for remote-looking scenes in tv-shows and movies. While the tunnel itself is not as overwhelming as it first sounded, the views onto the Hollywood sign are. The area formed out of a quarry which ceased operation in the late 1920´s. It became well-known by its regular appearance in the 1960 television series Batman as the entrance to the Batcave. Ever since, the location was used as a film set for blockbuster movies such as Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Batman: The Movie, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Army of Darkness or The Scorpion King. It is located just a short 10 minutes hike from the parking lot.
3200 Canyon Drive, Los Angeles, California
It is one of Los Angeles´most well-known filming landmarks and has gained worldwide popularity when it appeared in the 1982 blockbuster Blade Runner. Built by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Ennis House was originally designed as a luxury home for the Ennis couple in 1923. Today, it is owned by billionaire Ronald Burkle. What makes the mansion so extraordinary is its textile block structure which was based on the design of ancient Maya temples and which can today be best described as Mayan Revival architecture. This adds to the building´s almost creepy exterior appearance which made it the set for the 1959 B movie the House on Haunted Hill. It is hidden well along a winding road up in the Loz Feliz neighbourhood and I did feel a little like a celebrity stalker walking up and down the mighty walls outside the premise, hoping to be able to get a peek inside.
2607 Glendower Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
When I did my research on places that I would like to see on my day off in town, I stumbled over this little museum close to Silver Lake and actually not too far away from the Ennis House. It belonged to Antonia F. Futterer, a severely ill man who found his way to a strong religious belief after being cured from suffering from appendicitis. He undertook quite a number of expeditions to countries such as Cyprus, Egypt, Syria, Palestine or Jordan from where he gathered hundreds and hundreds of valuable artifacts which are all on display inside the house. From a 5,000 years old oil lamp to a mummy casket from 600 AD or a 2,700 years old sarcophagus, the collection holds a wide range of impressive pieces in stock. What makes Holyland Exhibition so special is the fact, that Futterer is said to be the real-life inspiration for the character of Indiana Jones of the same name smash hit movie. Unlike Jones, Futterer never found the Golden Arch of the Covenant though, which he actually intended to discover. Tours of the house are conducted after appointments only, so make sure to phone or email before planning a visit. It´s worth it!
2215 Lake View Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90039
Being one of the largest and most respectable art museums in the world, the 1.3 billion dollar structure is located prominently in the Brentwood hills overlooking the L.A. metropolitan area. It is a beautifully arranged landscape marvel with lots of modern architecture and very pretty outdoor gardens. The different buildings inherit a respectable collection of pre 19th and 20th century European and worldwide art including Vincent van Gogh´s painting Irises and other famous works by Monet or Gauguin. On clear days, the views from up there are breathtaking. It can also be a great spot for an afternoon picnic and is also used by many locals as a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles traffic. Admission is free, visitors pay only 15$ (10$ after 3 pm) for parking. The monorail ride from the lot up to the museum is spectacular itself and a visit is well worth it, even if you should not be interested in art that much. And for those movie enthusiasts: The Getty Center had served as Starfleet HQ in Star Trek: Into Darkness.
1200 Getty Center Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Probably one of the city´s most prominent landmarks, the Griffith Observatory offers some of the most spectacular views from its location on top of Mount Hollywood. The building, which was opened back in 1935, was an attempt to open astronomy to the public and admission has been free since then. While most people come only for the views onto the Hollywood sign or downtown Los Angeles, the scientific exhibition is quite interesting as well. Of course, this architectural marvel has had appearances in various Hollywood blockbusters such as The Terminator, Transformers, Valentine´s Day or La La Land. I parked my car down on the mountain´s foot and made my way up to the observatory walking. If you follow the road, it is not that much of a strenuous climb. The views will absolutely make up for this!
2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Not so much famous as being a movie set, but still one of Frank Lloyd Wright´s further Mayan Revival architecture masterpieces, the Storer House was originally built for a homeopathic physician during the 1920´s. It remains a residential home in the Hollywood Hills until today and is surrounded by one of L.A.´s most beautiful neighborhoods. But even if it did not have any physical appearances in any blockbuster, one of the blocks of the house has actually been used to form the logo for the hollywood production company Silver Pictures which had delivered hits such as The Matrix Trilogy, Swordfish or Romeo must Die.
8161 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles
Who does not love aviation catastrophe movies like Airplane, Airport, Die Hard 2 or Airport 80? Or have you ever wondered where the interior shots aboard a plane have been filmed? Air Hollywood is a Hollywood studio that provides authentic jetliner cabins for movies and TV series and which (and that is the truly cool thing!) offers on a regular base a highly unusual dining experience: The Pan Am Experience. Revive the glamour and nostalgia of the first 747 luxury liners flying the skies for one of the world´s most reputable airline that there has ever been. Wine and dine like a star and experience true Pan Am hospitality in an authentic environment, just as if you were boarding your international flight in the 1960´s. This is not only something for aviation geeks like me.
13240 Weidner St, Pacoima, CA 91331
These sculptures located in Watts by Sabato Simon Rodia have fallen a little into oblivion lately, so I thought it was more than time to call them back into the modern generation´s minds. Not only because their construction and appearance are most unique, but also because it is a prime example of outsider (also referred to as Italian-American native) art in the Los Angeles area. The concrete and wire mesh towers are decorated with glass, tiles, mirrors and porcelain and were built by Rodia with hand tools only. The sculptures were featured on various television shows and in movies, such as The Simpsons, Long Strange Trip, Colors or La La Land.