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Iconic Television and Film Landmarks in Los Angeles

Published on June 11, 2017

Los Angeles is home of not only some of the greatest stars of the silver screen as well as some of the most iconic filming locations on the planet. For location scouts and tourists alike, we’ve listed a handful of LA’s most incredible sites which have been time tested and viewer approved many times throughout the years.

Locals and visitors the world over can quickly identify the iconic Santa Monica Pier either from their beautifully blessed commute along the coast, or from its many, many appearances on the silver screen and our tubes in our living rooms over the years. Although the Pier itself is over a hundred years old, this incredible spot has been and continues to be extremely well cared for and keeps up with a modern landscape. Easily located at the end of I10 and PCH, the Pier is not difficult to find, nor are its several conveniently located parking lots for visitors or camera crews alike. Regardless of the season, gorgeous scenery unfurls in all directions with the colorful coast, sparkling cerulean water, and early Californian architecture and gorgeous homes and hotels dotting the coast. Film, television, and print crews alike have been spotted at the Pier and its accompanying attractions at all hours of the day and night capturing this timeless and historic location, and its world famous Pacific Park is an incredible backdrop for film and television scenes ranging from thrillers to heartwarming family entertainment. Unforgettable films such as “Titanic,” and “Forest Gump,” and many others have used the Santa Monica Pier for its modern and recognizable glory, or just as easily transformed it into another time or place to serve the storyteller’s purpose.

The Griffith Observatory is a one of a kind location in Los Angeles marked by its hilltop location with incredible views of the LA basin as well as of the unobscured night sky above it.

Located high in the hills of Los Angeles, this iconic landmark has appeared on the large and small screens many times throughout the years in films such as “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Jurassic Park,” and “La La Land.” Its relatively remote location – as remote as is possible while still being in Los Angeles – allows for a reasonable amount of seclusion for private filming events. From the Observatory there is a variety of topography and hiking trails as well as easy access to the “Hollywood” sign. One slightly less attractive aspect of this location is that parking tends to be a nightmare on days when the park is open to the public and the very narrow surrounding roads are somewhat unwelcoming. The location itself is beautiful with pristine grounds and gorgeous architecture, and the views of LA are picturesque although the view can be occasionally partially obscured by smog depending on the day or season.

Centrally located in the heart of Los Angeles, Union Station has made numerous film and television appearances dressed with a wide variety of masks. This large, ornate building was used in “Blade Runner,” and quite recently for “The Dark Knight Rises,” as well as countless television productions. With its beautiful and very versatile interior and timeless exterior, it is no wonder this building is a frequently utilized space by location coordinators in the industry. Union Station serves as a super busy hub for local Angelinos and tourist sightseers alike, and also offers an amazing backdrop for creative and incredible film and television crews on a mission to get the shot.

Docked in one of the southernmost parts of Los Angeles County near beautiful downtown Long Beach, the Queen Mary is hands down one of LA’s most historically significant and beautiful sites. This luxury liner was host to glorious glamour during the best of times, soldiers being transported to and from Europe during World War II, and since its formal retirement in 1967 it has hosted countless film and television crews for epic releases such as “Pearl Harbor,” as well as some more light-hearted entertainment like “He’s Just Not That Into You,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean.” Although the Queen Mary has seen its share of both good times and incredibly trying times, its expertly maintained beauty is undeniable in its structure as well as interior design. This location offers stunning views up and down the coast, as well as of the beautiful and unique vista of downtown Long Beach and the city’s lush coastal parks while also offering the beautiful and versatile interior of the ship which can be dressed in modern furnishings or almost effortlessly transport onlookers into a bygone era.

Paramount Ranch, nestled in the hills of Agoura, just up the long and winding road from fabulous Malibu, has a long and brilliant history in the film and television industry. Its rural and secluded location and lush Mediterranean landscape lend themselves easily to quaint old western or divine paradise found vibes. With ample acreage and malleability, this location is able to satisfy almost any production needs imaginable. There are structures in place which are staged to lend an early Californian wild western feeling, which lent nicely to the filming of “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” and many other film and television masterpieces since Paramount Pictures bought the expansive parcel back in 1927.