The Best Places to Experience "La La Land" in Los Angeles

Make your own magic in the "City of Stars"

The City of Angels once again gets a star turn courtesy of La La Land. The characters Mia and Sebastian, played by Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, sashay around town in love with each other and Los Angeles.

Written and directed by Damien Chazelle, La La Land received 14 Oscar nominations, tying the record for most nods by a single film with All About Eve (1950) and Titanic (1997). At the 89th Academy Awards, La La Land won six Oscars, including Best Director for Chazelle (the youngest winner in the category), Best Actress (Stone) and Best Original Song ("City of Stars").

Read on for how to make your own magic during your La La Land tour of Los Angeles.

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling dancing in Griffith Park in "La La Land"
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling dancing in Griffith Park in "La La Land" | Photo: Lionsgate

Griffith Park

Spanning more than 4,300 acres, Griffith Park is the 11th-largest municipally owned park in the U.S. After a Hollywood Hills party, Sebastian and Mia discover a spectacular view of the San Fernando Valley, where they perform the showstopper “A Lovely Night.” The sequence was filmed in one take at "Cathy's Corner" off Mt. Hollywood Drive.

Scene from "La La Land" at the Griffith Observatory
Scene from "La La Land" at the Griffith Observatory  |  Photo: @filmtourismus

Griffith Observatory

One of LA’s greatest cultural attractions, the Griffith Observatory has appeared in numerous TV shows and films, perhaps most famously in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), starring James Dean and Natalie Wood. As an homage, Sebastian and Mia visit the Observatory, where an unforgettable scene takes place in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium.

Scene from "La La Land" at Angels Flight in Downtown LA
Scene from La La Land at Angels Flight  |  Photo: @filmtourismus

Angels Flight

During a montage, Sebastian and Mia ride the landmark Angels Flight, located off Hill Street across from Grand Central Market in Downtown LA. Though the Bunker Hill funicular was closed at the time, the filmmakers got permission to use Angels Flight for a day.

Angels Flight has appeared in more than 100 movies, including the film noirs Criss Cross (1949) and Kiss Me Deadly (1955); and TV series like Bosch, Perry Mason (both the original and the 2020 HBO series) and the classic Dragnet.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone at Grand Central Market in "La La Land"
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone at Grand Central Market in "La La Land" | Photo: Lionsgate

Sarita's Pupuseria

Opened in 1917, the historic Grand Central Market houses a vibrant collection of classic and modern food vendors serving cuisines from around the world. In a montage, Sebastian and Mia stop by Sarita's Pupuseria at GCM. Sarita's serves handmade pupusas with dozens of different fillings, including vegetarian options.

Watts Towers in South Los Angeles
Watts Towers  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Watts Towers

Seen in a romantic montage, the world-famous Watts Towers were built by Italian immigrant construction worker Sabato (aka "Sam" or "Simon") Rodia in his spare time over a period of 33 years, from 1921 to 1954. Rodia built the towers by himself, using only hand tools and window washer's equipment. The monumental sculpture was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1990 and hosts annual events such as the Day of the Drum Festival and the Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival. Guided tours are available on Thursdays and Fridays.

Scene from "La La Land" at The Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach
Photo courtesy @filmtourismus

The Lighthouse Cafe

Jazz plays an important role in La La Land - Sebastian is a jazz pianist who dreams of opening his own club and makes a living by playing cocktail party gigs. The Lighthouse Café in Hermosa Beach has showcased jazz since May 1949, featuring legendary musicians like Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Art Blakey, and Cannonball Adderley. Today the club books a wide range of music, from jazz to reggae and rock.

"City of Stars" scene from "La La Land" at the Hermosa Beach Pier
"City of Stars" scene from "La La Land" at the Hermosa Beach Pier  |  Photo: @filmtourismus

Hermosa Beach Pier

Extending over the Pacific Ocean, the Hermosa Beach Pier is a popular destination for fishing and gorgeous sunsets. After he and Mia visit The Lighthouse Cafe, Sebastian strolls the pier and sings the Oscar-winning "City of Stars."

Ryan Gosling at The Smoke House in "La La Land"
Ryan Gosling at The Smoke House in "La La Land" | Photo: Lionsgate

Smoke House Restaurant

Thanks to its proximity to Warner Bros., the Smoke House Restaurant has been a favorite hangout for the entertainment industry since it was established in 1946. The legendary steakhouse stands in for the supper club where Sebastian plays holiday tunes.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone stroll the Colorado Street Bridge in "La La Land"
Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone stroll the Colorado Street Bridge in "La La Land" | Photo: Lionsgate

Colorado Street Bridge

The Colorado Street Bridge was proclaimed the highest concrete bridge in the world upon its completion in 1913. With majestic arches rising 150 feet into the sky, this historic bridge has impressed travelers and locals from the day it opened, and is one of LA's most romantic landmarks.