Directed by Women, Filmed in LA

"Clueless" | Photo: Paramount Pictures

Celebrate Women’s History Month and the 96th Academy Awards with movies directed by women, spanning the 1950s to the present. Discover Los Angeles film locations that range from "the last of the great train stations" in Downtown LA to an iconic shopping mall in the Valley and world-famous Venice Beach.

"Barbie" - Greta Gerwig

Directed by Greta Gerwig, Barbie stars Margot Robbie in the title role and Ryan Gosling as Ken, and follows their adventures in Barbieland and the Real World. Barbie was released in the U.S. in July 2023. To date, Barbie has grossed nearly $1.5 billion at the box office and became the highest-grossing movie of 2023, the highest-grossing global release in Warner Bros. history, and the 14th highest-grossing film of all time. Barbie is nominated for eight Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Gosling), Best Supporting Actress (America Ferrera) and Best Original Song ("I'm Just Ken" and "What Was I Made For?").

Barbie filmed at L.A. County locations from Downtown LA to Venice to Long Beach. It's no coincidence that many of the locations are historic sites that exemplify art and design movements that emerged between the 1930s and 1970s. Read our guide and scout Los Angeles locations from Barbie for your own adventure in the Real World.

  • Bank of America Plaza (333 S. Hope St)
  • The Boardwalk / Venice Beach
  • Century Plaza Towers (2029 and 2049 Century Park East)
  • Downtown Long Beach
  • Santa Monica City Hall (1685 Main St)
Union Station entrance
Union Station entrance | Photo: Travis Conklin

"The Bigamist" - Ida Lupino

Released in 1953, The Bigamist has the distinction of being the first U.S. feature film directed by and starring the same woman. Ida Lupino began her career as an actress, but turned her focus towards writing and directing in the late 1940s. She was a trailblazer, noted for being the first woman to direct a noir film (The Hitch-Hiker, also released in 1953) and often tackled taboo subjects. The Bigamist is about a man who juggles two lives and two wives, one in San Francisco and one in Los Angeles. In the L.A. portions of the film, you’ll catch a glimpse of classic movie star homes via a scene on a tour bus. Much of this storyline, though, takes place along Wilshire Boulevard and into Downtown LA. Look for the Bullocks-Wilshire Building (now Southwestern Law School), The Town House, Union Station, the Hall of Justice and Chinatown’s Central Plaza.

  • Bullocks Wilshire (3050 Wilshire Blvd.)
  • Chinatown Central Plaza (943 N. Broadway)
  • Hall of Justice (211 W. Temple St.)
  • The Town House (2959 Wilshire Blvd.)
  • Union Station (800 N. Alameda)
"Clueless" | Photo: Paramount Pictures

"Clueless" - Amy Heckerling

Amy Heckerling’s second entry on this list, and the canon of teen films, is Clueless. In the 1995 film, Cher, Dionne and their friends make tracks around Los Angeles, from driving around Beverly Hills to venturing to a party in the Valley. You might have more of an adventure seeking out the locations used in the now-classic film.

In fact, Discover Los Angeles has a two-part guide to Clueless locations that includes Occidental College, The Witch’s House in Beverly Hills and North Hollywood’s Circus Liquor.

"Fast Times at Ridgemont High" - Amy Heckerling

Amy Heckerling’s first feature film, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, is a teenage classic filled with star-making roles for several of its actors, including Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold and Phoebe Cates. The movie also made stars of its locations, amongst them, Sherman Oaks Galleria. If you visit the Galleria now, though, you’ll find an altogether different space. It's living its current life as an outdoor mall. Similarly, you can still drive down Chatsworth Street near White Oak Avenue in Granada Hills like Brad did as a Captain Hook delivery driver, but your surroundings will have changed quite a bit from 1982. Meanwhile, you might still recognize Van Nuys High School for its role as Ridgemont High.

  • Sherman Oaks Galleria 15301 Ventura Blvd.
  • Van Nuys High School 6535 Cedros Ave.

"Kajillionaire" - Miranda July

The family of con artists at the center of Miranda July’s 2020 film Kajillionaire live adjacent to a soap factory, whose product continually seeps through the shared wall. The trio is also late on the rent, so they tend to creep around the factory, bending beneath the low, dark green fence in front of the teal factory building. You’ll find this distinctive complex in a warehouse-heavy neighborhood in Huntington Park.

  • 2529 E. 55th Street, Huntington Park

"The Manor" - Axelle Carolyn

Located in University Park, the Stimson House is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument that dates back to the 19th century and has appeared on screen a number of times over the decades. In The Manor, the 2021 horror film directed by Axelle Carolyn, the Stimson House serves as a senior home where former dancer Judith (Barbara Hershey) retreats after a stroke. The house is featured prominently in the film, where its exquisite, but slightly haunted, beauty reflects the film’s meditations on aging and death.

  • Stimson House (2421 S. Figueroa St.)
"Mi Vida Loca"
"Mi Vida Loca"

"Mi Vida Loca" - Allison Anders

Written and directed by Allison Anders, Mi Vida Loca (1994) is a story of friendships and rivalries among young, female gang members and casts Echo Park in a role as large as those of its stars. While Echo Park has changed immensely since the 1990s, you still might feel a sense of déjà vu as you drive down Echo Park Boulevard and see some vaguely familiar structures. The one location that you’ll easily recognize from the film is the park itself with Echo Park Lake glistening in the background.

  • Echo Park Lake (751 Echo Park Ave.)

"Point Break" - Kathryn Bigelow

More than a decade before she would garner a slew of awards, including the Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture for The Hurt Locker, Kathryn Bigelow captured the imagination of action flick fans with Point Break. Starring Patrick Swayze as surfer/criminal mastermind and Keanu Reeves as the FBI agent infiltrating his operation, Point Break gives viewers a look at the Southern California coast and beyond. Dockweiler and Leo Carrillo are amongst the beaches used in the film. Other noteworthy locations are Neptune’s Net, the Malibu restaurant and bar that’s a popular filming location and Santa Monica Airport.

  • Dockweiler Beach (8255 Vista del Mar)
  • Leo Carrillo State Park (W. Pacific Coast Highway)
  • Neptune’s Net (42505 Pacific Coast Highway)
  • Santa Monica Airport (3233 Donald Douglas Loop)

"Somewhere" - Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola’s 2010 film, Somewhere, takes viewers inside the Chateau Marmont, where actor Johnny Marco is living a somewhat debauched Hollywood life until his daughter arrives. The movie presents an insider's look at Chateau Marmont, with balcony views and other details that you might not get to see unless you were staying at the hotel. Similarly, viewers get a peek inside a press junket at The Four Seasons. The luxe destinations are juxtaposed with more accessible local spots like Pickwick Ice Center in Burbank.

  • Chateau Marmont (8221 Sunset Blvd.)
  • Four Seasons (300 N. Doheny Dr.)
  • Pickwick Ice Center (1001 Riverside Dr.)

"Suburbia" - Penelope Spheeris

In 1984, Penelope Spheeris unleashed what would become a cult favorite with Suburbia. A tale of struggling youth who find community through punk rock, the film features Flea, better known as the bassist for Red Hot Chili Peppers, as one of the young punks, as well as performances from bands D.I., The Vandals and T.S.O.L. The most recognizable location in the movie is Johnie’s Coffee Shop, which is no longer open, but still stands as a Googie landmark on Wilshire Blvd.

  • Johnie’s Coffee Shop 6101 Wilshire Blvd.

"Thirteen" - Catherine Hardwicke

If you want to see what Los Angeles looked like in the early 2000s, watch Thirteen. Directed by Catherine Hardwicke and co-written by Hardwicke and then-teenage Nikki Reed, this tale of teenage rebellion showcases a Los Angeles that exists primarily in memories now. Yes, you can still shop on Melrose Avenue, but Red Balls, the shop that outfitted many a club kid at the turn of the century and was featured prominently in the film, is long gone. While you might still see John Travolta’s star on Hollywood Boulevard, the Galaxy Theater featured in Thirteen is also a thing of the past. One storefront that’s still around, though, is Ocean Front Tattoo in Venice, called Ocean Front Piercing in the movie. Hardwicke also directed Lords of Dogtown, where Imperial Beach, near San Diego, filled in as the long-gone Pacific Ocean Park. 

  • John Travolta’s Star (6901 Hollywood Blvd.)
  • Ocean Front Tattoo (1201 Ocean Front Walk)