Griffith Observatory, Anne Lyden

La La Land, Starring Los Angeles

Griffith Observatory, Anne Lyden

As a former Angeleno, I’m a big fan of La La Land—both the film and the affectionately-nicknamed city. With the stunning skies of Southern California as a backdrop, the City of Angels plays a starring role in Damien Chazelle’s Oscar-nominated film, and a number of historic places help to convey the spirit of the city. 

The big star is the 1935 Griffith Observatory, which was gorgeously restored in a five-year effort that was completed in 2006. Other historic locations include one of Southern California’s glorious early movie palaces, the 1925 Rialto Theater in South Pasadena (where Seb and Mia see Rebel Without a Cause, which of course also features Griffith Observatory), and Angel’s Flight, a 298-foot funicular from 1901 that traverses the steep hill between Hill and Olive streets downtown. While the Rialto and Angel’s Flight appear to be operating in the film, Angelenos will know that both are currently closed—however, efforts are underway to get the theater and the historic funicular up and running again. 

Also making a brief appearance is the 1917 Grand Central Market, a thriving food hall at the foot of Angel’s Flight that reveals the incredibly diverse cultures of Los Angeles, sure to be a stop on my next trip to La La Land. Meet me at La Tostaderia?

(For more La La Land locations, check out this Curbed LA map!)


Image: Griffith Observatory, overloooking Los Angeles. Photo copyright Anne Lyden.