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Love is in the Air and On Film in L.A.’s Most Romantic Movie Locations

Written by Cindy Marie Jenkins on Friday, February 9th, 2018 at 9:42am.

Los Angeles is known as The City of Angels, the destination for Hollywood dreams. This nook surely holds a special place in your favorite films, music, and books. I will never forget the first time I listened to Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” while I drove down Ventura Boulevard; in one instant, I understood. After years of hearing his music, I got it.

But while living in Los Angeles brought me closer to some music, there are numerous filming locations that you see in so many shows and movies that it’s hard not to expect your favorite characters to walk right out into the 101 Coffee Shop and order a short stack with coffee, black. I take a peculiar joy in walking by the Dresden in Los Feliz thanks to how perfectly the movie Swingers captured it. Among these popular spots lay many romantic nooks that are just perfectly primed to create that special moment between your characters.

  • Griffith Park is by far one of the most popular spots for fun romance. Between all their trails, parks and the Old Carousel, The Old Zoo is just a great spot for set dressing to make it anything you want it to be. Among the reasons why Griffith Park has been named the most popular film location was its use in La La Land, Pote Field in the romantic comedy Jerry Maguire, plus Griffith Observatory became well known for its role in James Dean’s Rebel Without a Cause (and has become a necessity for establishing Los Angeles shots every since).

  • The Bradbury Building is one of those icons that anyone can walk into with ease. A friend took me on a stroll of downtown L.A. once, opened a door and said, “Want to see where they filmed Bladerunner?” That may not be the most romantic of movies, but the stunning building stole my heart. In 2011, the French romantic comedy The Artist infused its graceful height and stairways with nostalgia, making full use of the black and white film.

  • Although the escort with a heart of gold is an outdated trope in 2018, the Cicada restaurant has that hilarious scene in Pretty Woman where she flips an elegant dish across the room and then giggles uncontrollably, otherwise known as how I would behave in an upscale restaurant. If you make a reservation well enough in advance, you can even request the Pretty Woman table for an even more special experience.

  • Whether or not it’s romantic as an adult is debatable, but no high schooler can resist Grease and its phenomenal use of L.A. as backdrop at the Leo Carrillo State Beach and LA River, plus many other scenes took place at Venice High School

  • Venice High School and Venice Beach were also front and center in the film Baz Luhrman’s Romeo & Juliet. This is another love story that, upon further reflection, is fueled more by hormones and peer pressure than true love, but Luhrman manages to make every anachronism fit into his very specialized world of Venice Beach, and the glory of the sunsets juxtaposes against the revelation that their love can only prosper at night and is forbidden in the harsh daylight. I’d probably choose Paul Rudd’s dorky Paris over Leonardo diCaprio’s tortured Romeo, but that’s just me.

  • Speaking of dorky Paul Rudd, you can’t walk anywhere on the west side of L.A. (and yes, people do) without hitting upon one of the numerous locations found in that underrated film Clueless. It was like, the best adaptation of Jane Austen until The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and it was set in like, The Valley, with characters I never thought I’d find myself understanding - or, like, talking like. Plus the filmmakers take you on a story-laden tour through some of the most prestigious architectural styles in Los Angeles: Cher’s mansion in Encino stood in for Beverly Hills, a Spanish style home on her drive to school, the Tudor mansion where her best friend lived, plus Occidental became their high school.

  • And in films were Hollywood itself is a main character, we have the opening of Singin’ in the Rain at the Chinese Theater, where Gene Kelly’s character Don Lockwood is found at the height and the restoration of his career. Extra fact: the title song and dance was filmed in steaming hot temperatures on a film lot, so was even more uncomfortable than just tap dancing in the man-made pouring rain.

It isn’t just Los Angeles either; our other nooks have some quite famous locations for love stories. Golden Gate Park played a huge role in The Wedding Planner, Hotel Del Coronado and Coronado Municipal Beach were prime spots in San Diego for that classic film Some Like it Hot. You can’t separate The Birdcage from its setting of Miami, and what a love story to both that neighborhood and the family unit itself; you can see Lincoln Road Farmer’s Market and The Carlyle Hotel all over this adaptation of the Broadway musical La Cage Aux Folles. An exploration of love and friendship in the story Beaches began at Crystal Cove Beach in Orange County, and of course that series The O.C. was everywhere. L.A. Story was, of course, one of the best love stories to Los Angeles and its inherent weirdness, but who can forget the perfect scenes when Steve Martin and Sarah Jessica Parker took a holiday in Santa Barbara? 

Find your favorite love scene from a film, then Search With Style© nearby and maybe you’ll discover the nook just right for you!



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