There are two ways to film a movie these days: In a studio in Los Angeles (or Vancouver, or elsewhere), or on location at extraordinary spots around the world. Over the years, the American West has provided reliably rich backdrops for on-location shots in a variety of movies, from Midnight Cowboy and The French Connection to Lady Bird and A Star Is Born. Here’s a rundown on some locations you might recognize, and how to follow in the footsteps of actors on the silver screen.
La La Land, Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles
While La La Land was filmed all over Los Angeles, one scene sets the movie soaring. When stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling show up at Griffith Observatory, they levitate and dance among the stars. Visit the observatory at sunset for spectacular views of the city below before taking in the celestial show.
A Star Is Born (2018), West Hollywood, California
Life imitated art in early 2019 when the studio that distributed the 2018 version of A Star Is Born bought an “Ally” billboard in West Hollywood across the street from the Chateau Marmont—the very same place where Ally (Lady Gaga) herself sees one in the movie. The billboard in real-life is a bit lower than the one in the film, so just about anyone with eyeballs can see it from street level. To relive the Ally and Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) bar scenes, head to the Virgil in East Hollywood, a stand-up comedy bar that doubled as the drag bar where they met, and the Short Stop in Echo Park, a Dodgers bar that was portrayed as the cop bar where Ally punched a guy. (Jackson's stunning house has been the envy of many: The property, a private residence, is situated at 481 Canyon Road in the hills of Calabasas, northwest of West Hollywood.)