Part of the appeal of last year’s smash hit, the Oscar-bestowed success story was that it featured a unique angle on the struggles of a black man coming to terms with his sexuality. Oh no, wait, that was Moonlight. We’re actually going to talk about La La Land (always get those two mixed up. Apparently, it’s an easy mistake to make). La La Land, the second directorial effort from Damien Chazelle, was a hit with critics and audiences alike, due in no small part to its beautiful Los Angeles setting that recalled the glory days of Hollywood.
The film presented the golden hills and star-spangled streets of Los Angeles as a kind of fairy tale world, complete with sing-songs, bright lights, and spontaneous dance routines (which bizarrely seemed meticulously choreographed and not really spontaneous at all). Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone provide the requisite leading role charisma and romantic chemistry, but it’s the locations that do most of the heavy lifting.
If indulging the wonderful charm of the Chazelle’s LA has got you hankering for a trip to the Hollywood Hills, then what are you waiting for? Keep that BUCKiTDREAM planner handy, and get ready to tap dance your way to the top of Mulholland Drive as we take you through the ultimate guide to your very own La La Land experience!
Head for the Hills When you talk about Los Angeles, you’re talking about a gigantic metropolis, and one of the biggest cities in the U.S.A. When you talk about La La Land, you’re talking about a small slice of that metropolis, a slice very far removed from the toils of inner city LA districts like Skid Row. Yes, the movie’s title is a nickname for Los Angeles in general, but it’s all about Hollywood, baby! The city of Hollywood is located in the west of LA and comprises both the Hollywood Hills and Beverly Hills, which provide La La Land with most of its stunning, vivid backdrops.
Visit the ‘You Are the Star’ Mural Encompassing the theme of the film, the famous ‘You Are the Star’ mural is featured on the front of the (fictional) restaurant from which Sebastian is fired from early on in the film. The painting depicts some Hollywood heavy hitters such as Bogart, Bacall, Richard Pryor and James Dean, all gathered in a theater gazing at you, the viewer. This pretty slice of Hollywood nostalgia is definitely worth an Instagram or two.
Address: Wilcox Ave. & Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028
Hop on a Starline Tour La La Land is about people chasing their dreams, no matter what the cost. Well, most people dream of owning a house or two in Beverly Hills, so a tour of the local affluent neighborhoods can definitely get you settled into the city, as well as affording you an opportunity to pick the perfect spot for your future mansion. Starline Tours provide a number of different routes and options, including one which will take you all the way along the stunning Mulholland Drive. The views from the Hills are simply spectacular, and you really get a sense of just how colossal Los Angeles actually is. You also might catch a glimpse of a celebrity or two while you’re up there.
Address: 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
Dance the Night Away at Griffith Park One of the most memorable scenes in the film is Gosling and Stone’s terrific two-step atop Griffith Park. With a quintessential Los Angeles sunset in the background, the scene is a great summation of the film – and the ideal LA life – as a whole. The park is wonderful at any time of day, and you don’t have to dance in it to make the most of it; it’s perfect for a simple stroll or picnic. It also contains the LA Zoo and Botanical Gardens, the famous Griffith Observatory and most importantly of all, the iconic Hollywood Sign.
Address: 4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Catch a Show at the El Rey Much of La La Land’s inspiration comes from music; despite being a puritanical jazz fan, Gosling’s Sebastian is challenged on his views by John Legend’s character, who argues that jazz should be progressive and forward thinking, not stuck in the mud. Legend’s band (including Gosling) play a show at the El Rey Theater, one of LA’s most-loved music venues, in a city that’s simply full of them. Featuring a slick art deco style design, the El Rey dates back to 1936 and has seen a multitude of acts pass through its hallowed doors. Unlike Sebastian, the venue isn’t picky; a whole has of musical genres are on offer for you to enjoy. Pick your weapon.
Address: 5515 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Enjoy a Smooth Drink at The Lighthouse Café Described as a citadel of jazz, the Lighthouse is one of the few remaining venues where old fashioned jazz reigns supreme. Located in the popular beach city of Hermosa Pier, you can combine a jazzy tipple with a stroll or swim along the stunning waterfront.
Address: 30 Pier Ave, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
Los Angeles is known as the city of dreams, and it features many different variations on that particular theme for all you eager BUCKiTDREAMERS. There’s a lot to get up to in La La Land, so make sure to try to live every second once you embark on your once-in-a-lifetime bucket dream trip to sunny Cali. If you want to explore more of the sunshine state, check out Explore the Wild, Wild West at Yosemite National Park or California Dreaming in Sunny San Francisco for more BUCKiTDREAM-inspired adventures!