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Southern California Movie-Lover's Tour

Southern California Movie-Lover's Tour
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Get your own close-ups at a star-quality tour of movie locations from downtown to desert.

Trip length: 2 days
Total distance: 312 miles


Buellton. Follow the Pinot-drenched trail of Miles and Jack, lead characters in the buddy comedy Sideways, in the pastoral Santa Ynez wine region. Stop by Sanford Winery , a key location in the movie, as well as the Hitching Post II , where Miles suggested Jack order an ostrich steak. INFO (805) 966-9222; santabarbaraca.com

Santa Barbara (43mi/70km; 46 min). Revel in the red-tiled beauty of this seaside town and surrounding communities as you relive the cushy life of Meryl Streep as depicted in the 2010 comedy, It’s Complicated on a self-guided tour  that visits the movie’s key locations. INFO (805) 966-9222; santabarbaraca.com


Agua Dulce (99mi/159km; 1 hr 53 min). Travel the Antelope Valley Freeway (State 14), the lonely stretch of road where a mysterious big rig stalks a panicked Dennis Weaver in Steven Spielberg’s 1971 breakthrough TV film, Duel. Stop in at surprisingly chi-chi Café Chene , a.k.a. the roadside eatery Chuck’s Café in the psycho-trippy film. INFO (661) 259-4787; scvchamber.com


Burbank (34mi/55km; 41 min). Take the famed studio tour at Universal Studios Hollywood  to see the still-gives-the-willies Bates Motel from Psycho and the remains of a real Boeing 747 used in Spielberg’s 2005 sci-fi extravaganza, War of the Worlds. For another behinds-the-scene peek, consider the VIP Studio Tour at Warner Bros . INFO (213) 624-7300; discoverlosangeles.com

Hollywood (9mi/15km; 18 min). Get a taste of movie-making magic on an intimate VIP tour of Paramount Studios , the longest operating and only remaining major studio in Tinseltown. INFO (323) 956-1777; paramountstudios.com

Los Angeles (6mi/10km; 10 min). Spicoli fans, take note: Visit the real high school where Sean Penn’s iconic stoner and the other kids from the 1982 cult favorite Fast Times at Ridgemont High—it’s Van Nuys High (6535 Cedros Ave.). Also check out Angels Knoll (356 S. Olive St.) where Joseph Gordon-Levitt shared his favorite view of Los Angeles with Zoe Deschanel in 2009’s 500 Days of Summer. INFO (213) 624-7300; discoverlosangeles.com

San Diego (120mi/194km; 2 hrs 4 min). Take the elegant Coronado Bridge to visit the swanky setting of the 1959 comedy classic, Some Like It Hot, where the 1888 Hotel Del Coronado  served as stand-in for a 1920s Florida resort. INFO (619) 236-1212; sandiego.org

Click here for more California close-ups in dozens of movies.

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