Back to the Future is not only one of the biggest films of the 80s, but one of those classics that still endures today. The fan interest in this movie seems to actually grow by the year. From special events to cosplay to replica Deloreans, fans love to show just how much they adore this film. One of the ways fans can feel closer to this film is to visit some of its filming locations.
There are numerous websites that do an excellent job of documenting almost every location used in the 3 films. While I haven’t had a chance to visit them all these sites, I’d like to share some of the Los Angeles locations I’ve personally visited.
The McFly House
The first Back To The Future location is Marty McFly’s house in 1985. The house is located at 9303 Roslyndale Ave. This is located in Arleta, Ca, just north of Burbank. The house is a standard residential home, and has changed very little from how it looked in the movie. Even the powerlines behind the house haven’t changed.
While here, don’t forget to check out the street in front of the house. At the end of the film where Doc Brown takes Marty and Jennifer in his flying Delorean and takes off into the sky above the street, that scene was accurately filmed right in front of the house. The trees have changed a lot, but it’s the same location.
Closeby is the location where Marty skateboards past the Lyon Estate signs towards his house. This wasn’t filmed on Roslyndale Ave, but just a couple blocks away at the corner of Kagel Canyon Street and Sandusky Avenue. When you are at the intersection, look southeast down Sandusky Ave, and this is the view from the film. The houses and trees are quite a bit different than they were in 1985. Be careful when taking photos, as you’ll need to be in the intersection to get the right angle. Make sure you stay safe and don’t disrupt the traffic.
Burger King & Doc Brown’s Garage
The next location we will look at is the Doc Brown’s Garage and the Burger King that Marty skateboards from. These are located on the same spot in Burbank. One of the first scenes of the movie shows Marty playing guitar in Doc Browns garage. He then grabs his skateboard to head to school. The garage is a replica of the one located at the Gamble House. It was built in the back parking lot of the Burger King located at 535 North Victory Blvd in Burbank.
The garage itself is long gone, however the Burger King that we see Marty skate through is still there. The building and sign have been modified over the years, but the layout of the parking lot and drive-thru are still the same.
Back To The Future’s Hill Valley and the Courthouse were created on the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot. It would have been harder to accomplish a 1955 appearance outside of a studio. The backlot was changed extensively since the films. It has also been affected by a couple fires on the Universal lot.
If you visit the theme park, you can take the Studio Tour tram ride, which is a 1 hour tour of the backlots. You can’t leave the tram, but you can take photos from your seat. The tour generally visits the clocktower, but isn’t guaranteed. When I took the tour, that area was closed for filming, so we didn’t get to see it up close. You can, however, get a birds eye view from the upper levels of the Theme Park.
Universal Studios also offers a VIP option. This includes a tour of the studios in small groups, similar to how you would tour Paramount or Warner Bros. This option is great if you want to see the backlots up close. The VIP option also includes a lunch, and VIP access to all of the theme park rides and attractions. You’ll find the price substantially higher, but it may be worth it if you are hoping to see the backlots up close. Again, keep in mind the clocktower is still not guaranteed if the area is closed when you tour.
The house used for Doc Brown’s 1955 home is known as the Gamble House. The historic house is located at 4 Westmoreland Place in Pasadena. The house offer tours, so try and fit this in. You can also view the garage which is seen in the movie. It was also replicated at the Burger King location we discussed above.
The next location is Bushnell Avenue in South Pasadena. Several houses on Bushnell were used to film several scenes from the 1955 time period. The house where Marty’s mom, Lorraine, lived is located 1727 Bushnell. Make sure you notice the large tree across the street, where George used to spy on Lorraine.
His father, George McFly’s house, is just down the road at 1711 Bushnell Ave.
While here on the street, make sure you check out number 1809 Bushnell as well. This house was used as Biff’s house in the 2nd Back To The Future movie.
A local filmmaker has made a short documentary about Bushnell Ave. This documentary includes the various locations in Back To The Future. His website includes details to rent or buy the documentary.
Hill Valley High School
Moving on to the next location, Hill Valley High School. They used an actual school, Whittier High School, at 12417 East Philadelphia Street in Whittier. All the exterior shots of the school were filmed here. Unfortunately, the entire school is surrounded by a large fence, so you won’t be able to go on school property. However you can certainly take pictures from the sidewalk on Philadelphia Street. The parking lot scenes were filmed in a grassy courtyard on the east side of the school. You can see it from Whittier Ave. Again, the best you’ll get is a view from the fence.
Mr. Strickland’s House
Right around the corner is another location that you may want to check out. The house belonging to Mr. Strickland, Marty’s school principal, is located at 12511 Bailey Street.
Puente Hills Mall
The Twin Pines Mall (later the Lone Pine Mall) is actually the Puente Hills Mall in the City of Industry. The section of the parking lot used to film scenes from Back To The Future are in the south portion of the parking lot. This is just off Colima Road, in between the Macy’s and the 24 Hour Fitness. This is where the Delorean made it’s debut and took Marty to the past as he escaped from Libyan terrorists.
Also, take note of the entrance to the parking lot off Colima Road, right by the TGI Friday’s. This is the spot where Marty skateboarded towards the mall. It is also where they set up the Twin Pines Mall sign.
Make sure you go inside the mall as well. While none of the film was set inside the mall, they do have the Twin Pines Mall sign on display.
The final spot I’ll mention is Jennifer’s house from Back to the Future 2. This is the spot where Doc and Marty leave Jennifer on her porch swing. The house is located at 161 North Magnolia Ave in Monrovia.
One of the most famous vehicles in movie history is the Delorean Time Machine. Even now, you’d need to be living under a rock to not know about this car.
While some cars are lost, there are a couple ways to see an actual screen used Delorean. One car is in private hands, but is occasional on display at conventions. The second is displayed at Universal Studios Orlando, next to the time traveling locomotive from the 3rd movie.
The final car, called the “Hero” car, was in disarray but has been meticulously refurbished. It was displayed for a while at Universal Studios Hollywood, which is where I saw it. It is now on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.
If you have any questions or thoughts about Back To The Future or the filming locations, please share with me in the comment section below.
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