The Los Angeles River winds throughout the eastern portion of the city. It goes between foliage-filled Griffith Park, super-urban downtown, and onward to the Port of Long Beach. The intersection of Bandini and Soto, by one of the river’s many curves, has a great view of the skyline paired with the Soto overpass!
Another show premiering its new season is Modern Family! During last season (season 7) Mitch and Cam starting renting out the recently purchased upstairs portion of their condo. Chaos ensues, of course, when multiple weirdos come and go. In real life, the ivy covered home can be found across the street from the Fox Studio lot where the show’s interiors are shot! For those that care, you can also check out my post of the Dunphy family home here!
As seen on screen in: Modern Family (2009 – ??).
Tonight is finally the season 6 premiere for one of my favorite shows — New Girl! While I posted about the gang’s loft building a while ago (see it here), I’ve yet to post about the gang’s hangout — The Griffin. For the first couple seasons of the show we only saw the interior of the bar that Nick would eventually come to own (interior scenes filmed at The Prince in Koreatown toward the beginning of the series), but recently they’ve added some exterior shots that were taken of this Atwater Village local landmark. We finally learned of the bar’s name for the first time in season 5 which explains the real life griffin sign on the bar’s corner!
As seen on screen in: New Girl (2011 – ??).
The Korean Bell of Friendship which sits atop Angels Gate Park in San Pedro, has some of the best ocean views around. This massive bronze bell was given as a gift on October 3, 1976 to symbolize friendship between Korea and America, and to celebrate this county’s bicentennial. The park, which is part of Fort MacArthur, is open for events and, of course, is a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument!
Working my way through the AFI Top 100 Greatest Films of All-Time!
#70 — A Clockwork Orange (1971)
After Breaking Bad became the smash hit that it was, AMC decided to make a spinoff/prequel with original creator Vince Gilligan. Better Call Saul definitely keeps up the high standards of the original, and of course it uses the Albuquerque as its backdrop! Like the White family residence from Breaking Bad, the prequel has a main home as well — Chuck’s house. In real-life, it looks exactly the same as it does on the show except for the mailbox that every character uses to “ground themselves.”
Another familiar spot from Better Call Saul is Mike’s parking lot ticket booth which is the bane of Jimmy’s existence!
Though not one of the “main” show locations, the Valliant Printing Shop where Chuck passes out due to the florescent lights is from an unforgettable scene.
The show’s biggest tie-in to Breaking Bad came when the skateboard kids and Jimmy followed the hit-and-run driver to this house when who should answer the door, but Tuco.
Another Tuco hangout is the El Moreno Mexican Restaurant where he does his dealings with his partner in crime Nacho right beside him. That is until Mike purposefully hits Tuco’s car in the parking lot thus sacrificing himself and getting the beating of a lifetime. Tuco was arrested, but Mike’s problems were just getting started.
As seen on screen in: Better Call Saul (2015 – ??).
Three of the most iconic locations from Breaking Bad are easily Hank and Marie’s awesome hillside adobe house, Gus Fring’s front fast-food restaurant Los Pollos Hermanos, and of course the White house itself!
Twisters — a chain located all over New Mexico — was chosen to play the chicken eatery. The location is one of the smart few that is banking on its television fame. The left up one of the wall decals which is the first thing you see when you walk inside, they added big arrows and a sign pointing out the exact booth Walter liked to sit in, and they even have posters for sale!
The holy grail itself — Walter “Heisenberg” White’s house! It still looks almost exactly the same except for a gate added to the front entryway, some private property signs, and a slight color change. It’s known by the locals that the owners sit out front all day, every day to deter would-be vandalizers or trespassers. Luckily I stopped by at just the right moment to snap some photos of the show’s main location seen in all 62 episodes of its 5 season run!
As seen on screen in: Breaking Bad (2008-2013).
Some more Breaking Bad spots I was able to check out while roaming around Albuquerque were the A1A Car Wash that acted as the front for the income Walt earned as a dealer! Though the owners have changed, as has the color scheme, it’s still instantly recognizable!
Saul Goodman’s one-time shopping center office is now a sports bar and sadly the inflatable Statue of Liberty is nowhere to be found.
Tuco’s headquarters is actually a coffee shop.
Jesse’s favorite hangout — local favorite Dog House — actually is a hot dog stand!
The tragic demise of Walt’s frenemy Lydia took place against the window’s of this real-life restaurant. Somehow Walt sneaks some ricin poison into a sugar packet that Lydia then dumps into her morning coffee. Don’t worry though, the real eatery’s sugar packets are safe!
As seen on screen in: Breaking Bad (2008-2013).
While visiting New Mexico, I couldn’t leave without checking out some Breaking Bad filming locations! I visited several locations from throughout the series, but here’s some of the better known homes from the series! First up, Jesse Pinkman’s house. Check out the new garage where the iconic RV meth lab once parked!
After that came Gustavo “Gus” Fring’s classy home.
Then Mike’s cute little house. The same one is used for the character in the show’s prequel spin-off Better Call Saul.
The duplex Jesse and Jane shared, and where she OD’ed while Walt watched, still looks the same!
Last up came Jesse’s parent’s home where he took the fall for his little brother’s weed stash.
As seen on screen in: Breaking Bad (2008-2013).
If you find yourself wandering around the southern New Mexico border town of Las Cruces you’ll probably spend most of your time over in the beautiful White Sands National Park. After a day tromping in silk-like sand, head over to see the world’s biggest chile in front of the properly named Big Chile Inn. Even more perfect is it’s located just a couple blocks from Motel Blvd!
Las Cruces, NM
Every year on the Friday before Labor Day the city of Santa Fe puts on its annual Burning of Zozobra. Started by Will Shuster back in the 1920s, the event has grown into a region-wide celebration. Old Man Gloom, as the marionette is called, represents everyone’s misdeeds of the past year. After sunset the town starts chanting Burn Him! as a Fire Spirit battles the puppet before ultimately lighting him on fire — thus releasing the town’s gloom. From an event that started in one man’s backyard to an annual fiesta with over 50,000 people in attendance, it’s one of New Mexico’s biggest parties!
Santa Fe, NM
Burn Him! Burn Him! Burn Him! Burn Him! Burn Him! Burn Him! Burn Him! Burn Him!
Never forget the ones we lost. 09/11/2001
Perhaps the most well known person to come out of Minnesota is the former rock legend himself — Prince. Born in Minneapolis, he called the area home up until the end. His famous home/studio Paisley Park is just out of town Chanhassen. I was lucky enough to stop by for a visit just several months after his passing and the fence that surrounds the property was still covered in fan art from all over the world!
He even shot most of his classic film Purple Rain around his hometown as well! The First Avenue club still holds shows to this day and has silver stars of its well-known performers on the walls outside. And yes, there’s one single gold star that says Prince right by the entrance.
Th Kid’s home still stands and still looks the same as it did from the film back in 1984!
As seen on screen in: Purple Rain (1984).
Back in the day Sait Paul was known to many as a safe haven for gangsters, bank robbers, and other old school criminals. This happened because of one main reason, the city’s Chief of Police at the time promised to turn his shoulder as long as they didn’t commit crimes within Saint Paul’s city limits. Perhaps the most famous gangster to hideout here was none other than Public Enemy #1 — John Dillinger. Along with some buddies, Dillinger kept an apartment in this brick building until the FBI, working on a tip from the landlord, showed up. A shootout ensued in the hallways before Dillinger escaped out a rear entrance into the alley. Even though we all know what would ultimately end up happening to John in Chicago, this nondescript building has a fantastic history of its own!
Saint Paul, MN
Of course, while exploring the North Star State I had to check out some filming locations. One film that instantly takes me back to my childhood — The Mighty Ducks — was shot around the Twin Cities. When Coach Bombay (Emilio Estevez) first meets the team in the memorable scene, in which his limo drives right onto the frozen pond, they shot it right in the middle of Peavy Park. In real life, it’s just a normal park with no pond to be found.
As seen on screen in: The Mighty Ducks (1992).
The Coen Brothers film A Serious Man used a residential street (with the help of some CGI retouching) as the stomping grounds for Michael Stuhlbarg’s character in the film.
As seen on screen in: A Serious Man (2009).
The mall from Kevin Smith’s cult classic Mallrats can be found in nearby Eden Prairie! Although it has been renovated multiple times since the movie was shot back in 1995, it’s still recognizable for the hardcore fans out there!
As seen on screen in: Mallrats (1995).