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Courtesy Everett Collection

The ultimate ‘Chinatown’ filming location map of Los Angeles

From Catalina Island to Sylmar, all the places seen in the classic LA caper

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Roman Polanski’s Chinatown is the essential Los Angeles film for just about anybody who isn’t a science fiction obsessive (Blade Runner), a thirtysomething woman (Clueless), or a jerk (Swingers).

For all the movies Hollywood has made about its hometown, Chinatown captures a definitive combination of the city’s varied landscapes, its shiny veneer and sinister depths, its car-centric beauty (much of it's shot through windshields or in rearviews), its greed, and its desperate relationship with nature, all in a self-reflexive (so Hollywood) take on noir (so LA).

The story of seedy PI Jake Gittes, played by Jack Nicholson, and his discovery of a plot to parch, then purchase, then annex, then irrigate the San Fernando Valley, is such a good myth that by now it’s just about replaced the real story of the Los Angeles Aqueduct and the birth of modern LA. (It’s not wildly off, but it’s not in any way a faithful history; it also takes place in the 1930s while the events it fictionalizes happened in the 1910s.)

The movie was released 46 years ago, on June 20, 1974. This map pinpoints out all of its real-life locations, with help from this old Los Angeles Times article, The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations, and Filming Locations of Chicago and Los Angeles. Take the Chinatown tour this way.

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Los Angeles City Hall

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City Hall plays itself in Jake’s first stop on his tail of Hollis Mulwray, at a meeting about a potential aqueduct for Los Angeles. Proceedings are interrupted by an angry Valley sheep farmer and his flock.

The interior of Los Angeles City Hall.
Getty Images

Hollenbeck Bridge

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Jake follows Hollis to a dry riverbed (actually the Foothill Boulevard Bridge over the Tujunga Wash), but later finds a homeless man drowned by a mysterious influx of water.

Tujunga Wash.
Shutterstock

Point Fermin Park

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Finally, Hollis heads to this cliffside park in San Pedro and ends up staying the night.

Point Fermin.
Shutterstock.com

Walker’s Cafe

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Jake parks outside the cafe on Point Fermin and leaves a watch under Hollis’s car tire here so he can figure out what time he leaves.

View this post on Instagram

Tough guys need lunch too

A post shared by ᴍᴇɢʜᴀɴ ʙʀᴜᴍᴍᴏɴᴅ (@meghan_paige) on

Pig ’n Whistle

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Jake’s associate photographs Hollis and Noah Cross arguing outside the Pig ’n Whistle, actually the Pacific Dining Car Downtown.

Echo Park Lake

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In the movie’s third-most-famous scene, Jake pretends to photograph his associate, as cover for snapping Hollis and Katherine, while boating on Echo Park Lake.

Echo Park Lake.
Lisa Bronitt, Shutterstock.com

El Macondo Apartments

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Jake climbs up on the tile roof at this courtyard complex to photograph Hollis and Katherine embracing. The real complex is called Mi Casa and was designed by husband-and-wife team Arthur and Nina Zwebell.

Mi Casa on Havenhurst, as it looks today.
Via Google Maps

Evelyn Mulwray’s house

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Evelyn lives in this posh estate in Pasadena.

The elegant Spanish-style in Pasadena.
Via Google Maps

Oak Pass Reservoir

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It’s only bad news at the Oak Pass reservoir, played by the Stone Canyon Reservoir: Hollis is found dead in the water here and later a heavy (played by Polanski) catches Jake snooping and slices his nose.

Stone Canyon Reservoir.
Shutterstock.com

Brown Derby

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Koreatown’s old filming standby The Prince plays the long-gone Brown Derby, where Jake and Evelyn meet for drinks and conspiracy talk.

In the movie, The Prince fills in for the long-gone Brown Derby.

Brown Derby valet

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Outside the fake Brown Derby, a valet fetches Jake and Evelyn’s cars at what is actually the Millennium Biltmore’s limo ramp.

A limo ramp at the Millennium Biltmore filled in for the Brown Derby.
By Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin

Catalina Island

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Jake boats it over to Catalina to visit Noah Cross; here he arrives in front of the Catalina Casino and Catalina Island Yacht Club.

Catalina island yacht club and casino.
Shutterstock.com

Noah Cross estate

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UPDATE: A reliable tipster believes (and photo evidence seems to confirm) that the Noah Cross estate was actually the Portuguese Bend Riding Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, not El Rancho Escondido on Catalina.

A post shared by Jeremy Quinn (@jjqad) on

Valley orchard

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This orchard in Moorpark is the setting for a truly excellent car/horse chase.

Moorpark, a city in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles.
Shutterstock

Mar Vista Rest Home

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Jake and Evelyn visit this rest home, formerly the Eastern Star Home and now the Archer School For Girls, to meet some of the old folks who seem to be buying up huge tracts of land in the Valley.

Katherine's house

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Evelyn’s daughter/sister Katherine lives in this Craftsman bungalow near real-life Beachwood Canyon.

Katherine’s house, as it looks today.
Via Google Maps

Ida Sessions's apartment

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Ida Sessions, who tricks Jake into thinking she’s Evelyn Mulwray at the beginning of the movie, lives and dies in a courtyard apartment in Echo Park.

The courtyard apartment still standing in 2019.
Via Google Maps

Curly’s House

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Jake escapes the clutches of the LAPD with help from his client Curly, who lives in San Pedro; in reality, this house is in East Hollywood.

Curley’s house, as it looks today, is located in East Hollywood—not San Pedro.
Via Google Maps

Chinatown

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It all comes to a head in Chinatown, near Evelyn’s butler’s apartment at 1712 Alameda (but actually on Spring Street).

‘Chinatown’ concludes in... Chinatown.
Courtesy Everett Collection

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Los Angeles City Hall

The interior of Los Angeles City Hall.
Getty Images

City Hall plays itself in Jake’s first stop on his tail of Hollis Mulwray, at a meeting about a potential aqueduct for Los Angeles. Proceedings are interrupted by an angry Valley sheep farmer and his flock.

The interior of Los Angeles City Hall.
Getty Images

Hollenbeck Bridge

Tujunga Wash.
Shutterstock

Jake follows Hollis to a dry riverbed (actually the Foothill Boulevard Bridge over the Tujunga Wash), but later finds a homeless man drowned by a mysterious influx of water.

Tujunga Wash.
Shutterstock

Point Fermin Park

Point Fermin.
Shutterstock.com

Finally, Hollis heads to this cliffside park in San Pedro and ends up staying the night.

Point Fermin.
Shutterstock.com

Walker’s Cafe

Jake parks outside the cafe on Point Fermin and leaves a watch under Hollis’s car tire here so he can figure out what time he leaves.

View this post on Instagram

Tough guys need lunch too

A post shared by ᴍᴇɢʜᴀɴ ʙʀᴜᴍᴍᴏɴᴅ (@meghan_paige) on

Pig ’n Whistle

Jake’s associate photographs Hollis and Noah Cross arguing outside the Pig ’n Whistle, actually the Pacific Dining Car Downtown.

Echo Park Lake

Echo Park Lake.
Lisa Bronitt, Shutterstock.com

In the movie’s third-most-famous scene, Jake pretends to photograph his associate, as cover for snapping Hollis and Katherine, while boating on Echo Park Lake.

Echo Park Lake.
Lisa Bronitt, Shutterstock.com

El Macondo Apartments

Mi Casa on Havenhurst, as it looks today.
Via Google Maps

Jake climbs up on the tile roof at this courtyard complex to photograph Hollis and Katherine embracing. The real complex is called Mi Casa and was designed by husband-and-wife team Arthur and Nina Zwebell.

Mi Casa on Havenhurst, as it looks today.
Via Google Maps

Evelyn Mulwray’s house

The elegant Spanish-style in Pasadena.
Via Google Maps

Evelyn lives in this posh estate in Pasadena.

The elegant Spanish-style in Pasadena.
Via Google Maps

Oak Pass Reservoir

Stone Canyon Reservoir.
Shutterstock.com

It’s only bad news at the Oak Pass reservoir, played by the Stone Canyon Reservoir: Hollis is found dead in the water here and later a heavy (played by Polanski) catches Jake snooping and slices his nose.

Stone Canyon Reservoir.
Shutterstock.com

Brown Derby

In the movie, The Prince fills in for the long-gone Brown Derby.

Koreatown’s old filming standby The Prince plays the long-gone Brown Derby, where Jake and Evelyn meet for drinks and conspiracy talk.

In the movie, The Prince fills in for the long-gone Brown Derby.

Brown Derby valet

A limo ramp at the Millennium Biltmore filled in for the Brown Derby.
By Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin

Outside the fake Brown Derby, a valet fetches Jake and Evelyn’s cars at what is actually the Millennium Biltmore’s limo ramp.

A limo ramp at the Millennium Biltmore filled in for the Brown Derby.
By Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin

Catalina Island

Catalina island yacht club and casino.
Shutterstock.com

Jake boats it over to Catalina to visit Noah Cross; here he arrives in front of the Catalina Casino and Catalina Island Yacht Club.

Catalina island yacht club and casino.
Shutterstock.com

Noah Cross estate

UPDATE: A reliable tipster believes (and photo evidence seems to confirm) that the Noah Cross estate was actually the Portuguese Bend Riding Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, not El Rancho Escondido on Catalina.

A post shared by Jeremy Quinn (@jjqad) on

Valley orchard

Moorpark, a city in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles.
Shutterstock

This orchard in Moorpark is the setting for a truly excellent car/horse chase.

Moorpark, a city in Ventura County, north of Los Angeles.
Shutterstock

Mar Vista Rest Home

Jake and Evelyn visit this rest home, formerly the Eastern Star Home and now the Archer School For Girls, to meet some of the old folks who seem to be buying up huge tracts of land in the Valley.

Katherine's house

Katherine’s house, as it looks today.
Via Google Maps

Evelyn’s daughter/sister Katherine lives in this Craftsman bungalow near real-life Beachwood Canyon.

Katherine’s house, as it looks today.
Via Google Maps

Ida Sessions's apartment

The courtyard apartment still standing in 2019.
Via Google Maps

Ida Sessions, who tricks Jake into thinking she’s Evelyn Mulwray at the beginning of the movie, lives and dies in a courtyard apartment in Echo Park.

The courtyard apartment still standing in 2019.
Via Google Maps

Curly’s House

Curley’s house, as it looks today, is located in East Hollywood—not San Pedro.
Via Google Maps

Jake escapes the clutches of the LAPD with help from his client Curly, who lives in San Pedro; in reality, this house is in East Hollywood.