Where Can I Visit the Back to the Future Film Locations?
If you’re a major fan of the Back to the Future films, you probably have wondered where to find some of its iconic locations.
Most of the locations are in California around the Los Angeles area. While you can’t actually go into all the locations because they are privately owned, you can take a peek from a public sidewalk or easement.
Let’s take a look into some of the places used to film the franchise, Back to the Future.
Gamble House (Doc’s House Exteriors), 4 Westmoreland Pl, Pasadena, CA 91103
This is one you can visit and take a tour of the inside. Check out the Gamble House website for details. Book a tour, look at photos of the house, and read about the various special events hosted at this recognizable location so central to the franchise. The Gamble House publishes a tour schedule and info about upcoming special events that are open to the public and can include special holiday celebrations at the house or architectural workshops.
Here’s some Gamble House highlights:
- The house was built between 1908-09 for David P. Gamble, who was a part of the Procter & Gamble Company, also known as P&G, and his wife, Mary.
- Gamble and his wife kept it as a winter house.
- When they passed, it went to Mary Gamble’s sister, Julia.
- After her passing, the house changed hands a few times through generations, staying in the family until 1966.
- In 1966, the owners at the time made an agreement with the University of Southern California (USC) School of Architecture and turned it over to them.
- In 1977, this very special example of Greene and Greene architecture was declared an historical landmark.
If you’re interested in the architectural aspects of the building, here’s a brief summary:
It’s three stories and considered part of the American Arts and Crafts style.
Some of the influences include:
American craftsman style
It showcases a lot of natural elements, such as wood and stone, following the original couple’s love of nature. The interior showcases many types of wood and has incorporated flower designs in a variety of places throughout the property. Check and see how many you can find when you’re there!The exterior landscaping has also retained its historical context and is reminiscent of the Gamble House’s original gardens.And finally, if you’re interested in a couple fun facts about the Gamble house, here you go!
One wooden panel in the entry hall is actually a concealed passage to the kitchen. Another wood panel in the entry hall is a concealed coat closet! Of all the projects completed by the original construction company, this one has been altered the least over the years.
For years, two 5th-year architecture students at USC get to live in the house full time, a new pair each year.
In December 2008, it was listed on the top 10 houses of all time of Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Times.
And, of course, the most interesting fun fact is that it’s the exterior of Doc’s house!
While this is a quick summary of the house, there’s a lot more history and information you can acquire through the website and even more by visiting it!
Stage 12 Universal Studios Lot and Courthouse Square Backlot. 100 Universal City Plz, Universal City, CA 91608
Obviously, to visit this one, you’ll need to go to Universal Studios and book a tour. At the website, you can also find lots of images from the backlot. Even if you can’t make the trip, there are some short, snippets of videos of the actual tour. And if you’re a movie/tv buff, the tour is well worth looking into so you can enjoy taking the tram through their backlot and seeing locations from some of your other favorites.
Walt Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch Movie Lot 19802 Placerita Canyon, Newhall, CA
Walt Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch Movie Lot is the location of the famous Marty entry from 1955. It isn’t open to the public, but you can take a virtual tour right here: https://studioservices.go.com/goldenoakranch/virtual_scout.html
While you can’t visit the location itself, you can visit nearby Placerita Canyon for hiking and a free tour of the nature center. Again it’s free but donations are gladly accepted! The area is an official California State Park and a hotspot for hiking and enjoying the beauty of the canyon.
The park offers paved walkways and guided tours, as well as picnicking spots throughout the park. It also has a trail leading to a waterfall, simply named the waterfall trail, that’s supposed to be a beautiful view and not too strenuous of a hike.
Hollywood United Methodist Church 6817 Franklin Ave, Hollywood, CA
If you can believe it, this was used as the setting for the Enchantment Under the Sea School Dance. It’s still a functioning church that you can attend regularly, if you like, or just go and view the church.
While it is a church, you aren’t required to participate in anything unless you want to.
An interesting thing to note is thatthis location was also used in The Godfather 1, Sister Act, and The War of the Worlds (1953). Next time you’re watching any of these movies, make sure and look for the church scenes. You just may recognize a few from the other movies!
Other Locations from Back to the Future Parts 1 & 2
There are even more locations you can see while in California. Their only claim to fame is through the movies, however, so there isn’t much to tell you about each place aside from what it was in the movies.
While the Burger King and Mount Hollywood Drive Tunnel can be visited and enjoyed, please keep in mind the rest are private residencies and be respectful of the current owners and their homes.
However, you’ll have to grab a burger to eat while checking out the tunnel, of course!
George McFly’s house can be found at 1711 Bushnell Avenue, South Pasadena, CA
Marty’s house exterior can be found at 9303 Roslyndale Ave, Arleta, CA
The Burger King featured in opening credits is located at 535 N Victory Bl, Burbank, CA
Hill Valley High School is actually Whittier High School. Its address is 12417 E. Philadelphia St, Whittier, CA
Biff’s house is at 1809 Bushnell Ave, South Pasadena, CA
The interior of Doc’s house can be found at 1177 Hillcrest Avenue, Pasadena, CA.
The River Road Tunnel scenes from 1955 were filmed at Mount Hollywood Drive Tunnel, L.A., CA in Griffith Park. Found at 4730 Crystal Springs Dr., L.A., this was the setting for the tunnel scenes. It’s a famous film location destination as it has hosted hundreds of projects over the years, including:
A Star is Born (2018)
American Pie 2 (2001)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie (1992)
The location isn’t just famous because of the movies it’s been in, but also because it’s the second largest city park in California. It’s a wilderness park, rugged and huge, so don’t expect to see a nicely mowed park like you may have in your town.
Because of how large it is, there are areas intended for playing, hiking, or to explore the geology of the park, which is largely made up of sedimentary rock. There are also lots of woods to explore, but be careful if you go into them. They’re expansive, and it’s easy to become lost. However, the Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club hosts a variety of hikes for visitors. These include weekday evening hikes, monthly moonlight hikes and other special hikes featuring the park.
The Los Angeles zoo is on the East side of the park. The park itself offers Griffith Observatory, a famous landmark on its own of the city.