Seeing Stars: Where the Movies Were Shot (on Location)

Filming locations of TV Shows,
Made-for-TV Movies & Music Videos.

  • "CSI MIAMI" is yet another example of a hit TV show set in one city, but filmed mostly in another.

    Although a few scenes were actually shot in Florida (especially for the first two episodes), most views of Miami views seen on the show just aerial establishing shots, with the bulk of the real filming taking place in Greater Los Angeles.

    Take, for instance, the CSI headquarters, the "Miami Dade Police Department Crime Lab".
Here is a screen capture of the first glimpse of the exterior of the crime lab, as seen on the "CSI: Miami", in Episode 102 ("Wet Foot, Dry Foot"):

    Miami?  Nope. Try Hawthorne, California.

The show is filmed in the same studio as "The O.C.", namely Manhattan Beach Studios, and the "Crime  Lab" is really an unusual building a just a block or two east of the studio.

    (The same building was used often in "The O.C." as "The Newport Group" building, where Kirsten Cohen worked.)

    In real life the building is the administrative headquarters of the F.A.A. (Federal Aviation Administration) Federal Credit Union, and it's located at 14600 Aviation Blvd, tucked away between two Marriott hotels in what is known as Aviation Center, in Hawthorne, CA (on their western border with Manhattan Beach).

    It is just south of Rosecrans Avenue and just north of Marine Avenue, on the east side of Aviation Blvd. To reach it, turn east onto a private street named Aviation Center Drive. The building is at the east end of that short street/parking lot.

    The spectacular, 35,000 square foot building opened in 2000; it was designed by Nadel Architects Inc (you can see photos of it on their website, if you click "portfolio" then "public sector"). Made of limestone and glass, its 15 degree tilt to the west salutes the notion of flight - an appropriate touch for an Aviation office building...

    Here is a photo (below) of the same building, that I personally shot in 2006:

    Here is an aerial photo of the building from Live Local (the building faces west).

  • Although the first few episodes of "CSI: Miami" actually shot a few scenes in Florida, it's notable that the very first scene in the first (pilot) episode ("Cross-Jurisdiction") was shot in Southern California.

    You may recall that the pilot episode begins with a night time shot of a beautiful Tudor mansion. There is a swinger's party going on inside the home, and a little girl is trying to get to sleep upstairs, despite the noise from the party downstairs. The little girl is eventually kidnapped, along with her mother. (The father, a cop, is shot with his own gun and found with an apple stuffed in his mouth.)

    This home is supposed to be in Las Vegas (although the little girl turns up alive in Miami), but in reality, that home is in Pasadena, California, a city that is home to many a mansion.

    You'll find that party house just a mile and a half south of the world famous Rose Bowl, at 141 N. Grand Avenue, in Pasadena (at SW corner of Grand and Arroyo Terrace/Live Oaks Ave). The camera in the opening scene is looking west.

[Remember: This is a private home. Do not trespass on their property,
knock on their door,or do anything else that might disturb the residents.

  • Speaking of Pasadena, "CSI: Miami" has shot quite a few scenes in that beautiful city (which is famous for its annual Rose Parade).
In 2006 alone, they filmed at the following locations in Pasadena:
      • A huge, spectacular mansion at 1288 S Oakland Ave.
         (and a slightly smaller mansion next door at 1288 S. Oakland Ave.)

      • The city's Pacific Asia Museum, at 46 N. Los Robles Ave.

      • The 'Paseo Colorado' mall, at 340 E. Colorado Blvd.

      • The unique Castle Green apartments, at 99 S Raymond Ave.

      • Rusnak Dodge, a car dealership at 2000 E Colorado Blvd.

  • But Pasadena is a rank amateur compared to the city of Long Beach, CA., when it comes to "CSI:Miami" location filming.

    "CSI: Miami" films almost constantly in Long Beach, all over the city, taking advantage of the town's shoreline views, waterfront homes, palm trees, marinas, and general resemblance to Miami. They're careful not to show any obvious Long Beach landmarks, but if you know the city well, you will be able to spot quite a few local spots when you watch the show.

    For those of you unfamiliar with Long Beach, it is a large city 25 miles southeast of Los Angeles, bordered by the Pacific Ocean on its south side, by the Los Angeles Harbor on the west, and by Orange County on the east. It has a beautiful coastline that features the docked Queen Mary, Shoreline Village, the Aquarium of the Pacific, Craftsman homes, grassy parks overlooking the blue ocean, Naples Island (laced with canals and filled with multi-million dollar waterfront homes), a sandy penninsula dotted with beach homes, two marinas full of boats... plus a huge working port of its own - in short, an ideal filming location for this sort of show.

    Here are just a few of the places in Long Beach where CSI: Miami has filmed:

    • Alamitos Bay (including Naples Island and the L.B. peninsula beaches).
    • Spinnaker Bay, near the Marine Stadium in East Long Beach.
    • Colorado Lagoon Park, at 5119 E. Colorado Street.
    • Recreation Park, at 5000 E Anaheim Street.
    • El Dorado Park, at 7550 E. Spring Street.
    • The Long Beach Convention Center, at 300 E. Ocean Boulevard.
    • The Aquarium Of The Pacific, at 100 Aquarium Way (off Shoreline  Drive).
    • The Queensway Bay Bridge (which links Shoreline Village to the Queen Mary.)
    • The World Trade Center, off Ocean Boulevard at One World Trade Center.
    • The Long Beach Airport, at 4100 E. Donald Douglas Drive (near the 405).
    • The penthouse of the International Tower at 700 E. Ocean Boulevard.
    • Long Beach City College at 4901 E. Carson Street.
    • The Veterans Medical Center, at 5901 E. 7th Street.
    • The WestCoast Hotel (near the Queen Mary) at 700 Queensway Drive.
    • 'Naga' restaurant (near the Queen Mary) at 600 Queensway Drive.
    • The Walker Building at 115 4th Street, in downtown.
    • Passport Coffee House, at 449 E. Broadway in downtown Long Beach.
    • 'House of Hayden', a bar at 421 E. First Street.
    • An OSH Hardware store at 440 Atlantic Ave., in north Long Beach.
    • A nice middle-class home at 3812 Pine, in the town's northern Country Club Drive area.

Here's is a map link to Long Beach, with a few notable spots marked.

Click here to see our major
mini-site about the many
filming locations of

Click here to see our major
mini-site about the many
filming locations of
"True Blood"

Click here to see our major mini-site about the many filming locations of
"The O.C."


* Locations marked by an asterisk (*) may be located in areas with high crime rates.
Exercise reasonable caution.

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