Location #41:

Mia in Chinatown

Q.  Where is it supposed to be?

There are four short shots of Mia in (what is obviously) Chinatown, showing us what she is doing while Sebastian is on the road with the band, and she is preparing to stage her one-woman play.

At 1:16:24:  We see Mia sitting inside a restaurant at night ( with the camera looking inside through the restaurant's front window ). 

Inside, Mia is using her laptop to send out numerous email invitations to various talent scouts and casting agencies, trying to get them to come and see her one-woman show ("So Long, Boulder City").

( Look very closely at her email 'send' list, and you will see that among the addresses she is sending an invitation to is this one: a.brandt@abrandtcasting .  That will prove to be important later...)

At 1:16:28:  There is a very brief shot of colorful neon, Chinese lanterns seen against a black sky, and neon signs.

At 1:16:30:  We see a Chinatown building at night, outlined in red neon. A sign above the building reads "Motel".

At 1:16:34:  We see Mia cross a street, while she uses her phone to leave a message for Seb, saying that she misses him.

Notice the unusual crosswalk behind her, in the photo above,
and the block wall on her left, in the photo below.


Q.  Where was it really shot?

To those who aren't familiar with L.A.'s Chinatown ( despite the fact that there is a classic motion picture bearing that name ), you'll find it just north of downtown Los Angeles, based around Hill Street and N. Broadway, north of the 101 Freeway ( and east of the 110 Freeway ). 

But you should be looking for the touristy old Chinatown, and you'll find that at Chinatown Central Plaza, the heart of old Chinatown.  The Plaza has the official address of 943 N. Broadway.  But to be more specific, it is bordered by N. Broadway on the east, by Hill Street on the west, by W. College Street on the south, and b the alley Bamboo Lane on the north. In between are a number of interconnected pedestrian walkways with names like Mei Ling Way and Gin Ling Way.

Now, here's where you find these scenes' locations in that area:

The restaurant where we see Mia sending out invitation emails to her one-woman play was a hard one to find. My first assumption was that she was in the restaurant on the other side of the street that she crosses, across from the motel.  But it wasn't. The details just didn't match.

Since the close-up of the outside of the restaurant didn't provide much detail,

 I opted to go to PhotoShop and lighten the screencap
to give myself a few more clues to work with:

As you can see, the lightened screencap above  reveals blue, square tiles along the lower front of the cafe.

And look what we see when I blow up the interior of the cafe:

Notice that the chairs have a distinctive curved notch in the back...
And notice those red & green bottles of Sriracha sauce on the tables.
So then "all" I had to do was look at half the restaurants in Chinatown
before I finally found a match.

But here it is:

The restaurant where we see Mia sending out invitation emails
to her one-woman play turned out to be

"Blossom", a Vietnamese restaurant at
451 Gin Ling Way
, in Chinatown Central Plaza

Notice the blue tile in front, and take a close look at
 the curved notches in the chair backs.

Here's a  photo of Blossom's interior, showing those same chair backs
 and those red & green bottles of sauce:

( The restaurant's former name was "Via Cafe", before it became "Blossom". )

Gin Ling Way runs east/west along the north side of the Chinatown Plaza,

Here is a 360° Google panorama of Blossom's exterior:

And here is a link to a 3-D Google Earth view of the restaurant.


The brief close-up shot of neon and Chinese lanterns.

 I knew this was probably in the main Old Chinatown Plaza. It just looked like it.
The problem was figuring out where in that maze of brightly colored streets...
But when trying to track down locations, it pays to be a bit obsessive.

Look closely at that shot, and you'll see what appears to be a word written in pink neon on the far left side, But it's illegible because it was shot from too sharp a side angle.   I didn't let that stop me.  I got out PhotoShop again and used it to reshape  the image into a more standard perspective, where the neon word became possible to read.  And that word turned out to be "GIFTFAIR".

My guess what that it was a gift shop in Chinatown Plaza, so I Googled the name "GiftFair", and came up with several photos of the same neon sign, like this one:

But while it turned out to be a sign on the side of a gift shop, as I expected, it's name wasn't "GiftFair",  That is apparently just an advertisement blurb. 
The shop's actual name is "Gin Ling Gifts".  Sound Familiar?

Gin Ling Gifts
is at 441 Gin Ling Way, in Chinatown Plaza.

And sure enough, that gift shop is right next door to... guess what?
You got it: Blossom restaurant.  They share the very same building.

Here is a 360° panorama of the Chinatown building
 housing both the gift shop and the restaurant:


That brightly lit, outlined in red-neon building on the corner is

  The Royal Pagoda Motel, at 995 N. Broadway, in Chinatown,
at the southwest corner of N. Broadway & Bernard Street.

Here's a matching daytime StreetView:


When Mia crosses the street, while leaving a message on her phone, she is walking west across N. Broadway, to  the southwest corner of the intersection of Broadway & Bernard Street,

This is a StreetView of that unusual crosswalk she uses to cross the street:

( Look closely and you'll see there are dragons in those patterns. )

Then she continues walking west along the south side of Bernard Street,
in its 400 block, next to the Royal Pagoda Motel.

( Note the same block wall on the south side. )

To put all of this together, here is a map of the Chinatown area
 showing all of these locations on a single map:


Move on to the next movie location seen in "La La Land".


"La La Land" and its images are copyright Summit Entertainment
The rest of this page is copyright © 2017-Gary Wayne - All Rights Reserved

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