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

This hit 2001 movie about street racers was shot almost exclusively in and around Los Angeles.

Here's a guide to the actual filming locations where the film was shot, from "Toretto's Market" in Echo Park to "Little Saigon" in Westminster, complete with street addresses and maps.

Dominic Toretto's (Vin Diesel) white woodframe house, and the brown wood & brick Craftsman house next door, are real homes, actually located in the Echo Park section of L.A., just northwest of downtown, at 718720 and 722 N. East Kensington Road. The dilapidated white garage in between isn't really there - it seems to have been a temporary creation for the movie. Remember, this is a private home, so don't disturb the residents.

(The house is just one street east of the Victorian home seen in the TV series "Charmed.") *

Toretto’s market & diner is nearby - it's located just a few hundred yards south of Toretto's white house in Echo Park.

In the film, Toretto's is owned by Vin Diesel and his sister; it's where they first meet Paul Walker when he’s ordering a tuna sandwich - and it's where a fight breaks out nearby between Vince and Paul.

In real life, Toretto's is actually "Bob's Market". It's a simple mom & pop market located on the west side of a small triangle of streets, at the corner of Kensington Road & Bellevue Ave, at 1234 Bellevue Avenue. *

• "The Racer’s Edge", the auto parts store with the race car on the roof (where Paul Walker works in the film), is located in Hollywood on Orange Drive, at the southeast corner of of Santa Monica Blvd and Orange Drive, north of Melrose Ave. While the building's address actually faces Santa Monica Blvd., the filmmakers shot the west side of the building, which faces Orange Drive.

The race car is no longer on the roof, of course, and the signs are down, so it's now a rather plain-looking warehouse-style building. It is immediately north of a brick building (which is also seen in the film) - the address of that brick building is 1046 N. Orange Drive.

• The Asian motorcycle gang scenes were shot in an area of Orange County known as "Little Saigon" (because of the many Vietnamese immigrants there), in the city of Westminster, CA.

The scenes set in a temple-like area with many white marble statues were filmed at the Vietnamese Cultural Court, located behind the 99 Ranch Market, at 9221 Bolsa Avenue, in Westminster - across the street from the Asian Garden mall. (The homes seen behind the statues in these photos were built there after the movie was filmed.) 

• The large Asian archway they drive under in Little Saigon is not in exactly the same place as the marble statues (although the movie would lead you to believe it was) - it's a few blocks down the road to the east, at 9631 Bolsa Ave, in Westminster, on the south side of the street. (Unfortunately, they had already begun to repaint the sign on the archway when I shot this photo.)

• The movie starts out with a scene of Brian Spilner (Paul Walker) testing out his green Eclipse race car in the empty parking lot of Dodger Stadium, which is located just northwest of downtown Los Angeles, at 1000 Elysian Park Ave.

• The first big car rally & street scene, where Paul Walker challenges Vin Diesel to a race and loses his car, is staged as a party between two giant warehouses. This was actually shot at the L.A. Produce Market, which is at 761 Terminal Street in downtown L.A., or more generally, around 7th Street, from Terminal Street to Alameda Street. *

  • But the race itself (where Paul loses his car) was held on Prairie Avenue in the city of Hawthorne, a good 15 miles southwest of the Produce Market. The street runs north and south, past the western edge of the Hawthorne Airport. They were racing north on Prairie, starting at Prairie and 120th Street, and finishing at Prairie and 118th Street (just south of the 105 Freeway).They also filmed some of the pre & post race scenes south of 120th.

  • A shot by shot breakdown of the first "Fast & Furious" race scene:

    • The first shot of the starting line is looking south down Prairie Avenue. The white building on the right side of the street, which in the movie has a sign reading "UAS Tires & Wheels", actually is just that, located at 12087 Prairie. That's on the west side of Prairie, just south of 120th. The cars at the are pointed north. As the crowds cheer, the cars move slowly north to the starting line on Prairie at 120th.

    • However, as they hit the gas, they cut to a shot of the crowd cheering, and what appears to be an airplane tailfin is seen behind them. That would be the airfield on the east side of Prairie, south of 120th. The cars are heading north up Prairie.

    • After a close up of the Paul's face, the first identifiable shot is of a yellow square sign above what appears to be a used car lot (with pennants strung on lines over the lot). That sign is still there (as is the car lot), north of 120th (it is seen in a telephoto shot, though, so the cars probably haven't reached it yet) It appears to be "Repossess Auto Sales", at 11916 Prairie, between 119th Street & 119th Place.

    • After an aerial shot, they're seen zooming past this car lot, heading north on Prairie.

    • There's an in-car shot with Paul, and they pass the car lot again (or the one just beyond it) in a blur.

    • Right after Edwin (Ja Rule) yells something, there is a shot of Vin Diesel's red car with flames on the hood, coming at the camera. This shot was taken on Prairie, just north of 120th. The French-looking awnings over windows on the building on the right side are on the Air-Sea Packing building, at 11965 Prairie, which is at the northwest corner of Prairie & 120th. (The large, tilted telephone pole also matches.) The camera is looking back south towards 120th, and the cars are headed north (although they have magically moved backward to just past the starting line). Part of the tallest sign on the other (left) side of the street is missing now, but the windows on its building still match.

    • The camera swings around to follow them, and you get a blurred glimpse of the Repossess Auto Sales sign again.

    • Paul hits his nitro button, and a blurry shot reveals (what else), he's passing that Repossess Auto lot again on his right, so he's heading north again. (They must have shot this race scene over a zillion times from different angles and/or had countless cameras on scene.)

    • As Paul high-speed zooms past everyone else, right after he looks at his speedometer, we catch sight of the tail-fin-like sign (on his right side), which is on the commercial building at 11953 Prairie, which is on the west side. At this point, interestingly enough, they are actually heading south on Prairie, passing W. 119th Place.

    • There's a blurry travel shot that's hard to see.

    • As Vin Diesel hits his nitro and roars past Paul, we see a tattered sign reading "Special Discount Furniture" on a squared-off corner building. It doesn't look like the kind of business that would have stayed around very long. And it didn't. The sign has changed, but the female silhouettes next to the doorway are still there . This is the southeast corner of Prairie and 118th. The camera is looking east as the cars roar by heading north.

    • The next shot is a low one, as the cars head north past (once again) the car lot and that building at 119th Place.

    • Paul's green car spins out and comes to rest on Prairie between two rounded "quonset hut" type buildings just north of 118th Street. The one on the right is now called "Sofa Warehouse", and is at 11846 Prairie, on the east side of Prairie.

    • The post-race shot, shown immediately after Paul spins out (and we see him inside the car, breathing hard) is taken looking north from Prairie and 120th, with the cars passing south through that intersection and coming to a stop at the crosswalk there, exactly where they began.

    • The final shot (as they hear the cops are coming and scatter) is an aerial shot of the intersection of Prairie and 120th, looking west/northwest. (The building on the northwest corner had me fooled for a while, because it's changed a lot. It used to be two buildings, one blue and one tan. But today it's one big tan building called "Las Vegas Kitchen Cabinets & Doors", at 12003 Prairie.)

    • They then fake cut to a shot faraway on Union Ave in downtown Los Angeles, where Vin Deisel loses the cops by pulling into an underground parking garage beneath the building at the northwest corner of W. 7th Street & S. Union Ave...

• When Vin Diesel's sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) goes out on a date with Paul Walker (in part, to spite Vince), they go to a restaurant called "Cha Cha Cha".

Cha Cha Cha is an actual L.A. restaurant (and a quite popular one), serving Caribbean food in a colorful atmosphere. It's located at 656 N. Virgil Avenue, in a questionable neighborhood at the east end of Melrose Ave., in the Silver Lake area of L.A. *

• Another real restaurant (but about 45 miles away from the Cha Cha Cha) is Neptune’s Net. It’s the ocean view, outdoor beach cafe where Vin Diesel and Paul Walker stop (after they have outraced the obnoxious rich guy in his Ferrari on PCH) and where Paul tries to get Diesel to disclose how he secretly makes the big bucks. Neptune’s Net is located at 42505 Pacific Coast Highway in a somewhat remote section of Malibu, about 10 miles west of Point Dume.

• The final race with a train takes place down by the Los Angeles harbor in San Pedro, or to be exact, across the Vincent Thomas Bridge on Terminal Island. The moment of near-impact takes place on the railroad tracks at Terminal Way & Earle Street (the tracks run parallel to Earle Street and cross Terminal Way).

The train is heading north on these tracks. The two cars are heading east on Terminal Way, starting around Cannery Street and racing east past the railroad tracks at Earle Street. Paul Walker and Vin Diesel wind up (after the truck accident) out of their cars on the east end of Terminal Way, near Ferry Street, where you can see the large pipe which (in real life) transports coal and coke to waiting ships. (For a photo of these pipes, click here.)

You can also catch a glimpse of the Vincent Thomas Bridge in the background during the race. This towering green bridge links mainland San Pedro with Terminal Island; it has been seen in other movies, including "Charlie's Angels" and "To Live & Die in L.A." *

• After the Asian gang members attack Vin Diesel’s house with machine guns (almost killing Jesse) and speed off on motorcycles, Paul Walker chases them in his car, up and down the hilly streets, exchanging gunfire. The very steep hill they come racing down is Micheltorena Street, between Sunset Blvd and Lucille Ave., in the Silver Lake/Echo Park area.

• The leader of the Asian gang, Rick Yune, is shot from his bike and killed by Paul Walker in a scene shot on Glendale Blvd., between Alvarado Street (on the north) & Park Ave (on the south), just north of the actual Echo Park. It's just a few blocks northwest of Vin Diesel's home in the film. *

• The first (successful) truck hijacking at the beginning of the movie takes place on the border of Wilmington and Long Beach, a rough, deserted area down by the docks. The boundaries of the shooting area are Henry Ford Avenue, Alameda Street, Pacific Coast Highway and the Terminal Island (103) Freeway. (You can see the Texaco refinery in the background.) *

• The final truck vs. man scene, a disastrous failure, has Vin Diesel and his cohorts trying to hijack another truck but being surprised when when the truck driver opens fire with a shotgun; Vince gets lashed to the truck’s side and needs to be rescued. That truck scene was shot way out in the hills of Hemet, California, a remote part of the world located about 90 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

• The huge desert "Race Wars" rally was held out at the San Bernardino International Airport (which the director says is mostly used by the fire department today. He also says it was 120 degrees that day). It’s located at E. 3rd Street & Del Rosa Drive, in San Bernardino, which is about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

• The spot where Paul Walker gets "arrested" by the police (the scene where it’s first revealed that he’s really an undercover cop), is west of downtown, just past the corner of 7th St. & Valencia St., which is east of MacArthur Park and south of Wilshire Blvd. *

• Finally, the circular Hollywood house with the pool, where Paul's cop buddies have set up a temporary police HQ (and which they mention is "the house Eddie Fisher built for Elizabeth Taylor"), was at 1261 Angelo Drive, in Beverly Hills.  I say "was", because Ryan Geftman-Gold emailed me to say that the house no longer exists - in fact, he watched it being torn down, around 2001, after he and the Modern Committee of the L.A. Conservancy had tried to save the home.

(* areas marked with an asterisk may be located in high crime areas, so exercise reasonable caution.)

Click Here to Return to the Main Menu

Copyright © 1999-2024-Gary Wayne
All Rights Reserved

This webpage is not associated with any business described in the article above, and does not constitute an
endorsement of this or any other business. The photos of celebrities on this page also do not constitute
endorsements by them of any kind, and are used by the author solely to illustrate this online article.
(Click here to read other disclaimers)