Big Little Lies Fashion Malibu Monterey Nicole Kidman Pasadena Reese Witherspoon TV Locations

The Complete Guide to the Season 1 Filming Locations of “Big Little Lies”

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As longtime readers know, I watch a LOT of TV.  Only a handful of shows have ever become full-fledged obsessions, though, Beverly Hills, 90210, The Hills, and Big Littles Lies among them.  The second season of the latter will finally be debuting in June and I am beyond excited!  I cannot wait to revisit the women of Monterey!  Can we just fast-forward to summer already?  To stave off my anticipation, I recently did some more digging into locations from the show’s inaugural season and figured I should update my 2017 round-up of spots featured on the series accordingly.  So here goes!  As was the case with that post, because I have not visited the majority of these sites in person, I am relying on screen captures instead of photos for imagery.  And be forewarned – there are spoilers galore ahead!  If you haven’t seen Big Little Lies and are planning to, I’d hold off on scrolling any further.

1. Madeline’s House (30760 Broad Beach Road, Malibu) – Easily my favorite locale of the entire series, the Cape Cod-style pad where Madeline Martha Mackenzie (Reese Witherspoon) and husband Ed (Adam Scott) live can be found in Malibu.  The beachfront property, which serves as a vacation rental IRL, is no stranger to the screen boasting countless cameos in such productions as Models Inc., Diagnosis Murder, and Hannah Montana.  You can read a more in-depth post on it here.

Interestingly, a different spot was utilized as the front of Madeline’s home in several episodes.  It remains the only location from the series I am still currently searching for.  If anyone happens to know where it is, please clue me in.  The address number posted above the garage appears to be “2825.”

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2. Renata’s House (27326 Winding Way, Malibu) – Renata (Laura Dern) and Gordon Klein’s (Jeffrey Nordling) massive modern home can also be found in The ‘Bu.  And it’s an oft-filmed spot, as well, with roles in everything from 90210 to Brothers & Sisters to Revenge.

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3. Jane’s House (161 North Chester Avenue, Pasadena) – The modest cottage where Jane Chapman (Shailene Woodley) resides with son Ziggy (Iain Armitage), which I wrote about here, can be found on a sleepy, tree-lined street in Pasadena.

4. Bonnie’s House (636 Crater Camp Drive, Calabasas) – The bucolic bohemian bungalow belonging to Bonnie Carlson (Zoë Kravitz) and her husband, Nathan (James Tupper), sits tucked away in a wooded area of Calabasas.

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5. Celeste’s House (40 Yankee Point Drive, Carmel) – Celeste Wright (Nicole Kidman) and husband Perry’s (Alexander Skarsgård) stunning cliffside estate, another of my favorites from the series, is the sole residence that can actually be found on the Central Coast.  Only the exterior (both front and back) and lower floor of the property appeared on Big Little Lies.  All of the other portions of the Wright home were studio-built sets.

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6. Otter Bay Elementary School (Kenter Canyon Elementary School, 645 North Kenter Avenue, Brentwood) – Otter Bay, the elementary school attended by all of the children on the series, is actually Kenter Canyon Elementary in Brentwood.  The site’s exterior and interior, including the principal’s office, library and auditorium, appear on the show.

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  7. Blue Blues Restaurant (The Culver Studios, 9336 Washington Boulevard, Culver City) – Though the actual Old Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey (101 Washington Street) is shown as the ladies walk up to Blue Blues, their regular hangout owned by Tom (Joseph Cross), in “Somebody’s Dead” . . .

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. . . . the actual café can’t be found there.  It was just a set built entirely inside of a soundstage at The Culver Studios, where the series is lensed.  Fans can still get their Blue Blues fix by visiting Paluca Trattoria (6D Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey), which served as the inspiration for the bayside eatery.

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The pathway leading to Old Fisherman’s Wharf is also where Jane and the girls run in “Once Bitten” . . .

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. . . and the adjacent parking lot is where Madeline and Joseph Bachman (Santiago Cabrera) get into an accident in the same episode.

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The same parking lot is also where Joseph confronts and kisses Madeline in “Push Comes to Shove.”

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   8. Happy Trails Garden (207 South Fair Oaks Avenue, Pasadena) – The ladies’ other regular hangout was an actual restaurant, but it has, sadly, since closed.  Pasadena’s Happy Trails Garden, which was very reminiscent of Carmel’s popular Hog’s Breath Inn, shuttered much to my dismay in 2018 and now sits vacant.  The bucolic site, which was outfitted with a plethora of firepits for the shoot, popped up three times on the series – once in “Serious Mothering” and twice in “Push Comes to Shove.”  You can read my 2017 post on it here.

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9. Madeline’s Fall (Intersection of Esplanade Street and Ocean View Drive, Pacific Grove) – The spot where Madeline “rolls her ankle” in “Somebody’s Dead,” thereby setting off the entire storyline, can be found on Ocean View Drive in Pacific Grove.  A stop sign was installed for the scene just north of where Madeline falls, at the intersection of Ocean View Drive and the north end of Esplanade Street.  In real life there is a parking sign standing in that spot.

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10. Liberation Yoga (124 South La Brea Avenue, Hancock Park) – The yoga studio that Bonnie owns, which pops up in both “Everybody’s Dead” and “Push Comes to Shove,” is actually Liberation Yoga in Hancock Park.

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11. Wanderlust Hollywood (1357 North Highland Avenue, Hollywood) – The above is not to be confused with the other yoga studio shown on the series.  In “Serious Mothering,” Madeline and Celeste run into Bonnie and Nathan while taking a class at Wanderlust Hollywood.

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12. Lovers Point Park & Beach (631 Ocean View Boulevard, Pacific Grove) – The popular shoreline retreat Lovers Point makes several appearances in Big Little Lies.  In “Serious Mothering,” Nathan and Ed have a rather terse tête-à-tête in the park area situated above the beach.

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Jane and Ziggy visit Lovers Point in both “Living the Dream” and “Push Come to Shove.”

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And it is at Lovers Point that Jane tells Celeste that her son Max (Nicholas Crovetti) is the one who has been bullying Amabella Klein (Ivy George) in “You Get What You Need.”

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13. Gordon Klein’s Office (1999 AOS, 1999 Avenue of the Stars, Century City) – In “Living the Dream,” Renata heads to Century City office building 1999 AOS for a mid-day visit with her husband.  Only the exterior and lobby of the property were utilized for the scene, though.

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Gordon’s actual office can be found on the 26th floor of nearby Century Park Plaza (1801 Century Park East, Century City).

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14. Monterey Bay High School (Ulysses S. Grant High School, 13000 Oxnard Street, Van Nuys) – Screen favorite Grant High School in Van Nuys portrays Monterey Bay High, the school attended by Madeline’s eldest daughter, Abigail Carlson (Kathryn Newton), which pops up in “Living the Dream.”  Areas used in the episode include the principal’s office, a hallway and the main quad.  You may recognize Grant from its myriad of cameos in such productions as Saved by the Bell, Clueless, The Office, Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” music video, and Crazy. Stupid. Love.  You can check out an in-depth post I wrote about the place for Los Angeles magazine here.

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15. Studio City Recreation Center (12621 Rye Street, Studio City) – In “Living the Dream,” Ziggy hits a home run during his first Tee-ball game at Studio City Recreation Center, aka Beeman Park.  The site is also very briefly featured via flashback in “Push Comes to Shove.”  You can check out an in-depth post I wrote about the park, detailing its appearances in Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Scrubs and Role Models, here.

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16. Colton Hall Museum (570 Pacific Street, Monterey) – Another Central Coast location, Colton Hall Museum masks as Monterey City Hall, where Celeste acts as Madeline’s lawyer in “Push Comes to Shove.”

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The interior of the museum, which you can see a photo of here, was also used in the episode.

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  17. Bixby Creek Bridge (CA-1, Big Sur) – In “Once Bitten,” Madeline has a bad dream that takes place at Bixby Bridge, the same span shown in the series’ opening credits.  The picturesque structure, one of the most photographed bridges in California, can be found in Big Sur, about twenty miles south of Monterey.

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18. Saxon Baker’s Interior Design Office (1035 East Green Street, Pasadena) – In “Once Bitten,” Jane heads to a supposed San Louis Obispo interior design office to confront her possible rapist, Saxon Baker (Stephen Graybill).  In reality, filming took place at a quaint brick building on Green Street in Pasadena where Albert Einstein once worked.

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19. Celeste and Perry’s Therapist’s Office (130 Fountain Avenue, Pacific Grove) – Perry and Celeste start seeing marriage counselor Dr. Amanda Reisman (Robin Weigert) in “Living the Dream,” but the exterior of her charming office, another of the show’s Monterey locales, isn’t shown until “Once Bitten.”

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20. Cypress Community Hospital (Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, 23625 Holzman Highway, Monterey) –  After their car accident in “Once Bitten,” Madeline and Joseph are taken to “Cypress Community Hospital,” which is actually the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.  Only the exterior of the facility was featured on the series.

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I believe that interiors were shot at Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital (333 North Prairie Avenue, Inglewood), which was, sadly, razed in late 2017.

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21. Monterey Regional Airport (200 Fred Kane Drive, Monterey) –  This spot, where Celeste and her boys surprise Perry when he returns home from a business trip in “Once Bitten,” plays itself.

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The airport’s interior appeared in the scene, as well.

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22. Celeste’s New Apartment (1 Surf Way, Monterey) – In “Burning Love,” Celeste attempts to break away from Perry by renting an oceanside apartment.  Her new place is another of the series’ Monterey locations.  Known as Ocean Harbor House in real life, the picturesque complex, which is made up of condos, sits overlooking Del Monte Beach.

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23. Madeline’s Community Theatre/Trivia Night Costume Gala – Barnsdall Art Park (4800 Hollywood Boulevard, East Hollywood) – Easily the series’ most memorable locale, Barnsdall Art Park serves as two notable spots on Big Little Lies.  In virtually every episode it pops up as the community theatre where Madeline works.  The constantly broken stairs she is regularly forced to walk up can be found on the eastern side of the park, adjacent to the Junior Art Center.

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The theatre itself is a mash-up of two Barnsdall spots – interiors were shot at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre (which you can see photos of here) . . .

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. . . while exteriors were filmed at the adjacent Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery.

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Most notably, though, Barnsdall Art Park is where the Audrey and Elvis Trivia Night costume gala is held in “You Get What You Need.”

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The community theatre’s broken stairs are the very same ones that figure so heavily in the episode’s climax.

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Barnsdall also appears in Big Little Lie’s opening credits.  You can read an in-depth post on the park here.

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24. Mountain View Cemetery (2400 North Fair Oaks Avenue, Altadena) – Toward the end of “You Get What You Need,” Perry is laid to rest at one of L.A.’s most oft-used locations, Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, which has appeared in everything from The Office to Seinfeld to A Lot Like Love.  You can read a post I wrote on it here.

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25. Garrapata State Park Beach (CA-1, Carmel-By-The-Sea) – The series comes to an end with the women and their children frolicking on the picturesque beach at Garrapata State Park (which is also where Jane, Celeste and Madeline run in “Once Bitten”).  The scene was such a perfect closing to the show, I am almost fearful to have the story opened up again for Season 2.  Though I truly can’t wait to revisit the women of Monterey, in some ways I would like to just be able to picture them forever standing together on that beach, bittersweetly frozen in time.

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