Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles, the scenic drive in the Hollywood Hills

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Lluis Enric Mayans
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If I tell you Mulholland Drive a Los Angeles what do you think? If Club Silencio and the distressing story of Betty and Rita immediately come to mind, then you are a fan of David Lynch and Mulholland Drive, one of his most famous films, set entirely in Los Angeles.

If you are new to Lynch's film, you may know that Mulholland Drive is a road in the hills famous for its viewpoints over the city of Los Angeles and for the rich residences of the Hollywood stars who have decided to settle down in this quiet and exclusive area. Celebrities such as Madonna, Jack Nicholson, John Lennon, Roman Polanski, Marlon Brando, Demi Moore, Bruce Willis and David Lynch himself live or have lived on Mulholland Drive. An area ad high risk of VIP meeting, in conclusion!



If you are not familiar with this prestigious street, the article you are reading is the one for you: I will tell you how to drive along Mulholland Drive and where to stop to enjoy its beautiful views.

Index

  • Where it is and how to reach it
    • By car
    • With organized tour
  • The viewpoints of Mulholland Drive
    • Jerome C. Daniel Overlook
    • Universal City Overlook
    • Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook
    • Barbara A. Fine Overlook at the Summit
    • Stone Canyon Overlook
    • Runyon Canyon Park
  • Mulholland Drive: le locations del film
  • Where to sleep?

Where it is and how to reach it

In its entirety, Mulholland Drive is an 88km curved road that connects the Hollywood Hills with Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu. Along the way, more precisely at the height of the city of Calabasas, Mulholland Drive becomes Mulholland Highway (not to be confused with the one on the slopes of Mount Lee, where the Hollywood sign is located) and arrives at Leo Carrillo Beach State Park along the Santa Monica Mountains. Going all the way is very difficult and by no means common, especially since a long stretch of Mulholland Drive (from the junction with the I-405 to Calabasas) is a dirt road in the mountains.



By car

In this article we will therefore limit ourselves to describing theclassic route on Mulholland Drive, the one that is usually traveled by travelers, as well as the most interesting for the views it offers. This segment of Mulholland Drive climbs the Hollywood Hills by deviating from US-101 via Cahuenga Blvd, then from there it climbs through the hills to the intersection with I-405, for a total of 32 km to be covered in no less than 1 hour, excluding the scenic stages.

Advice Those who have little time available but still want to savor this road, can decide to take it alone 8-10 km (from the US-101 exit up to Mulholland Scenic Overlook, see below) and then go back: this itinerary in my opinion is enough to see the best views. I walked it myself after visiting Universal Studios, returning to Los Angeles Downtown.

With organized tour

The area is not accessible by public transport, but those without a car can join a organized tour to the homes of VIPs of Mulholland Drive (and beyond).

The viewpoints of Mulholland Drive

Just driving down this road is a unique experience in Los Angeles, which I did not want to give up: you will realize this immediately, when in front of your eyes you will see the sumptuous villas of the wealthy of Hollywood surrounded by greenery, among flower gardens and shady woods. There's no shortage of ocean views, mountain landscapes, and canyons, but one thing's for sure: Mulholland Drive film buffs they will drive with some restlessness, mindful of the car accident that the initial protagonist (later Rita) makes at the beginning of the film, which took place right on one of these curves (as we will see later).




Here are the viewpoints to stop at, in order from east to west.

Jerome C. Daniel Overlook

After just over 1 km from the beginning of the road you will find the Jerome C. Daniel Overlook, the most famous and popular in all of Mulholland Drive. Equipped with a small parking lot and located just above Hollywood Bowl, it offers a beautiful view of the Amphitheater of the same name, over Downtown Los Angeles and, if the day is particularly clear, allows you to extend your gaze to the ocean and Catalina Island. But the main reason to stop here is that this observation point gives the opportunity to see, in addition to the Griffith Observatory, the legendary Hollywood sign. In the linked article you will find information on this overlook and on many others in Los Angeles that allow you to see the Hollywood Sign.

Universal City Overlook

While the previous viewpoint faced the south side of the road to Los Angeles, theUniversal City Overlook it will direct your gaze to the north, in the direction Universal city. The curious thing is that from up here - in addition to enjoying some excellent views of the San Fernando Valley - you can also see Universal Studios (they financed the construction of the overlook in 1984): Hogwarts Castle in the distance! This observation point is located at a distance of 3,5 km from the Jerome C. Daniel Overlook. In this case, the car is parked on the side of the road in the few spaces available.


Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook

This viewpoint also faces the north side of the road to the San Fernando Valley, but this time it also offers a nice perspective of the Fryman Canyon. In addition to enjoying the view, the Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook is ideal for those who want to take a path in the hills above Los Angeles: this is where the Betty B. Dearing Mountain Trail (8 km). The Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook has on-site parking and is 3,3 miles after Universal City Overlook.


A few meters after this overlook you will find another one, called Mulholland Scenic Overlook, which offers a similar panorama over the canyon and across the valley.

Barbara A. Fine Overlook at the Summit

Being further west than the previous two overlooks, the Barbara A. Fine Overlook presents a short path that gives the possibility to enjoy an even different perspective on the Fryman Canyon, framed in the distance by the San Gabriel Mountains. Looking west, you can see the Simi Hills and the expanse of the San Fernando Valley. This overlook is located at a distance of 1,5 km from the previous observation point. On-site parking is available.

Stone Canyon Overlook

The last step I recommend is it Stone Canyon Overlook which, unlike the last mentioned, faces south. You will see the Santa Monica Mountains, the Stone Canyon Reservoir and, on clear days, you will also see Catalina Island and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The distance between the previous observation point and the Stone Canyon Overlook is 6 km.

Runyon Canyon Park

If you have more time available and would like to take one or more trails in the Hollywood Hills to enjoy the Los Angeles panorama, I recommend that you plan the Runyon Canyon Park, whose two ridges stretch from Mulholland Drive to the base of the hills in the northern part of the Hollywood neighborhood. The 3 paths of the canyon can be undertaken both upstream and downstream: if you start from the road in question you will find the north entrance of the canyon at the address 7317 Mulholland Dr, just over a kilometer after the Jerome C. Daniel Overlook.

The three main trails are Runyon Canyon Fire Road, East Ridge Trail e Western High Way Trail. Starting from the entrance on Mulholland Drive you can reach it the highest point of the canyon with a path of 1.3 km to see a beautiful landscape. However, it is good to know that the most popular observation points (Inspiration Point and Clouds Rest) are located along theEast Ridge Trail (the eastern ridge) and that to reach them in a short time it is necessary to start the path from the base of the ridge, in Hollywood (entrance on North Fuller Avenue). The path to the two observation points starting from the south is 3 km (round trip).

Mulholland Drive: le locations del film

It's the same David Lynch to explain why he chose Mulholland Drive as the setting for his film: “It's a beautiful road […], a mysterious road with many curves in it. It's really dark at night and, unlike so many other spots in LA, it has remained pretty much the same over the years ". After all, the visionary director knows this area well, since his home is located practically under the Jerome C. Daniel Overlook, in 7035 Senalda Rd.

Thanks to the fact that it is a night scene, it is not easy to understand what it is the exact spot where Rita's accident occurs, but there are those who have identified it at the address 6980 Mulholland Drive. This thesis is supported by the fact that the path that Rita follows to go down from the hills to Hollywood is the one already mentioned Runyon Canyon Park. This clue, coupled with the fact that Lynch lives right there, authorizes us to hypothesize that the opening scenes of the film were shot right at number 6980, in the stretch of road between the Jerome C. Daniel Overlook and the northern entrance to the canyon. .

Those of you (like I did) will scan the top of the hills of Mulholland Drive with your eyes in search of the rich home of the director Adam Kesher (Justin Theroux), be aware that it is not on Mulholland Drive, but in Studio City (3760 Eureka Dr). Another theory, however, would have Adam's mansion even be the home of Lynch himself!

Finally a couple of coordinates for the most famous locations of the film outside Mulholland Drive:

  • Silence Club: the interiors of the disturbing theater where the words "No hay banda!" are those of Tower Theater (802 South Broadway). The exteriors are at this address: Joe's Auto Parks, 640 South Spring Street.
  • Sierra Bonita Apartments: the apartment where Rita and Betty look for Diane Selwyn and find the body in the bed is 2900 Griffith Park Boulevard.
  • Winkie’s: the interiors and exteriors of the diner where the two men talk about the horrible being that later appears at the back of the restaurant are those of the Caesar's restaurant (1016 West El Segundo Boulevard).
  • 1612 Havenhurst Drive : this is where Betty's house is located. In reality this address does not exist: the villa should be in 450 North Sycamore Avenue.
  • Paramount Studios: Betty's audition takes place here.
  • Cowboy’s Corral: the agonizing nocturnal encounter between director Adam and the mysterious cowboy takes place at Sunset Ranch (3400 N Beachwood Dr.), just below the Hollywood Sign, not far from Mulholland Drive.
Silence Club sternum
Winkie’s
He cowboy

Where to sleep?

I must say it is somewhat complicated and expensive to find accommodation on Mulholland Drive: obviously there are no hotels, but only prestigious houses and villas for rent. If you want to take a look at the availability in the area, follow this link, but I recommend that you also look for accommodation in the surrounding neighborhoods, such as West Hollywood, Pasadena, Beverly Hills and Bel Air, some of which are no less prestigious (as you read in our guide on where to sleep in Los Angeles).

Our tips on where to sleep in Los Angeles

 

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