Film Aficionado

Day 1
If you’re staying at the Hyatt Regency Valencia, one of Santa Clarita’s most filmed locations, start your morning with breakfast at the Vines restaurant and then take a stroll around the hotel property.  One of the best things about Southern California travel is getting to see where the film magic is made. Countless productions including “NCIS”, “Parenthood,” “CSI:NY,” “Make It or Break It,” “Las Vegas,” “Big Love,” “The Unit,” and Little Miss Sunshine have filmed at the Hyatt in the Vines Restaurant, the lobby, banquet rooms, pool area, gardens, hotel rooms, and the exterior front entrance.  The Hyatt served as the “hiding spot” for Bella in the first Twilight film, was the setting for a vampire/werewolf convention in “CSI:Crime Scene Investigation” and was featured as the Tallahassee hotel where a special team from “The Office” stayed to participate in Sabre’s ‘new project.’

Then enjoy a round of golf at Vista Valencia which has been used as a film location for shows including “NCIS,” “CSI,” “JAG,” “The Office” and “Yes Dear” along with the feature films G-Force and Starsky & Hutch.

Or, do some shopping along Town Center Drive where “NCIS,” “Big Love,” “CSI,” “The Mentalist,” “Jericho” and “Jonas” have rolled their cameras or at Westfield Valencia Town Center where “Medium,” “House,” “Enlightened,” Mama’s Boy and the Foo Fighters’ ‘Long Road to Ruin’ video were filmed. Both are major Southern California attractions for shoppers, plus great spots for photo ops.

Then enjoy a star-quality dinner at Salt Creek Grille where “CSI” and “NCIS,” “JAG,” and “Life” have shot.

Day 2
Spend the day in Old Town Newhall, once dubbed “Newhallywood” because of all the Western-genre and silent films shot in the area and at local movie ranches. A key part of Southern California history, numerous productions have filmed in Old Town Newhall and along Main Street including “Sons of Anarchy,” “Criminal Minds,” “Justified”, “Switched at Birth,” “Medium,” “Without a Trace,” “Knight Rider” and Suddenly starring Frank Sinatra and the comedy hit Bridesmaids. Local historians now offer Newhallywood Tours as well.

Begin with breakfast at the Way Station Coffee Shop where “Franklin & Bash,” “Justified,” “Swingtown,” and “The Muppet Show” have filmed or visit the Egg Plantation which was featured on Food Network’s “The Secret Life of…Eggs” and where “Make It or Break It” and A Thanksgiving Engagement filmed.

Next up during your Southern California vacation, enjoy a docent led tour of the William S. Hart Museum.  The famous silent film cowboy star, actor and director made more than 65 films in his career and called Santa Clarita home for more than two decades. He left his mansion, now a Southern California attraction, to Los Angeles County and now this beautiful William S. Hart museum is available for visitors to take a step back in time and tour his 22-room mansion and 265-acre Horseshoe Ranch free of charge.

If you’re still craving a bit of Hollywood history, head over to Heritage Junction Historic Park where structures representing the history of Santa Clarita are housed. Historic buildings include the Saugus Train Station where Charlie Chaplin filmed scenes from The Pilgrim. The grounds feature an extensive and beautiful historic rose garden and a museum exhibiting memorabilia from downtown Newhall’s heyday, the pioneer oil and mining industries, the railroad and the discovery of gold in Placerita Canyon, and early cowboy and silent movie stars. Docents are available on Saturdays and Sundays to answer questions.

Now that you’ve learned a little bit about some of these Western stars, see if you can spot their names on the Walk of Western Stars on Main Street, where more than 70 actors, directors, writers and entertainers are memorialized for their contributions to the preservation of the West. Download the Newhall Walking App for a fun self-guided tour of the western stars, history and film tidbits! This unique Southern California attraction is definitely worth a visit.

While in Old Town Newhall, enjoy a late lunch or early dinner at El Trocadero where “NCIS,” and “The Client List” have filmed and catch a performance at the MAIN, home to monthly comedy shows, art receptions, music performances and acting workshops, or catch a show at the Canyon Theatre Guild where “America’s Most Wanted” and The Christmas Pageant have filmed.

End your evening with a glass of wine at one of Main Street’s many boutique wineries, including Puchella Winery, Double Trouble Wine Room, Newhall Press Room or with a nightcap at Eighth and Rail, a bar that’s filled in on a variety of television shows including “SWAT.”

Day 3
Start your day with breakfast at the Saugus Café, the longest operating restaurant in Los Angeles County, where “Justified,” “CSI,” “The Unit,” “Switched at Birth,” “Without a Trace” and Boys on the Side starring Whoopi Goldberg and Drew Barrymore filmed scenes.  Or enjoy breakfast at the Halfway House Café where countless productions have filmed including “Sons of Anarchy,” “ER,” “Monk,” “The King of Queens,” “Melrose Place,”All About Steve, Space Cowboys, Heartbreak Ridge, and one of the most popular Pepsi commercials featuring Cindy Crawford. Walk in the footsteps of stars, and add a memorable turn to your Southern California vacation.

Next, enjoy a hike at Vasquez Rocks, one of the most recognizable film locations in Santa Clarita.  The iconic and triangular rocks summit and popular Southern California attraction has served as the backdrop for several of the Star Trek franchise films and television shows.  Numerous other films have filmed at Vasquez Rocks including The Flintstones, Blazing Saddles, Apache, Planet of the Apes, and Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, along with television shows including “Bonanza,” “The Twilight Zone,” “24,” “Friends,” “Numb3rs” and “The New Girl” in addition to music videos including Rihanna’s “Rehab” featuring Justin Timberlake and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “You Got Lucky.”

Then enjoy dinner at the Backwoods Inn where “Sons of Anarchy,” “Criminal Minds” and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World have filmed or Piccola Trattoria where “Parks & Recreation” filmed scenes.

Day 4
If you’re seeking some excitement, spend the day at Six Flags Magic Mountain, the thrill capital of the world and a hugely popular Southern California attraction. Six Flags Magic Mountain has been a featured location for numerous films and television shows.  Early on Magic Mountain was transformed into Wally World for National Lampoon’s Vacation and it’s where the cult classic KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park was filmed. Countless television shows in the 80’s also filmed inside the park.  Other productions that have filmed here include Roller Coaster, True Romance,Zapped, “Glee,” “The Bachelor,” “Entourage,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “King of Queens” and “The Bionic Woman.”

If you’re looking to cool off, check out the The Cube which was featured in “The Office” as the backdrop for Michael Scott’s infamous movie “Threat Level Midnight” and where Blades of Glory, Cutting Edge 2, Ice Princess “CSI:NY,” “The Biggest Loser,” “Bones,” and “Hell’s Kitchen,” have filmed.

To learn more about what’s filming or has filmed in Santa Clarita, or to add filming locations to your list of Southern California attractions to visit, visit