Los Angeles (and its area) was Michael's home for most of his life, so naturally there are lots of memorable Michael-related places here.
Click on pictures to see them bigger.
The farewell places...
FOREST LAWN, HOLLY TERRACE
Michael's final resting place
1712 S. Glendale Avenue
Glendale, CA 91205
Opening hours: http://www.forestlawn.com/Visitors-Guide/Index.asp
From the Forest Lawn gates drive up and to the right to Great Mausoleum. After you pass the archways, Holly Terrace will be on the left.
Only close friends and family members may enter the Mausoleum. Usually the administration allows fans to go up to the door and leave flowers, gifts and cards there. However keep in mind that only flowers ordered from Forest Lawn flower shop will be delivered inside, to Michael's tomb.
Elizabeth Taylor's resting place is close by, in the Memorial Terrace of the Great Mausoleum.
MICHAEL JACKSON'S HOLMBY HILLS HOME
The home where Michael Jackson passed away. Michael began renting this home in January, 2009, at a reported cost of $100,000 per month. The LA Times described it as a French chateau with “seven bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, 12 fireplaces and a theater.”
100 N Carolwood Dr., Los Angeles
6 minutes away from Carolwood home is UCLA Medical Center - the place where Michael was pronounced dead that awful afternoon.
World famous Staples Center where Michael's last rehearsals took place and on July 7, 2009, his globally televised memorial was held.
1111 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles
Museums, Expositions, Tributes
MICHAEL JACKSON’S STAR ON THE WALK OF FAME
The star is located in front of the Chinese Theater forecourt, near the sourvenir shop. It's hard to miss, as there are always people gathered around it. Video of Michael at the unveiling of the star in 1984
"I remember him taking his friend and advisor Karen Langford and me to the L.A. County Children’s Museum, which they kept open for us after hours. We exhausted ourselves leaping against Velcro walls, standing in front of spinning lights, and throwing ourselves into pools of plastic balls. On the way home, he asked the driver to pull over somewhere near the intersection of Hollywood and Vine and jumped from the car to dance on his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, singing some perfect little bit of a song before leaping back in, and off we went into the night. It was exhilarating to be in his presence. He was exciting and funny and brilliant.”
-- Shaye Areheart (afterword to the 2009 edition of "Moonwalk")
6927 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood
THE JACKSONS' STAR ON THE WALK OF FAME
At the northeast corner of one of the world’s most famous intersections, Sunset and Vine, is this star to the artists formerly known as The Jackson 5.
1500 N. Vine St., Hollywood
MICHAEL'S GLOVE- AND FOOTPRINTS IN FRONT OF THE CHINESE THEATRE
Right in front of the Chinese Theatre, among many plates with famous actors' footprints, you will see a plate with the prints of his boots and sequined glove, as well as handprints of his three children, Prince, Paris and Blanket. This area in front of the Chinese Theatre was historically used to commemorate Hollywood motion picture personalities. Michael is the only singer who has the honor. The prints were made by Michael's children on a celebratory ceremony in January 2012.
6925 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood
Michael Jackson wax figure is the most widely exhibited figure in the Madame Tussauds worldwide empire - another record of his. The LA Madame Tussaud's museum is located on the Hollywood walk of fame right near Michael's star. Besides the figure, the Hollywood museum also displays Michael's handprint.
6933 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood
GUINNESS WORLD OF RECORDS MUSEUM
Located just a block east of the Chinese Theater, Guinness World of Records museum features a substantial (comparing to the small size of the museum) exposition dedicated to Michael. They have a sad-looking (I wonder why, with all those records) wax figure of Bad-era Michael and display his famous platinum albums that made it into the Guinness book. A small TV screen shows a documentary about Michael's achievements.
6764 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood
An unknown artist painted a mural of Michael, in his famous Super Bowl half-time performance stance, arms outstretched, mouth open saying "Ho!"- on the side of a building, about 4 stories tall. The place is in the walking distance from the Chinese Theater.
1720 N. Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles
A quarter of a mile west of the Staples Center in Downton Los Angeles, on the west wall of The Graff Lab headquarters there is another mural picturing Michael at This Is It
press-conference. The mural was painted by artist Rudy "Rude" Martinez and unveiled on MJ's birthday, August 29, 2010.
S. Union Avenue & Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles
MJ EXHIBIT AT THE GRAMMY MUSEUM
Around the corner from the Nokia theatre and down the road a block from the Staples center in Downtown L.A., you'll find the Grammy museum. A special exhibit dedicated to MJ debuted in June 2011. You will be able to take a close look at Michael's real jackets and stage clothes, his sequined gloves, as well as some of the hand-written lyrics and sheet music. No pictures are officially allowed inside.
About the exhibit on the museum web-site: http://www.grammymuseum.org/interior.php?section=exhibits&page=mj_artifacts
800 W. Olympic Blvd., Ste. A245
MJ'S GRAMMY AWARD MEDALLIONS
Not far from the Staples Center, on the sidewalk opposite the LA Convention Center you'll find all of Michael's Grammy Award bronze medallions. There are about 4 or 5 of them: 1979, 1984, 1985, 1993...
MICHAEL JACKSON HIKING TRAIL AT COLDWATER CANYON PARK
This dedicated to MJ hiking trail (adopted thanks to the MJ Conventioneers and the Make a Better World Foundation) is located in the Hills overlooking the San Fernando valley on one side, with views to the ocean in the distance on the other. It is spectacular, natural, and serene. Complete with dedication plaque. Great place to say a prayer, sit and contemplate, meditate, hike, jog, picnic... cry. The trail is maintained by the non-profit organisation Tree People.
12601 N. Mulholland Dr., Beverly Hills
CAPTAIN EO AT DISNEYLAND
"Captain EO" is a 3D sci-fi film starring Michael Jackson and directed by Francis Ford Coppola that was shown at Disney theme parks from 1986 through the 1990s. The attraction returned to the Disney Parks in 2010, as a tribute after Michael Jackson's passing. Its popularity never subsides.
Disneyland. It was probably his favourite place in the whole world. Miko Bando shared these touching memories of their favorite pastime:
'Some of the best times I spent with Michael were just sitting on a bench at Disneyland's "Main Street." We would just sit there and people watch. Sometimes Michael would be in a getup so people wouldn't recognize him - but they always did. When he was in a bad mood or a little down, I'd just say "Michael, the bench," and that would bring him out of it. If I knew he wanted to have fun, or just get away, I'd say "let's go to the bench," and we were gone.'
Experience Disneyland through the eyes of your inner child, like Michael did. Maybe you'll be lucky to sit on a bench he once sat on.
In Disneyland's Haunted Mansion you'll meet some very familiar characters. The flying brides and grooms from This Is It
show and the evil night watchman from the "Thiller" featurette - all live in there! Disneyland was always a great inspiration to Michael.
Disneyland vs. Neverland:
1313 S. Harbor Boulevard, Anaheim
Famous Sets, Recording Studios
Legendary creepy house from the "Thriller" video. In reality it is standing in a nice quiet neighbourhood. Don't blast "Thriller" out of the car when you get there - you can bother people living across the street! The house itself seems uninhabited though.
1345 Carroll Ave, Los Angeles
Do a few zombie moves in that spooky alley.
Union Pacific Ave. & South Calzona St., Los Angeles
PALACE THEATRE (Thriller video, outside filming)
This is the theatre where Michael and his date, played by Ola Ray, are watching the werewolf movie starring Michael.
630 S. Broadway, Los Angeles
RIALTO THEATRE (Thriller video, inside filming)
1023 South Fair Oaks Avenue in South Pasadena
MONTE CARLO RESTAURANT (Beat It video)
It is said that the owner of the bar has been running the place for over 30 years, and still remembers the day of the "Beat It" filming. But be careful wandering the streets out there, that is not a nice area of the city...
109 E 5th Street, Los Angeles
BEAT IT WAREHOUSE (Beat It video)
Los Angeles, 5th Street & Alameda
WESTLAKE RECORDING STUDIOS
The sound of Michael Jackson's voice practically echoes in these legendary walls. Westlake Studio A on Beverly boulevard is where he recorded his two most iconic albums, OFF THE WALL (1979) and THRILLER (1982).
8447 Beverly Blvd., West Hollywood
In Westlake D on Santa Monica boulevard Michael and Quincy Jones worked on album BAD. This studio building was created specifically with Michael and Quincy in mind.
7265 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood
The studio staff offers a guided tour
around both buildings at certain times of the year (usually, around the anniversary of MJ's passing). Check it out if you can. It's spectacular
This is the former home of Motown's Hollywood recording studios. The Jackson 5 and Michael recorded here. Across the street from the studio there is a park where Michael longed to go out and play instead of recording.
"And I remember going to the record studio and there was a park across the street, and I'd see all the children playing and I would cry because it would make me sad that I would have to work instead."
--Michael Jackson to Oprah
The building still belongs to Motown, but the artists don't work here now.
7317 Romaine Street, Los Angeles
The studio where in 1985, the hit single and video, "We Are the World" was recorded by a cast that included Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Kenny Rogers, Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen.
The studio set is especially interesting because it was built by the legendary Charlie Chaplin in 1917 and originally known as Charlie Chaplin Studios
. Some of the Chaplin's most famous movies were filmed there, including: "The Kid" (1921), "The Gold Rush" (1925), "City Lights" (1931), "Modern Times" (1936) and others. After being sold by Chaplin in 1953, the property went through several changes in ownership and in 1966 became the headquarters for A&M Records. The old stages and facilities were rebuilt into recording rooms. Michael must have been thrilled by the chance to work in the same studio where his greatest idol created so many masterpieces.
Nowadays, the place is considered a historical and cultural monument and belongs to The Jim Henson Company.
1416 N. La Brea Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles
PASADENA CIVIC AUDITORIUM
On May 16, 1983, Michael Jackson was catapulted to superstar status wth his now-mythic performance of his hit "Billie Jean"
at Motown's 25th Anniversary celebration "Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever". This is where MJ's moonwalk performance went out to over 50 million viewers around the world. A dance movement and a star were born.
300 East Green Street, Pasadena
GARDNER STREET ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Michael attended this school for a short period of time after his family moved to LA in the 70s. In 1989, Gardner Street Elementary named a school auditorium after Michael. Gleaming silver letters across the front of the building read: "The Michael Jackson Auditorium". Michael himself showed up for the unveiling
. In return, Jackson sort of adopted his old school; he paid the salary for the school's music teacher, he planted memorial rose bushes near the playground, and even left his famous signature on the wall of his old 6th grade schoolroom.
After Michael was arrested on charges of child molestation in 2003, the school disassociated themselves from him by covering up his name on the auditorium. Unfortunately, they did not rehabilitate him even when he was fully acquitted two years later. Upon his passing, a group of fans appealed to the school board, and in 2010 the boards covering Michael's name were finally removed.
The school is located in the very heart of Hollywood. However, hidden on a quiet street between Hollywood and Sunset boulevards, it is not easy to spot for a casual tourist. The entrance to MJ auditorium is seen from the parking lot. If you are lucky to get inside, you'll be able to sneak a look at the halls and classrooms where Michael Jackson used to study.
7450 Hawthorn Avenue, Los Angeles
Michael Jackson's childhood home that he rebuilt completely into a Tudor-style mansion in the early 80s. He lived in the house up until 1988 when he moved out to Neverland, and later continued paying the bills for the house that was occupied by his parents and siblings. Now the Jackson family and Michael's children live in there.
The house is hidden from view behind the high fence and dense trees. From the road you can only see the gates.
4641 Hayvenhurst Ave., Encino
Outside of LA
2,700 acre ranch Michael called home from 1988 to 2005. Home away from the world...
A MUST see... The best time is late afternoon, until dusk. You can then await the moon to rise over the mountain range. Or maybe sunrise would be glorious too! It's so peaceful and serene. So Michael
. If there is a place in the world where his spirit still alive, it's there. He used to say, "Neverland represents the totality of who I am". It really does, you will feel it.
Neverland is 2-3 hour drive north of LA city limits. You can only get there by car, no public transport stops nearby.
The drive up there in the Santa Ynez mountains is breathtaking! Make sure to stop at the lookout at the top. There's no stopping allowed the rest of the route, but if you have a passenger with a fast and stable camera, you can get some great shots out the window while you're moving, prior to the lookout! Once you've turned onto Figueroa Mountain Rd. in 10-15 mintues watch for the wooden gates on the left. They are unremarkable and easy to miss! Make sure you go to a restroom/eat something somewhere else along the way BEFORE getting to Neverland... there's NOTHING there but private ranches!
5225 Figueroa Mountain Rd., Los Olivos
Los Olivos is a TINY (as in about 4 blocks long, with a flagpole in the center intersection!) picturesque town just before you turn onto the road to Neverland... where MJ would wander into sometimes, to check out the antiques, go to the country store for ice cream... maybe get some wine! Its really charming in the evening, with tiny white lights rimming the shops and restaurant.
Some places in Los Olivos that Michael was rumored to have patronized or had some connection with:
- Jedlicka's, where he bought a tricycle for the children;
- Young's Gallery, where he had some custom art framed;
- Mattei's Tavern/Brother's Restaurant, where he may have occasionally dined;
- "R Country Store," a tiny little store where a local real estate agent wrote that he and some other locals watched the verdict read;
- and of course, the flag pole--in the intersection of the main street there is an American flag. This flag is always lowered to half mast whenever any past or present resident of Los Olivos dies. The flag was lowered on the day Michael died.
SANTA MARIA COURTHOUSE
The place where in spring-summer of 2005 Michal endured the hardest trial of his life and was ultimately acquitted of all charges.
312-G East Cook Street, Santa Maria
Sources: http://www.iamnotastalker.com/category/this-and-that/michael-jackson-locations-this-and-that/, http://www.michaeljackson.com/us/node/913384, http://www.mjfsc.org/mj-in-la/, fans' photos and my own experience and photos.