Princess Diaries movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Princess Diaries filmed?

2001

About Princess Diaries

Princess Diaries is a 2001 American comedy film by Gary Marshall and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. It is based on the book series by the same name authored by Meg Cabot. The film was initially called 'The Princess of Tribeca.' Still, the producers stuck to the original to keep the momentum of interest from the phenomenal success of the novels.

The Princess Diaries follows the story of young Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway), a Grove High School student who stays with her mother, Helen Thermopolis (Caroline Goodall), in a converted, refurbished fire station in San Francisco. Mia is socially anxious, has a deadly fear of public speaking, and secretly harbors a crush on a popular boy at school Josh Bryant (Erik von Detten). With the help of her best friend, Lily Moscovitz (Heather Matarazzo), and Lily's older brother, Micheal (Robert Schwartzman), who likes Mia, Mia stumbles through high school while trying to cope with peer pressure.

Helen tells Mia that Mia's European grandmother would like to meet Mia after her father's death. Mia finds it odd that her grandmother has never tried to contact her while her father was alive. However, after much insistence, Mia agrees to meet her grandmother, Clarisse (Julie Andrews), who is visiting from Genovia in Europe.

While having tea with Clarisse at the Genovian Consulate, Clarisse informs Mia that her late father, Phillipe, was the Crown Prince of Genovia and that Clarisse is the Queen Mother. By Genovian Law, Mia is born a Princess, and after her father's death is the Crown Princess of Genovia; she can claim her Crown and rule.

Mia is shocked at this and thinks Clarisse is insane. She confronts Helen about this when she gets home, and Mia's mother confirms the truth to Mia. Helen and Clarisse try to calm Mia down by letting her know that Mia can decide whether she would like to accept or renounce her claim to the royal throne of Genovia. However, Clarisse insists that Mia gets a chance to learn the ways of being a royal, get 'Princess' lessons, and learn about the country.

What follows is a beautiful tale of love, learning, growth, and 'self-actualization.'

City Locations

Malibu, San Francisco, Los Angeles, California

Location Types

Architectural, American, Apartment, Artsy, Beach/ Oceanview, House, Mansion, Loft, Modern, Automotives, Beauty/ Spa, Buildings/ Offices, Galleries, Sports, Industrial, Restaurant, Schools, Studios

Location Styles

Americana, Beachfront, Bus, Classic Car, Convertible, Foreign, Modern Car, Modern Building, Motor, Pick-Up, Plane, School, Scooter

Princess Diaries Locations

The Princess Diaries production team chose some fantastic locations for the filming. Gorgeous sites like Zuma Beach, the upmarket Marina District, the topsy turvy San Francisco roads, exterior spots of architectural buildings, and the interiors of schools all worked well on the screen to promote the life of Princess Mia Thermopolis.

The shooting locations, characters, and other parts played a massive role in showing audiences the dynamism of an average American teenage girl with severe social anxiety issues. Since many scenes focused on Mia's life, the locations worked in harmony. The filming crew and cast had to shuffle between Los Angeles and San Francisco, but the ultimate edit of the film was flawless, with the majority of the locations looking like they were all in San Francisco.

The key San Francisco locations, plus the bits and pieces in the warehouse where Princess Mia lived with her artistic mother Helen, the Genovia Consulate, brought cohesion to the film.

Teaser: Did you know that during the filming of the Genovian Consulate dinner, the scene where Prince Mia douses the guest's arm with a glass of water was not scripted? In reality, the fire was supposed to be put out when the guest put his hand in the ice bucket, but Anne Hathaway panicked when the fire persisted and threw water to douse the fire. The director and producer decided to include it in the script, becoming one of the best scenes in Princess Diaries.

Fun fact:

Many likened Princess Mia to a modern-day Cinderella, with a grandmother who was a fairy godmother.

Mia is worried about her speech at school scene in Princess Diaries

724 Brazil Ave, San Francisco, California

Princess Diaries starts with Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) and her mother, Helen (Caroline Goodall), an artist, at their home in San Francisco. Mia is ready for school and ensures her cat, Fat Louie, is taken care of and is about to leave. She's worried because she is part of her school's debate team and has to speak in front of an audience. Mia has severe social anxiety issues and believes she can never speak up or be heard in a crowd. Her mother, Helen, knows Mia has problems and wants to help her.

Helen tries to pep Mia up by asking, "Are you feeling confident?" Mia responds in a small voice (as she comes down the fire pole in her house), "Not really." Helen tries to tutor Mia, "Okay. Now just remember, when you make your speech, don't look at the people. Pick a spot on the back wall, don't take your eyes off it, and speak loudly!"

This filming location of Princess Diaries is a warehouse at 724 Brazil Ave, San Francisco, California. It was redone to suit the specifications according to the books. Now, there's an art studio that's open to the public. To get here, get onto bus number 14 to Mission St and Persia Ave and walk for a few minutes to reach 724 Brazil Ave.

Helen tells Mia that Clarisse wants to visit and have tea scene in Princess Diaries

Hangar 18 (previously the L.A. Rock Gym), 4926 West Rosecrans Avenue, Los Angeles

Mia is at her after-school job at 'Rocks Around The Clock,' the Rock Gym at the Falcon Sports Center. Helen walks into the Center, smiles at Mia, and asks her, "You threw up, huh? And you ran away." Mia says, "I'm trying to forget about it. Can I have some shoes and chalk, please?" Helen tries to cheer Mia up by saying, "I'll go talk to your debate teacher Mr. O'Connell and straighten it all out." Then Helen tells Mia, "Oh, your grandmother called. The live one, who lives in Genovia, Clarisse."

Mia is surprised and says, "Oh. Wow! This is the first time she's ever contacted us. What does she want?" Helen replies, "She's in town. She wants to have tea." Mia is skeptical and asks, "Tea? She came all the way from Europe to have tea?"

This Princess Diaries filming location is Hangar 18, previously the L.A. Rock Gym, at 4926 W Rosecrans Avenue, Los Angeles. They still have a rock-climbing side, so visitors can get some exercise done while clicking selfies. Catch the Metro J Line Silver to Harbor Transitway and hop onto bus number 125 to Rosecrans. The gym is a 5-minute walk from the bus stop.

Clarisse meets Mia scene in Princess Diaries

Doheny Mansion, 8 Chester Place, downtown.

Mia goes to the Consulate of Genovia to meet her grandmother, Clarisse. While waiting, she meets Charlotte Kutaway (Kathleen Marshall) and informs her, "Did you know you have pears in your flowers?" Charlotte responds, "Genovian pears. We're famous for them." Clarisse (Julie Andrews) walks down the stairs and greets her granddaughter, "Amelia, I'm so glad you could come." Mia responds, "Hi, you've got a great place."

Clarisse asks Charlotte, "Would you go and check on tea in the garden?" As they sit, Mia asks her grandmother, "So, my mom said you wanted to talk to me about something. Shoot." Clarisse responds, "Before I 'shoot,' I have something I want to give you," and hands Mia a silver box with a locket. Clarisse tells her, "It's the Genovian crest. It was mine when I was young." As Mia struggles to get the locket on, she asks Clarisse what was so important. Clarisse says, "Something that I think will have a tremendous impact upon your life."

Doheny Mansion, the 'Consulate of Genovia,' is one of the most popular Princess Diaries locations. It is private property, and visitors need permission before entering the premises. Getting here is straightforward if you catch the Metro A Blue Line and get off at Grand/ LATTC Station. From here, catch bus number 37, get off at Adams/ Chester, and walk for a few minutes to reach the mansion.

Mia is swamped by media in front of school scene in Princess Diaries

2601, Lyon Street, at Green Street, Marina District

Mia starts her 'Princess' lessons with her grandmother and gets a makeover. She also tells her best friend Lily Moscovitz (Heather Matarazzo) about the news and makes her promise not to tell anyone. However, when they enter the school, Mia is swamped by the media.

She's suddenly grabbed by reporters clicking pictures and firing questions at her, "Right here, Princess! Talk to me! Princess Mia! Who's your favorite actor? Princess Mia, what do you do about pimples? Can we quote you, Your Majesty?"

During all this, Michael Moscovitz (Robert Schwartzman) asks his sister Lily, "Why are they all calling her Princess? What's happening?" Lily calls for Mia, "Mia! Mia!" and finally turns to her brother and says, "Oh! Come on! Let's just go, please?!"

While there aren't too many Princess Diaries action scenes, this one has a little action. The front of the school is the entrance to a private residence in the upmarket Marina District of San Francisco. The address is 2601 Lyon Street, Marina District. To see the home, hop onto bus number 28, hop off at the Richardson Ave and Francisco St stop, and walk for 10 minutes.

Queen Clarisse holds meeting in school scene in Princess Diaries

Alverno High School, 200 North Michillinda Avenue, Los Angeles

After the media incident with Mia in front of the school, Queen Clarisse comes to the school to do some damage control. The Principal, Mrs. Gupta (Sandra Oh), is in awe that the Queen is coming to her school. They hold a meeting in the principal's office with the Queen demanding an explanation for the leak of Mia's identity. She asks Joseph (Hector Elizondo), her head of security, to enter with the hairdresser, Paolo Puttanesca (Larry Miller).

Paulo starts, "Majesty, it was I who told the press about you, principessa. I outed you, so to speak. But not for money, Principessa. Paulo hates money; he spits on money. There was no money! Well, there was some money… The point is, it was pride and ego who drove me to know that Royalty would see one day the beauty was mine! The hair was mine! That I, Paolo Puttanesca, was responsible for…." Queen Clarisse has heard enough and wants him to leave.

This interaction is another of the many funny scenes in Princess Diaries. While everyone was shocked, the poor hairdresser wanted to be recognized for his work! This scene is shot at Alverno High School in Los Angeles. Catch bus number 187 and walk for 20 – 30 minutes to reach the school.

Mia is embarrassed at the beach scene in Princess Diaries

Zuma Beach, Malibu

The summer bash after school is happening at Baker Beach. Princess Mia is attending it with her crush Josh Bryant (Erik von Detten), but she doesn't realize he's only dating her for the publicity. At the beach, there are plenty of things with Mark and Brian making announcements, "We are Mark and Brian, and welcome to the Baker Beach Bash. Now, with one week left for school, you're gonna be out for the summer, and we know what's on your mind. How are you gonna find that summer love? And if you do, how do you know if it's true? To tell us all about it, please welcome Lana, Anna, and Fontana!"

Lana Thomas (Mandy Moore) comes on stage and starts singing, "Stupid cupid, you're a real mean guy…." with her friends Anna (Elizabeth Gudenrath) and Fontana (Bianca Lopez) dancing around her.

What happens next is Josh kisses Mia in front of the paparazzi to get his '15 seconds of fame,' but Mia is ashamed and humiliated by the whole thing. The media also get some pictures of her while she's trying to change out of her clothes because Lana, Anna, and Fontana sabotage her.

This Princess Diaries film scene is shot at the incredible surfing destination, Zuma Beach in Malibu. It is open to tourists and visitors all year round and is accessible via bus number 534.

Conclusion

Princess Diaries was an excellent introduction to the life of Meg Cabot's blockbuster character, Mia Thermopolis. It’s the life of a teenager thrust into a new world filled with politics, intrigue, friendship, a new crush, love, and family. The storyline was beautiful with excellent character development.

All the geographical locations and filming areas fit perfectly with the book series and the location sketches. The filming sites like Zuma Beach, the high school, the upmarket Marina District, and the San Francisco and Los Angeles areas were wonderfully adapted to show viewers the changes in a teenager's life.

Princes Diaries was a great family movie drama that was enjoyed by all ages and audiences. It changed the lives of countless young girls with social anxiety issues who always felt they could not cope with peer pressure.