Rock Star movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was Rock Star filmed?

2001

About Rock Star

Rock Star is a 2001 movie loosely inspired by the real-life story of Tim Owens, a heavy metal singer. The film follows Chris Cole’s accidental rise to stardom, the protagonist of the movie, played by Mark Wahlberg. Mark Wahlberg stars alongside Jenifer Aniston, who plays his character’s girlfriend and love interest, Emily Poule.

If you’re a heavy metal fan or enjoy watching movies based on rock music, then you’ll no doubt love Rock Star. Not only does the film contain a lot of great music worth listening to – most of which is based on real-life songs – but the story covers the emotional journey of a wannabe rock star. We’ve also included several scenes (spoiler alert!) and Rock Star film locations you might want to check out.

Before Chris rose to world fame, he worked as a photocopier technician during the day and, by night, as the lead singer of a tribute band named Blood Pollution. Blood Pollution covered songs for the global sensation Steel Dragon. Sadly, during one of their gigs, Chris is voted out of the group due to a serious fight between him and a fellow band member.

Coincidentally, the lead singer of Steel Dragon, whom Chris was emulating for Blood Pollution, was also fired. The following events then show Chris receiving a phone call from Steel Dragon’s rhythm guitarist to be the replacement. After seeing Chris’ performance from a fan-made video, he was impressed at how closely he resembled their former singer in vocals and appearance.

Rock Star also features drama, with Chris Cole’s fame taking a toll on his lifestyle emotionally and romantically with his long-time girlfriend, Emily. Throughout the film, you see their struggle to stay connected and, most importantly, witness how a man transitions from ordinary life to being one of the world’s greatest rock stars.

City Locations

Seattle, WA; Los Angeles, CA

Location Types

Architectural, Mansions, NatureScapes, Buildings/Offices, Studios, Hotels/Motels

Location Styles

Dates/Retro, Dilapidated/Neglected, Hotel/Motel Style, Luxury Hotel

Rock Star Locations

This 2001 musical comedy-drama movie is set in Pittsburgh in the 80s, but the Rock Star production mainly took place in Los Angeles and Seattle, Washington. It starts in Pittsburgh, which is Chris’ home. However, when he receives a call from Kirk Cuddy (Dominic West), the guitarist and founding member of the fictional heavy rock metal band Steel Dragon, Chris flies to Los Angeles with his girlfriend, Emily (Jennifer Aniston).

One of the prominent Rock Star locations in the film is the magnificent Greystone Mansion & Gardens. If this landmark is familiar to you, that’s because it’s been used in many movies and TV shows, including X-Men (2000), Rush Hour (1998), Indecent Proposal (1993), Prison Break (2005), and more. You’ll also see a shot of the Chateau Marmont at 8221 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California.

Some of the driving scenes as the band members go on bus tours were shot on Highway 2 in Waterville, Washington. During one of their concerts, you might recognize the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum used as a venue for their tour. Like most movies filmed in LA, Rock Star also used a few staged in Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, California.

Fun Fact:

Most of the actors playing as musicians in this movie are real-life musicians at the time of the film’s release, such as the Steel Dragon and Blood Pollution members. Mark Wahlberg, for example, formed a hip-hop group in 1991 called Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Moreover, many rock legends watched the concert filming, including Ozzy Osborn and Alice Cooper.

Chris and Emily visit Kirk’s mansion scene in Rock Star

Greystone Mansion, 905 Loma Vista Dr, Beverly Hills, CA

The Greystone Mansion stood in for Kirk Cuddy’s mansion in Los Angeles. You’ll see its exterior as the characters approach the gate in a limousine and find fans waiting outside to see their favorite rock band members. “Are you famous?” a fan asks as Chris rolls down the car window and greets the fans. “No, we’re nobody. Sorry,” he responds.

Established in 1928, the gorgeous Greyston Mansion & Gardens is a registered historical landmark in the upscale city of Beverly Hills. It has been featured in numerous films over the decades and serves as an elegant backdrop for weddings, public events, shoots, and other activities.

Visitors are welcome to stroll through the inner courtyard and pool area and the spectacular formal gardens that feature a centerpiece fountain. The park grounds are open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM without reservations and parking fees.

The Greyston Mansion & Gardens is a stunning site to visit in Beverly Hills. It provides a quiet and calming respite from the city’s bustle and lets you get close to nature with its lush gardens. There’s a direct bus between Los Angeles and the Mansion, but the most convenient way to get there is by car. You can take advantage of the free on-site parking and take your time exploring the property and the neighboring attractions.

Emily isn’t allowed to travel on the tour bus with Chris scene in Rock Star

Former Ambassador Hotel (now Robert F. Kennedy Community Schools, 701 S Catalina St, Los Angeles, CA

The band packs up after a wild night of partying and is headed to their next gig. However, to the couple’s dismay, Emily is not allowed to travel with them on the bus. “But you can travel with the wives. They’re very nice,” Mats (Timothy Spall) says, the Steel Dragon’s Road manager.

The former Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles served as a backdrop to this scene, featuring an inviting entrance you’ll also see in this sequence. It opened in 1921, occupying 23.7 acres at Wilshire Boulevard, and was owned by the Schine family for around fifty years. It was one of the city’s defining historic sites and the catalyst for the Wilshire Boulevard corridor’s development.

The hotel was regarded as the epitome of elegance and glamour in LA. However, its allure faded by the sixties until it finally closed in 1989. Then the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) bought the property to build a new school. It is now the site of the RFK Community Schools.

Although the hotel was demolished, not everything about the property is lost forever. Some elements of the popular hotel were actually incorporated into the school’s new design. It includes the Coconut Grove, now the 582-seater theater, and the hotel Embassy Ballroom’s vaulted ceiling reconstructed as the library.

Visit the school and see the site where the former majestic Ambassador Hotel was located. You can get there by taking bus lines 20, 66, 206, and 720 or the Metro B line (Red) and D line (Purple), with stops a short walk from the school.

Chris reunites with Rob scene in Rock Star

Victor Steinbrueck Park, 2001 Western Ave, Seattle, WA

After Chris walks out of the stage, he decides to find his own music and meets with his friend Rob (Timothy Olyphant) at the park. “I’m starting a new band,” Chris declares, and the duo forms a new group. Instead of playing in a big arena, they now perform in smaller shows in coffeehouses and bars.

The scene at the park was taken at Victor Steinbrueck Park in Seattle. It’s named after architect Victor Steinbrueck, who is known for his efforts in preserving the historic Pike Place Market and Pioneer Square in the 60s.

The park is a favorite spot among visitors, neighborhood residents, and tourists, especially on a summer afternoon. The area becomes lively, with people relaxing on the lawn, sunbathing, enjoying picnics, and playing. Also, thanks to its elevated position, it offers panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains and Elliott Bay.

You’ll find several bus stops near the park, so getting there by bus is convenient and easy. You can catch buses 111, 114, 214, 216, and 212, with stops just a short walk from the park.

The Steel Dragon concert scene in Rock Star

Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 3911 Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA

The list of Rock Star filming locations won’t be complete without including one of the band’s concert venues. One notable event facility shown near the end of the film during the band’s tour is the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It’s not clear whether it’s the actual venue of the event, but you’ll catch an aerial view of the Coliseum in the scene.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum opened in June 1923. It hosted the first football game ever played in the stadium in October of the same year, drawing in a crowd of over 12,800. Since then, it has become a vital venue for professional and college football games.

Today, LA Memorial Coliseum is a major concert venue for big events and shows. It also hosts private and ticketed events, as well as commercial and film shoots. If you’re not planning any event, visitors can come through public guided tours on the historic stadium available every Monday and Tuesday from 10 AM to 1 PM. The 75-minute walking tour includes spectacular views of the LA skyline from the rooftop deck on top of the Scholarship Club Tower.

The best way to get to the Coliseum is by using the Metro Expo Line with connections in downtown LA. You can also use the Metro J line (Silver) or Metrolink to avoid delays due to parking and traffic.

Emily meets with Chris at the hotel in Seattle scene in Rock Star

Millennium Biltmore Hotel, 506 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA

Emily moves to Seattle at the peak of Chris’ stardom, tired of following him all over the country. Then she meets with him on one of the band’s tours in the city. But Chris is too drunk to remember they’re supposed to meet or even know where he is. “I thought you were in Seattle,” the confused and drunk Chris said. “We’re in Seattle. You’re in Seattle,” Emily says.

This sequence was set in a hotel in Seattle, but it was actually shot in Millennium Biltmore Hotel, a premier luxury hotel in Los Angeles, California. If you look closely, you might recognize the footage of a grand staircase where Jennifer Aniston’s character enters at the west end of the lobby. It features architectural designs on the walls, ceilings, and railings.

Opened in 1923, Biltmore Hotel was a favorite spot for meetings and entertainment in the 1920s and 1930s, including the biggest stars in the entertainment industry at that time. It has also hosted numerous Academy Awards, high-end events, and even members of the royalty, US presidents, and more. It’s a beaux-arts institution that has continued to impress locals and visitors since Old Hollywood’s glory days.

This historic hotel is a short walk from the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Walt Disney Concert Hall. It’s also close to the Pershing Square subway station and can be accessed by taking the Metro B Line (Red) and D line (Purple).

Emily sees a flyer for Chris’ show scene in Rock Star

1st Ave and Pike Street, Seattle, WA

While walking in the street, Emily spots a flyer for one of Chris’ gigs at the end of the film. When she goes to the event, Chris sees her from the stage and walks over to her. “I missed you,” he confesses. With tears in her eyes, she responds, “I know. Me too.” Then the couple kisses and reconciles.

The place where Emily spots the flyer is at the corner of 1st Avenue and Pike Street in Seattle, near the Pike Place Market. This area is usually bustling and filled with energy. At night, you’ll find people coming from downtown, walking down the street to the waterfront.

The best way to enjoy the area is by exploring it on foot, but it’s also easily accessible by public transportation. Stroll the cobblestone street and head to the market. Several landmarks, including museums, old buildings, and parks, are also located along 1st Avenue, so you’ve got plenty of places to discover.

Conclusion

There’s no need to go far from Los Angeles, California if you wish to explore most Rock Star locations. The Millennium Biltmore Hotel is only eight minutes from LA Memorial Coliseum by car. Then from the stadium, you can head to RFK Community Schools, where the former Ambassador Hotel was located. The journey between these sites will only take about ten minutes by car.

Whether you’re a fan of this 2001 musical/drama film or not, visiting its iconic sites will give you a memorable experience. During your film tour, you can stop at numerous cultural sights and attractions in Los Angeles close to the sites where the movie was filmed. You can also do the same if you’re headed to Washington’s seaport city and want to see the park in downtown Seattle.