The Terminator movie cover Movie Locations Guide

Where was The Terminator filmed?


City Locations

Southern California

Location Types

NatureScapes, Clubs/Bars, Diners/Coffee, Hospitals/Medical, Police/Jails

Location Styles

Americana/Anywhere America, Dated/50's-60's-70's Building, Creative Space/Startup, Federal Building

About The Terminator

The Termination is an action sci-fi movie that was released in theaters in 1984. The film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and directed by James Cameron launched a franchise still loved by fans today. This guide to locations in The Terminator will contain spoilers. At the start of the movie the Terminator, a cyborg has traveled back in time with Kyle Reese, a human soldier. They have traveled from the year 2029 to 1984 and are after a woman, Sarah Connor. The Terminator was sent to find and kill her while Reese wants to stop his plans.

In the beginning, the Terminator kills every woman that has that name, but when he goes after the actual Sarah Connor, Reese can swoop in and save her. Once the two of them reach a place to hide, Reese explains what is going on. In the future, an artificial intelligence system will become self-aware, and Sarah’s son John is a key member of the human rebel forces. The Terminator was sent to kill Sarah as a way to make sure John is never born and can never oppose the uprising of AI forces.

As Sarah and Reese continue running from the Terminator, they end up being arrested and taken to the police station. However, the cyborg assassin attacks the station, killing multiple people as Sarah and Reese manage to get away again. At a motel where the two decide what to do next, Reese confesses his love for Sarah and that it is what drove him to travel in time and save her.

The two of them have sex, which ends up being the way John is conceived. In a chase from the motel where the Terminator drives a motorcycle after Reese and Sarah in a truck, Reese is injured by a gunshot. He is also using pipe bombs to try and deter the cyborg chasing them. Sarah is able to knock him off of the motorcycle with a bomb, but the truck also flips.

The Terminator continues after Sarah, using a tank truck. However, Reese uses a pipe bomb in the tube of the tank and blows it up. This explosion causes the Terminator to lose anything that resembles skin, but he is still chasing Sarah and Reese. With another pipe bomb, Reese sacrifices himself to blow up the Terminator. Sarah then crushes the torso left of the cyborg in a hydraulic press. The movie skips to several months later when Sarah is in Mexico with her newborn son, John. She takes a picture that will one day be shown to Reese.

The Terminator Locations

The 1984 action movie The Terminator was filmed in various areas of Southern California. The city used for the majority of filming was Los Angeles. While many shots were created on sound stages, many scenes were filmed in and around LA. Various streets and buildings are featured in the movie, and many locations can still be visited by fans today.

Some of the other California cities used for filming The Terminator include Van Nuys, Vernon, and Burbank. Many of the battle scenes featured in the movie were shot in Fontana, California in San Bernardino County. The motel scenes in the movie that show Sarah and Reese were filmed in Huntington Park, California. The Griffith Park Observatory is also featured in shots in the movie, and the real observatory in Los Angeles was used.

The house used for Sarah Connor’s house, found in Van Nuys, has been turned into an apartment building since filming. Some of the main LA streets used for filming include South Figueroa Street, West 7th Street, Ramirez Street, and Hill Street. Many of the locations are still around today, even if a few of them look a little different. Fans can still revisit the scenes of The Terminator.

Arriving in 1984 scene in The Terminator

Griffith Observatory, 2800 E Observatory Rd, Los Angeles, CA

In one of the opening scenes of The Terminator, Reese and the Terminator cyborg appear in the year 1984. Both of them have traveled back in time in search of a woman named Sarah Connor, but they each have a different objective. The Terminator has been programmed to kill her and won’t stop until he does, and Reese wants to save Sarah before that can happen. Shortly after the two arrive, it becomes apparent that the Terminator is going after any woman named Sarah Connor. The deaths become a popular news story in LA.

Early in the action movie, a newscaster is heard commenting on the case, saying, “This just in. Police have announced the name of the victim in the second of two murders that took place today.

Incredibly, the names of the two victims are virtually identical. Two hours ago, 35-year-old Sarah Ann Connor was pronounced dead...Police are refusing to speculate on the similarity between the shooting deaths and no other connection between the two victims has been established yet. We'll have more on this late-breaking story as it comes in.”

Like most of the film, these opening shots were filmed in Los Angeles. The location where the Terminator arrived in 1984 was Griffith Observatory. Being such a popular attraction, you can reach this film shoot location taking the Metro B Line Red, Bus 66 to Bus 754, or Bus 4 to Bus 2.

Reese steals clothing and weapons scene in The Terminator

West 7th Street and Broadway, Los Angeles, CA

When Reese first arrives in the past he has to find clothes and weapons. He ends up stealing some clothes from a homeless man to better blend in with where he is. At first, Reese is confused after landing in the past.

The homeless man says, “I think this guy's a couple of cans short of a six-pack.”

That is when Reese steals the man’s clothes, saying, “Your clothes, give them to me.”

Reese is then asked, “Hey, buddy, did you just see a real bright light?”

Once Reese finds out the date and year he is in, he steals a gun and takes off to find Sarah Connor before the Terminator can get to her.

The production location where Reese travels in time and steals the man’s clothes was in Los Angeles, California. The street used for this scene was West 7th Street. This location is not far from Griffith Observatory, where the Terminator traveled back in time to.

Rescuing Sarah Connor scene in The Terminator

Carrows Restaurant, 815 Fremont Ave, South Pasadena, CA

Once the Terminator has killed several women named Sarah Connor, he goes after the one he is meant to kill. Reese is able to find her first, at a nightclub. He tries to warn her about what is coming, and says he was sent to protect her.

Reese tells Sarah, “I'm here to help you. I'm Reese. Sergeant Tech-Com. DN38416. Assigned to protect you. You’ve been targeted for termination.” When Sarah says she hasn’t done anything, he tells her, “No, but you will. It's very important that you live.”

The Terminator continues coming after Sarah even after being delayed by Reese, and he gets her to leave the nightclub with him. While escaping he tells her more about the Terminator.

Reese says, “The Terminator's an infiltration unit. Part man, part machine. Underneath, it's a hyper-alloy combat chassis. Microprocessor controlled. Fully armored, very tough. Outside it's living human tissue. Flesh, skin, hair, blood - grown for the cyborgs.”

The nightclub where Reese finds Sarah is now called Carrows Restaurant and is located on Fremont Avenue in South Pasadena, California. There are several ways to reach this film shoot scene. You could take the Metro B Line Red to Metro L Line Gold or Bus 180 to Bus 260. Another option is to take Bus 182 to the Metro L Line Gold.

Revealing the future scene in The Terminator

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, 6547 Sunset Blvd, Hollywood, CA

Once Sarah and Reese have managed to get a bit away from the Terminator, they hide out in a parking garage where Reese reveals even more information about the future. He tells Sarah that a nuclear war happens just a few years after 1984, and in the post-apocalyptic aftermath cyborgs actively hunt humans. Reese is a survivor of this fallout and a prominent soldier in the rebel human forces. He explains that a man named John Connor is responsible for turning the tide of war.

Reese tells her, “We were that close to going out forever. But there was one man who taught us to fight. To storm the wire of the camps. To smash those metal motherfuckers into junk. He turned it around. He brought us back from the brink. His name was Connor. John Connor. Your son, Sarah. Your unborn son.”

The scene where Reese explains the future was shot in Los Angeles at the Department Of Water And Power on Sunset Boulevard which acted as the parking garage. Buses 2 or 180 as well as the Hollywood Counterclockwise Metro will get you to this iconic spot.

Police station attack scene in The Terminator

West Highlands Police Station, 6000 S Boyle Ave, Vernon, CA

As Reese and Sarah continue to run from the Terminator they end up being stopped by the police and taken to the station. They question Sarah and Reese separately. Reese tells the truth about why he is there, but they believe he may just be crazy. He tells the police about the future battle, and the plan for the Terminator to kill Sarah and keep John from ever existing.

When asked about returning to the future, Reese says, “I can't. Nobody goes home. Nobody else comes through. It's just him and me. It's just him and me.”

While Reese is waiting for Sarah to be done giving a statement, the police station is attacked by the Terminator. Many of the officers are killed in the attack, but Reese and Sarah manage to escape and go to a motel for the night.

The police station used for these shots was found in Vernon, California on South Boyle Avenue. Although the West Highlands Police Station was demolished shortly after the filming of the movie wrapped up, you can still take a look at the area and see some of the background locations. Just hop on Bus 210 to 108 or take the Metro B Line Red to Buses 60 or 251 to get to this scene location.

Planning at the motel scene in The Terminator

Tiki Motel, 7301 Santa Fe Ave, Huntington Park, CA

When Reese and Sarah get to the motel to plan their next moves and spend the night, Reese reveals that he volunteered to be sent back in time to save her. He has clear feelings for her, and through stories, John had told came to look up to her.

Reese tells Sarah, “It was a chance to meet the legend. Sarah Connor, who taught her son to fight, organize, and prepare from when he was a kid. When you were in hiding before the war.”

He also relays a message from John to his mother, “Your son gave me a message to give to you. Made me memorize it. Thank you, Sarah, for your courage through the dark years. I can't help you with what you must soon face. The future is not set. You must be stronger than you imagine you can be. You must survive or I will never exist. That's all.”

The motel where the two stay for the night and build pipe bombs was the Tiki Motel in Huntington Park, California. Some of the transit options for this spot include the FlixBus, Metro A Line Blue, Bus 102, or the Metrolink San Bernadino Line. The hotel is still open so why not get a room while you are there?


The sci-fi action movie The Terminator was released in 1984. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as the cyborg sent to kill Sarah Connor. James Cameron directed the blockbuster movie, which launched a franchise. James Cameron also wrote the screenplay for the movie, along with Gale Anne Hurd. When filming the movie, most locations used can be found across California. Some are still standing, while other buildings used have been torn down since.