The Princess Diaries, 2001

Director

Garry Marshall

Cast

visit the film locations

San Francisco: Flights: San Francisco International Airport

Tourist info: San Francisco tourism

Los Angeles: Flights: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)


Trivia

The quirky Doheny Mansion, part of the campus of Mount St Mary’s College campus, is a screen veteran, seen in Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell and Spider-Man3, as well as Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can

The Princess Diaries location: Doheny Mansion, Chester Place, downtown Los Angeles

The Princess Diaries location: The ‘Consulate of Genovia’: Doheny Mansion, Chester Place, Los Angeles

Photograph: Big Orange Landmarks / Floyd B Bariscale

Garry Marshall transplants Meg Cabot’s teen fantasy from New York to San Francisco, where Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway) lives with her artist mom in a former firehouse at 724 Brazil Avenue at Athens Street, to the south of the city.

So it’s quite some scooter ride for her to get to school. The frontage of ‘Anthony R Grove High School’, is 2601 Lyon Street, at Green Street, in the upmarket Marina District, north of the city (about a six mile ride, in fact).

Altogether, three different buildings are stitched together to complete the school. The rooftop basketball court, where Mia and best pal Lilly (Heather Matarazzo) fall out and make up, is atop Hamlin School, 2129 Vallejo Street, between Webster and Buchanan Streets, a few blocks to the east.

The school interior and grounds, though, are even further away – near Los Angeles. It’s Alverno High School, 200 North Michillinda Avenue in Sierra Madre, east of Pasadena. The campus is no stranger to film, having appeared in Legally Blonde and A Walk In The Clouds, among other productions.

‘Rocks Around The Clock’, the climbing school in which Mia works part time after school, and where she learns that her grandma is arriving from ‘Genovia’, seems to be on San Francisco’s Embarcadero but, again, it’s Los Angeles. It’s Hangar 18 (previously the L.A. Rock Gym), 4926 West Rosecrans Avenue, down in Hawthorne, south of the city.

Still in Los Angeles, the ‘Consulate of Genovia’ is the Doheny Mansion, 8 Chester Place, downtown. You might recognise its striking frontage and its lavish rotunda from Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell and Spider-Man3, as well as Brian Helgeland’s Payback, with Mel Gibson.

Returning to the real San Francisco, the home of Lilly and Michael is Phoenix Terrace, which you’ll find tucked away on Pacific Avenue between Jones and Taylor Streets.

When Queen Clarisse (Julie Andrews) and Mia take a day off to enjoy the city they drive east over the Golden Gate Bridge, for no other reason than visual effect. The exhibition of old penny arcade machines they visit was in the opposite direction, on San Francisco’s western shore. The museum was housed in the basement of the old Cliff House, at 1090 Point Lobos Avenue.

If you want to explore this fascinating collection of what arcade games were like in the pre-electronic age (though it now contains classic video games), you’ll now find the Musée Mécanique at Fisherman’s Wharf, on Pier 45 at the foot of Taylor Street. It moved in the early 2000s when renovations were started on the Cliff House site.

The Cliff House, perched on the headland above the cliffs north of Ocean Beach, overlooks the abandoned ruins of the former Sutro Baths, now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. You might remember the Sutro Baths site from 1971 cult comedy Harold and Maude.

One of the screen perils of driving around San Francisco is the accident with a cable car. Mia has a bit of a shunt at the intersection of ‘Rose and Branch’, an address invented so that Queen Clarisse can be inspired to invent the ‘Genovian Order of the Rose’. This is really the corner of Taylor Street and Broadway, southeast of Russian Hill.

The ‘Baker Beach’ bash, where Mia is set up as press fodder by her schoolmates, is Zuma Beach in Malibu.

The Princess Diaries location: Doheny Mansion, Chester Place, downtown Los Angeles

The Princess Diaries location: The ‘Consulate of Genovia’: Doheny Mansion, Chester Place, Los Angeles

Photograph: wikimedia / Peter

And away from California completely, the castle of ‘Genovia’, briefly seen at the end, is Longford Castle, Longford Park, Bodenham, south of Salisbury in Wiltshire, southwest England. It”s a private home, though occasionally open to the public on pre-booked tours.




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