Discover the ultimate American Roadtrip

Pop Culture <strong>Cruisin’</strong>

Pop Culture Cruisin’

Washington - California

America’s West Coast boasts some of the coolest places on the planet. We’ve cooked up a special US road trip that takes you to the best spots to experience the cult and counter culture of Washington, Oregon and California. From The Simpsons’ hometown to the blood-splattered Halloween house, this is a tour for anyone who loves American music, movies and TV.

Pop Culture Cruisin’

Stop 1: Kurt Cobain Memorial Park, Aberdeen 1/13

Kurt Cobain Memorial Park, Aberdeen

Start the pop culture cruise with a whiff of teen spirit in Kurt Cobain’s hometown. The Nirvana frontman was the face of the grunge music movement before his death in 1994, and there are suitable signs of his influence around this leafy Washington harbour town. Look out for Cobain references on the ‘Welcome to Aberdeen’ sign, the graffiti on Young Street Bridge and the memorial park displaying Kurt’s ‘air guitar’.

Young St, Aberdeen, WA 98520

http://www.aberdeenwa.gov/

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Stop 2: McMenamins Olympic Club 2/13

McMenamins Olympic Club

The Olympic has always been the coolest place in Centralia. The grand old brick building was once a 19th-century illegal speakeasy and bootleggers’ hotel, then it became a hangout for gamblers, train-robbers and ladies of the night. Today it’s a funky family-friendly hotel with a Western-style wood-panelled restaurant, authentic pool hall and its own cinema and music venue. Overnight guests get free movie tickets and popcorn. (Image credit: Joe Mabel)

112 N. Tower Ave, Centralia, WA 98531

http://www.mcmenamins.com/OlyClub

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Stop 3: The Goonies House Location 3/13

The Goonies House Location

The 1985 cult comedy film The Goonies was set in the Oregon town of Astoria. The film’s band of young heroes were trying to save their homes from demolition and it looks like they succeeded – because the white two-storey house is still there. You can drive up to what has become known locally as The Goonies’ House to take photos but it’s not open to the public. The surrounding area is full of familiar views from the film too. (Image credit: Destination Astoria)

370 38th St, Astoria, Oregon 97103

https://roadtrippers.com/us/astoria-or/attractions/the-goonies-house-film-location?lat=40.80972&lng=-96.67528&z=5

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Pop Culture Cruisin’

Stop 4: Springfield 4/13

Springfield

It doesn’t have a nuclear plant or a Kwik-E-Mart, but the quiet Oregon town was the inspiration behind the hugely successful long-running show, The Simpsons. Creator Matt Groening grew up in nearby Portland. Unofficial Simpsons tours of the town include a visit to the town museum, which has a recreation of the Simpsons’ couch, models of the characters and a plaque given by Groening. Look out too for a recently-opened ‘Moe’s Tavern’ and a huge ‘The Simpsons’ mural on the Art Centre’s wall.

Springfield, OR 97477

https://www.eugenecascadescoast.org/simpsons/tour/

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Pop Culture Cruisin’

Stop 5: Alcatraz Island 5/13

Alcatraz Island

More than a mile offshore in San Francisco Bay, this lonely rock has a lighthouse, fort, wildlife refuge and, most famously, a prison. The 22-acre island is part of a protected national park and makes for an easy and enlightening day trip from Pier 33 near Fisherman’s Wharf in the city. Inmates included gangsters like Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly and Mickey Cohen. Visitors can tour the prison spotting scenes from many major films, including The Rock, Escape from Alcatraz and The Birdman of Alcatraz.

San Francisco, CA 94133

https://www.nps.gov/alca/index.htm

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Pop Culture Cruisin’

Stop 6: Apple Campus (Birthplace of Apple) 6/13

Apple Campus (Birthplace of Apple)

This leafy town in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains has become world-famous as the headquarters of Apple. The town was the home of founder Steve Jobs and the local Flint Centre arts venue was the scene where the first Macintosh computer and the iconic iMac were unveiled. See the smart Apple HQ by driving around the grassy university-style campus. There’s even an Apple Store on the site. (Image credit: Joe Ravi)

1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA 95014

http://www.apple.com

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Stop 7: The Lost Boys at the Boardwalk, Santa Cruz 7/13

The Lost Boys at the Boardwalk, Santa Cruz

The 1987 cult vampire film The Lost Boys was set in a fictional beach community - but the real locations were in and around Santa Cruz. Amusement park scenes were filmed at the oceanfront Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which has served as a popular location for Hollywood movies including an entry in the Dirty Harry series. Other scenes around town were shot at the Santa Cruz Pier, Pacific Cliffs, Golf Club Drive, Atlantic Fantasy World comic bookshop, Municipal Wharf and Seabright Avenue.

400 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

https://beachboardwalk.com/

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Pop Culture Cruisin’

Stop 8: Carmel-by-the-Sea 8/13

Carmel-by-the-Sea

It’s fun to explore this pretty little beachside resort to understand more about the Californian way of life. In the Eighties, Hollywood tough guy Clint Eastwood was voted mayor of Carmel - his slogan was ‘bringing the community together’. Eastwood also overturned a local law banning the selling of ice cream on the streets. Note that there are no street names in Carmel, chain restaurants are forbidden and, amazingly, you need a permit to wear heels higher than two inches.

Carmel-by-the-sea, CA 93921-93923

http://www.carmelcalifornia.com/

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Pop Culture Cruisin’

Stop 9: Hollywood sign 9/13

Hollywood sign

Nine 45-feet-tall letters on a hillside have become one of California’s most famous sights. The Hollywood sign stands behind protective wire fences on Mount Lee, but visitors can get close using scenic hiking trails. To fit all the letters into one photo, however, you’ll need to position your shot a long way back - so park at the viewpoints on Mulholland Drive or in Griffith Park in order to capture the iconic LA selfie.

Hollywood sign, Los Angelos

http://hollywoodsign.org/

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Stop 10: Hollywood Walk of Fame 10/13

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Follow the famous formation of brass stars embedded into more than a mile of pavement along Hollywood Boulevard. There are more than 2,500 plaques to see along the trail, each celebrating a name from the entertainment industry that you may or may not have heard of. It’s fun to pick your favourites, and visitors find that the trail is a lively stretch thanks to ever-present buskers and street traders.

Hollywood Boulevard, West Hollywood, Los Angeles

http://www.walkoffame.com/

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Stop 11: Rainbow Bar & Grill 11/13

Rainbow Bar & Grill

The innocuous-looking restaurant bar on a corner of Sunset Boulevard is one of the best known of Los Angeles’ celebrity hang-outs. It’s a place to visit to savour the atmosphere of the bar where Joe DiMaggio met Marilyn Monroe on a blind date, Elton John held a party, Elvis popped in and John Lennon was a regular. The Rainbow’s most recent claim to fame was that it was the late, great Lemmy’s local. (Image credit: Mike Dillon)

9015 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90069

http://www.rainbowbarandgrill.com/

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Stop 12: Sony Studios 12/13

Sony Studios

Enjoy a behind-the-scenes peep at the glamorous world of a working film and TV studio. This historic complex was once the hub of MGM movie making, producing The Wizard of Oz and Singin’ in the Rain among other classics, while TV hits created here include Breaking Bad. Dependent on what is being shot at the time, tourists get to see backdrops, props, costumes, rehearsal studios, and, very occasionally, a genuine Hollywood star. (Image credit: Coolcaesar)

10202 West Washington Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232

http://www.sonypictures.com/studios/

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Stop 13: ‘Halloween’ Home 13/13

‘Halloween’ Home

A gory finale to the tour is the innocent-looking house in South Pasadena where the series of Halloween horror films began. In the film the derelict house is where Michael Myers lived, and wasn’t occupied when it was used for filming. Since then the house itself has been moved from its original location, completely renovated and is now in private use. It can only be viewed from the road but makes a popular gory backdrop to an online selfie.

1000 Mission Street, South Pasadena, CA, US

http://www.ci.south-pasadena.ca.us/

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