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Written By: Ben (Copyright 2002)
Edited By: Richard Gunn

LA 2019 on $50 a Day: A Self-Guided Blade Runner Tour

On a recent business trip to Los Angeles, I found myself with a few hours' spare time, so I decided to explore the world of "LA 2019" in person. Cash in hand (and my trusty PK-D left at home), I hopped in a cab to visit the cheery spots in the oppressive world of Los Angeles, 2019.

All five of the locations discussed below are in or directly around the downtown LA area. If you're ever in LA and have 2 - 4 hours to spare, here's a quick way to see some great pieces of "Blade Runner" history.

The five spots I visited are:

  • The Bradbury Building / Sebastian's Apartment
  • The Million Dollar Theater
  • The 2nd Street Tunnel / The Tunnel Deckard Drives Through
  • The Ennis-Brown House / Deckard's Apartment
  • Union Station / The Police Station

For each location, I'll give a brief description along with the cab fare and time it takes to get to each.

Totals for the tour outlined below:

  • Total cab fare: $50 plus tip.
  • Other optional costs: $15 Ennis - Brown tour fee
  • Total time: 2 -3 hours, or 3-4 hours if you choose to tour the Ennis-Brown house.

I used the Wilshire Grand Hotel near the Staples Center as my starting point, but the following information should apply from most starting points in downtown LA. Except for the first trip, all the trips listed are from one Blade Runner location to the next, so the starting point doesn't really matter.

With that, it's time to start the trip....

Location The Bradbury Building
304 S Broadway # 525
Los Angeles, CA 90013-1252
Phone: (213)626-1893
Cab Fare $5 plus tip from the Staples area to the Bradbury
Trip Time 5-10 minutes
Admission Fee None
Cab Availability
to Next Location
The Bradbury Building in the movie
The Bradbury Building as it appeared in the movie

You could walk there from the Staples Arena area, but it's a little more than a mile and if you're uncomfortable walking through unfamiliar areas, you're better off taking a cab. Me? I'm just lazy. So I hopped into a taxi.

The top floors of the Bradbury Building are still actively used, so you're asked not to go further than the second floor, and the elevators are off limits to visitors. However, it's a recognized historical site, so you'll run into a few other people with cameras. The guards are very friendly.

The outside of the building is deceptively plain, and there's nothing outstanding about the area that surrounds it. But once you go through the doors - wow. It's an unbelievably beautiful place with carved wood and wrought iron just about spilling from every surface.

As soon as you enter the first small foyer, you feel like you've stepped into the film. It's immediately recognizable, with the boxy black iron railing on the three sets of stairs.

Outside the Bradbury The Entrance to the Bradbury The Front Door to the Bradbury The First Small Foyer in the Bradbury The Three Sets of Stairs in the Bradbury
Outside the Bradbury The Entrance The Front Door The First Small Foyer The Three Sets of Stairs

There's no water, shafts of light, or strewn garbage (the lobby looks like it's kept clean with a toothbrush), but it still a little oppressive despite its beauty. I was struck by the glass ceiling, which I really didn't expect to be as impressive as it was in the film. Wow, was I wrong.

The elevators, of course, are fantastic art deco masterpieces. When you step back and look at the combination of the elevator, the iron work, and that amazing ceiling, it's obvious why it's a popular place for film and TV.

The Lobby in the Bradbury The Ceiling in the Bradbury An Elevator in the Bradbury Looking up at the Elevator Looking up at the Elevator and Ceiling
The Lobby The Ceiling The Elevator Looking up at the Elevator The Elevator and Ceiling

One last note about the Bradbury. After seeing the film, I had expected the interior to be much larger with an immense "warehouse" feel. Although big, it was much narrower than I expected.

With that, it's time leave the Bradbury and head off to the next site....

Location The Million Dollar Theater
Cab Fare None. It's right across the street from the Bradbury!
Trip Time (See above)
Admission Fee N/A - It's closed
Cab Availability
to Next Location
The Million Dollar Theater in the movie
The Million Dollar Theater as it appeared in the movie

Just as you see in the film, the "Million Dollar Theater" is right across the street from the Bradbury Building. Although it's closed down and the words "Million Dollar Theater" are no where to be seen, it's still recognizable with some impressive mason work above the marquee sign.

Now, up to the street corner to hail a cab and go see....

The Million Dollar Theater
The Million Dollar Theater

Location The 2nd Street Tunnel
Hill Street to Figueroa
Cab Fare None, really - See below
Trip Time N/A
Admission Fee None
Cab Availability
to Next Location
N/A - You'll be in one
The 2nd Street Tunnel in the movie
The 2nd Street Tunnel as it appeared in the movie

To get to the next place (the Ennis-Brown House), you have to go through the 2nd street tunnel, so this one's a freebie! If you're unsure where it is or just want to make sure you see it, ask your cabbie to point it out as you get to it. He might shift a few inches closer to the door (to get away from you), but if you tip well a cabbie will be sure to point out just about anything.

Once I was inside the tunnel, I noticed that the gloss on the tiles makes it look constantly wet. If had had been nighttime, it would have been perfect!

The Approach to the 2nd Street Tunnel Inside The 2nd Street Tunnel
The Approach to the 2nd Street Tunnel Inside The 2nd Street Tunnel

OK, once the tunnel is behind you, it's off to the inspiration for Deckard's Apartment....

Location The Ennis Brown House
2655 Glendower Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027-1114
Phone: (323)668-0234
Cab Fare $20 plus tip from the Bradbury / Million Dollar to the EB House
Trip Time 20 Minutes
Admission Fee $15 for a tour, free to look around the exterior & gift shop
Cab Availability
to Next Location
Almost non-existent - See below
Deckard's apartment in the movie
In the movie, Deckard's apartment is based on the Ennis Brown House

From the second you pull up to the house along the same route that Deckard did, you can see the inspiration for Deckard's apartment.

The house is absolutely unique. One of architect Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous creations, it's based on his goal of creating an entire home with nothing but cast concrete blocks.

If you just want to see the outside of the house and check out the gift shop, you can do that for free (they have several souvenirs that incorporate Wright's distinctive Aztec-like panels).

However, if you have an extra hour, the tour is well worth it. It runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 11:00 am, 1:00 pm, and 3:00 pm, and costs $15. They suggest you make reservations at 323-660-0607, but I did fine just walking in on a Saturday.

You're allowed to take pictures of the exterior. However, no photography is allowed inside the house (I managed to sneak a couple in anyway) Wright used his blocks in a variety of ways, including as light fixtures which gives some areas of the house a somber, bleak look. This place is well worth the trip.

Outside the Ennis Brown House The Exterior of the Ennis Brown House Inside the Ennis Brown House Wall with Light
Outside the Ennis Brown House The Exterior of the House Inside the House Wall with Light

On a side note, if you're using taxis on your tour make plans to be picked up. The house is a little out of the way, and there's no chance of just hailing a cab when you want to leave. Get a card from the cabbie that drops you off, or better yet, set a time for him to return and get you. That way, he'll know where to go. The cabbie I used had never heard of the Ennis Brown House, and had a little trouble finding it. I asked him to pick me up in an hour and a half, and he rolled in just as I was walking out of the gates.

Time for the last stop on the tour. Captain Bryant's home base.

Location Union Station
800 N. Alameda Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012-2177
Cab Fare $20 plus tip from the EB House to Union Station
Trip Time 20 minutes
Admission Fee None
Cab Availability
to Next Location
A breeze - They have a taxi stand
The Union Station in the movie
Union Station as it appeared in the movie

I wasn't sure what to expect here. After all, it's a working bus and train station.

From the outside the huge windows make it look more like a church than an oppressive, grungy center for replicant killers and riot-geared cops. In the photo, the large windows on the left are the ones you see in the film.

It's a great place; clean, functional and with a real sense of history.

Going through the front doors, you'll see an information desk in front of you and a large, empty room to your left. That's the 2019 LAPD headquarters. It's not open to the public, but it's still used for filming and for wedding receptions.

The view you get is opposite from the one you see in the film. In fact, you'll be walking the same route Deckard did on his way to Bryant's office.

The set for Bryant's office was built at the end of the room off to the left. If you've read Future Noir or interviews with Ridley Scott, you may remember Scott saying that they had built Bryant's office in front of a women's' restroom, and they kept being interrupted by little old ladies who wanted to use the facilities. Well, for the curious, I've include a picture of the bathroom that caused the problems.

Outside the Union Station The LAPD HQ (2019) The Police Hall The Ladies Room
Outside the Union Station The LAPD HQ (2019) The Police Hall The Ladies Room

With that crucial piece of Blade Runner trivia, my tour was over. I headed out to my non-flying taxi and headed home..

Variation: LA 2019 on $15 a day.

If you want to go really cheap, you can exclude the Ennis-Brown house and shave $40 or so off your cab fare. The Bradbury, Million Dollar Theater, 2nd Street Tunnel and Union Station are all in downtown LA and are minutes from each other.

Final Notes

I visited the sites in the order listed above so that I could be at the Ennis-Brown house in time for the tour, and so I would end up a place where I knew I could get a cab. You might want to arrange your tour differently.

Have a better one!


The Shooting Locations

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