Touring Film Locations at the Langham

Jared Cowan offers intimate, safety-minded tours of Langham Huntington, Pasadena locations immortalized on film.
Published on Sep 4, 2020

Universal’s Charlie Wilson’s War starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts (2011)

Anyone who has ever visited Pasadena and seen its incredible variety of architecture and vegetation knows that this is one of the most beautiful cities in America. Countless movies and TV shows have filmed at locations within its borders, from Back to the Future to Mad Men as well as some of Charlie Chaplin’s most iconic productions. Why? Because Pasadena’s various neighborhoods can double for pretty much any region of the country.

It’s no surprise, then, that Pasadena is home to two impressive tours of filming locations via My Valley Pass. Led by film journalist and locations expert Jared Cowan, the Pasadena Film Tour (an extensive bus tour throughout the city) and the Langham Huntington Film Tour offer in-depth ways to appreciate the Crown City through the eyes of Hollywood.

The Pasadena Film Tour is currently on hiatus due to Covid-19 safety restrictions, but Cowan is continuing his tours of the Langham Huntington hotel’s lush environs in a more intimate fashion than usual. Groups of two to five people from the same family are invited to arrange their own personal 90-minute walking tour of the hotel and its grounds.

Reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advance, and guests are protected by cover if it rains. No refunds are allowed once reservations are made.

“Prior to the start of the pandemic, I was leading regularly scheduled Langham Huntington Film Tours about once or twice a month, and I look forward to offering scheduled tours again when it’s safe to do so,” says Cowan. “Right now, we’re offering private film tours at the Langham Huntington for small groups from the same household. Face masks and social distancing are required.

“These private tours can be done almost any time throughout the week and weekend, as long as they’re booked at least 48 hours in advance,” he continues. “At the end of the tour, each guest receives an individually boxed selection of sweet treats prepared by the hotel’s amazing pastry chefs.”

Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson (2013)

Among the most popular films and TV shows shot at the Langham Huntington, Pasadena include Saving Mr. Banks, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Parent Trap remake with Lindsay Lohan and American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace. Filmmakers have used the property since the silent film days, inspiring Cowan to lead an exploration of the hotel’s historic ballrooms, its “magnificent” pool area and the newly restored Picture Bridge. He shows images from the films and TV shows on an iPad at each stop of the tour.

Cowan is the cofounder of My Valley Pass, a community-minded organization which also offers four tours of the San Fernando Valley. He started leading a San Fernando Valley Film Tour in December 2017 before expanding into the Pasadena Film Tour in the Spring of 2018, eventually launching the Langham Huntington Film Tour in March 2019.

Cowan has written extensively for Los Angeles Magazine, L.A. Taco and L.A. Weekly. He also hosts the podcast On Location with Jared Cowan, in which he interviews filmmakers at the locations from their movies. It’s available at iTunes, Google Play Music and SoundCloud.

 “I’ve loved filming locations since I was a kid,” says Cowan. “I’m originally from the Philadelphia area, and I proposed to my wife on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art from Rocky. That‘s how much I love filming locations. In 2014, I began writing about L.A. filming locations and I continue to write about them for various L.A. publications.

“My passion is not only to visit filming locations, but to discover and tell people why these locations are important, and why they were chosen to appear on screen,” he continues. “I interviewed a number of directors, production designers and location managers who had previously worked at the Langham Huntington, Pasadena in order to provide guests with in-depth, behind-the-scenes stories of the hotel’s cinematic history.”

The Langham Huntington Film Tour costs $60 and is designed for ages 13 and up. Reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advance, and guests are protected by cover if it rains. No refunds are allowed once reservations are made. More information is available here. For reservations, contact Cowan at (818) 970-9515 or

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