It’s no secret that I’m fully obsessed with Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter World. So, you can imagine that when The Dark Artifices were published, I was beyond excited to have a Los Angeles Institute. I grew up in in the suburbs of the city, I went to college in Downtown Los Angeles, and now I spend my morning commuting in the glorious LA traffic. All of this to say, I know my way around Southern California, and I decided what better way to nerd out than to visit all the places Emma and her posse know and love.
Los Angeles is a BIG place. You can’t get around by just walking, so if you’re planning on touring make sure you have a car, a full tank of gas, and some snacks. Because of the distances, I decided to break up my tour into 3 different parts – The Beach Hot Spots, The City Hangouts, and the miscellaneous, hard-to-find haunts.
So, on with the show! Check out hip beach spots the LA Institute hits during the series. I’ve added in my route from Google maps, links to websites (click the pink headers below!), and other cool stuff that might be helpful for fans wanting to visit – I went through tons of sticky notes to provide “expert” research from the books, too.
I plotted a course from my house to all the big spots I wanted to hit off the coast. Then, I put them in order so I would be driving in a straight line up the Pacific Coast Highway and wasn’t wasting gas. One *super important* thing to remember is timing. The beaches & surrounding areas get really packed on weekends after about 9 AM. So, I started my trip around 7 AM and was able to hit every place without too much traffic – mundanes and cars alike. I also had a reference point from this handy – and super pretty – Shadowhunter Map I found online (I think it came with special ARCs of Lady Midnight).
The Santa Monica Pier
The pier has games, food, rides, and sight-seeing! You might even spot a celeb or two, so keep an eye out.
Address: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401
“She’d always loved the Santa Monica Pier, since she was a little girl and her parents had taken her there to play air hockey and ride the old-fashioned merry-go-round…But the boards under Emma’s feet were still warped and weathered by years of sun and salt. The air still smelled like sugar and seaweed…” –Lord of Shadows, Chapter 1, Page 11-12
Hidden Treasures is Emma’s favorite vintage store and when you see it, you’ll understand why. It fits her personality SO perfectly. It’s definitely hidden from touristy eyes, and you need to drive through the canyon to find it. It’s super tiny and is easy to miss – so be on the lookout!
Address: 154 S. Topanga Canyon Boulevard Topanga Canyon, California
“In front of them was a single freestanding building with a sign boasting foot-high letters in glitter that spelled out the words HIDDEN TREASURES. A massive red-and-white popcorn machine stood next to the store, along with a painted model of a curtained caravan, advertising the services of Gargantua the Great.” –Lady Midnight, Chapter 13, Page 308
Leo Carillo State Park
A lot of Leo Carillo is currently closed due to the Woolsey Fire, but the good news is the beach and stairways are reopened! You have to hunt for some of the tunnels/caves, but the beach is only about 2 miles long here, so you can walk along the entire span, check out where the necromantic rituals were taking place, and still have plenty of time to explore.
*Pro Tip: Look for Lifeguard Station 3 and head down to the beach right below for some of the easier to access caves. It’s a bit rocky, so make sure you take some sturdy shoes along with your beach sandals, just in case.
Address: 35000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
“He was just inside the cave, looking down at more of the same plants, clustering around the dry soft stone…As he moved forward into the cave, which began to narrow into a tunnel…it opened out into a circular chamber lined with metal…the walls were bronze, covered in strange symbols…” -Lady Midnight, Chapter 9, Page 210-211
“Leo Carillo State Park is home to the sea caves that play an important role in Lady Midnight.” -Cassandra Clare Takes Us Through Emma’s Los Angeles (Back of Lady Midnight Hardcover)
The spot where Emma, Julian, Cristina, and Mark grab late night seafood is actually the best. It’s literally right across the road from the beach. You can sit out on their patio and look out to the ocean while enjoying some fish & chips!
Address: 42505 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
“They passed over a late-night seafood shack, music and light pouring out of the windows. Emma had been there before and remembered sitting on the big wooden picnic tables with Jules, dunking fried oysters in tartar sauce…” –Lady Midnight, Chapter 9, Page 208
“A massive neon sign reading POSEIDON’S TRIDENT hung over the ramshackle building…they found Mark and Cristina seated on top of a picnic table, surrounded by cardboard boxes of French fries, buttered rolls, fried clams, and fish tacos.” –Lady Midnight, Chapter 9, Page 221-225
Point Mugu State Park
The site of the convergence is a few-mile long stretch of beach and park. We stopped at “Mugu Rock” because it seemed like it would be the site of some strong magic. It’s popular, but dangerous, and accidents sometimes happen. So I guess there might be something dark & mysterious actually going on after all.
Address: 42505 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265
“A granite rise loomed in front of them, a dome-like hill atop the bluffs…Mark pointed at a dark opening in the rock of the hill…” –Lady Midnight, Chapter 9, Page 209
“The site of the convergence isn’t in a specific place, but it’s based on some of the scenery in Point Mugu State Park” –Cassandra Clare Takes Us Through Emma’s Los Angeles (Back of Lady Midnight Hardcover)
As I continue my “research” and exploration, I have a list of for sure places I want to hunt down. Stay tuned for part 2 and 3 in the coming weeks so you don’t miss out!
The LA Institute
Malcolm Fade’s House
Johnny Rook’s House
The Shadow Market
The Midnight Theater
Anselm Nightshade’s Pizza Place
Talk To Me
Are there any spots I’m missing from my list’? Have you visited any of the beach spots? Any you’d like to check out?