Who wouldn’t want to visit the world of tomorrow, especially if we’re talking about the utopia of Star Trek‘s Federation? If you’re near the California area, you’re in luck: you can plan a day trip to visit many of the Starfleet shooting locations seen in the first and second seasons of Star Trek: Picard!
Here are some of the easily identifiable locations that were used to shoot scenes for the ongoing series, which stars Patrick Stewart as the eponymous Jean-Luc Picard. Have you already visited any of these hot tourist spots from the world of tomorrow?
1. Château Picard
The filming location for Château Picard in Picard is the Sunstone Vineyards and Winery in Santa Ynez Valley. According to the DVD video commentary for “Remembrance,” the first episode of the series, director Hanelle M. Culpepper considered returning to the filming locations that served as Château Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation, but ultimately decided against it, because none of them actually resembled France.
However, on location filming time was limited, so while the exterior shots of Château Picard were filmed at Sunstone Vineyards, several interior sets were constructed on sound stages, including Picard’s office and the “outdoor” courtyard where he speaks with Doctor Mortiz Benayoun (David Paymer).
2. Starfleet Headquarters (Filming Location)
The filming location for Starfleet Headquarters in Picard is the Anaheim Convention Center! The location where WonderCon is held every year, the Anaheim Convention Center is located in Orange County, California, just across the street from Disneyland.
While it may just be the white, window-filled architecture that attracted location scouts for Picard, it’s nice to see a location that hosts an annual comic convention appear as “Starfleet Headquarters,” considering how important con culture has been throughout the history of Trek.
3. Starfleet Headquarters (Geographic Location)
Starfleet Headquarters has a very specific “real world” location in Trek canon: on the north shore of San Francisco Bay in California, right beside the Golden Gate Bridge – in other words, almost exactly across the Bay from Fort Point.
In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) walk along the south side of the Bay after being thrown out of the fictitious Cetacean Institute, with the real-world location where Starfleet Headquarters will be located appearing in the background.
4. Starfleet Archives
When Picard visits the Starfleet Archives, the filming location is also the Anaheim Convention Center… just a different building than the one we saw before!
While Convention Halls A through D stood in for Starfleet Headquarters, the Anaheim Convention Center Arena, located just beside the convention halls, appears as Starfleet Archives.
5. The Daystrom Institute
Standing in for the geographic location of the Daystrom Institute in Okinawa, Japan is the Golden Cove beach in Rancho Palos Verdes. The establishing shot was created using composite imagery.
After making its debut in Picard, the distinctive shoreline appeared in animated form in the season two Star Trek: Lower Decks episode “Where Pleasant Fountains Lie.” In that episode, Mariner mentioned the ramen, which we see Doctor Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) enjoying in a season one episode of Picard.
6. Raffi’s Hideaway
Raffi’s (Michelle Hurd) mobile home hideaway is located at Vasquez Rocks, which, to quote Mariner, is a “Starfleet classic. Yee-haw!” The filming location has appeared in many different Trek shows and movies: this is where Kirk tussled with the Gorn in The Original Series, and where the Time Ribbon tussled with Kirk in Star Trek: Generations.
In fact, Vasquez Rocks has now appeared in no fewer than ten Trek episodes and two Trek movies. Somebody from Lower Decks should record their lines here and make it eleven episodes! I nominate Bradward (Jack Quaid). Although, really, what are the odds these rocks aren’t already appearing in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, anyway?
7. Stardust City
While there were significantly updated with CGI after filming, Hollywood CityWalk served as the filming location for Stardust City (albeit with some serious CGI augmentation).
And it wasn’t just the exteriors that appeared in “Stardust City Rag,” either: the interior shots for the Nightbox were shot at Jillian’s Bowling Alley, located at Hollywood CityWalk.
8. Starfleet Academy
SoFi Stadium, the home of the Los Angeles Rams, stands in for Starfleet Academy in the first episode of Picard season two, “The Star Gazer.” Picard speaks with Elnor (Evan Evagora) beside many plaques commemorating important Starfleet vessels.
SoFi Stadium was first opened in Inglewood, California in autumn 2020, and at 3.1 million square feet, it is the largest “indoor-outdoor” stadium in the NFL. In the era of COVID-19, that “outdoor” aspect is a huge asset to filming.
9. 10 Forward
Also in “The Star Gazer,” Picard visits the Los Angeles location of Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg)’s bar, 10 Forward. Once located aboard the Enterprise-D, the walls of 10 Forward are decorated with Trek-related memorabilia… including a cartoon by Ron Chan. As confirmed by Chan in a conversation on Twitter, one of the producers contacted him about using some Trek fan art he had created as decoration for the set!
Between March 10th and March 20th, 2022, 10 Forward: The Experience at 1262 Palmetto Street in L.A. gave visitors a chance to see what it would be like to visit 10 Forward for themselves. This 90-minute experience featured the real, screen-used set, plus catered food and drinks (presumably with your choice of the good stuff or the hooch).
10. Confederation Headquarters
The xenophobic, authoritarian regime that is in power in the parallel timeline that Picard and the crew find themselves in during the second episode of the second season of Picard is headquartered at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The distinctive architecture of the concert hall makes it hard to miss this location.
— Star Trek on Paramount+ (@StarTrekOnPPlus) March 15, 2022
11. California Dreamin’
In the third episode of Picard season three, “Assimilation,” the crew travels back in time to 2024 Los Angeles thanks to the calculations of the Borg Queen (Annie Wersching). After teleporting into the city, Raffi, Seven (Jeri Ryan), and Rios (Santiago Cabrera) find themselves in different areas of the city.
An establishing shot shows Echo Lake Park in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Rios appears several stories above the street, collapsing onto the sidewalk beside Tipton Bros Coffee. This does not seem to be a real restaurant and was most likely filmed on the Paramount backlot, but it may be a reference to Scott Tipton and David Tipton, two brothers who have contributed many scripts to the Star Trek comic book universe, including the currently ongoing Mirror War limited series.
12. Highest Point in Los Angeles
In “Assimilation,” Raffi identifies the highest point in 2024 Los Angeles as “Markridge Industrial Tower,” an ideal site to scan for any alien signals in order to track down the Watcher. However, at 1,100 feet and 73 floors, the actual tallest building in 2022 Los Angeles is the Wilshire Grand Center at 900 Wilshire Boulevard.
The Wilshire Grand Center stands in for the fictitious Markridge Industrial Tower in Picard, including its distinctive glass-canopied entrance.
Where will Picard and crew visit next? Only time will tell! New episodes of Picard are available for streaming on Paramount+ on Thursdays.