Bay Area Filming Locations

Written by Colin Higgins and directed by Hal Ashby (who also directed Being There, another of my favorites), Harold and Maude was filmed in the Bay Area in 1971. I live in San Francisco, and after several years (and help from lots of people) I've learned the location of most of the locations where the movie was filmed.

Movie Place/Event Bay Area Location
The Chasen Family Mansion The Rose Court Mansion in Hillsborough. The entrance to the house is on a small cul-de-sac called Stacey Court, near the corner of Eucalyptus Road and Reddington Road in Hillsborough. The house is the former George T. Cameron estate, and most of the interior scenes were filmed in the music room and library of the house. The butler in the film (Henry Dieckoff) was the actual butler of the house -- the original script called for him to drop the lemonade tray after "Sunshine" does her Juliet imitation, but the butler thought it unbutler-like, and so Vivian Pickles had to do it!
Cemetery (with the yellow umbrella, remember?) Holy Cross Cemetery on Old Mision Road in Colma. Click here and here for rare photos of the actual filming of this scene in the movie that shows Hal Ashby (in the first photo, the one in the center with the beard directing the scene where the priest meets Maude for the second time (thanks to John Clark, who owns the copyright on this one and spent lots of time on site watching the filming of the movie). The scenes from the movie are located to the left of the main drive as you enter through the front gate. Holy Cross Cemetery is located at 1500 Old Mission Road in Colma. Many California notables are buried here, including Joe Dimaggio!
Church scene St. Thomas Aquinas Church at the corner of Waverly and Homer (745 Waverly) in Palo Alto. For Palo Alto history buffs, this is also the oldest (1902) church in Palo Alto. Bring some licorice for your visit. The marching band outside the church was the Sunnyvale (CA) high school marching band. Directions: take Highway 101 south from San Francisco, and take the Willow Road exit in Menlo Park. Merge onto Willow Road, and after about a mile, take a left onto Middlefield Road, then right onto University, and finally left onto Waverly.
Maude's (railroad car) home Oyster Point Boulevard near the intersection of Eccles in the City of South San Francisco, CA. Walk approximately 75 - 100 feet from this corner towards the bay and you'll be at the spot. This area has been developed significantly, and doesn't much resemble the scene from the film.
Glaucas' Studio Located in Brisbane, CA on the site of the former Southern Pacific Railroad Bayshore Yard. The site is on private property.
Greenhouse Probably the south side of Sneath Lane in San Bruno, CA -- which used to be lined with commercial greenhouses. They were directly across the street from the Golden Gate National Cemetery, where the white cross cemetery scene was filmed. (Thanks to David Gallagher for this tip.) It's definitely NOT the Conservatory in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, as surmised in another web site.
Wrecked Car Lot San Carlos Auto Wreckers lot (the site of which is now occupied by office buildings), located south of the San Carlos Airport control tower
Military cemetery (picnic site among the white crosses) Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno -- can be seen from Highway 280 (take Sneath Avenue exit off of Highway 280; go to 1300 Sneath Lane).
Maude's Tarzan Yell Sand Hill Road in Menlo Park, CA. Head south on highway 280 from San Francisco, and take the Sand Hill Road exit - head west approximately 1 mile. If you look to the left as you're driving, you should be able to see Stanford University's linear accelerator on the left.
Sidewalk scene (Maude rescues a street tree) The San Mateo County Hall of Justice on Marshall Street between Hamilton and Winslow, in downtown Redwood City, CA. Directions: Take Highway 101 south from San Francisco, and take the Whipple Ave/Redwood City exit. Merge onto Veterans Boulevard, after about .7 miles, turn right onto Jefferson Ave, and then a left onto Marshall Street.
Altercation with Motorcycle Cop Eastern end of the old Dumbarton Bridge (toll booth is since torn down). The Dumbarton Bridge connects East Palo Alto to Union City. The bridge seen in the film was entirely replaced with a new bridge in 1983.
Picnic by the Bay Mud-flats west of Highway 80 in Emeryville in the East Bay, near the Ashby Ave Exit, between the Ashby exit and the Powell St. exit.
In the limo with Uncle Victor Sutro Park in San Francisco -- above the ruins of the Sutro Baths. Directions: take Geary Boulevard in San Francisco and follow it west until you can't go any further (don't vear right onto Point Lobos Ave) -- you'll run right into Sutro Park.
Petitioning for Peace! Uncle Victor is conned into abandoning Harold's military career. Sutro Bath ruins in San Francisco. If you look carefully, you can see where they've cemented over the hole in the cement that Maude falls through. Directions: take Geary Boulevard in San Francisco and follow it west, at 40th Avenue vear slightly right onto Point Lobos Ave. You should see the ruins in front of you before long, near the ocean.
Maude throws Harold's gift into the water. Santa Cruz Boardwalk (see below).
Amusement Park Santa Cruz Boardwalk -- at 400 Beach Street in Santa Cruz. Thee machine Harold used to stamp out the coin that read: "Harold Loves Maude" is still at the boardwalk at last check.
Hospital Scene Peninsula Hospital in Burlingame. (During the filming of the scene with the Motorcycle cop, one of the stunt boys went over the railing near the old Dumbarton bridge, and ended up there.)
Final Scene -- Harold drives to the ocean and demonstrates his understanding... Harold takes Highway 280, then is seen on Highway 92 (near The House of Doors), then to Pescadero Road, where he swerves onto Highway 1 and heads north. The spot where the car goes off the cliff is in Pacifica, near Mori Point. Go to the Moose Lodge in Pacifica, and in back of the lodge, towards the ocean you'll see a road/trail with a metal fence blocking the road. Walk around the fence, follow the road almost to the end (about a half-mile walk) until you see a dirt road/path heading up the hill to left (be sure to turn before you get to the beige house set among the Cypress trees). Follow the dirt path up to the top of the hill, where you'll emerge into a flat dirt clearing. Follow the path hugs the coast, past a blockhouse with "Manuel" and Anna" scrawled on the side. Eventually you'll come to a spot where the path suddenly heads up a very steep hill, slightly to the left. Follow the path up the hill, and then walk towards the water -- you're there! No, the car is no longer there.

Here's an email I received recently (12/06) from a reader who visited some of the sites: "Thanks for your site. Because of it, I was able to indulge two of my favorite interests on a vacation last week. I was in the Bay Area to see three shows by my favorite musician, Richard Thompson, and I took along the list of Harold and Maude filming locations with the aim of doing a mini-tour. Although I wasn't able to find time to look for most of them, I got to a couple of the sites. The Santa Cruz boardwalk was largely closed when I showed up there last Tuesday afternoon at about 3. I was able to get into one of the large buildings and immediately started prowling for the coin-stamp machine. Near the entrance marked "Neptune's Playground" I found a "Metal-Typer" machine that looks like the one in the film--certainly it's about the same vintage. The paint job might be different; I'm not sure. I have a photo I can send you if you want. My "Harold Loves Maude" coin cost me $1 (four tokens). I went to the Sutro Baths a couple days later, but I was unable to recognize any specific filming locations, and my photos didn't turn out too well. There's some construction going on there; it's kind of confusing. Furthermore, I interrupted a tryst, so my trip was hasty. But it's a beautiful place. I drove along 880 a few times on my way into San Francisco from Berkeley, and I saw vistas that reminded me a lot of the mudflats. I didn't have a good place to pull over near the aptly named Ashby Avenue exit, though. And when I drove to Santa Cruz, I was looking for a place to dip my foot in the Pacific, and I settled, for a variety of random reasons, on Pescadero Beach. Which amuses me now, because this site says that near here is where Harold's car swerves on the way to the cliff. Next time, I'm definitely doing the Pacifica cliff and the cemeteries and church. And right now, I'm going to rewatch the film. I saw it first-run--I must have been 10--and it made quite an impact on me." Pam (from Maryland)

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