GTA 5 Locations That Are Based On Real-Life (2024)

One of the best-selling games of all time is filled with intricacies that surpass our expectations. Like previous Grand Theft Auto games, Grand Theft Auto 5 contains locations that are based on real-world places. The extent to which real-world locations were utilized in Grand Theft Auto 5, however, is more than most people would assume. For what it's worth, hardcore fans of Rockstar Games expected this, especially since the developers have always paid homage to their inspirations in the dense open worlds they've crafted from scratch.

Their appearances are similar to the real thing to a great extent. In some cases, locations in Grand Theft Auto 5 are a near-replica. Including an observatory, a familiar sign, and a famous mountain; these are many Grand Theft Auto 5 locations that are based on real life. All of these places are fun to explore in their own way, making them feel especially authentic if players recall these places from memory if they've visited their real-life counterparts firsthand.


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Updated May 19, 2024, by Ritwik Mitra:Grand Theft Auto 6 is confirmed to release in 2025, which is still a long time away. For some players, this wait may be agonizing, which is why they'll probably boot up GTA 5 to sink even more hours into a masterpiece that needs no introduction. Despite some dated gameplay systems, there's no denying that Grand Theft Auto 5 remains one of the finest open-world games players can get their hands on. A huge part of what makes this game so authentic is the amazing locations in Los Santos. Many of these locations are inspired by their real-life counterparts.

30 Tongva Valley

Based On Topanga Canyon

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  • Location: South of Route 68

A location full to the brim with scenic vistas that players can get lost in, it's recommended to stop and smell the roses when players reach Tongva Valley. This area is stunning to behold and one of the best places to stop and take a breather, as long as players aren't being hounded by cops or any other enemies out for their heads.

Tongva Valley is heavily based on Topanga Canyon, and the similarities are pretty obvious to players who have been to this location. Rockstar does justice to the natural beauty of this region while adding their personal flair to things. This way, fans of GTA 5 can have a great time exploring this area and many others as they marvel at the graphical fidelity on display here.

29 Mount Haan

Based On Mount Lee In The Santa Monica Mountains, California

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  • Location: Vinewood Hills

The Vinewood sign is a clear reference to the Hollywood sign that has become iconic in its own right. It's located on Mount Haan, a pretty location in Vinewood Hills. Players can spend some time taking in the beauty of this place as they approach this area using the vehicle of their choice.

This location is based on Mount Lee, a peak that's part of the Santa Monica Mountains in California. It's a beautiful and iconic location in the game, making it a blast to explore for fans who want to check out the best environments this game has to offer.

28 Tongva Hills

Based On The Areas Of Temecula, California

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  • Location: Los Santos County

The world of Los Santos features a wealth of hilly environments that are genuinely impressive to look at — as long as players aren't blazing past these locations in the hypercar of their choice. This location, along with many others, shows why Rockstar Games are lauded for their attention to detail. The sheer complexity in this area's geometry itself makes it fun to explore.


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The landscape of this area is inspired by the wine country regions of Temecula. With a decent array of wildlife and flora in this region, it's easy to see why players who stop to catch their breath will be hypnotized by the beautiful sights in this region.

27 Alamo Sea

Based On The Salton Sea In Southern California

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  • Location: Blaine County

The Alamo Sea is one of the most beautiful locations in the game. Players can get lost in the sights this place has to offer as they explore the coastline, making for a great time as they either walk around in this location or use a vehicle to drink in the views.

This sea is inspired by the real-life Salton Sea that most locals are familiar with. This water body is present in Southern California and is a great one-day trip for people who live in this State and want to enjoy a good view for themselves. Of course, not everyone has the means to physically make the trip to this location, but its virtual recreation in Grand Theft Auto 5 should be enough to satiate most fans.

26 Paleto Forest

Based On The San Bernardino National Forest

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  • Location: Blaine County

This coniferous forest is a visually pleasing area that serves as one of the many locations that players will explore while playing Grand Theft Auto 5. This rural area makes for a fresh change of pace from the urban landscapes in this massive open world.

The biggest influence for the Paleto Forest area is the San Bernardino National Forest, but that's not all. There's a tram near this location that's based on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, making the world of Grand Theft Auto 5 feel more authentic.

25 Bishop's WTF?!

Based On Ripley's Believe It Or Not!

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  • Location: Vinewood Boulevard

Bishop's WTF?! can be found on Vinewood Boulevard and serves as a museum for the weird and wonderful. It's seemingly named after the Aliens character of the same name; a nice nod to its real-world equivalent, which shares a name with the movie's main protagonist, Ripley.


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Ripley's Believe It or Not! first launched as a newspaper panel in 1918, but has since gone on to be adapted into a wide variety of formats, including radio and television shows, books, and, of course, museums. One such museum sits proudly on Hollywood Boulevard, and it is this location on which the Bishop's Museum in GTA 5 is based.

24 The Vinewood Bowl

Based On The Hollywood Bowl

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  • Location: Vinewood Hills

Located in the luxurious Vinewood Hills, the Vinewood Bowl is an outdoor amphitheater and the home of the fictional reality television show Fame or Shame. There's a large parking lot nearby and also a quaint little cafe that helps to service all of the thirsty concert-goers.

Its real-world counterpart, the Hollywood Bowl, shares many similarities with the fictitious location, although perhaps it has a slightly larger stage. The iconic venue, which was first opened in 1922, has a capacity of 17,500 people; thus serving as the perfect outdoor venue for Tinseltown's rich and powerful.

23 The Oriental Theater

Based On Grauman's Chinese Theater

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  • Location: Downtown Vinewood

Grauman's Chinese Theater, or the TCL Chinese Theater, as it is now known, is one of the most iconic locations in Los Angeles. It's played host to the premieres of some of the biggest movies of all time and is also the home of the hand and footprints of some of Hollywood's biggest names.

GTA 5's Oriental Theater is almost a perfect match for the famous spot, particularly when it comes to its distinctive roof design and pillars. Interestingly, however, the Vinewood Star Tours suggests that the Oriental was opened in 1928, which is actually one year later than Grauman's first opened its doors.

22 The Vinewood Von Crastenburg Hotel

Based On The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel

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  • Location: Vinewood

Although the Von Crastenburg Hotel & Resorts chain seems to be based on the Hilton line of hotels, the company's Vinewood location is almost certainly inspired by the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. It's located on Clinton and Meteor and includes amenities including a swimming pool, a nightclub, and a restaurant.


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The Hollywood Roosevelt on which it is based is the oldest continually operating hotel in L.A. and features a similar Spanish-style exterior as the one that can be seen in the game. It first opened its doors almost a century ago and hosted the very first Academy Awards ceremony in 1926.

21 Tequi-la-la

Based On Whisky A Go Go

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  • Location: Eclipse Boulevard

Having once been a mob-operated restaurant, Tequi-la-la is now one of Vinewood's trendiest nightclubs. It can be found on Eclipse Boulevard and has been featured in numerous GTA 5 and GTA Onlinemissions and activities. There's also a game room down in the basem*nt where players can play darts or the QUB3D arcade game.

Its real-world equivalent is named Whisky a Go Go, which has stood proudly on Sunset Boulevard for more than half a century. Countless big-name bands and musicians have performed there over the years, including Led Zeppelin, System of a Down, and AC/DC. The nightclub is so popular that it has its own official TV channel on Roku Connected TV and even had a newly discovered human gene named after it back in the late sixties.

20 Galileo Observatory

Based On The Griffith Observatory

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  • Location: Galileo Park, Vinewood Hills

Players might have visited this location multiple times in Grand Theft Auto 5 and never knew it was an observatory. The observatory is not functional to players, although it is possible to peer through coin-operated telescopes that surround the structure. It's an excellent place to view the city of Los Santos.

The Galileo Observatory is based on the Griffith Observatory, a landmark in Los Angeles, California. It would have been a nice feature to be able to go inside the Galileo Observatory. Perhaps Grand Theft Auto 6 will open the doors to more of their landmarks.

19 Vinewood Sign

Based On The Hollywood Sign

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  • Location: Vinewood

This one may not come as a surprise for players who have driven around the Vinewood Hills or the locations that look upon it. The Vinewood Sign, as many may have guessed, is based on the Hollywood sign in Hollywood, Los Angeles. It serves as a banner for the district of Vinewood, which is an integral part of the fictional city of Los Santos.


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In real life, Hollywood is a tourist hot spot and one of the most famous locations in the United States. The only thing missing from Grand Theft Auto 5 is the ability to climb the sign!

18 Del Perro Pier

Based On The Santa Monica Pier

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  • Location: Del Perro

For those who have toured around the United States, this location's existence in Grand Theft Auto 5 may not come as a surprise. Del Perro Pier is a fictional place in the world of Grand Theft Auto 5, but the location was inspired by the Santa Monica Pier.

The Santa Monica Pier is another Californian location contained in the game. The majority of the places in Grand Theft Auto 5 that are based on real-world locations are from the state of California. The resemblance between the Santa Monica Pier and the Del Perro Pier is peculiar.

17 Vespucci Beach

Based On Venice Beach

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  • Location: West Coast, Los Santos

Even real-world geologic locations are not exempt from Grand Theft Auto 5.Vespucci Beach, found on the west coast of the city of Los Santos is a spot that hipsters and the general public frequent.

It overlooks the Pacific Ocean, and it's loosely based on Venice Beach. Chances are, most players will have visited Vespucci Beach a few times to see the Super Yachts in the water or have ridden a sea-doo. Venice Beach is yet another example of a real-world location that is contained in Grand Theft Auto 5.

16 Cassidy Creek Bridge

Based On The Bixby Bridge In Big Sur, California

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  • Location: Raton Canyon, Blaine County

For those who have ever driven down Grand Theft Auto 5's western highway, or have been boating in the ocean off to the west, there's a strong chance they will have seen the Cassidy Creek Bridge. The water that goes under the Cassidy Creek Bridge runs into the mountains.



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Players may not have known that Grand Theft Auto 5's Cassidy Creek Bridge is based on the Bixby Bridge found in Big Sur, California. The resemblance between the two bridges is uncanny. It's one of the many secrets of Los Santos that only a handful of people know.

15 Richman Mansion

Based On The Playboy Mansion

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  • Location: Richman

This iconic location is lively in the nighttime, which is why it's best to visit Richman Mansion once the sun goes down. Of course, the site is based on the Playboy Mansion. It even has a grotto, like the real mansion. Attention to fine detail was ensured to create this enchanting Easter egg.

Although Hugh Hefner has now passed away, the Playboy Mansion still remains an iconic Los Angeles landmark. And thanks to games like Grand Theft Auto 5, among other things, the legacy of Hugh Hefner lives on.

14 Marlowe Vineyards

Based On The Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyard

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  • Location: Buen Vino Road, Tongva Hills

The Marlowe Vineyards are found in the northern part of Los Santos. The north area contains some of the most beautiful scenery in the game. Marlowe Vineyards are likely based on the Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyard, given the high degree of similarity between the two.

A house sits at the top of the hill, just like at the Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyard. This is one place in Grand Theft Auto5 that players simply can't miss!

13 Mount Chiliad

Based On Mount San Jacinto

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  • Location: Blaine County

Mount Chiliad is Grand Theft Auto 5's tallest mountain and a hotspot for conspiracies. Including sightings of Bigfoot and the presence of a UFO, many conspiracies are surrounding the mountain. It is likely that the mountain is based on Mount San Jacinto because of its appearance and similarities.


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Mount Josiah and Mount Gordo are the two other named mountains in Grand Theft Auto 5. It is also possible that Mount Chiliad is based on Mount San Antonio or Mount San Gorgonio.

12 Los Santos Storm Drain

Based On The Los Angeles River

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  • Location: Los Santos

This iconic Grand Theft Auto 5 location is called the Los Santos Storm Drain, and it's based on the Los Angeles River. Races and missions take place in this area, so it's easy to see why experienced players will have encountered it a few times by now.

The worn look of the lane fits the game perfectly, although the river's proportions have been toned down for the game. Why developer Rockstar Games decided to make the river smaller than it is in real life is unknown. Perhaps they shrunk the river so that players could drive through it.

11 Rancho Towers

Based On The Watts Towers in Watts, Los Angeles

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  • Location: Dutch London Street, Rancho

One of the lesser-known Grand Theft Auto 5 locations that are based on a real-world place is the Rancho Towers. They are found in the southern area of Los Santos and are based on the Watt Towers in Los Angeles. The Rancho and Watt towers do not serve a purpose other than decoration.

The Watt Towers were designed by architect Sabato Rodia. According to, "In 1921, with help from his brother, Rodia bought an oddly shaped, triangular lot at 1765 E. 107th Street."

GTA 5 Locations That Are Based On Real-Life (2024)


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