back to top

This Is What "(500) Days Of Summer" Looks Like In Real Life

This is not a love story.

Posted on

The movie served as an authentic portrait of how complex love can truly be. It made the world realize that running through Ikea made for the perfect date and that yelling "penis" in a park was totally acceptable. But more importantly, it ultimately painted Los Angeles in a brand-new light.

500 Days was applauded for featuring Downtown L.A. as an almost leading character, so a couple of us at BuzzFeed made it our mission to find out what it was about the film that made the city seem so special.

We channeled Tom and Summer and set out to explore their relationship both to each other and to the city they called home.

Let's start by setting the tone:


I channeled my inner heartbreak and tried to look very corporate casual with a tinge of obsessive sadness.

As soon as we pulled up, we could totally feel Tom's loneliness, but that's mostly because the neighborhood itself is oddly quiet for being in such a busy area. The outside looks like your run-of-the-mill building, and we didn't quite know what to do with ourselves after being there for a whole two minutes.


Stop 2: The greeting card company.

We had to take an Uber to get here, a luxury we're sure Tom wished he had. This is where the magic began, and where we got stared at for taking pictures next to an office entrance. We don't exactly know if this is the floor that Tom and Summer worked on, but we loitered around and pretended it was anyway. This would be one of many loitering instances.


It is in fact a residential hotel. The lobby is very well-decorated and plays a nice assortment of late '00s Alicia Keys.

Pablo Valdivia / BuzzFeed

Although Tom and his friends don't strike us as Alicia Keys fans.


We tweeted at J.G.L. to join us for an encore, but he probably had more important ~Hollywood~ stuff to attend to.

@hitRECordJoe We're taking a tour of all the locations in 500 Days of Summer! Meet us at Redwood!

Although what could be more important than this?!

The interior looked like a rock ’n’ roll–inspired cave belonging to Captain Jack Sparrow.

We were able to seat ourselves, since business wasn't exactly booming on a Thursday afternoon. Each booth looked alike, so we hunted around for one in the dark and hoped the spirit of 500 Days would lead us in the right direction.

We then sat our tired asses down in some random booth, and later found out that this was in fact THE booth!

Our asses have now touched their asses, basically. Oh how lucky we truly are. The walls of the booth are a bit more stained with grease and regret today, but we could totally see why this would be an obvious choice for a work party. The food was amazing, and the atmosphere was Zooey Deschanel–level chill.

Well, there's no room for her to sing now, because a family of six needs that stage to eat their dinner.

Pablo Valdivia / BuzzFeed

The bar no longer does karaoke, as far as we know 😕, but they DO have live punk and rock music every night, which is even better! Let's leave it to the professionals.

Stop 5: The greatest place on Earth, Ikea.

Pablo Valdivia / BuzzFeed

This Ikea was in Burbank, which means it was unnecessarily far away. There are only four other Ikeas in Southern California, so we suppose this is better than having to drive out to San Diego for some furniture store canoodling. we obviously had to re-enact it...

Running through Ikea seems cute and all until other people start throwing some serious shade. One woman called us "children" under her breath. CAN WE LIVE?!

...and we then proceeded to lie in a bed together just to seal the deal.

Since Ikea doesn't exactly promote privacy in its bedroom setups, we had to wait around for a good 10 minutes before we could adorably straddle one another. A man kept going in and out of the bedroom, browsing the furniture, so for all we know he totally wanted to watch. 😏 Either way, we got on and off that bed quicker than you can say Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Stop 6: The record store where Summer professes her love for Ringo.

Fox Searchlight

The building is only a few feet away from Tom's apartment, which requires a minimal commute effort on Tom's behalf, while Summer's got to commute from Koreatown just to say how much she loves Ringo.

Unfortunately, this building was not in fact a record store, and we felt deceived by the power of ~movie magic~. It's actually a restaurant named Ledlow. Which, according to Yelp, has delicious a croissanwich.

While we both have an endless craving for carbs, it would have been even more romantic to rummage through some old records instead.

Stop 7: One of the many buildings Tom points out to Summer.

It looked great in the film and it looks great IRL. Tom was correct for loving it, even if he could probably never afford to live in it. It's tough out there for a greeting card writer. According to the Downtown Loft Connection, one loft in this building can sell for the low, low price of $899,000.

We were not dressed for cardio, and we're pretty sure Tom didn't have to deal with pit stains and a sweaty back.

Anything for an iconic bench, though, right?

After climbing what felt like Mount Everest, we were then met with some devastating news: The park was CLOSED. 😩😭


And it turns out it's been closed since 2013. THE ICONIC BENCH IS LOCKED UP FOREVER. The once lush, green park that existed in '09 now consists of dead grass and abandoned benches. We had a random tourist take this photo, and frankly, she's bound to be the new Annie Leibovitz.

That didn't stop Nina from trying her best to get arrested.

Pablo Valdivia / BuzzFeed

A dress, however, doesn't exactly make for a prime "jumping fences" outfit, so we admired the fence from afar and accepted the fact that our dreams were dead, just like this park's grass.

We tried to lighten the mood by playing Summer's favorite park game, the penis game, and then we were on our way.

Stop 9: Another building Tom loves.

Fox Searchlight

The Continental should have gotten an IMDb credit, because it basically starred in the movie. It made several appearances and was even drawn on Summer's arm. What an honor. It's also one of the first skyscrapers in L.A., which means it has to prove its worth to nobody.

The fountain wasn't quite as excited when it saw us, but it's probably also because we didn't just get laid like Tom did.

Nina Mohan / BuzzFeed

The fountain underwent a restoration since the movie came out, and it now includes "a new wade-able membrane pool." It would have been nice to roll around in the ~membrane~, considering the day was a lot warmer than our iPhones had promised.

Which we OF COURSE had to mimic...

This vine was brought to you by the words "lack" and "rhythm." Where's the sign-up sheet for Dancing With the Stars?

Stop 11: The bar where Tom gets punched.

Pablo Valdivia / BuzzFeed

Aside from the guy peeing in the street outside, this bar is actually pretty ~hip~. It's dark on the inside and the '40s decor is elegant, which makes it the perfect place to get into a bar fight.

...but in real life, it was so much sweeter!

Pablo Valdivia / BuzzFeed

It has a sick circular bar that gives you a total 360 alcohol experience, which is what you'd want out of any bar. Mind you, there were a total of five people in the bar, considering it was a weeknight, but that just meant more alcohol for us.

This was by the far our favorite building throughout the entire tour, and it's not just because Blade Runner was also filmed in here.

Pablo Valdivia / BuzzFeed

The Bradbury is an architectural dream come true. For one, it's majestic as fuck. It looks like a literal palace, and that natural lighting is on point. Even the elevators were worthy of gawking at.

It wouldn't be a building in Downtown if there weren't restricted access somewhere in the building.

Nina Mohan / BuzzFeed

The upper floors had security guards, and we didn't feel like going to jail today, so we admired this beauty from the first floor.

After spending the day going around L.A. following the lives of two former lovers, we were exhausted and truly felt like we had walked around for 500 days. But most important, we learned a few things:

1. When Summer says, "We live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world," she's not wrong.

2. That being said, the film was mostly shot in only one small section of Downtown L.A. While this doesn't represent Downtown as a whole, it's realistic in terms of being the places Tom and Summer might actually live, work, and visit due to their proximity.

3. It only took us about four hours to go through 500 Days of Summer.

4. People will side-eye you when you take photos in public places.

5. Or when you run through an Ikea.

6. Furniture shopping isn't that romantic.

7. Benches are, probably.

8. Dancing in public is as awkward as it looks, and no one will willingly join in.

9. It's harder to appreciate the beauty of the buildings when you can't even go inside them.

10. Why do fences exist?

11. Downtown L.A. has changed a lot in the past six years.

12. Love is not dead.