If you longed for love in '09, you probably watched (500) Days of Summer.
And chances are, it spoke to you on a spiritual level.
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:
Stop 1: Tom's apartment.
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.
So naturally, we tried to buzz in...
This then led us to question how Summer would have even managed to get into the building on the night she got mad at Tom.
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.
From what we could see, there were people hard at work inside. It probably looked a little something like this.
The building is also pretty huge and leased out by a dude named Kevin, which are two facts worth knowing.
Stop 3: The hangout spot where Tom and his friends would commiserate.
The Barclay Hotel is interesting, to say the least. For one, it's not a coffee spot like it's portrayed in the movie.
It is in fact a residential hotel. The lobby is very well-decorated and plays a nice assortment of late '00s Alicia Keys.
This isn't exactly a place to chill with friends, but we sat around and pretended it was, because why the hell not?
Stop 4: The karaoke bar where Tom gave a beautiful drunk performance.
Redwood is truly a hole-in-the-wall place, but that's what makes it so special.
We tweeted at J.G.L. to join us for an encore, but he probably had more important ~Hollywood~ stuff to attend to.
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.
Remember this ~quirky~ scene where Summer sings her adorable doo-wop?
Well, there's no room for her to sing now, because a family of six needs that stage to eat their dinner.
Stop 5: The greatest place on Earth, Ikea.
The store was particularly crowded that day, so any form of PDA, even if staged, was awkward for the both of us.
They made running through Ikea look romantic AF though...
...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.
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.
This explains why the doors were locked. 😕 Rich folk must like their privacy.
Stop 8: The park with the ICONIC bench.
For starters, getting there was a mission, and it's all thanks to this endless flight of stairs.
We were not dressed for cardio, and we're pretty sure Tom didn't have to deal with pit stains and a sweaty back.
After climbing what felt like Mount Everest, we were then met with some devastating news: The park was CLOSED. 😩😭
That didn't stop Nina from trying her best to get arrested.
Stop 9: Another building Tom loves.
Here is a view of the building today without Tom and Summer upstaging it.
If Tom loved the building so much, then he should have just married it.
Stop 10: The iconic fountain/dance sequence.
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.
Tom then broke out into one of the most iconic dance breaks of all time.
Stop 11: The bar where Tom gets punched.
The bar looked like your run-of-the-mill bar onscreen...
...but in real life, it was so much sweeter!
Unfortunately we didn't have to fight anyone in the bar...
...but for the sake of the film, this is what it would have looked like if we did.
Stop 12: The movie theatre where Tom and Summer go on a date.
Postgrad life is just as scary as Psycho TBH.
We wanted to go inside and LOL just like this extra here...
...but were totally cockblocked by a fence. Fences had become our No. 1 enemy at this point in our tour.
Nina didn't take the news too well and proceeded to cry* in front of passersby outside the theater.
We felt just as sad on the inside as Summer did on the outside when she watched The Graduate.
The final stop: where Tom meets Autumn.
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.
And the best part? The Subway on the first floor.
It wouldn't be a building in Downtown if there weren't restricted access somewhere in the building.
And boy what a beauty it was.
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.