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Visiting Top Gun Movie Sites in San Diego

Travelblog Gone with the Wine

Travelblog and lifestyleblog. Life under the Californian sun - Gone with the Wine. Trips, food and wine from all over the world. Solo and family adventures.

Visiting Top Gun Movie Sites in San Diego

Paula Gaston

I'm sure everyone remembers the movie Top Gun which is still one of the great classic American movies. Our road trip in Southern California continued from Disneyland and Temecula to San Diego, where we visited a couple of the Top Gun filming locations. 


On our first morning in San Diego we drove up to the Cabrillo National Monument. The views there were amazing! One can see the city of San Diego, the navy base, the ocean and even all the way down to Mexico if the weather is clear. There are two lighthouses by the monument. The older one you can go in for a visit but the other one is a little harder to find. The New Point Loma Lighthouse is down by the tide pools and it replaced the old light station in 1891 which was having trouble operating in heavy fog. Right next to the New Point Loma Lighthouse there are some houses which are now used by the coast guard. One of them was featured as Viper's house (Tom Skerritt) in Top Gun. In the movie there is a scene where Maverick (Tom Cruise) visits Viper at his house. 

Unfortunately one can not visit the New Point Loma Lighthouse or the houses, but you can see them from the monument. 

They can be found at: 1800 Cabrillo Memorial Dr, San Diego, CA 92106.

House in the movie (YouTube)


Another place that we visited was the Kansas City Barbeque in downtown San Diego. We wanted to do a little walk downtown, but since we were already getting hungry, we stopped for some food here first. When filming Top Gun a director from Paramount Studios stopped here for a beer and later brought in the director Tony Scott. They both liked the place and so it is seen in two different spots in the movie. Maverick and Goose (Anthony Edwards) meet in the bar with Charlie (Kelly McGillis) and Goose's wife Carole (Meg Ryan), and sing "Great Balls of Fire". Also one of the closing scenes was filmed here.

The owners of the restaurant kept some mementos and started collecting other Top Gun related things. In 2008 a fire destroyed the building but they were able to save most of the mementos. Kansas City Barbeque was re-built to look the same as it was when they filmed the movie. There is at least the old piano and a jukebox which can be seen in Top Gun. The walls are covered with autographed photographs and other Top Gun gear. Even though the visit to this place was not in our original plan, it was well worth it and we got our tummies full. 

Maverick in the bar and the bar today on the right.

Maverick in the bar and the bar today on the right.

The famous piano.

The famous piano.

And this is what it looked like in the movie:

Great balls of fire (YouTube)

Kansas City Barbeque can be found at: 600 W Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101.

We missed one known filming location: Charlie's house. The house has been empty for a long time but, it is protected since it is an old Victorian house. In recent years they have painted the house. I read from somewhere that they are building a luxury hotel next to the house, and thinking of converting it into a souvenir shop. We would have loved to stop by, but it was not really on our route, and we didn't have so much time to drive around. Oh well, next time!

The address of the Charlien House is: 102 Pacific Street, Oceancide, San Diego, CA, 92054.