For diehard Top Gun enthusiasts, visiting iconic sites from the film would be a dream come true. However, getting on the flight line at Miramar or on the deck of the decommissioned USS Enterprise can be difficult to downright impossible. Fortunately, there are more than a few memorable locations from Top Gun that any fan can visit.
1. Graves House — Charlie’s House
Well known by southern California locals, the Graves House in Oceanside was used in Top Gun as Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood’s house. In the film, she invites Maverick to dinner with a note that lists her address as 100 Laurel Beach. However, in reality, the Victorian cottage used for filming was located at 102 Pacific Street. The Graves House has since been moved to a new location at 250 North Pacific Street where it now hosts the High Pie dessert shop.
2. West Laurel Street — The chase and kiss
One of the most dramatic scenes in Top Gun sees Charlie chase after Maverick after she delivers a scathing review of his flight in front of the entire Top Gun class. Maverick rides off angrily on his Kawasaki GPZ900R and Charlie follows in her Porsche 356. After recklessly cutting through traffic and up the hill on West Laurel Street in Downtown San Diego, Maverick pulls over between Union Street and Curlew Street just past a young palm tree. The two have an angry exchange before Charlie admits that she’s fallen for him. With the film’s love theme, “Take My Breath Away,” playing in the background, the two share their first kiss on the side of the road. This location is still there, not far from the San Diego International Airport. Even the palm tree is still standing, though it is a bit taller now.
3. Kansas City Barbeque
Great balls of fire! Located at 600 West Harbor Drive in San Diego, the Kansas City Barbeque hosted the double date between Maverick and Charlie and Goose and Carole. Beyond Carole informing Charlie that Maverick is “prime-time in love” with her, she also utters her iconic lines “Hey, Goose, you big stud!” and “Take me to bed or lose me forever!” Of course, the Kansas City Barbeque also saw the group sing Jerry Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire” with Goose on piano. Although a fire in 2008 caused significant damage to the restaurant, including the destruction of memorabilia and props from the film, the piano survived and the Kansas City Barbeque remains open for business.
4. Liberty Station — Top Gun Classroom
Following Charlie’s critique of Maverick’s flight that prompted the chase up Laurel Street, Mav angrily departs the classroom and hurriedly walks off to his bike while ignoring Charlie. He then starts his bike and loudly revs it to drown out her words and shouts back, “I can’t hear you!” before riding off. Although it’s assumed that this scene takes place at Miramar, the filming location was actually Naval Training Center San Diego. The base has since been shut down and turned into a commercial district called Liberty Station. Many of the original buildings from the NTC days have been turned into restaurants and shops and can be visited by the general public. The location was also used in other Top Gun scenes including Charlie dropping Maverick off after Goose’s death.
5. New Point Loma Lighthouse — Viper’s House
It’s often said that senior officers get the best of base housing. In the case of Cdr. Mike “Viper” Metcalf, it’s true. For the filming of Top Gun, the New Point Loma Lighthouse was used as Viper’s house. Maverick goes to visit him as he debates whether or not to leave the school and the audience gets a good look at this coastal abode. The Victorian cottage, and its twin, were completed in 1890 with the lighthouse itself completed the next year. Today, the quarters continue to house Coast Guard officers and remains an active lighthouse. Unfortunately, this precludes it from visits by the general public. However, it can be viewed from the Cabrillo National Monument or the Point Loma Tide Pools parking area.