The movie trailer for The Matrix Resurrections immediately transports you to San Francisco as a wide opening shot at 1001 Vallejo Street shows the iconic skyline with the dazzling Bay Bridge in the background.
It’s just one of the scenes shot in the city for the new film—the fourth in The Matrix franchise. Movie fans can take a walk in Neo’s footsteps and into the rabbit hole with a new self-guided tour created by the San Francisco Travel Association (SF Travel) based on filming locations in the city.
When The Matrix debuted in 1999, it changed the science fiction genre and reimagined the Hollywood blockbuster with state-of-the-art visuals and philosophical storytelling. With The Matrix Resurrections produced, co-written, and directed by Lana Wachowski and actors Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss reprising their roles as Neo and Trinity, movie fans can expect not only a thrilling film but also some stunning views of the City by the Bay.
Portions of the fourth Matrix installment were filmed in early 2020 in San Francisco’s Financial District, Chinatown, North Beach, Russian Hill, and South of Market (SOMA) neighborhoods. And on Dec. 18, The Matrix Resurrections’ U.S. premiere will be held at San Francisco’s famed Castro Theatre.
SF Travel’s The Matrix Resurrections film locations tour guides visitors through diverse and charming neighborhoods into downtown and ends on the waterfront. To access a digital map, visit https://bit.ly/MatrixSFTour.
Prep for the tour by cueing up pioneering San Francisco band Jefferson Airplane’s acclaimed “Surrealistic Pillow” album. The psychedelic rock song “White Rabbit” is featured in the trailer. Jefferson Airplane began its career at the now-defunct San Francisco club, The Matrix, on Filmore Street.
The first stop on the tour is the opening scene of the trailer. Go to Vallejo Street at Jones Street. Take the stairs up and walk to a cul-de-sac, part of the National Register Russian Hill – Vallejo Street Crest Historic District. Enjoy the sweeping view captured in the film, with the Transamerica Pyramid, Salesforce Tower, and Bay Bridge starring in the cityscape.
This historic district escaped the great fire following the 1906 earthquake and is noted for its pioneering First Bay Area Tradition houses and Beaux-Arts street design and landscaping. You may even spot the famed wild parrots of Telegraph Hill perched in trees here. After taking in the view, head down the stairs towards Taylor Street. Of note is 1001 Vallejo, the house featured in season two of The OA TV series.
Go east on Vallejo down one of the city’s terraced staircases that winds through a small urban park. Walk four blocks and turn right onto Columbus Avenue. Stroll past San Francisco’s famed City Lights bookstore, a literary landmark founded in North Beach in 1953 by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Peter D. Martin. It became a legendary gathering spot for The Beat Generation.
Soon you will reach the intersection of Columbus Avenue and Kearny Street, the location of the Sentinel Building/Columbus Tower (916 Kearny Street). The 1907 flatiron building is clad in white tile and oxidized copper and straddles North Beach, Chinatown, and The Financial District. Gaze at the landmark building with the 48-story Transamerica Pyramid in the background just like Neo does in the movie. Enjoy a drink at Café Zoetrope, Francis Ford Coppola’s café, on the ground floor of the Sentinel.
Next, head down Kearny to the nearby House of Nanking (919 Kearny Street) and grab lunch where Neo and Trinity made a stop. Opened in 1988 by Peter and Lily Fang, the restaurant is famous for its Shanghainese cuisine and the chef ordering for guests.
Continue walking down Kearny; make a right onto Washington Street and then a left onto Grant Avenue, the commercial center of Chinatown. San Francisco’s Chinatown—the largest outside of Asia—is the site of several movie scenes, including ones shot on California at Grant and Pine at Grant. Chinatown is a bustling place to shop, eat, and learn about the history of Chinese immigration to California. You can even take a short side trip to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory (56 Ross Alley) for a tour. Upon reaching Chinatown’s Dragon Gate at the Grant and Bush intersection, turn left onto Bush Street.
Next, turn right and head to 44 Montgomery, one of the towering office buildings in downtown San Francisco featured in the movie. Then, head east on Market Street until you reach One Front Street, another building where filming took place. Traverse Front Street and turn left onto Pine Street.
Two blocks up at 155 Sansome Street is the City Club of California. The Jazz Era lobby is the setting for a dramatic scene. One block further on Pine past the grand Stock Exchange Tower is Joe & The Juice (235 Montgomery Street). For the movie, Joe & The Juice was transformed into Neo’s favorite coffee shop, Simulatte. Enjoy an afternoon pick-me-up there.
Head north on Sansome to California Street, where a number of movie scenes were shot. You can see several buildings from the film and some of San Francisco’s oldest landmark buildings.
The landmark Beaux-Arts Merchants Exchange Building, located at 465 California Street, is included in the film location list. Built in 1904, the building is one of the few to survive the 1906 earthquake and subsequent fire. Over 80% of San Francisco was destroyed in the aftermath of the earthquake—when fire leveled over 490 city blocks.
The modern building at 425 California is also featured in the film. Not far from there is the landmark Bank of California Building. The 1908 Greco-Roman style structure located at 400 California is dubbed “The Grand Old Lady of California Street.”
Keep walking along California towards the waterfront. Pass by the famed Tadich Grill, which dates to 1849 and is the “oldest continuously run restaurant in California.” And so very San Francisco, Tadich Grill now sits next to one of the city’s newest acclaimed restaurants, Estiatorio Ornos a Michael Mina Restaurant.
Also appearing in the film is 150 California. The building features a 330-foot-high glass feature with a rooftop spire. Follow California east until it reaches Market Street. Visit the Harry Bridges Plaza at the Embarcadero, another film location, in front of the Ferry Building. Artists, skateboarders, and others congregate at the plaza to enjoy the view.
Inside the landmark Ferry Building, sample local Bay Area favorites. Grab a cup of Blue Bottle Coffee, Humphry Slocombe ice cream, or macarons from Miette, or sample oysters from Hog Island Oyster Company. If the outdoor Farmers Market is open, explore the stalls of fruit, vegetables, flowers, herbs, meats, cheeses, and more from small regional farmers and producers.
Once you’re full, walk south to the end of nearby Pier 14 for some of the best views of the Bay, including many of the landmarks seen in the film’s sweeping skyline shots.
Salesforce Tower (415 Mission Street), the tallest building in the city, appears in skyline scenes in the film. Day for Night by artist Jim Campbell is a dynamic LED installation that circles the crown of the building. Enjoy a visit to the nearby Salesforce rooftop park, which sits 70-feet above the Grand Hall and runs the length of the four-block transit center. Several nearby intersections can be seen in The Matrix Resurrections, including Fremont and Mission streets.
The Avery at 488 Folsom Street in SOMA appears to be Neo’s home in the film. (The bathtub scene in the trailer is the giveaway). The 56-story glass tower is a luxury residential building with breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay and the cityscape.
Filming also took place on Powell between California and Market streets. For an iconic San Francisco experience, take a Cable Car ride from the Powell Street Cable Car Turnaround located just off Market past Union Square and California Street. The cable car ride ends at Fisherman’s Wharf.
For one last “Matrix Moment” take BART to your destination. A pivotal fight scene in the film takes place at a downtown station.
Source: San Francisco Travel Association