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The Dude Abides: All the Places Every True Big Lebowski Fan Should Visit!

(Image via Flickr CC - Greg  Andrews)
(Image via Flickr CC - Greg Andrews)
Mark Silvester
Written by Mark Silvester

When it comes to films and their audiences, none seem quite as unique as the dedicated following garnered by the cult classic, The Big Lebowski. The 1998 comedy starring Jeff Bridges and John Goodman has inspired documentaries, festivals, bars, a healthy amount of fan fiction, and even spawned its own organized religion! That’s right, coined as “the slowest-growing religion in the world”, Dudeism is a worry free way of life that involves taking it easy and of course, the zen of bowling. You can even be ordained as a Dudeist Minister (at no cost).

The films fans, aka “The Achievers,” have created a rich environment where like-minded Lebowski lovers can get together, crank some Creedence Clearwater Revival, sip on a white Russian, and pay homage to his Dudeness.  

We’ve put together a guide that, “really ties things together,” and highlights some of the best Dude destinations. From the Lebowski Festival itself to the actual movie scene locations, and Lebowski-themed bars around the world. It’s a bucket list for the ultimate Achiever. So grab your comfiest bathrobe and embrace the cult and culture of The Big Lebowski, man.

Lebowski Fest

(Image via Flickr CC - Yelp Inc.)

(Image via Flickr CC – Yelp Inc.)

Lebowski Fest is a traveling festival that serves as the Mecca for Big Lebowski fans (Achievers) worldwide. Now 15 years strong, the festival celebrates all things related to the cult classic, from incredibly specific costume references to a complete recreation of the entire Big Lebowski universe. The festival has graced cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Seattle and many more. Over the course of two epic nights, fans relish in costume and trivia contests, live music, unlimited bowling and of course a screening of the sacred film. So channel your inner Dude or the no-holds-barred attitude of Walter Sobchak and let the ceremonial White Russians flow! Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming fests. Take it easy, man.

The Big Lebowski Mansion

(Image via Flickr CC - Andrew Hitchcock)

(Image via Flickr CC – Andrew Hitchcock)

The grand interiors of the Lebowski mansion where his Dudeness, or El Duderino (if you’re not into the whole brevity thing), comes to get compensation for his soiled rug, is filmed at the famous Greystone Mansion. This impressive stone manor, owned by the City of Beverly Hills, gets its name from the abundant use of stone construction and its rather somber gray appearance, but don’t let that gray fool you! The place is dripping with Big Lebowski history, as well as a number of other iconic film shoots. To name a few, it was the Green Goblin’s New York home in Spider-Man, the exterior of the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning in the X-Men films, and it was the mansion with a bowling alley at the end of There Will Be Blood. The lushly landscaped, 16-acre ground and 55 room mansion is open to the public, but it’s best to call ahead before arranging a visit. And, even though you probably won’t be able to leave with a new rug, you can at least enjoy free admission.

When you are in LA and on a Dude-worthy budget, check out these fun and free museums to visit!

Nihilist Pancake House

(Image via Flickr CC - Joe Goldberg)

(Image via Flickr CC – Joe Goldberg)

Dinah’s Original Pancake & Chicken House is where the German Nihilists (one of them toeless) sit down to a couple servings of lingonberry pancakes (and the one order of “ze pigs in ze blankets”)This family owned restaurant first opened its doors in 1959, and a whole lot of pancakes later (20 million to be exact), Dinah’s is still offering delicious homemade food in a classic, all-American diner setting. Well worth the stop when you’re looking to refuel after a long day of Big Lebowski fandom.

Fun Fact: The Dude is present in every scene of the movie, and even in this 31-second scene, Walter and the Dude’s van can be seen through the diner window in the background.

The Los Angeles Bowling Scene

(Image via Flickr CC - Paul Narvaez)

(Image via Flickr CC – Paul Narvaez)

The bowling alley plays a quintessential role in The Big Lebowski universe. Sadly, though, the “Hollywood Star Lanes” that appears in the movie, no longer exists. It was demolished in 2002 to make room for an elementary school. And, although the famed bowling alley is sorely missed, you won’t feel out of your element for long because there are a number of other bowling alleys in Los Angeles that are perfect for striking pins and practicing Dudeism.

Montrose Bowl is the oldest operating bowling alley in LA county and has also served as the backdrop for an array of films and TV Shows, including Pleasantville and Teen Wolf.

Opening its doors in 1923, the alley boasts 8 charming lanes, old school facilities, and is the perfect place for those who respect the sport (and the rules) and dig the classic retro theme. All Star Lanes is another blast from the past and is guaranteed to satisfy your urge for a dive bar-esque bowling alley. It’s got 22 lanes, automatic scoring, and provides nothing short of an authentic bowling experience.

When you’ve had your fill of strikes, here’s some other unique things you can do only in Los Angeles.

 

The Lebowski Bars All Over the World!

(Image via Flickr CC - Dan Nguyen)

(Image via Flickr CC – Dan Nguyen)

A Lebowski-themed bar is a shrine that beckons Achievers to come in, grab a couple of beers, and abide. Scattered all over the world, a good Lebowski bar seamlessly blends bowling, burgers, beer, Big Lebowski and of course, White Russians. There are three in Scotland, one in Reykjavík, Iceland (which has 15 takes on the White Russian), and if you just happen to find yourself in Robbins, Iowa, there’s one there too! So take it easy, order yourself some Nihilist Chicken Wings or The Other Jeffrey Lebowski (aka Black Russian), and stay a while!

Jackie Greenhorns Mansion

(Image via Flickr CC - Masha Slavnova)

(Image via Flickr CC – Masha Slavnova)

Although not technically open to the public, this place is too good to not be mentioned. The Sheats Goldstein Residence is a mansion of epic proportions and has been immortalized as the humble abode of the loan sharking, porno kingpin, Jackie Greenhorn. Its current owner James Goldstein has decided to give the house to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art once he passes. Eventually, the museum will use the place for exhibitions, but until then, Achievers will just have to abide with the above Lebowski hotspots.

The Big Lebowski is a trademark and copyright of Universal Studios. No association between Universal Studios and OneTravel, or its parent company Fareportal, is intended or should be inferred.

 

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About the author

Mark Silvester

Mark Silvester

From Australia, skateboarder/explorer.

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