This blog post was updated on August 9, 2023.
When it comes to films and their audiences, none seem quite as dedicated as the 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 semi-organized religion. That’s right, called “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, 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 — Various Locations
Lebowski Fest is a traveling festival that serves as the Mecca for Big Lebowski fans worldwide. Founded in 2002, the festival celebrates all things related to the cult classic. These include 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 participate in costume and trivia contests, as well as enjoy 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!
Greystone Mansion — Beverly Hills
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, now 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 fool you! The place is dripping with Big Lebowski history, as well as a number of other iconic film shoots.
To name a few other movies filmed there, this mansion 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.
Dinah’s Family Restaurant — Playa Del Rey
Dinah’s Family Restaurant 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 opened its doors in 1959. And a whole lot of pancakes later, Dinah’s is still offering delicious homemade food in a classic, all-American diner setting. It’s 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 in the diner, Walter and the Dude’s van can be seen through the window in the background.
The Los Angeles Bowling Scene
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. There are a number of other bowling alleys in Los Angeles that are perfect for striking pins and practicing Dudeism.
Lebowski Bars All Over the World
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, Lebowski bars seamlessly blends bowling, burgers, beer, Big Lebowski and of course, White Russians. There’s Lebowski’s in Scotland and Lebowski Bar in Reykjavík, Iceland, which features 15 different takes on the White Russian. And, if you just happen to find yourself in Robins, Iowa, there’s a Lebowski’s there too! So take it easy, order yourself some Nihilist Chicken Wings or the Other Jeffrey Lebowski (aka Black Russian), and stay a while!
You may also enjoy: 5 Iconic New York Locations Featured in Oscar-Winning Movies
Jackie Greenhorn’s Mansion — Beverly Crest
Although not technically open to the public, Jackie’s Greenhorn’s iconic Malibu mansion is too good to not include on this list. Actually located in Beverly Crest rather than Malibu, the Sheats-Goldstein Residence is a modernist mansion of epic proportions designed by the celebrated architect John Lautner. In the film, the manse has been immortalized as the not-so-humble abode of the loan sharking, porno kingpin, Jackie Greenhorn. The 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 art exhibitions. But until then, Achievers will just have to abide with the above Lebowski hotspots.
Did we leave anything off the list fellow Dudes? Let us know in the comments below!