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A tour of the San Diego locations seen in ‘Top Gun’ and its new sequel ‘Maverick’

 the Navy Fighter Weapons School
Planes line up for a day of filming at the Navy Fighter Weapons School, better known as Topgun, at Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego.
(U-T file photo)

The ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ reviews are in and filming locations around San Diego can be seen on screen once again, decades after the original ‘Top Gun.’

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When “Top Gun” premiered in 1986, it was easy for locals to recognize that many of the scenes were filmed around San Diego.

Decades later, the region will enjoy some more movie magic with the debut of the sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick.” Tom Cruise once again stars as Maverick — this time as a test pilot and teacher — and production crews returned to San Diego in 2018.

Cast and filmmakers of the sequel paid tribute to the film’s local legacy by holding its world premiere on the deck of the USS Midway on May 4. So we thought we’d take a look down memory lane too, and share a list of locations where the original “Top Gun” movie was filmed around San Diego, as well as share what we know about the local filming of “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Let’s start with the sequel. Filming took place over about eight weeks and was predominantly done on North Island Naval Air Station, according to a San Diego city official.

However, production crews also filmed on Ocean Boulevard in Coronado, at the New Point Loma Lighthouse and at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.

The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt leaves San Diego as seen from Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery.
The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt leaves San Diego, destined for its new home port in Bremerton, Wash.
(Sam Hodgson / San Diego Union-Tribune)

More than 200 background actors — most of whom were active military, veterans and their families based in San Diego — contributed to the local scenes, the official said.

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Some filming was also done on the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which used San Diego as its homeport at that time. How much of the filming ended up in “Top Gun: Maverick”? You’ll have to see it to find out.

Now, on to the original “Top Gun” lineup of locations, which is more extensive than the sequel.

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Liberty Station

San Diego Architecture Driving Tour
Liberty Station was once the Naval Training Center, San Diego. It’s now restaurants, shops and art groups.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

Back then, the site of Liberty Station in Point Loma was home to “Naval Training Center San Diego.” The buildings had different names then too, but what are now known as the Dick Laub NTC Command Center and Building 201 were both used in the movie.

2640 Historic Decatur Road and 2820 Roosevelt Road, San Diego

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Kansas City Barbecue

Cindy and Martin Blair sit at the bar in their Kansas City Barbeque restaurant
A 1987 photo of Cindy and Martin Blair, owners of Kansas City Barbeque, a popular restaurant made famous by its scene in the movie “Top Gun.”
(Howard Lipin / San Diego Union-Tribune)

The famous scene with Goose playing “Great Balls of Fire” on the piano was filmed in downtown San Diego at Kansas City Barbecue. You can see the piano there today if you stop in for a meal.

600 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego

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Top Gun House

The Top Gun house which has opened its doors as HIGH-pie, a pie shop next to the Mission Pacific Hotel.
Employees prepare for the opening of the Top Gun house, which has opened its doors as HIGH-pie, a bakery and pie shop next to the Mission Pacific Hotel.
(Eduardo Contreras / San Diego Union-Tribune)

The house used as Charlie’s home has been moved around over the years, but it currently resides on the grounds of the Mission Pacific Hotel. Now, the 135-year-old Victorian cottage serves as a nostalgic pie shop.

250 N. Pacific St., Oceanside

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Plunge San Diego

Revamped Plunge pool in Mission Beach is housed within a new Belmont Park building that features a retractable roof.
(Jennifer Van Grove / San Diego Union-Tribune)

The locker room at Plunge San Diego in Belmont Park can be seen in the original film, but if you visit today, you’ll see a completely remodeled version of the facility back in the ‘80s.

3115 Ocean Front Walk, San Diego

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Marine Corps Air Station Miramar

 U-T file photos of pilots and planes at Miramar Naval Air Station during the filming of Paramount Pictures "Top Gun" movie.
Pilots and planes at Miramar Naval Air Station during the filming of Paramount Pictures “Top Gun” movie in the summer of 1985.
(Staff Photographer / San Diego Union-Tribune)

What’s now Marine Corps Air Station Miramar was then known as Miramar Naval Air Station. Back then, it was home to the famous “Top Gun” school for naval fighter pilots, and it served as the background for many scenes in the movie.

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Miramar Way, San Diego

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The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows

The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows located on El Cajon Boulevard.
The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalows located on El Cajon Boulevard.
(Kristian Carreon/ For San Diego Union-Tribune)

Maverick, Goose and other pilots sing “You’ve Got That Loving Feeling” to Charlie in a scene filmed in the Mississippi Ballroom at the Lafayette Hotel.

2223 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego

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New Point Loma Lighthouse

The New Point Loma Lighthouse (officially Point Loma Light) sits at the southern tip of the Point Loma peninsula.
The New Point Loma Lighthouse (officially Point Loma Light) sits at the southern tip of the Point Loma peninsula.
(K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

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On the southernmost tip of Point Loma, the Coast Guard-owned land housing the New Point Loma Lighthouse is also still home to several surrounding, red-roofed buildings. One of them was used as the home of Cmdr. Mike “Viper” Metcalf, as seen in the film.

Cabrillo Road, San Diego

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Laurel Street

The steep uphill drive on Laurel Street near the corner of Union Street can be easily recognized in a scene where Charlie chases down Maverick’s motorcycle in her car and they both pull over on the side of the road for their first kiss.

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