Based on the 1989 British series ‘Traffik,’ ‘Traffic’ is a 2000 crime drama movie helmed by Steven Soderbergh that gives us a glimpse into the dirty intricacies of the drug trade through the perspectives of users, politicians, enforcers, and most of all, traffickers. To escalate the war against drugs in America, the President hires a conservative judge named Robert Wakefield. However, upon some investigation into the case, the latter discovers that his teenage daughter is an addict herself. Meanwhile, a couple of DEA agents go to extreme lengths to protect an informant while the wife of a jailed drug baron tries her best to continue the family business.
Featuring an international cast comprising Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas, Erika Christensen, Luis Guzmán, Dennis Quaid, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, the thriller movie unfolds in a variety of different settings. Moreover, the use of different undertones indicates the simultaneous interrelated storylines, some of which are personal while others are dangerous and thrilling. So, it is natural for the viewers to wonder where ‘Traffic’ was shot. If you are one such curious soul, we have got you covered!
Traffic Filming Locations
‘Traffic’ was filmed in Ohio, California, Texas, Mexico, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C., specifically in Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, San Diego, Los Angeles County, El Paso County, Mexico City, Baja California, Sonora, Las Cruces, San Ysidro, and Providence. Principal photography for the crime movie reportedly commenced in April 2000 and wrapped up in June of the same year. Now, let’s not waste time and dive right into all the specific locations where the war against drugs is fought in the movie!
A few portions of ‘Traffic’ were lensed in Columbus, the capital of Ohio. The production team reportedly set up camp in and around The Ohio Statehouse at 1 Capitol Square in the city, as you can spot the important building in the backdrop of quite a few scenes throughout the film. You might also notice a few parks and attractions featured in the movie, including Clintonville’s Whetstone Park, the Chadwick Arboretum, and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
Other Locations in Ohio
Various other locations across Ohio make several appearances throughout ‘Traffic,’ as the filming unit also utilized the locales of the cities of Cincinnati. For instance, the neighborhood of Over-The-Rhine and 1242 Edwards Road, both in Cincinnati, served as prominent production spots for the movie. In addition, a few scenes were recorded on location in Cleveland.
San Diego, California
Many pivotal sequences for ‘Traffic’ were lensed in and around the city of San Diego, with the cast and crew members making the most of the different streets and neighborhoods of the city. While the property at 7757 Whitefield Place in La Jolla doubled as Ayala’s house, the scene where Helen and her friends discuss the duck salad was taped in Rancho Bernardo Inn at 17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive in the city.
Carlos Ayala stands trial in the Hall of Justice at 330 West Broadway, and a crucial witness named Ruiz is secured across the street in Hotel San Diego, 339 West Broadway. Besides that, multiple locations across San Diego feature in ‘Traffic.’ They are Balboa Park at 1549 El Prado, Mission Bay, A-1 Self Storage at 1190 West Morena Boulevard Suite B, Whitefield Street in La Jolla, Botanical Building in the Botanical Garden of San Diego’s Balboa Park in El Prado, and the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina, 333 West Harbor Drive.
Los Angeles County, California
Several locales of Los Angeles County appear in different scenes as the production team mainly went on with the shooting in and around the city of Los Angeles. The Chief of Staff interview scene with Wakefield was recorded in Pasadena, supposedly in Craven Estate at 430 Madeline Avenue. Furthermore, the interior scenes set in the White House were lensed in Warner Bros. Studios at 4000 Warner Boulevard in Burbank. It is home to 36 sound stages, 14 exterior sets, six ADR stages, and every other necessary facility required to fulfill the needs of all kinds of productions.
El Paso County, Texas
Reportedly, the cast and crew members of ‘Traffic’ were spotted lensing a few portions across El Paso County. In particular, Michael Douglas and the rest of the team set up camp in and around El Paso Intelligence Center at 11339 SSG Sims Street in Fort Bliss. Apart from that, the Rio Vista Farm Historic District at 800-801 Rio Vista Road in Socorro, southeast of El Paso, also features in some sequences.
Mexico City, Mexico
The capital of Mexico, that is, Mexico City, appears in ‘Traffic,’ as the filming unit traverses through different places of the city for shooting the film. For instance, the main square in central Mexico City, Zócalo, can be spotted in the backdrop of a few exterior scenes. Moreover, the National Palace on P.za de la Constitución S/N in Centro Histórico de la Cdad. de México served as an important filming site for the thriller movie.
Other Locations in Mexico
For shooting purposes, the production team of ‘Traffic’ also traveled to other locations across Mexico. One is Tijuana in Baja, California, where the border town scenes were shot on the streets of Nogales, right on the border with Arizona. Officially known as the Free and Sovereign State of Sonora, Sonora is another Mexican state that is reportedly one of the production locations.
Box Canyon in New Mexico stands in for the Mexican desert, where Javier gets relieved of confiscated drugs by General Salazar. Situated at 8990 Zia Boulevard in Las Cruces, the Las Cruces International Airport also served as a key filming site for ‘Traffic.’ A few portions of the film were also taped in the village of San Ysidro, located in New Mexico’s Sandoval County.
Providence, Rhode Island
The filming unit of ‘Traffic’ set up camp in the capital of Rhode Island — Providence — to shoot some scenes for the movie. The hotel where Carolina and Seth check into and indulge in some physical intimacy was an actual hotel located at 621 Main Street in Providence, which has turned into a good condo now.
In Washington, several important scenes were recorded on location for the crime drama movie. The interview scene between Wakefield and the Chief of Staff was reportedly taped in Eisenhower Executive Office Building at 1650 17th Street Northwest. On the other hand, the cocktail party scene where Wakefield meets several senators was lensed in Edes House at 2929 North Street at 30th Street Northwest, in Georgetown.
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