65 Movie and TV Filming Locations You Can Actually Visit
Shakespeare once wrote that all the world's a stage, but these days it's more like a movie set. Here are 65 film locations you should check out on your travels.
The Sound of Music
Austria’s hills are certainly alive with the sound of music… and tourists. Mozart may have been born in Salzburg, but The Sound of Music really put it on the map and now an estimated 70 percent of people visit because of the movie. Cross Residenzplatz Square with confidence as Maria did and run through the hedge tunnel in the Mirabell Gardens while singing “Do-Re-Mi.” The Palace of Leopoldskron is one of the mansions used as the Von Trapp Home and the place where the children famously fell into the lake. The other is Frohnburg Castle, whose facade was used for other outside scenes of the family house, such as Maria’s arrival. See how The Sound of Music compares to these other iconic musicals.
Game of Thrones
Fans are gonna need a lot of airline miles to visit all the locations used for the epic HBO series as production has rolled in seven countries—Northern Ireland (where the Titanic Studios closed sets are), Croatia, Iceland, Spain, Malta, Morocco, and Canada (where Quigley the 11-year-old Arctic wolf better known as Ghost, lives with his trainer north of Calgary). There are far too many visit-worthy destinations to list in one slide but here are the greatest hits for Jon Snow junkies and Daenerys diehards. Northern Ireland is home to the Dark Hedges (the Kingsroad), Castle Ward (Winterfell), Cushendun Caves (birth of Melisandre’s shadow baby), and Ballintoy Harbour (the Iron Islands). North of the Wall White Walker drama goes down in Iceland under the snowy arches of Vatnajökull and on the SnæfellsjökullandMýrdalsjökull glaciers. (The latter is the program’s Fist of the First Men.) Wilding camp moments were set in Dimmuborgir and Thingvellir National Park while Jon broke his oath of abstinence with Ygritte in the thermal spring in Grjótagjácave. (It’s fine. They’re married in real life now.) Locations in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and Malta have both been transformed into the home of the iron throne, King’s Landing. Must-hit selfie spots in Dubrovnik include the Jesuit Stairs (Cersei’s walk of shame), Gradac Park (Purple Wedding), St. Lawrence Fortress (the second version of the Red Keep). Lokrum Island, the city of Qarth in the show, now houses a GOT visitor center with an Iron Throne replica. Fun fact: The port of Pentos was filmed in Ouarzazate, a village in Morocco with an ancient kasbah, which years earlier hosted 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia and Russell Crowe and the Gladiator crew.
Get into the “spirit” of NYC with a tour of the original movie’s filming hot spots. The movie begins at the famous main branch of the New York Public Library where an apparition freaks out paranormal investigators Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz and Egon Spengler. After admiring the restored Rose Main Reading Room, you can run down the marble front steps like the Ghostbusters. Other landmarks include Columbia University, the Tribeca firehouse used as their headquarters, Times Square, City Hall, and Dana’s apartment at 55 Central Park West.
Bridget Jones’s Diary
Renée Zellweger brings Bridget Jones to life as we watch the lovable singleton navigate work and romance in London. Her distinctive corner flat is above The Globe Tavern by Borough Market, one of the city’s oldest and biggest food markets. According to The Telegraph, it would be highly unlikely that she could afford to buy a place like that today since it’s risen in value by more than 240 percent. The rom-com also features the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand and BK News over the road where she buys a packet of cigarettes. Don’t miss our guide to the top 10 most romantic movies.
The majority of the story takes place in Mumbai where Jamal’s tough life unfolds and the slums he grows up in contrast with the modern corporate backdrop of offices. There is a side trip to Agra and the iconic Taj Mahal. Jamal and Latika also go to Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus train station where the Hindi dance sequence for the song “Jai Ho” was filmed for the end credits. Just don’t expect too much dancing when you go since over seven million people travel through the station every day!
Although the Palace of Troy was filmed on sets built at Shepperton Studios in the United Kingdom, most of the 2004 movie was shot in Malta and Baja California, Mexico. Malta is packed with historic sites and beautiful blue waters as a backdrop so it was a good choice as an alternative to Greece. Troy was shot at a host of locations, including Golden Bay, Hal Far, and Fort Ricasoli, where the city of Troy was constructed. The Trojan horse from the film is now situated on the waterfront in Canakkale, Turkey. Find out the most historically inaccurate movies ever.
Ant-Man and The Wasp
Although much of the recently released superhero sequel and the 2015 original were shot at a movie studio in Atlanta like most Marvel films, Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, and company did leave part of their hearts in San Francisco, where the stories are set. After Scott gets out of prison in the first film, he lives with his friend at the Milgrom Hotel, which in reality is the Riviera Hotel, a low-income housing complex in the Tenderloin district. Milgrom was a nod to Al Milgrom, a comic book writer. Before breaking into Dr. Pym’s house at 601 Buena Vista Avenue West, he contemplates his money problems outside the Ellis Food Center. Many city-by-the-Bay landmarks make appearances in the second installment including the triangular Transamerica Building, Coit Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods, and Alcatraz. Ant-Man follows a bad guy down to Fisherman’s Wharf and onto the Harbor Emperor, one of the ferries in the Blue & Gold Fleet. The heroes are also chased down Lombard Street, the famously crooked road. Expect to go much slower in real life as it’s visited by two million people a year and the hairpin tours have a five mile an hour speed limit. Fun fact: The Real World San Francisco house and Scottie’s apartment in Vertigo also have Lombard Street addresses. If you love all things Marvel and D.C., check out these 15 surprising facts about superheroes.
While You Were Sleeping
The 1995 Christmas time romantic comedy was a huge hit and a great vehicle (other than the bus in Speed!) for Sandra Bullock’s career. Her character, Lucy, was a Chicago Transit Authority employee who collected tokens at the Randolph/Wabash “L” train station in the Loop. The hospital scenes were set at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, but very little filming actually took place there since the sets were rebuilt for convenience. Lucy’s second-floor apartment is located at #201, 3017 W. Logan Blvd and Peter’s luxurious high-rise apartment is located in Lake Point Tower at 505 North Lake Shore Drive. According to ForRent.com, the latter was also used as a set for Meet the Parents and The Lake House.
Skyfall begins in Istanbul with James Bond on a spectacular motorbike chase scene through the Spice Market in the Eminonu district of Istanbul, Turkey. The chase moves to the rooftops of the Grand Bazaar and the magnificent Hagia Sophia mosque forms part of the backdrop. Bond also crashes through a window of the centuries-old covered market and continues his high-octane chase in its maze of passages before ending on a train leaving Sirkeci train station. The scene finishes on a bridge, the Varda Viaduct, which in reality is far from Istanbul in Adana, Southern Turkey.
The “Rocky Steps,” better known as the Art Museum Steps are two of the most famous tourist attractions in Philadelphia. The movie’s famous training montage features Sylvester Stallone running up all 72 stone steps is one of the most iconic movie scenes of all time. You’ll find the Rocky statue there on a nearby grassy knoll. Did you know that Rocky won the Best Picture at the 1977 Oscars?
After watching the first two seasons of the HBO series about an upended futuristic western-themed park and its android hosts with itchy trigger fingers, vacationing the cowboy way might not sound like the best plan. But you’d be missing out on spectacular panoramas, natural minarets, and sunsets in the safer present-day wild west of Utah (Fisher Valley and Castle Valley) and California where they create the convoluted plotlines. A train car was attached to a flatbed truck and driven up and down Utah’s State Route 128 to capture tourists arriving at the park. Many Main Street and church scenes were shot at the Paramount Ranch, a 2,700-acre former satellite studio lot that’s now part of the National Park Service; multi-use trails mean you can gallop around on horseback like Dolores. Schedule a VIP tour of the Melody Ranch Studio in Santa Clarita, California, also used by Westworld. Fun fact: The mysterious (and extremely violent) Man in Black (Ed Harris) does a bit of scalping at Dead Horse Point State Park with the titular rock formation making an appearance in the background. Those dusty roads and red buttes provided the setting for the final showdown in Thelma & Louise 27 years ago—the exact same spire comes into view as their convertible goes careening off the cliff.
Pretty Woman is packed with iconic Los Angeles locations. Vivian’s shabby apartment was in the Las Palmas Hotel at 1738 N. Las Palmas Avenue and costs $185 per week according to ForRent.com. However, she gets to experience luxury (and for $38,500 per week, you can too!) at the Regent Beverly Wilshire’s penthouse, though most of the interiors were actually shot at the Ambassador Hotel. She gets humiliated at Boulmiche on Rodeo Drive, but we know that turns out to be a “Big Mistake. Big. Huge.”
Paris, je t’aime
This anthology film is a series of 18 short movies shot by different directors and is a love letter to the French capital. The movie features the eternally popular Latin Quarter, the Eiffel Tower, Place de la Bastille, Pere Lachaise Cemetery, and Montmartre. One “love at first sight” story is set in Le Marais, a beautiful and historic district. The vignette where Natalie Portman stars as the girlfriend of a young blind man features a montage of places but focuses on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Denis.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
When not in a studio, the original Star Wars was filmed in Tunisia and Death Valley, California, which provided perfect settings for the fictional arid planet of Tatooine. One of the most iconic scenes involves C-3PO and R2-D2 wandering along the sand dunes of La Grande Dune near Nafta. Lucas chose Hotel Sidi Driss in Matmata, Tunisia to shoot the interior of Luke’s home as it was larger than the typical underground dwellings. If you love Luke, Leia, Han Solo, and the rest of the crew, check out these mind-blowing facts about Star Wars.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi
The plucky girl hero Rey heads off to search for Luke Skywalker and return his light-saber at the end of the 2015 film and finds him chilling out on a remote and craggy island cursing all things Jedi. When the last year’s follow-up debuted, Rey was still on the rock trying to get his attention and plead her case to become his padawan. The island in real life is the mystical and gorgeous Skelling Michael in County Kerry in Ireland. Monks built a stone monastery on its cliffs in the 7thcentury, which can be seen on the screen. Fun fact: You have to be very determined to see it in person. It is 13 miles off the coast. It is serviced by boats from Portmagee and Ballinskelligs, but suffers from terribly unpredictable weather, offers no accommodations, and requires a perilous and challenging climb up the monk-made scary-steep 618 steps. The Office of Public Works even made a safety film to warn the growing crop of visitors. Or, for a more relaxed and luxurious trip, book a transatlantic or British Disney cruise and sign up for the Gaelic Galactic Adventure excursion. The helicopter tour gives you an aerial view of the island and surrounding areas before landing for lunch at the Skelling Visitor’s Center.
J.K Rowling started writing the Harry Potter books while she was living in Edinburgh so it’s no surprise that she set most of the story there. The Hogwarts Express zooms through the Scottish Highlands and along the 31 meters high Glenfinnan Viaduct, which is instantly recognizable in the Chamber of Secrets. The second highest waterfall in the United Kingdom, Steall Falls (Glen Nevis) is also featured as the dramatic backdrop during Quidditch matches. Remember that amazing moment when Hermione punches Malfoy? That took place in Glen Coe.
London also has a huge role in the Harry Potter franchise. Harry talks to the snake in the Reptile House at London Zoo and accesses Diagon Alley on the Muggle street of Charing Cross Road in the West End. Leadenhall Market in London’s financial district was used as Diagon Alley; the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron pub is an optician in Bull’s Head Passage. The most popular spot is King’s Cross station where Platform 9¾ has its very own sign on the wall in the station concourse.
The Big Blue
Luc Besson’s 1988 classic is a gorgeous feat of cinematography, but the landscape and Aegean Sea can claim much of the praise. It was filmed in various locations including the Virgin Islands, Sicily, and Peru, but mostly on Amorgos, a Greek island in the Cyclades archipelago. The title The Big Blue perfectly sums up the aesthetics of the area: Amorgos harbors dramatic cliffs, whitewashed villages, secluded coves and bays to explore.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
The Cambodian temple complex of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap was the extremely photogenic setting for the 2001 Tomb Raider movie. Ta Prohm, the vine-clad temple where Croft fell through the ground is exactly as it seems on film having become overgrown with trees and reclaimed by nature. Other scenes take place at Phnom Bakheng, the hill overlooking Angkor Wat, and Bayon.
Sleepless In Seattle
If you want to see Sam’s floating home, you’ll want to head to Seattle, of course. Take a lake tour to view the four-bedroom, two-bath home that sold for $2 million in 2014. The houseboat is located off Westlake Avenue in Lake Union near the University of Washington and Pike Place Market. The movie’s New York locations include Rockefeller Center, Tiffany & Co on 5th Avenue and East 57th Street, Manhattan, and, most famously, the Empire State Building.
George Clooney and his guy gang already plundered Las Vegas and Europe in other Ocean’s installments. So when it came time for his sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock) to plan her ultimate heist, she assembled her rag-tag team including Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Rihanna, and Sarah Paulson in New York City as did director Gary Ross. Sites seen in the film open to the public include the Plaza Hotel, Christie’s at Rockefeller Plaza, Junior’s Deli in Brooklyn (get the cheesecake!), The Pierre Hotel, Casa Lever restaurant, Bergdorf Goodman’s, and the Bushwick United Methodist Church Annex (Blanchett’s loft). A runway show was staged in the Eero Saarinen building at JFK airport, which used to be the TWA Flight Center. The target is a dazzling Cartier necklace made of cascading colorless diamonds, which is inspected by team members at the brand’s flagship store on 5th Avenue. They plan to steal it at The Met Gala, an annual fundraiser for The Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s Costume Institute that takes place inside the largest museum in America. Fun fact: According to the studio’s press notes, Ross was able to convince the museum to let them film the fake gala within the Beaux-Arts building for two weeks, longer than any previous projects had been permitted but with one caveat: They were not allowed to close it to the public. The cast and crew would move in at 5:30 p.m. when the doors closed to work through the night; they had to clean up the decorations and be out a few hours before opening every morning.
That iconic scene where Forrest utters the immortal line, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know which one you’re gonna get” was filmed in Chippewa Square, Savannah. The Savannah History Museum is not far from the square and now houses the bench, but Chippewa Square is still a popular spot for photographs. Bring your own chocolates. Don’t miss these 24 other most famous movie quotes of all time.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson created the Republic of Zubrowka, an imaginary Eastern European country, but the director found the perfect setting for it in Görlitz, a town in Saxony, Germany. The Art Nouveau department store Görlitzer Warenhaus was used for the atrium lobby of the eponymous hotel. Hollywood loves the old world charm of Görlitz; it has also featured in The Reader, Inglourious Basterds, The Book Thief, and The Monuments Men.
Although it is a stunning beach on Thailand’s Andaman Coast, Koh Phi Phi Leh is more like Paradise Lost thanks to the popularity of the movie. Now firmly on both the backpacker and package tourism trail, the “secret beach” at Maya Bay is overrun with day trippers. Good luck trying to get a photo without people and boats everywhere—perhaps you can pretend all the people in the background are extras on your very own film set. Here are 11 other 11 other amazing beaches to add to your bucket list.
The Revenant‘s director Alejandro González Iñárritu was adamant that scenes should be filmed outdoors in the wild to be authentic. Most scenes were filmed in Alberta’s Kananaskis Country, which comprises several reserves in the Canadian Rockies. The freezing Bow River and Drumheller rock faces also feature prominently in the film. But if you’re interested in where the most famous scene took place—the bear attack—head to Squamish in British Columbia.
The Great Gatsby
When director Baz Luhrmann decided to bring the story of Jazz Age millionaire and Daisy devotee Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) to the screen in 2013, it wasn’t like he could use any ol’ mansion to be his home. No, Gatsby’s Long Island estate had to be palatial, of the period, and the perfect setting for parties. So he had DiCaprio play house in a former seminary in the beachside Sydney, Australia suburb of Manly. Dating back to 1885, you can not only visit the gothic structure, you can get a business degree there as it is now home to the International College of Management. But even with its bell tower and archways, it still wasn’t grand enough for Gatsby. Faux ivy was attached to the bottom two levels, a temporary fountain was built out front, and turrets and other details were added with CGI. Fun fact: The grounds and the chapel were also the site of Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban’s 2006 wedding.
Various members of the Corleone family visit the namesake town in Sicily, Italy throughout the films. In fact, the characters of the film are imbued with the culture of the town in everything from their clothes and gestures to their traditions. Though it’s real, the filmmakers felt Corleone was too developed, so the towns of Savoca and Forza d’Agrò were used instead. Check out these mind-blowing facts about The Godfather.
Hopeless romantics who want to feel the kind of love Allie and Noah (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) shared in the 2004 tearjerker should head down to Charleston. (Yes, you read that right. Despite the novel and movie being set in North Carolina, it was largely filmed in South Carolina.) The antebellum mansion at Boone Hall Plantation served as Allie’s family’s summer home although interiors were shot at the Calhoun Mansion. Yet another plantation, the Rice Hope in Georgetown County, was used as the nursing home where the couple end up and a fourth, Martin’s Point Plantation on Wadmalaw Island, plays the white house with blue shutters that Noah restored. (Unfortunately, the last abode is located within a private waterfront community so it is hard to get to.) The lovers boat through a flock of geese at Cypress Gardens and share their first date at The American Theatre, which is no longer a working cinema but an event space. Surely no one will blame you for dancing out front in the street. Noah sees Allie dining with her new fiancé at High Cotton. (The HarborView Inn‘s movie-themed package includes a gift card to the restaurant and the potential to personalize American’s marquee.) Fun fact: To recreate the beach frolicking scene, you’ll have to hit the other coast. It was filmed at El Matador Beach in California.
This is a tale of two hotels—The Stanley in Estes Park, Colorado, and Oregon’s Timberline Lodge. The Stanley, a 140-room colonial revival opened in 1909, hosted horror novelist Stephen King and his wife one fateful night in 1974 while the couple was doing a one-year residency in Boulder. They were the night’s only guests and apparently the long, empty corridors, late-night noises common in old architecture, and dining in a room full of chairs turned upside down on the table sparked a nightmare that inspired his 1977 bestseller. But when it came time to shoot the 1980 Jack Nicholson cult classic, director Stanley Kubrick decided the Timberline on the slopes of Mt. Hood, Oregon would make a better Overlook. He only used it for the exteriors as all interiors were shot in England. When the book was remade for TV with Steven Weber and Rebecca De Mornay 17 years later, the miniseries moved back to The Stanley. The Night Spirit Tour focuses on the resort’s unexplained phenomena if you dare to sign up and the historic tour covers its literary and Hollywood connections. Fun fact: King stayed in room 217 and it features prominently in the book. To this day, it is the most requested accommodation at The Stanley. But the Timberline’s management requested that Kubrick change the haunted quarters to 237 fearing they would be unable to book the real 217 once the movie premiered.
Baz Luhrmann’s epic romance might star Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, but the real star is Australia itself. Much of the film is set in the vast, inhospitable Kimberley region in the country’s north-west. While the grand sweeping shots of the Outback might have been filmed there, Luhrmann chose to transform Bowen in Queensland into 1940s Darwin. Headed Down Under? Be sure to visit the most popular travel destinations in Australia.
Singles is like a time capsule allowing us to view the 1990s grunge movement firsthand through a group of 20-somethings who navigate life and love in Seattle. Most of the film’s characters lived in a building on 820 E Thomas Street in the artsy and hip area of Capitol Hill. A couple of the characters take a stroll by Occidental Park and watch Soundgarden perform at dive bar El Corazon.
Younger, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Blindspot, and Billions
The magic of the movies and television is that the same establishment can appear in multiple productions and look different every time. Case in point: Goldbar in New York City. Located on Broome and Mulberry Street, the hip hangout played an underground gentleman’s poker club on Blindspot. The Billions DA held a meeting there. Hilary Duff hits it up to celebrate her promotion on Younger with drinks in front of the iconic gold skulls. Kimmy’s nutty neighbor Lillian heads there to spread the ashes of her dead boyfriend—once his childhood summer camp, the space is now occupied by the fancy members-only club called Snoke House. (Which is, you guessed it, portrayed by Goldbar.) Fun fact: The nightclub also makes a cameo in the opening credits montage for Saturday Night Live.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
In the 1989 action movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, one of the most riveting scenes features the ancient ruins at Petra, Jordan, where Harrison Ford finds the Temple of the Holy Grail. This was filmed at the site’s famous rock-carved Treasury. Take a look at this list if you love movies from the ’80s.
American Crime Story
For the second edition of Ryan Murphy’s true-crime FX franchise, the team headed to Miami’s South Beach to tell the story of The Assassination of Gianni Versace. The story couldn’t be told without spending time at Villa Casa Casuarina, the former home of the fashion designer to the stars and the site of his 1997 murder by Andrew Cunanan. (He was gunned down on the stairs after his usual morning walk to buy Italian newspapers at the News Café down the street.) Versace purchased the 1930 gem on Ocean Drive and the art deco hotel next door in 1992 while on vacation in Florida. He added the pool, gardens and the south wing. The Villa is now a hotel, which kept the opulently decorated walls, floors, ceilings, and windows that Versace put in. The 54-foot-long Million Mosaic Pool still features his 24-karat gold tiles with the signature Medusa head. Fun fact: His sister, fashion designer Donatella, had a permanent bedroom while the designer was alive. Book it by asking for the signature suite.
Lost in Translation
Lost in Translation was shot in two of Tokyo’s most vibrant districts, Shinjuku and Shibuya. Young newlywed Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) forms an unlikely friendship with aging actor Bob (Bill Murray) at the Park Hyatt Hotel in the large business and entertainment district of Shinjuku. The pair meets for the first time at New York Bar on the top floor of the 52-story Shinjuku Park Tower. If you fancy singing, head to Karaoke Kan (30-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku) where they spent an evening crooning tunes like “More Than This” with friends. These are some more weird things you’ll only find in Japan.
Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex, was the star of her first televised wedding in 2018. Weeks earlier, after seven seasons of court battles and courtship, her Suits character Rachel Zane said “I do” to her on-screen beau Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) in the Crystal Ballroom at the Omni King Edward Hotel in Toronto (which plays New York in the show). The elegant event space, renovated in 2017, was further spruced up by set designers who added fairy lights, cherry trees, and lots of tulle and roses last November for the scene. Markle sported a very different look—hair down, no veil, no tiara, and a backless and sleeveless dress—for her fictional union. Couples can book the room for their own nuptials or guests can take the historic hotel’s free tour to walk in the princess’ footsteps. Keep the British vibe going at the Omni’s afternoon tea. Fun fact: Both affairs felt full circle as the hotel was visited by Harry’s ancestor King Edward VIII in 1927 and Markle’s fake husband and their wedding party were in attendance on her actual big day.
To Catch a Thief
Witness the chemistry between two golden era stars, Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, against a sunny Mediterranean backdrop. In this case, it’s the beautiful towns and villages along the French Riviera. Take the Grande Corniche road between Nice and Monaco for spectacular views of Monte-Carlo from above but watch out for those hairpin bends. Bond film Goldeneye also features a car chase along this road.
Our favorite kind-hearted waitress Amelie Poulain works at Cafe des Deux Moulins located at the junction of Rue Lepic and Rue Cauchois in Montmartre, Paris. The Sacré-Coeur church and Maison Collignon grocery (by her apartment), where she stops to chat with local residents, are also in the area. Amelie goes to the Canal St Martin to do some stone skipping from a bridge. Both the Gare de l’Est and Gare du Nord train stations feature in the movie.
My Own Private Idaho
Keanu Reeves and the late River Phoenix star as street hustlers who journey between Portland, Idaho, and Italy. The movie begins and ends on a deserted Idaho highway, Route 216 near Maupin, Oregon. Phoenix’s narcoleptic character wakes up in various places including Portland’s Elk Fountain on SW Main Street and in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo. He later hustles at Via Celio Vibenna, Piazza del Colosseo, by the Colosseum.
The Walking Dead
Although the story has moved around several states, filming for the zombie apocalypse series has been contained to Georgia. Many of the bigger sets like the prison and The Sanctuary are on studio lots, but there are lots of photo ops to be had that aren’t behind gates especially in Atlanta. Georgia Harrison Memorial Hospital was where Rick first awoke to the very bad news that the world had fallen apart. The iconic downtown Atlanta skyline and empty freeway shot seen in the original posters can be taken from Jackson Street Bridge (although good luck getting a picture without cars in it). The Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre portrayed the U.S. Centers for Disease Control even though the real CDC is also headquartered in Atlanta. The quaint main street and historic buildings of nearby Senoia have popped up in the show as Morgan’s apartment, Woodbury, and Alexandria (that’s a real neighborhood in the tiny town). Sportsman’s Deer Cooler is a Senoia hunting store the show turned into a butcher shop where Andrea and Michonne chill in the freezer. The radar station where some of the saviors lived is in Meriwether County. Join an authorized tour through companies like Atlanta Movie Tours or the Georgia Tour Company to check out more of the private locations that have been used as sets. Fun fact: Producer, director, and special effects master Greg Nicotero partnered with fan favorite Norman Reedus, who plays Daryl, to open the southern burger joint Nic & Norman’s in Senoia. Reedus recommends the veggie burger on the un-bun (two leaves of iceberg lettuce essentially) while the blue cheese burger gets Nicotero’s vote. While passing through, sip coffee in the official Walking Dead Café and buy souvenirs at the Woodbury Shoppe (owned in part by graphic novelist Robert Kirkman). Check out the world’s most dangerous tourist attractions.
Cleveland in Ohio doubles up as New York City and the German city of Stuttgart, where Loki demands the public to kneel before him (Cleveland’s Public Square). Captain America did battle with aliens inside the old Ameritrust Building and East 9th Street stood in for New York City’s 42nd Street. The entrance to the Cleveland Trust Tower was transformed into the Grand Central-42nd Street subway station. Captain America rescued cornered civilians from a Manhattan bank at the glass-domed Rotunda of the currently disused 1905 Cleveland Trust Building.
To find a real-life stand-in for the hidden island paradise Zeus gave the Amazons, Wonder Woman‘s production designer considered spots in 47 countries, according to the studio’s press notes. Themyscira needed to be exotic, ancient, and wild as well as have a beach large enough to stage a big battle with the Germans, imposing cliffs, and weather conducive to the women warriors’ skimpy clothing. Most needs were fulfilled by Italy’s Amalfi Coast although cliffs had to be added in post-production. The production moved to the U.K. when Diana (Gal Gadot) leaves to help Steve (Chris Pine) with his mission in industrial London and war-torn 1918 Europe. They arrive at Paddington Station, which is actually King’s Cross, as Paddington had been updated for the Olympics and is too modern-looking for the film. The vintage cars were brought in from the Bluebell Railway Trust in Sheffield Park in East Sussex where they can still be ridden. Various other locations used include: Essex’s Fort Tilbury (Dr. Maru’s first bomb factory), the now abandoned Royal Air Field Heyford in Oxfordshire (her second bomb factory), Luton Hoo Farm (a country estate turned hotel that was the outskirts of Veld), Surrey’s Bourne Wood (Belgium woods), Hatfield House‘s Long Gallery (the gala), and Arundel Castle in West Sussex was the Belgian chateau appropriated by the German High Command. Fun fact: Steve takes Diana to Selfridges to find her something appropriate to wear. Despite the original department store still standing, they could not use it because it’s on an extremely busy street. Victoria House, designed by the same architect, and Australia House subbed in.
Sex and the City
The city’s sights and streets deserve equal billing with Sex and the City‘s four lead actors. Carrie Bradshaw’s “East 73rd Street” is fictitious, but you can find the brownstone building at 66 Perry Street in Greenwich Village. It seems unbelievable that she would have paid just $700 per month for the rent-controlled one-bedroom apartment when the apartment would cost $3,000 in today’s market according to ForRent.com. Big and Carrie’s prewar Central Park penthouse across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 1010 5th Avenue is a significant upgrade with a monthly rent of $190,000!
The Hunger Games
The 2012 hit film that made Jennifer Lawrence a huge star took place within the pine forests and craggy mountains of DuPont State Forest in North Carolina. Abandoned textiles town Henry River Mill Village was used as the poorest district of Panem, District 12. Katniss hunted in the Big Ivy Area, Pisgah National Forest, on Route 197 northeast of Asheville. Scenes of the Tributes’ training center in the Capitol were filmed inside the abandoned cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris Cabarrus Plant in Concord. The Convention Centre in Charlotte became the set for the fiery chariot entrance, while the stage for the Tributes’ interviews with Caesar took place at Knight Theater. The Arena scenes were filmed at North Fork Reservoir on Black Mountain and DuPont State Forest.
The Brothers Bloom
Rian Johnson’s 2008 comedy The Brothers Bloom was almost entirely filmed in Romania. Filming locations included several locations in Bucharest and Constanta’s Port and Casino. Some of the most memorable scenes were filmed at Peleș Castle in Sinaia. The beautiful mountainside palace was once the residence of the Romanian Royal family. In the film, it’s the home of an eccentric millionaire whose treasures are coveted by the Blooms.
The Lord of the Rings
New Zealand played a central role in Peter Jackson’s cinematic masterpiece, from the soaring peaks and valleys of the South Island to the North Island’s picturesque village of Matamata in the Waikato region. Yes, you can enjoy the Shire’s idyllic, lush green meadows for yourself and visit the thatched-roof cottages of Hobbiton, the only set that remains intact from the epic trilogy. Don’t forget to visit the Green Dragon and try some specially brewed Middle Earth beverages.
Steven Spielberg was familiar with Kauai after shooting Raiders of the Lost Ark on the island, so it seems like an ideal choice for his 1993 movie Jurassic Park. It represented the fictional Isla Nublar with filming taking place at Limahuli Garden, Hoopii Falls, and Hanapepe Valley. Spielberg also filmed in Maui and Oahu at Kualoa Ranch, a 4,000-acre cattle ranch where you can zip line, ride horses, and take ATV tours.
Lost, Jumanji, Jurassic World, Kong: Skull Island, and Hawaii Five-O
What do all these plane crash survivors, cops, dinosaurs, video game-playing teens, and primate-hunting adventurers have in common? They all visited Hawaii’s Backlot aka the Ka’a’awa Valley at Kualoa Ranch while filming and are all talked about when you hop aboard the vintage school bus and take the Hollywood Tour. Take pictures at the first Jurassic films fallen tree, fake a swing on Hurley’s golf course, hear about explosions and banter between The Rock and Kevin Hart, wander around a WWII army bunker full of props and evidence from one of Steve McGarrett’s cases, find Godzilla’s footprints, and marvel at giant bones from Kong. Fun fact: The first day of filming on Jurassic World took place at the Honolulu Zoo, where the animal paddocks became the amusement park’s petting zoo. Human stand-ins crawled around with saddles and toddlers on their backs. Their gray special effects suits allowed them to be transformed with CGI into the baby triceratopses guests were riding.
The Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia is now abandoned, but it once housed Al Capone before falling to ruin. As a result, this creepy building made the perfect post-apocalyptic setting for the sci-fi flick 12 Monkeys. The site still operates as a full-time museum and fans can take an audio tour narrated by actor Steve Buscemi.
Out of Africa
The Academy Award-winning drama was filmed on location in Kenya, a stunning setting for an epic romance. The Masai Mara featured prominently and the famous scene where Robert Redford washes Meryl Streep’s hair took place on the banks of the Mara River. A number of outdoor scenes were filmed in the Shaba Reserve north of Nairobi and the Ngong Hills.
This feel-good romantic comedy made this gentrified corner of London a huge star in 1999. It showcases Bohemian Portobello Road market and that blue door on Westbourne Park Road, which was where screenwriter Richard Curtis lived at the time. The famous door has since been removed and auctioned off for charity. Other locations include the Ritz Hotel, the Notting Hill corner where the couple has their fateful collision (now a branch of Coffee Republic) and the bookshop at 13-15 Blenheim Crescent.
Field of Dreams
The crew of this Kevin Costner’s feel-good flick built a baseball field on a farm in Dubuque County and it has remained there to this day. The iconic site is located about 200 miles from Des Moines and attracts over 100,000 visitors from around the globe each year. Visitors can take a spin around the bases, visit the surrounding cornfield or watch locals play. Check out this list of iconic movies set in every state.
Location is a huge part of a successful business plan and the InterContinental Los Angeles Century City benefits greatly from its placement around the corner from Fox Studios as it has made it quite convenient for TV shows that have shot there including Speechless and New Girl to pop over for a scene or two. (Rooms along the backside of the hotel look out onto the busy lot and a soundstage’s giant mural of Bruce Willis in Diehard.) Modern Family has taken up residence there multiple times over its nine seasons. Claire (Julie Bowen) and Phil (Ty Burrell) try to spice up their marriage with some Valentine’s Day role-playing in the Copper Lounge and the garden was converted into Jay (Ed O’Neill) and Gloria’s (Sofia Vergara) backyard to celebrate their 10thwedding anniversary. Fun fact: It also attracts movie scouts. In Molly’s Game, Jessica Chastain pulls into the fabric-draped and chandeliered porte-cochere before one of her character’s all-night power games.
Mamma Mia! and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again
Back in 2008, bride-to-be Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) tried to determine which of her mother’s (Meryl Streep) former beaus was her father all while singing and dancing to the happy tunes of Abba in Greece. Of course, most of the musical was filmed in a windowless studio in England, but the cast did whisk away to Greece to shoot scenes for their last summer. After an extensive scout of 21 Greek islands, Skiathos and Skopelos made the cut to play the fictional paradise of Kalokairi. Sophie sends the three wedding invitations from a hill on the isle’s east side that has a stellar view of St. Nikolaos bell tower. The ex-boyfriends meet for the first time at the Old Port in Skiathos. Pristine Kastani Beach on Skopelos is the setting for three numbers including the stag serenade and its Glysteri Beach is the wedding departure point. Part of the “Dancing Queen” sequence takes place in an olive grove and village in the Mouresi area of Damouhari along the Pelion coast of the mainland. Fun fact: This time around, the sequel’s staff was sent to Croatia. Kalokairi is now played by Vis, a remote islet with crystal clear waters and postcard architecture that was once home to a Yugoslav army military base. New memorable moments were shot in Vis Harbour, Karolina Square, Church of St. Jeronim, Restaurant Jastozera in Komiza, and Barjaci Bay, which was transformed into the Villa Donna and the “Dancing Queen” jetty.
Ben Affleck’s movie was loosely based on the rescue of six Americans from Tehran during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. The vibrant and colorful Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey, stands in for a bazaar in Tehran. There were also shots of the exterior of the instantly recognizable Blue Mosque and the Yeni Camii (New Mosque), as well as the interior of the Hagia Sophia. The Embassy scene was filmed in the Bakirkoy neighborhood.
This comedy was filmed in multiple locations in Las Vegas, but the most screen time was dedicated to Caesars Palace Hotel and Casino. This is where their epic bachelor party begins and ends when they finally find the groom on its rooftop. Although the entrance, lobby, pools, elevators, and corridors were filmed in the hotel, “The Villa” where the group stays was created on a soundstage at Warner Brothers Studios. If it seems familiar, you’re probably thinking of the suite in Rain Man that inspired it, The Forum Tower Emperor’s Suite.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
This “eternal” classic shows a different side to New York, hopping between the Hamptons and Williamsburg. Clementine’s Williamsburg apartment at 59 Orient Avenue has been torn down and replaced and Joel’s apartment is in Yonkers (123 Valentine Lane) although it’s supposedly in Rockville Centre on screen. Clementine works at Barnes & Noble on Broadway & West 115th Street. Other locations include Umbrella Beach, the Georgica Association House, and the Ocean Surf Resort in Montauk, as well as Grand Central Station.
Pirates of the Caribbean
Follow in the footsteps of Captain Jack Sparrow and visit Wallilabou Anchorage in St. Vincent, where scenes from Port Royal were shot. The set from the hit 2003 movie remains with some buildings and props (including waterside canons and a noose) still standing.
Tim Burton’s fantasy comedy-drama included the main character, Edward Bloom, visiting a mysterious town in the middle of a dark forest. If you’re ever around Montgomery, Alabama, you can visit the custom-built town of Spectre by accessing a small island at the end of Cypress Lane. The idyllic town was built on the banks of the Alabama River, and is currently in a state of dilapidation. It’s fun to visit, but any buildings that remain have started to reveal their true Styrofoam and plasterboard form and bricks and roofs are covered in moss and mold.
Saving Private Ryan
Perhaps it’s surprising that the famous opening 20-minute long scene of Saving Private Ryan was filmed in Ireland’s County Wexford and not the coast of Normandy. Filming took place on Ballinesker Beach, Curracloe Strand, and lasted for two months with 2,500 extras. From World War II to the Gulf War, here are some of the best military movies to watch on Veterans Day.
Paddington, the beloved bear known for wearing red Wellingtons, is named after the train station where he meets the Brown family. There are several cafés at the station where you can have tea and cake as Mr. Brown and Paddington do. The family film features numerous famous attractions in London including Buckingham Palace, the Natural History Museum, and Portobello Road in Notting Hill. The pretty pastel houses along Chalcot Crescent in Primrose Hill stood in for the Brown’s fictitious address of “Windsor Gardens.” Find out 16 more movies the whole family can enjoy together.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Plenty of real locations from Nelson Mandela’s life were used in this powerful biopic. Locations you can visit include his cell on Robben Island, Cape Town’s City Hall, and the Palace of Justice in Pretoria. The interior of Robben Island Prison was reconstructed at Cape Town Film Studios, as the real prison is now a museum. Mandela’s childhood village in Transkei was filmed in the Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal province.
Although it was set in Vienna, the onscreen rivalry between composers Mozart and Salieri played out almost entirely in Prague, Czech Republic. The Mala Strana provided an atmospheric area of winding streets and medieval architecture for an authentic period backdrop with market scenes being filmed in Maltese Square. The film begins in the 18th-century Invalidovna hospital in the Karlin area of Prague. Mozart’s house and the Emperor’s Palace are both located in Hradcany Square. The Estates Theater at Havirska Street was the set for the opera scenes and was the real-life venue for Mozart’s final performance.
Rebel Without a Cause
Rebel Without a Cause was James Dean’s most celebrated movie despite his death (or perhaps because of it) just before its release in 1955. Much of the classic was shot at the Griffith Observatory in the Hollywood Hills, California. The Observatory has a statue honoring Dean, as well as great views of the Hollywood sign. The school in the movie was Santa Monica High School on Pico Boulevard, 4th Street, while some interiors were shot at John Marshall High School in Los Feliz. Unfortunately, Rebel Without a Cause is on the list of classic movies that didn’t win Best Picture.
Under The Tuscan Sun
If you’ve been daydreaming about pulling a Diane Lane and running away to start over in Italy since the romance hit theaters 15 years ago, you are in luck. Known in the film as Villa Bramasole, Villa Laura is now available to rent. Unlike in the film, the Cortona estate is not falling apart and you won’t likely need to pick up so much as a hammer during your minimum seven-night stay. In fact, it was recently renovated and now contains a modern kitchen, 10 bedrooms, 10.5 bathrooms, conservatory, ping pong table, DVD players, pool, Bocce court, basement wine cellar, pizza oven, Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and plenty of places to sit and soak up the namesake sun. Fun fact: If you’re lucky, you might run into author Frances Mayes, whose 1996 memoir was the basis for the film and who still lives in town, doing her grocery shopping at the weekly market fair in town. Next, find out the 12 things movies always get wrong about real life.