Sometimes, there is nothing more fun than visiting famous movie locations! Regardless of whether they are big landmarks like the Empire State Building or tiny neighborhood bars and restaurants, visiting these locations is a great way to remember your favorite flicks and can even make you feel like you are part of the movie.
While many of the world’s most popular TV shows are filmed on movie sets in Los Angeles, California, there are still plenty of sights to see all over the world, some of which are in some pretty surprising places! From New York City to New Zealand and everywhere in between, you can find some of the filming locations for Hollywood’s most famous productions scattered across the planet.
Visit Famous Movie Locations in Las Vegas
Whether you’re a movie buff or simply appreciate a great flick now and then, there’s something magical about visiting the places you’ve seen in films! Let’s Roam offers scavenger hunts in over 400 cities worldwide, including a special adventure in Las Vegas, designed to lead participants on a tour of hotels and other attractions that were featured on the big screen!
Famous Movie Locations Around the World
New York City
The island of Manhattan in NYC has provided the perfect backdrop for countless movies and TV shows. In fact, it sometimes feels like virtually every movie nowadays has at least a few scenes set in the Big Apple. This makes it easy to see a number of your favorite filming locations within just a short trip if you plan it right and do a little bit of research beforehand.
To read more about all of Manhattan’s most famous locations, make sure to check out our guide to 32 Famous Buildings in New York City or pick up one of our fun-filled New York City scavenger hunts.
This 1980s classic was filmed in locations all across Manhattan from the Hook & Ladder Firehouse on North Moore Street in Tribeca up to the campus of Columbia University near Harlem. You can also try and spot some ghosts at the New York Public Library or at Dana’s (aka Sigourney Weaver’s) apartment on Central Park West. If you start feeling hungry, you can head over to the Tavern on the Green which was where Rick Moranis was attacked by a hellhound in the movie.
This incredibly well-done monster movie takes you through the streets and subway stations of Lower Manhattan to the Time Warner Center in Midtown before the grand finale in Central Park. Although much of the movie was actually filmed in Los Angeles (the narrow streets of Manhattan can make it challenging to film some big, over-the-top stunts, you can easily retrace the steps of the ill-fated group of friends.
The Day After Tomorrow
Another great disaster movie, The Day After Tomorrow serves as a terrifying reminder of what can happen if we continue to destroy our environment. The movie shows some mind-boggling scenes of the NYC city skyline submerged under layers of ice and snow as Emmy Rossum, Jake Gyllenhall, and friends have to seek shelter in the New York Public Library after getting caught on Fifth Avenue when the city is overtaken by a massive tidal wave.
Sex and the City
One of the most famous TV shows in history to be filmed in New York, Sex and the City follows four friends as they navigate relationships in the Big Apple. Although their lives may have been slightly out of touch with reality, you can visit many of the real-life places from the show today.
From the New York Public Library where Carrie was left waiting at the altar to Carrie’s “Upper East Side” apartment that was actually located on Perry Street in the West Village, you can unlock your inner Samantha, Charlotte, Miranda, or Carrie as you stroll along the city streets. NYC was often called the fifth star of the show and with Just Like That airing this month, only time will tell what other great Sex and the City-themed locations can be added to this list!
This slightly disturbing at times show took us into the secret lives of the Upper East Side’s elite where everyone takes taxis everywhere and lives in penthouse apartments. A lot of the show was filmed in the city and during a visit, you can sit on the steps of the Met like Blair Waldorf and her gang did, make your grand entrance back into high society at Grand Central Station like Serena, or check out some of the show’s famous addresses including the New York Palace Hotel, The Plaza (which has been used in a never-ending list of movies including Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest and Sleepless in Seattle), and The Empire Hotel. Be prepared to spend a pretty penny wherever you go though because their lifestyles definitely don’t come cheap.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
At the start of the movie, you can see Holly Golightly standing outside of Tiffany’s as she looks longingly into the store windows before heading home to her E. 71st Street apartment. She soon begins a romance with her young neighbor and throughout the movie, they stroll along the streets of Midtown East and check out the New York Public Library (notice a theme here?). The movie propelled Audrey Hepburn to iconic status and you can easily slip on your own fancy black dress and follow in her footsteps.
Many of us hoped that we would suddenly transform into adults when we were kids so that we could do all of the cool stuff that was off-limits and this was the premise for the 1980s movie Big. In the film, a young boy wishes he was a grown-up and his wish is granted by a creepy fairground fortune-telling machine. As he maneuvers his way through his new life, he hooks up with a much older lady, plays a larger-than-life piano at FAO Schwarz, and hangs out in Times Square (which was very sleazy then). He even manages to get a great job and score a gorgeous loft apartment on the corner of Grand and Greene Street in Soho. Not bad for a kid trapped in a man’s body huh?
As one of my favorite childhood movies, one of the first things that I did when I moved to New York was retrace the steps of Madison (aka Daryl Hannah) in Splash. At the start of the movie, you see her climb her way onto Liberty Island before promptly getting arrested while wandering around naked outside of the Statue of Liberty. Allan (Tom Hanks) picks her up at the police station and takes her to his apartment in Tudor City in Midtown East. She later heads to Bloomingdales where she buys a new wardrobe. You can then watch as their romance blossoms as they stroll along Madison Avenue (hence, the name) and through Times Square.
Madison has a little secret that soon becomes impossible to keep—she is actually a mermaid. After it is discovered, the star-crossed couple makes a gallant dash through the Financial District before she leaps into the East River from Pier 15. Allan bravely follows her and they live happily ever after.
When Harry Met Sally
This 1990s movie has become an NYC classic. From the iconic “I’ll have what she’s having” scene at Katz’s Deli in the East Village to the Washington Square Park arch where Harry is unceremoniously kicked out of the car by Sally after a long drive from Chicago, this movie used filming locations all around Manhattan to show how their relationship evolved from friendship to romance.
While the deli scene is probably the most famous (and the most often re-enacted), you can create your own love story for Harry and Sally at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where they went on a date or the Puck Building on Lafayette Street where Harry finally told Sally he loved her.
Although much of this Oscar-winning mafia movie was set in Italy, there was one filming location on Staten Island that can be easily visited on a trip to New York—the Corleone Mansion. Located at 110 Longfellow Avenue, the mansion is now private property so you shouldn’t get too close but is well worth the trip for any die-hard fans of The Godfather and simply can’t refuse visiting one of the movie’s locations.
While many movies and shows have been filmed in New York, Washington D.C. has also had its fair share of Hollywood exposure. It has been destroyed in movies like Mars Attacks! and Independence Day while in others, it has served as the romantic backdrop of budding romances.
If you are planning a trip to our Nation’s Capital, make sure to take a look at this guide of the Best Things To Do in Washington D.C.
This incredibly successful comedy centered on two womanizers who finally find women who finally meet their matches after crashing a wedding. Although the home that much of the movie is filmed in doesn’t actually exist, you can see famous Washington landmarks such as the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial throughout the movie.
When The Exorcist was released in 1973, it scared the living daylights out of many people and is still often considered one of the best horror films in history. While much of the movie is set inside the home of a 12-year-old girl named Regan who becomes possessed, one of the movie’s scariest scenes is actually on a series of staircases located just outside where a priest fell to his death. These stairs can be found in Georgetown but make sure to walk carefully so you don’t accidentally copy this movie scene.
While Los Angeles is more often used as a place to film the interior scenes of movies and TV shows, there are still a number of movies filmed on location here. The city has a lot of wonderful things to offer so don’t forget to read this Ultimate Guide to the Best Things To Do in Los Angeles before you go!
La La Land
This fun-filled musical is filmed across a whopping 60 locations around Los Angeles. From the opening scenes at the 105/110 Freeway Exchange where drivers dance their way through a traffic jam to Mia’s adorable Long Beach apartment set in a 1920s Spanish Colonial architectural gem, the movie showcases the many different sides of Los Angeles. Mia and Sebastian’s first dance takes place near Cathy’s Corner on Mt. Hollywood Drive and the beautiful, art deco Griffith Observatory (which was also in Rebel Without a Cause) sets not only the stars but their toes twinkling as well!
Rodeo Drive Baby! It is hard to forget about the hooker with a heart of gold that gets the fairy tale ending. Filmed on location in Los Angeles, the movie includes scenes from Beverly Hills such as the exclusive shopping strip of Rodeo Drive, and the exterior shots of the luxurious Beverly Wilshire Hotel, which provides a scathing juxtaposition of Vivian’s life at the Las Palmas Hotel and her “office” on Hollywood Boulevard. Unfortunately, most of the interior hotel scenes were actually set at the Ambassador Hotel, a 1920s Hollywood landmark that was sadly torn down in 2005.
Around the United States
While many of Hollywood’s most famous films have been made in Los Angeles, NYC, and D.C., this doesn’t mean that those cities get to have all the fun! There are plenty of other fantastic movies that have been filmed around the country and even the tiniest towns have gotten a chance to experience the bright lights of Tinseltown!
Forrest Gump offers viewers a nostalgic look back into America’s history through the story of one man and fittingly, the movie was filmed into locations all across the United States.
While there have been plenty of movies filmed on the Washington D.C. Mall as you can see above, one of the most well-known scenes from recent Hollywood history is the one in Forrest Gump where Jenny and Forrest reunite with a big hug in the middle of the Reflecting Pool.
While this scene was certainly touching, the bulk of the movie was actually filmed in Georgia and California. Throughout the movie, you can see Savannah’s Chippewa Square as Forrest sits on a bench telling his life story to anyone who wants to take a seat next to him and listen in for a bit. Forrest recounts his childhood in Greenbow, Alabama which was actually filmed in Varnville, Georgia and many of the stores in the town look like they came straight out of the movie.
Sometimes, we all wish that we could make our family disappear and one little kid actually got to experience this; albeit probably at the worst time ever. In the movie, Kevin McAllister gets accidentally left at home when his entire family goes to Paris for Christmas. His house, which is located in a small town Winnetka, Illinois, was then targeted by inept robbers who thought the home was empty. Chaos ensued and Kevin was able to protect his family home.
There was a narrow window of opportunity to relive your own Home Alone adventure recently. The house was listed on Airbnb but all availability was snapped up the same day it became available so make sure to keep an eye out in case it becomes available again!
A Christmas Story
This legendary Christmas movie has become one of the most quotable (and marketable!) holiday movies of all time. From the sexy Leg Lamp to the Red Ryder BB Gun, A Christmas Story finds hilarious ways to tell the story of Ralphie who wants one thing, and one thing only, for Christmas. Despite being told that he will shoot his eye out by his mom, Santa, and his teachers, he finally gets his dream present.
The entire movie was filmed in Cleveland, Ohio and Ralphie’s house has been recreated to look just like it did in the movie (although most of the interior scenes were actually filmed in Toronto, Canada). After visiting the house, you can head over to the Higbee Building in Downtown Cleveland where Ralphie encountered a terrifying Santa.
No movie in history has probably made more people scared of swimming in the ocean than Jaws. Filmed in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, Jaws is still pretty scary even when you consider the slightly outdated special effects (no CGI here!) that were needed to bring Steven Spielberg’s 25-foot shark to life. Many of the buildings from the movie can still be seen including the Amityville Gazette Building and the small ferry terminal located in the town of Edgartown.
In one of the most motivating movie scenes in cinematic history, Rocky (played by a young Sylvester Stallone) jogs up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Pennsylvania, which also happens to be one of the biggest art museums in the country. While you may not want to recreate this scene exactly, it is still fun to walk up these famous steps.
Steven Spielberg certainly knows how to set a good scene and he couldn’t have picked a better location than the Hawaiian island of Kauai. As the smallest of Hawaii’s main islands, Kauai’s rugged terrain made it the perfect spot for this dinosaur flick. The island’s northeastern shore was the location of the first dinosaur “sighting” in the original film and the Napali Coast’s stunning cliffs were used throughout the Lost World. Since it is quite a bit more difficult to reach the locations for Jurassic Park than some of the other locations on this list, this is one time where you may want to join a special tour to help you get around.
While many people know that The Shining was based on the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. However, in the movie, the exterior shots were actually filmed at the Timberline Lodge in Oregon. It is possible to visit this 1937 alpine hotel and wander around the grounds – if you dare!
The United Kingdom
While Hollywood puts out an incredible array of movies each year, the United Kingdom is not far behind with plenty of excellent films being released annually – many of which are filmed in London, the country’s main hub. This makes it easy to visit the scenes of some of your favorite British flicks without having to travel too far out of the city. However, if you fancy a bit of a road trip, you can always head up to Scotland which has provided a great backdrop for many films from the wonderful but sad One Day and the sad but definitely not very romantic James Bond movie Skyfall. Below are just a few of our favorite movies to help you get started!
While it isn’t exactly possible to visit the world of Harry Potter, you can go to many of the filming locations scattered around London. One of the most well-known of these is Kings Cross Train Station which served as a gateway to Hogwarts; however, you can also visit the Australia House which served as the interior scenes of the Gringotts Wizarding Bank, Great Scotland Yard, home of the Ministry of Magic, or take a stroll on one of London’s many famous bridges. While you may not be able to fly between them as Harry did, all it takes is a little imagination—just ask J.K. Rowling!
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
This iconic British flick has been making audiences laugh for decades and if you think you are brave enough to battle the Knights Who Say “Ni” or the Rabbit of Caerbannog, you can visit Doune Castle which was the setting for the movie’s Camelot and pretty much everything else.
As one of the most beloved Christmas movies of the 2000s, Love Actually strives to prove that love actually is all around us. The movie takes you into the lives of very different people living in London and many of the filming locations are surprisingly easily accessible. You can visit the Grosvenor Chapel where Peter and Juliet get married, browse the racks at Selfridges on Oxford Street, or stroll along the Oxo Tower Wharf reliving Mark’s heartache and embarrassment as he realizes that Julie now knows his secret.
Most people dream about what it would be like to meet and fall in love with their favorite celebrity and this heart-warming film makes you think that it could actually be possible! Set in the charming neighborhood of Notting Hill, the movie introduces viewers to Anna and William, two very different people who somehow connect on the bustling street of Portobello Road when Anna visits William’s bookstore located at 142 Portobello Road before they somehow end up in his house with the blue front door at 280 Westbourne Park Road. The vibrant neighborhood market helps move the romance forward and can be visited throughout the week.
In these hilarious rom-coms, Bridget Jones has a fabulous apartment right next to Borough Market and The Globe pub, gets to walk across Tower Bridge on her commute to work, and goes to work events in Piccadilly Circus. She even has a romantic nighttime stroll with her boss (wait … is that always a good thing?) at the Shad Thames Wharf Bridges before heading back to his place at the Pickfords Wharf Apartments. While her life seems ideal on paper, her hilarious hijinks make you realize that she really struggles to keep herself together. This makes her one of the most relatable fictional female characters of recent decades and a visit to some of the movie’s filming locations is a fun way to relive her most memorable moments.
Further Afield Around the World
Another Audrey Hepburn classic, Roman Holiday tells the story of a princess who gets to escape her reality for a bit and have a little vacation with a handsome reporter. As they gallivant around the city, you catch a glimpse of some of Rome’s most famous landmarks including the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and the Piazza Venezia. The movie is nearly as much of a love story between the audience and the city of Rome as it is between the two main characters so if you are planning a trip there, this is the perfect movie to help get you inspired
Lord of the Rings
New Zealand is known for many things—jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery, friendly people, welcoming cities, and the Lord of the Rings. The movies were filmed all across the country in more than 150 different locations and you can still see many of these today. Some of them are located just outside of big cities which makes them easily accessible.
The adorable homes of the Hobbits can now be visited as part of Hobbiton, a tourist attraction located near Matamata. Nearby, the soaring Mount Doom can be found in Tongariro National Park. Meanwhile, the surrounding areas of Wellington were used to represent everything from the Hobbiton Woods to the Gardens of Isengard.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
The Jordanian town of Petra has exploded on the tourist scene and the Indiana Jones franchise may have had a little something to do with it! While the movie was filmed in the deserts of Spain and in Arches National Park in Utah, the Petra scenes are some of the most memorable of the whole movie. Petra was the hiding spot of the Holy Grail and a stand-in for the Canyon of the Crescent Moon.
While it is pretty cool that Indiana Jones was filmed there, the thing that makes Petra really spectacular is that these rock-hewn tombs and temples are over 2,000 years old. They can be easily accessed on a day trip from Israel or during a Jordanian road trip which can even include a visit to Wadi Rum where part of Star Wars was filmed!.
Set on a fictitious island in Greece and based on music by ABBA, Mamma Mia is one of those movie musicals that is hard to resist singing along to. If you simply get enough of the catchy tunes and fun story like some of us, you can always head out to the real-life island where the movies were filmed!
Most of the exterior scenes were filmed on a small island called Skopelos where you could find the picturesque beach where Sophie and Donna see their long-time friends as they arrive for the big wedding. Unfortunately, the jetty and beach bar that were in the movie have been torn down, but you can still get a pretty good idea why this choose this island to be Donna’s hidden gem.
Ready to Roam?
We hope that this list has reminded you of some great movies and the stunning locations that they have been filmed in and that you are inspired to get out on the road!
If you need some more inspiration on places to visit, don’t forget to check out the other travel guides on our blog. These have been written by our very own in-house travel experts to help you find a favorite destination for your next vacation!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are great places to visit for movie lovers?
There are several famous movie locations you can visit! New York City is one of the best cities for movie lovers, as many different films have been made there, but D.C. and L.A. are great, as well.
What filming locations can I visit?
You can find plenty of famous movie locations in New York City Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and around the world that have been used in movies and are open to the public.
What are some good vacation spots for movie lovers?
Why not create an itinerary based on the scenes of your favorite films? Then, while you’re in cities known for their famous movie locations, try a fun-filled scavenger hunt!