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Everyone loves a good movie, but some of us are a little more obsessed with the intricacies of filmmaking than others. Perhaps you studied cinematography in school, tried your hand at small-scale directing, or are simply fascinated with the glamour of the silver screen. Whatever your reason, there are some amazing travel destinations you can visit to see the sites of your favorite flicks. There might not be film crews and your favorite celebrities on the set, but there’s still something magical about seeing the places featured in movies first-hand. These are our favorite movie sites to visit around the world – bucket list destinations for every film buff!
1. Harry Potter – Christ Church College, Oxford, UK
Experience the magic of witchcraft and wizardry when you visit the Christ Church College in Oxford. This school and cathedral were used in the Harry Potter series because of the 16th century design featured in the staircase, hallways, and dining hall. The architectural features of Christ Church College and Durham Cathedral served as the inspiration for other movie sets throughout England for the film as well.
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel – Görlitzer Warenhaus, Gorlitz, Germany
The Grand Budapest Hotel is a classic, low-tech Wes Anderson favorite of many film buffs. The Görlitzer Warenhaus in Görlitz, Germany served as the film location for the hotel because of its exquisite lobby. Many other scenes were filmed around the historic town of Görlitz, which is located in eastern Germany about 60 miles from Dresden. Görlitzer Warenhaus is actually a department store, and scenes in the film feature its Arabian baths and restaurants.
3. The Shining – Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood, Oregon (Hotel Prices & Photos)
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado was the original inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in The Shining, but the Timberline Lodge in Oregon’s Mount Hood region was used for shooting its exterior and establishing shots. The lodge was built during the Great Depression and is about 45 minutes east of Portland. Mount Hood is an awesome year-around destination for outdoor enthusiasts who love to hike, mountain bike, and ski. Ultimate fans of the shining will also want to visit Hertfordshire, England, which is where most of the interior scenes were shot in the studio.
4. Hunger Games: Catching Fire – Marriott Marquis Hotel, Atlanta, Georgia
Casual fans of the Hunger Games movies might be surprised to learn that Atlanta and the southeast provide many of the film locations for the films. One of the most memorable scenes from Catching Fire was filed at the Marriott Marquis Hotel at 265 Peachtree Center Avenue NE in Atlanta. This is where the tributes lived and trained in the movie, and it’s known for having one of the largest atriums in the world with stunning glass elevators.
5. Lord of the Rings – Matamata, New Zealand
You don’t have to be a film critic to appreciate the beautiful natural scenery featured in the Lord of the Rings movies. In the films, it’s called “Middle Earth,” but this area is actually a rural village in New Zealand called Matamata. You can visit the Waikato Region on the North Island to experience the mysterious beauty for yourself. Expect to see quaint cottages, flowery meadows, and maybe even a hobbit or two if you’re lucky.
6. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – Cadiz Fort, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Fans of the Pirates movies might be disappointed to learn that most of the movies were not actually filmed in the Caribbean, but Puerto Rico is featured at the beginning and end of On Stranger Tides. Visit Old San Juan to see the Cadiz fort, which is where the old man pulled from the sea reveals that a Fountain of Youth exists!
7. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, Georgia
Lots of films have been made in Savannah, so it’s a wonderful place to visit for film buffs of all backgrounds. One local favorite here is Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which is the 1997 cult classic starring Kevin Spacey. One of the best places to visit to relive the film is the Bonaventure Cemetery, which is a key place in both the movie and the book that preceded it. Other movies with Savannah film locations include Forest Gump and Something to Talk About.
8. A Christmas Story – Family Home and Museum, Cleveland, Ohio
A Christmas Story plays in the background of so many households during the holiday season and will be an enduring favorite for generations to come. Although the story supposedly takes place in Indiana, much of the filming took place in Cleveland, Ohio. Visit the Tremont neighborhood and map it to the address, 3159 W. 11th Street, to see the family’s home. Today, the home is a museum full of fun memorabilia and open year-around. Other filming locations include Higbee’s Department Store, Warren G. Harding (AKA Victoria School), and Bo Ling Chop Suey Palace.
9. 127 Hours – Blue John Canyon, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Even people who haven’t seen 127 Hours have heard about the epic, ultra-intense self-amputation scene in this moving. This 2010 movie is about a solo hiker that gets himself into an impossible situation, which is based on the real life story of Aron Ralson in Blue John Canyon. A lot of the movie was filmed in this very location, which is near Canyonlands National Park and definitely out in the middle of nowhere. To get to the actual site where the climber was pinned down, you’ll need to hike 10+ miles over rough terrain. This is a beautiful region of Utah you can visit to explore canyons, buttes, and the park’s four districts: Island in the Sky, the Needles, the Maze, and the Colorado River with its tributaries.
10. Groundhog Day – Royal Victorian Manor Bed & Breakfast, Woodstock, Illinois
Although Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania is the famous place for groundhogs seeing their shadow and whatnot, much of the film was shot about an hour west of Chicago in Woodstock, Illinois. The town celebrates its own Groundhog Day festival every February 2nd that attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year. Visit the Royal Victorian Manor Bed & Breakfast, which is portrayed as the Cherry Street Inn, in the movie to really feel like you’re living the same day over and over again.
11. Star Wars – Tikal National Park, Guatemala
Star Wars films have an otherworldly feel, but you can visit some the actual locations where the epic series was shot. One of the most beautiful destinations to put on the bucket list of all Star Wars fans is the Tikal National Park in Guatemala. This is where you can see the Mayan temple ruins that served as the Massassi Outpost on Yavin’s fourth moon. This is one of the largest excavated sites in South America and has remains from the Mayan civilization. It’s been a national park since 1955, a World Heritage Site since 1979, and spans 576 square kilometers of jungle habitat.