10 Iconic Movie Locations You Can Visit Right Now

Feel like you are right there with your favorite characters with these movie locations worth the visit.

By Kevin C. Neece | Updated

One of the best ways to celebrate your fandom for any film is to visit the actual places where it was shot. Most sets are torn down after production on a movie ends, but locations were there before the movie and are there long after. Here’s our list of ten movie locations you might want to visit on your next getaway.

Cabazon Dinosaurs – Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

In the film, Pee-Wee and Simone have a romantic rendezvous inside one of these giant concrete dinosaurs, located in Cabazon, California, before Pee-Wee is chased around the roadside attraction by the jealous Andy. This movie location began as a way for Knott’s Berry Farm sculptor and portrait artist Claude K. Bell to draw attention to his restaurant. In the 1960s, Bell constructed the pair of dinosaurs, Dinny and Rex, from steel and concrete.

They’re still standing today and are fun to visit, even if Dinny is now home to a creationist museum and gift shop. But visitors can still go inside the dinosaurs and enjoy other dino-themed attractions.

The Colosseum – Gladiator

This historical landmark in Rome, Italy, is not technically a movie location for Gladiator. The colosseum sequences in the film were shot at a replica set built for the production in Malta, with massive extensions created in CGI to fill out the rest of the arena. But that doesn’t mean the real Colosseum isn’t worth visiting or won’t transport you at times to scenes from the film.

Visitors to the site can explore the enormous outer wall, the stands, and the arena. You can even go through the Gate of Death and below the structure into the underground Hypogeum, where gladiators would wait before bouts and see the trap doors used to raise lions into the arena. Are you not entertained??

Nakatomi Plaza/Nakatomi Tower – Die Hard

This movie location was actually built as such, with the interior structure containing redundancies intended for filming. The damaged exterior seen in Die Hard, 2121 Avenue of the Stars (formerly Fox Plaza) in Los Angeles, California, has seen its share of action over the years. Though it was first used in Bruce Willis’ breakout action classic, it has also appeared in other films as well.

It played radio station KPPX in the 1994 comedy Airheads and was digitally demolished in Fight Club. It also features in episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The X-Files, along with Robocop 2’s Sunblock 2000 TV ad.

King’s Cross Station – Harry Potter

An example of a movie location that has embraced its heritage, London’s King Cross Station actually features Platform 9¾. While it won’t transport you to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, you can pose with a luggage cart halfway through its trip into the brick wall. There is also a Harry Potter gift shop onsite, modeled after Olivander’s Wand Shop.

The station features prominently in the series, not only providing the passageway from everyday life to the world of magic, but playing an important role in the climax of the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

The Overlook Hotel – The Shining

Before it was a movie location, the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, was actually part of the inspiration for Stephen King’s original novel. While the interiors of the hotel do not feature spooky twins or children on tricycles, it was used by Stanley Kubrick for the exterior shots of the Overlook Hotel in the film adaptation.

The hotel maintains a larger historical status, but makes plenty of nods to its literary and cinematic significance, not to mention its ghosts, with a “spirited tour” that takes visitors to the hotel’s “dark edges.” It also features a King’s Cottage tour focusing on Stephen King’s connections to the site and a Shining Tour featuring an ax used in the film.

Tatooine – Star Wars

There are multiple movie locations in the deserts of Tunisia, which stood in for the planet Tatooine in Star Wars and its sequels. In the city of Ajim on Djerba island, you can visit a depiction of Mos Eisley and an old mosque that doubled as Obi-Wan Kenobi’s house. It’s not nearly as desolate as it’s portrayed in the film.

La Grande Dune in Tunisia, however, is a vast desert dune that was used in combination with Death Valley National Park to create Tatooine’s sandy landscapes. There are Star Wars-specific sites to visit in Tunisia and tour guides are happy to take you there.

Jurassic Park

The dinosaurs are not native to the area, nor is it near Costa Rica, but Hawaii certainly has a lot to offer on its own, including locations from Jurassic Park. These movie locations are not the park per se, but they did provide the lush landscapes for a number of filming locations for Jurassic Park and its sequels. Kualoa Ranch in Oahu, Hawaii, as well as spots in Kauai and Maui were featured in the film. 

Manawaiopuna Falls in Hanapepe Valley is of particular interest, as it was the site of many of the helicopter shots of Isla Nublar. Visitors can book helicopter tours of the valley and take photos of familiar landscapes from the film.

Grail Temple – Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

A historic site that looks made to be a movie location, Al Khazneh in Petra, Jordan, was built in the first century AD as a mausoleum and crypt. It is believed to have been designed for Nabatean King Aretas IV and has a long, rich history of cultural and artistic significance. Its name means “the Treasury” as it was believed by ancient Bedouins to contain great treasures.

While it does not house the Holy Grail (which itself does not exist apart from legend), it is worth a visit, not just to feel a part of the world of Indiana Jones, but to see its amazing architecture and unique artistic features.

Stephanie’s House – Short Circuit

Astoria, Oregon, is home to a number of movie locations, including the house from The Goonies. But not far from that location, the house that provided the exterior for Stephanie Speck’s house in Short Circuit is open for tours and even to be rented for events and overnight stays. Lovingly and painstakingly restored as closely as possible to its original screen appearance, the inside of the house has also been converted to match as closely as possible the rooms seen in the movie.

There is memorabilia to see inside, including posters, original artwork, and more. You can also catch amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and the famous Astoria-Megler bridge from the back porch. Number 5 hasn’t visited the Short Circuit House yet, but you never know what might be in store for the future as the owner continues to improve this beautiful piece of film history.

The Shire – The Lord of the Rings

One of the most well-preserved movie locations you can visit is in New Zealand, where Peter Jackson shot the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Hobbit films. The Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata, in the Mighty Waikato New Zealand features walking tours of Hobbit holes and beautifully preserved sets from the films. Of course, there is also the lush New Zealand countryside all around, which will give you a glimpse of life in Middle Earth. 

The movie set tour features the exquisite architecture of the Green Dragon Inn, a place for Hobbits, Elves, Dwarves, and humans to gather and enjoy custom ales and other beverages. The inn can also be booked for private events.

This is the way.

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