When it comes to traveling, it seems like locations that have been referenced on either the big or small screen have become increasingly popular for tourists. While people are still seeking out the standard tourist locations with beach scenes or historical significance, there are also millions of people that plan their travel destination based on their favorite film or television show. With so much focus on the actors in Hollywood, it's interesting how so many interviews feature actors talking about shooting films on a soundstage or in Canada. Yet, there are actually quite a few films and television shows that are filmed in a real-life location. While it might be a bit altered in order to truly depict the appropriate scene, it's still a huge draw for tourists to see the location firsthand.
From iconic venues that were featured in some of the biggest hit sitcoms on television to far-off destinations that appear absolutely unworldly, it's not a surprise that more and more people have a renewed excitement about the prospect of travel. While the scenic landscapes that are instantly recognizable for television and movie buffs definitely have its charm, it's some of the actual venues that really seem to surprise people when learning that it's an actual location. Check out our list of the 20 onscreen places that exist in real-life and the 5 that we wish did to see if there aren't a few surprises in there.
25 Central Perk (Friends)
From the very first episode of the hugely popular sitcom, Friends, television viewers were able to see the favorite coffee shop location for the characters. When the first episode of the series premiered in 1994, it started out with the cast congregating at the Central Perk.
While the actual filming of the majority of the Friends' series was set in front of a live audience on a soundstage, that doesn't mean that tourists can't visit Central Perk for themselves.
A replica version of Central Perk resides in Beijing and a second location was opened in Shanghai.
Not only does the café offer menu items that were featured in the actual series but the venue also airs reruns of the Friends show for its customers.
24 Hook & Ladder Company No. 8 (Ghostbusters HQ)
When the very first Ghostbusters film was released in 1984, there was an instant resonation with moviegoers. There was a chemistry amongst the cast of characters and it really helped to boost the popularity of some of the main cast.
The headquarters for the Ghostbusters is instantly recognizable for fans of the film series but some people are surprised to learn that it's an actual fire department that is fully operational in New York.
Hook & Ladder Company no. 8 features the exterior of the headquarters used in the film series.
23 Tom’s Restaurant (Monk’s Café/Seinfeld)
Anyone that's seen an episode of the ultra-popular television sitcom, Seinfeld, will recognize the exterior shot of Tom's Restaurant in New York. The majority of the Seinfeld series only featured a portion of the exterior to hide the Tom's name but people still flock to this diner to see the location for themselves.
The diner is located on the Upper West Side on the corner of Broadway and West 112th street and it has a long history of servicing the area.
Although Seinfeld was around for 9 years, Tom's Restaurant has actually been around since the late 1940s and still has a huge following.
22 Dubrovnik, Croatia (King’s Landing/Game Of Thrones)
Each year of the HBO series, Game of Thrones, has allowed viewers to broaden their view of the entire Seven Kingdoms. Yet, there is one location that has been featured throughout the series.
King's Landing has been featured since the very start of the series that premiered in 2011.
From views of the bustling city to when Cersei was walked through the streets to make her way to the Red Keep, this picturesque location can actually be visited for anyone willing to travel to Croatia. So many tourists flock to Dubrovnik each year, so much so that Mayor Mato Franković proposed limiting the number of tourists to just 40,000 per day in 2017.
21 Chippewa Square (Forest Gump Park Bench)
When Tom Hanks starred in the 1994 film, Forrest Gump, no one could have predicted how well it would have resonated with fans. Moviegoers instantly became enthralled with the characters and the film spawned some ultra-memorable quotes that will be difficult to forget.
Forest Gump enthusiasts might be interested to learn that they can visit that bench at Chippewa Square in Savannah, Georgia.
Tom Hanks, ultimately, earned himself the 1995 Academy Award for Best Actor for his lead role in the film and the scenes of him sitting on that infamous bench while telling his story to the strangers that happened to come along were some of the most memorable in the film.
20 Alcazar, Seville, Spain (Water Gardens of Dorne/Game Of Thrones)
The Alcázar of Seville is a royal palace in Seville, Spain and had already been a huge tourist attraction since long before it was featured in the HBO series, Game of Thrones.
The crew was able to transform the estate's gardens so that it would portray the infamous Water Gardens of Dorne.
While other locations had been featured in the series from the very start, the Water Gardens of Dorne didn't first emerge until Season 4 of the show. Since then, even more tourists have flocked to Seville, Spain to see it with their own eyes.
19 Empire State Building
It seems like New York has long been a favorite location for movie settings over the years and that also means that the Empire State Building has also been featured quite a few times on the silver screen.
Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks' character had their infamous "magical" moment on the observation deck of the Empire State Building, King Kong chose this building to climb and Tom Cruise had everlasting memories of his wife at this location in the Sci-Fi film, Oblivion.
The list goes on and the number of tourists that head to the Empire State Building for themselves seems to continue to increase with each new year.
18 Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey)
When Downton Abbey first premiered in 2010, it became an instant hit with television viewers. From the star-studded cast to the incredible storyline, the series garnered a huge following up until the very last episode appeared in 2015.
The popularity of the series has created a huge interest in seeing the actual location for themselves.
Highclere Castle provides set location tours that cater to all types of Downton Abbey enthusiasts. From self-guided tours to group tours of the castle and the nearby village, this has become a must-see attraction for anyone willing to venture out about an hour-and-a-half from London.
17 The Rock Of Dunamase (Leap Year)
When Leap Year first premiered in 2010, it became a huge favorite for true romantics that love a bit of a foreign twist. Amy Adams starred as the female lead character trekking through Ireland and Matthew Goode portrayed the local man that helped get her to her destination.
During a portion of the film, the pair visited a famous site that ultimately ended with them missing their mode of transportation.
The Rock of Dunamase had already been a huge tourist attraction because of the historical significance of the fortress but the popularity of the film has brought on even more tourists.
16 Jacob Black’s House (Twilight)
When fans of Stephenie Meyer's book series learned that the vampire romance story was going to be adapted for the big screen, there were already a huge number of fans that waited with bated breath. Yet, the release of the very first film in the Twilight series in 2008 turned the storyline into a pop culture phenomenon in the eyes of the public and people just couldn't seem to get enough of the love triangle plot.
While there were millions of people on Team Edward, there were also millions of people that were proudly on Team Jacob.
For Twilight fans that would like to get an up-close view of Jacob Black's home from the film, there are Twilight tours in Forks and the home of Jacob Black can be rented out as a vacation home.
15 Doune Castle, Scotland (Winterfell/Game Of Thrones)
When the very first episode of Game of Thrones premiered in 2011, it was Winterfell that seemed like the main location for the storyline. Television viewers were instantly enthralled with the characters that resided at Winterfell and intrigue continued to grow with each new season.
For Game of Thrones enthusiasts, one of the most popular locations to visit is Doune Castle in Scotland.
Tourists can see the actual tower that was used in the series when Bran "fell" from the window and there is a popular nature walk for visitors to tour the grounds.
14 Katz’s Delicatessen (When Harry Met Sally)
When Harry Met Sally was a huge hit at the box office when it first premiered in 1989 and people can't help but remember that iconic scene that featured Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal's character having a lunch at Katz's Delicatessen. This was the scene that had one of the most memorable lines in the film.
The actual deli has chosen to commemorate that moment with a sign that reads, "Where Harry Met Sally... Hope you have what she had! Enjoy!"
While the film definitely gave the deli a boost in customers, it had already been a huge favorite for those in New York.
13 Mountain Lake Hotel, Virginia (The Kellerman Resort/Dirty Dancing)
When Dirty Dancing first premiered in 1987, Patrick Swayze had already made a name for himself as a highly sought-after actor. Yet, the public became even more enthralled with him once he portrayed the iconic character, Johnny Castle, a dance instructor at The Kellerman Resort.
While the film was supposed to depict a resort in upstate New York, the actual location is set in Pembroke, Virginia.
The real name of the resort is called Mountain Lake Hotel and it's become a huge favorite for tourists that would love to see it for themselves.
12 The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland (Kingsroad/Game Of Thrones)
When HBO's Game of Thrones premiered in 2011, television viewers got to see King Robert Baratheon take the King's Road in order to make the trek from King's Landing to Winterfell.
During this time, the King's Road was seen as safe for travelers and offered a picturesque view that was a perfect setting for the series.
As the show continued, the King's Road became increasingly more dangerous for travelers but that also allowed for the setting to be featured on more than one occasion. For anyone looking to travel the King's Road for themselves, they'll need to head to Northern Ireland and check out The Dark Hedges, a popular tourist attraction.
11 Petra, Jordan (Canyon Of The Crescent Moon/Indiana Jones)
The 1989 film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was a huge hit at the box office and went on to become iconic in the eyes of the public. One of the most memorable locations that were featured in the film was the eastern entrance to Petra, a once thriving trading center and capital of the Nabataean empire.
The film referred to it as the Canyon of the Crescent Moon and moviegoers marveled at the 250-foot-high carved sandstone cliff face.
While Petra was already a huge tourist attraction, the Indiana Jones film certainly increased awareness of this declared UNESCO World Heritage site.
10 Downhill Beach And Mussenden Temple, Northern Ireland (Dragonstone Castle/Game Of Thrones)
Fans of the Game of Thrones series might already be familiar with the site of Downhill Beach and Mussenden Temple since it has been featured quite a few times in the series.
This North Ireland location was the site of Dragonstone, as well as Blackwater Bay.
Downhill Beach was actually the infamous location of when television viewers were introduced to the Red Woman. Melisandre definitely made herself known when she stood with Stannis Baratheon on the beach to punish all of the "non-believers."
9 Rental Home In Tremont Near Cleveland (A Christmas Story House)
Despite the fact that A Christmas Story first premiered back in 1983, the film became iconic and is traditionally played repeatedly as a rerun during the holidays. The majority of the story revolved around the Parker family home and the popularity of the film has made the actual house quite memorable.
The actual home has been restored over the years to look exactly as it did in the film and it's open year-round for tourists.
Film-enthusiasts can even rent out the home for an overnight stay and there is definitely some excitement over seeing the iconic leg lamp.
8 Skaftafell National Park, Iceland (The Land Beyond The Wall/Game Of Thrones)
Many scenes revolving around The Night's Watch or anything having to do with Beyond the Wall in the HBO series, Game of Thrones, was filmed in Iceland. Skaftafell National Park has always been a great attraction in Iceland since it features some majestic glacier hikes.
Yet, it's become even more popular as a tourist destination in recent years since it was the location that was used for Jon Snow and Ygritte's love story, as well as Qhorin Halfhand's attack on the Wildling camp.
7 Essaouira, Morocco (Astapor/Game Of Thrones)
When featuring some of the more exotic locations within the Seven Kingdoms in Game of Thrones, it was important to use settings that were different from other frequently used locations. The series showcased stark differences from one location to the next, whether it was the dark and dreary look of the North or the luxurious sand locations of Dorne.
When featuring Astapor during Daenerys Targaryen's journey through Slaver's Bay, it was the historic bastion in Essaouira, Morroco that was the setting. The area has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and continues to receive throngs of visitors with each new year.
6 Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, Iceland (Land Beyond The Wall/Game Of Thrones)
When Leonardo DiCaprio ultimately won his very first Academy Award, people were taken aback by the global warming comments he made during his acceptance speech. People were surprised to learn about how difficult it was to find the right environmental setting to feature such a cold setting to tell the storyline within The Revenant.
In the case of the Land Beyond the Wall in Game of Thrones, they couldn't have chosen a better location to really make television viewers believe that they were in an ice-capped land.
Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon features the Vatnajokull Ice Cap in Iceland. This is Europe's largest ice cap and can be visited by anyone looking for a truly unique travel destination.
5 Roman Cities (Rome/HBO)
When Rome first premiered in 2005 as one of HBO's newest shows, it received a huge amount of praise due to the incredible sets, storyline and talented cast. While it ran until 2007, it was ultimately canceled despite a huge amount of praise and devotion from its fans.
Entertainment Weekly reported on HBO's decision to cancel the series and said it was "in order to save money on maintaining production resources in Italy."
The series was actually shot at Cinecittà studios on six sound stages, which were transformed to film the series.
4 Completely fictional: Mordor, Mount Doom (Lord Of The Rings)
Prior to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring premiering at the box office in 2001, the storyline already had a huge fanbase due to the incredibly successful book series. Yet, it was this first film in the series that really helped to bring the storyline to a whole new batch of fans.
People couldn't help but feel immersed in the storyline but they won't be able to visit some of the locations that were forefront in the storyline. While it would be amazing to see Mordor and Mount Doom for themselves, it's probably best that it's completely fictional.
3 Completely fictional: USS Enterprise (Star Trek)
The fictional starship, U.S.S. Enterprise, has been depicted in a number of different adaptations on both the small and big screen. The backstory to this starship is that it was supposedly first launched in the year, 2245. It has been captained by a few different commanders but people tend to mostly think of Captain James T. Kirk as the commander of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
While it's obvious that Earth's technology hasn't exactly transitioned to the point where starship traveling is possible, fans of the Star Trek series sure do wish that they could take just one trip on the famed U.S.S. Enterprise.
2 Completely fictional: Titan Of Braavos (Game Of Thrones)
When HBO's Game of Thrones first premiered in 2011, the main locations that were used in the series focused around Winterfell and King's Landing. Yet, there was an early mention of Braavos and television audiences were aware that it was a place that is known for skilled fighters and, of course, the Faceless Man.
Based on George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire book series, fans were curious to see what they would use for the infamous Titan of Braavos. The description in the book was so distinct and the series really seemed to bring it to life on the small screen. Sadly, this is a fictional statue so fans aren't able to actually see it.
1 Completely fictional: Statue Of Taweret (Four-Toed Statue/Lost)
When the Lost series first premiered in 2004, it seemed like the entire storyline was shrouded in mystery. Audiences were left wondering how these people could have survived the plane crash and the island, itself, featured some aspects that seemed completely unworldly. With each new season, it seemed like there were constantly new questions that arose and one of them revolved around a giant statue that featured four toes. Later, it was revealed that the statue was actually of the Egyptian goddess, Tawaret. The statue was actually quite large and the foot was the only thing that remained after contact with the Black Rock in 1867. However, this is just a fictional statue and although Lost fans can visit Hawaii to see some of the shooting locations, they won't be seeing the foot statue.
Sources: Travelchanned.com, Culturetrip.com, entertainmentweekly.com