Few film genres feel as far away from our current reality as science fiction. But, the best films which utilize science fiction tropes are those that keep some sort of foot in the real world, reminding us that some of these possibilities could be a tangible reality.
Movie buffs around the world want to walk through the locations of their favorite science fiction movies because of it. Whether it's Star Wars, Blade Runner, or RoboCop, many spots around the world still hold a bit of magic for science fiction tourists.
10 Tujunga, California
One of the most beloved science fiction movies of all time fits far more comfortably in the family film genre. E. T. The Extraterrestrial tells the story of Elliot, a little boy who's home life is a little unbalanced. Unbeknownst to him, all he and his family needed was a visit from a naive alien.
Taking place entirely in Tujunga, California, E. T. felt like it could have happened in anyone's backyard. The house from the film can still be viewed today and looks exactly as it did in the film. Luckily, it's not too far off from Los Angeles, which has its fair share of Sci-Fi attractions.
9 Johannesburg, South Africa
One of the best science fiction films of the century was District 9. This allegory for apartheid and the suppression of another was fittingly placed in Johannesburg, South Africa. Much of the film was shot here, and if you visit you can see multiple locations and skylines from the film.
One of the most important things you can do however is learning the real history that partially inspired the film. Science fiction is often a tool used to hold a mirror up to ourselves. In this case, you can walk through the history of Apartheid in South Africa, visiting the Apartheid Museum and Nelson Mandela's house.
8 Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia is the site of multiple science fiction films that are beloved the world over. The entirety of M. Night Shymalan's Unbreakable trilogy, as well as many of his other films, have been set and filmed in Philadelphia, as this is where the filmmaker spent most of his childhood.
Another landmark film in the genre was filmed inside the formidable Eastern State Penitentiary. 12 Monkeys, the time and mind-bending drama, used the intimidating prison as a filming location for many sequences. While you're here, you can take in all the other historical sites the city has to offer (not to mention those cheesesteaks).
7 Charlotte, NC
One of the biggest film phenomena of the past ten years has been the teen dystopian adventure. There are a few bargain bin versions, such as Maze Runner and Divergent, but the OG is definitely The Hunger Games. This was certainly the most popular series in the genre and has spawned a huge fan following.
While you're exploring the best Carolina BBQ and traversing across the Outer Banks, be sure to head to a few of the filming locations for the series in and around Charlotte. Spots include District 12, President Snow's Mansion, and more.
6 Chott El Jerid, Tunisia
This is on nearly any Sci-Fi fan's bucket list. In the desert of Tunisia, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, is everyone's favorite moisture farm. The Lars homestead, otherwise known as Luke Skywalker's home on Tatooine in Star Wars: A New Hope, was constructed and remains new Chott el Jerid.
A few other Star Wars locations are not too far off as well, including the sites for Episode I's Mos Espa Spaceport. While many governments still don't advise travel to the region, that doesn't stop anyone. Visitors still are very common, including none other than the director of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
5 Eureka, CA
Need a more accesible Star Wars destination? Why not visit the forest moon of Endor? The home of the Ewoks and the site of the final battle of the original trilogy, Endor was all filmed in North California, taking advantage of the giant redwood forests of Tall Trees Redwood Grove.
Why not use Eureka as a home base to explore? Not only is it not too far from the Redwoods, but it also was the setting of the cult favorite TV series Eureka. Be aware, the actual filming spot of the main battle on Endor was filmed on private land that is no longer accessible. But, that won't stop you from exploring the forests nearby, halfway expecting to see a stormtrooper or Ewok to pop out of the bushes.
4 Dallas, TX
Star Wars represents the fun possibilities of science fiction. Sadly, most science fiction that uses real city backdrops tends to be on the more dour side. Dallas, Texas, for example, was the site of one of the most iconic dystopian films ever made.
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While the film was set on the streets of Detroit, Robocop used the backdrop of Dallas for multiple locations. The Dallas Municipal building was used for Detroit City Hall, The current Dallas City Hall was used as the headquarters of the OCP, and the 40th floor of the Renaissance Tower was used as the conference room of the OCP. These are just a few of many spots throughout Dallas used to bring the film to life.
3 London, UK
Speaking of dystopias, London is an exceptional backdrop for many of them. It seems pretty obvious that if you wanted to show the drastic changes that come from a dystopia, you would use iconic backdrops from cities like London.
Of the many films set and filmed here, the most iconic science fiction films include Children of Men, 28 Days Later, V for Vendetta, and 1984. You're probably sensing a pattern here, huh?
2 New York, NY
New York is an epicenter of filming locations no matter the genre. Comedies, dramas, horror, romances, you name it, its been filmed here. But, like London, there's something about seeing New York in peril that Sci-Fi movies love.
Multiple Marvel films, both in and outside of the MCU have used NYC as a backdrop, not the mention Ghostbusters, Cloverfield, I Am Legend, and King Kong. It is a haven for science fiction storytelling.
1 Los Angeles, CA
More so than anywhere else in the world, Los Angeles is the movie capital of the world. Since so many studios are located here along with so many filmmakers, it just makes it easier to film in LA. THis being the case, thousands of movies of all kinds have filmed here.
There is a strong tradition of Science Fiction in this city though. One of the biggest examples is Blade Runner, which used spots such as the Bradbury Building and the Getty as locations for the Sci-Fi Noir. There are many other movies too, including many of the Transformers films, They Live, and The Terminator.