Watching TV isn’t just a pastime anymore, it’s a way of life. Companies like Netflix are reshaping the way we experience series, films and the world. In fact, there’s a whole new wave of a travel trend that’s a result of this change – it’s completely centered around discovering the places that we all love to watch when we Netflix and chill. And that means producers, writers and directors have to be busy creating more of the best of the best. With so many shows out there and on-demand TV having us say sayonara and good riddance to commercials, we have to admit we’re the pickiest viewers of the past century.
But the outcome of this demand is only awesome for everybody. Scouts are selecting some of the best damn filming spots in the world, from small-town America and lavish British castles to breathtaking state parks and the haunting coasts of Iceland. All of these locales tend to be spots we probably had never heard of before, but now they’re on everyone’s radar. After all, what could be more cool than seeing the real spots where your favorite protagonists fought off an entire army or contemplated the meaning of life?
As an admitted Netflix-watcher myself, I can’t say I didn’t have a lot of fun researching and writing this list. Let’s be honest, I’ve now had to add quite a few places in the world to my bucket list. So get ready to make your own personalized list of must-sees from some of the best filming spots of series in the last decade.
20 The Office – San Fernando Valley, California
Kicking things off right, who wouldn’t want to throw back some cold ones where Michael Scott, Dwight Schrute and Pam Beesly hang out? That’s right, the bar featured in The Office series—known as “Poor Richard’s Pub” is actually a real live bar, although it’s not actually in Scranton, PA like in the show. The real name of the place is Pickwick’s Pub, located in Woodland Hills, California, just a little jaunt west of Hollywood in the Valley. They’ve even got the original prop mirror with the pub’s name and “Scranton, PA” on it. If you’re in LA, a stop here for some brews and a selfie is a must.
19 The Sopranos – New Jersey, USA
This show quickly became a classic, and it’s hard to believe the last one aired already about 10 years ago. Still, this is on many people’s favorite list, and it’s easy to see why. The swanky spots, moody cinematography, distinct characters and unbelievable plot lines had us all enthralled. Whether you saw the finale or not, checking out the location won’t spoil it for you. You can dig into a sundae at Holsten's ice cream parlor where it was filmed in Bloomfield, New Jersey just a half-hour drive west of Manhattan. This spot has been open almost a century and is just as charming as when they first opened their doors.
18 Broadchurch – West Bay, Dorset, England
If you spend any time on Netflix, you must have stumbled across this amazingly gripping British detective series set in a small town on Dorset’s Jurassic coast. The beaches are gorgeous here, with towering golden cliffs cutting straight across towards the horizon. Don’t miss the spot that’s famous throughout the show – East Beach and East Cliff. There’s a beautiful promenade along the sea here that’s great for a leisurely stroll, too. Fishing is a favorite activity with locals and tourists, but if you’re not into that then just grab some fish and chips by the harbor and take in the stunning views.
17 It’s Always Sunny… – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
If you’re in the Philly area and are someone who likes to laugh... a lot, then you’ve probably watched multiple episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. If, like me, you’ve even had the pleasure of seeing much of this series in a bar, then you’ll know exactly where to start. Although it’s technically not a bar (the one used in the show is in LA), it’s something even better – Helium Comedy Club, where the crew takes Dee to start her career at an open mic night. Some other great spots include the cool Italian Market (it’s not actually a sketchy area), or pretty Rittenhouse Square Park, right downtown.
16 The Crown – The United Kingdom
Her Majesty gives you a glimpse into her life throughout this beautiful island in Netflix’s The Crown series. Taking us from the swankiest spots in London to her Highlands hideaways, this show clearly doesn’t skimp on location, location, location. The obvious must-sees in London include Buckingham Palace and Lyceum Theatre. But further afield big-time fans should head to Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire (used to stage the Queen’s royal wedding in Westminster Abbey) and Audley End House in Essex. Last but not least, don’t miss an excursion up north to the breathtaking Ardverikie Estate and the ruins of Slain Castle, both used for shots of the Queen’s solo getaways to Scotland.
15 TWD – Atlanta, Georgia and Surrounding Area
You can really explore this southern capital gem as if you’re on the run from zombies – these filming spots offer up some perfect mini road trip excursions. Start out on Jackson Street Bridge to get some awesome views of the city and Freedom Parkway, made famous from the pilot episode when Rick rides into abandoned Atlanta on horseback. The coolest locations though were just outside Atlanta, like the Bellwood Quarry, which is only about a 4-mile drive from downtown. This beautiful rocky and tree-filled scene was also used in the first couple episodes where they first set up camp. Head further outside the city and check out Main Street in Senoia, known in the show as “Woodbury.”
14 The Handmaid’s Tale – Toronto, Canada
More popular for filming locations than many shows lead you to believe, Canada is high on the list if you’re looking to do some epic TV-inspired road-tripping. Hulu’s recent rendition of Margaret Atwood’s 1980’s dystopian novel is almost all filmed in Toronto and nearby small towns. Famous shots include City Hall, Lower Bay subway station and the Ritz-Carlton. One of coolest spots to visit is the Fairmount Royal York Hotel, built around 1929 with intricate hand-painted ceilings and impressive reception rooms. Stop here for afternoon tea or a swanky cocktail in the evening. Artscape Wychwood Barns is also a must-see, an old streetcar maintenance building now converted into a space for artists’ studios, a theater, farmer’s market and more.
13 Girls – Brooklyn, New York
This comedy-drama from Lena Dunham was filmed mostly in Brooklyn and Manhattan, but also features some other great spots around the NYC area. One of the most recognizable to fans is Cafe Grumpy, the coffee shop where Hannah works for a hot second. They’ve got locations throughout the city, but the show featured their first shop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Some other great stops include her bookstore haunts, like BookThugNation, a book haven in Williamsburg and Spoonbill & Sugartown, another bookstore in the same ‘hood from season two, complete with a resident cat. Featured in a rooftop scene of one of the show’s many breakups, Roberta’s Pizza in Brooklyn is serving up great pies to satisfy your Girls’ post-saunter cravings.
12 Downton Abbey – England’s Countryside Castles & Manors
If you haven’t been on a castle excursion, now’s the time. And even if you’re not into this British high society drama, the filming spots are breathtaking no matter your feelings about the show. The most known castle that was used to depict the family’s home is Highclere Castle in Berkshire, just 70 miles from London – the best time to go is during the summer months when it’s open Sunday to Thursday. Afterwards, stop in for some afternoon tea at the Dowager’s house at Byfleet Manor in Surrey, just an hour’s drive east. Less than an hour’s drive north of these two impressive estates you’ll find Basildon Park in Reading, an 18th-century Georgian mansion, the setting of the series’ Grantham House.
11 AHS – New Orleans, Louisiana
We’re heading to the deep South to explore the striking, intricate and most certainly haunting mansions used in this gripping series. Make your way to Buckner Mansion in the Garden District, built in 1856 and open every day from 8 am - 6 pm for tours. This impressive home has two levels of wraparound porches, luxe interiors from a bygone era and a wrought-iron fence surrounding it, used as the setting for Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies. Another unforgettable from the show is Madame Lalaurie’s mansion. They used two filming spots in NOLA’s French Quarter, both historic house museums – the 19th-century Gallier House for the exterior and the Hermann-Grima House from the same time period for the interior.
10 Vikings – Wicklow County, Ireland
Packed with Norse history, brave warriors and claimed descendants of gods, this series needed undulating and gorgeous landscapes to go along with it. Although it’s set in Scandinavia, most of this series was filmed in the striking countryside of Ireland just south of Dublin. Lough Tay or Guinness Lake is a beautiful spot to visit and is perfect for hiking and taking in the views. This was the site of their Viking settlement early on in the show and is just north of the Glendalough area, a valley with rolling hills and breathtaking green and amber wilderness. Not too far away you’ll also find Powerscourt Waterfall, Ireland’s highest at 400 feet.
9 Fargo – Alberta, Canada
This dark, Midwestern masterpiece based on the Coen brothers’ movie from the 90s was actually not filmed in the States but mostly in Calgary, Alberta northwest of the latest season’s Minnesota setting. Much of the scenes were set in the Inglewood neighborhood like The Delightful Cafe, a Vietnamese restaurant that was used as the ominous “DInEr.” The 100-year-old Swans of Inglewood pub was also used for filming, as well as the building across the street which was used as Gloria’s apartment. Head just southwest of the city for about half an hour and you’ll find Bragg Creek, an ultra-scenic spot that’s great for hiking or camping where many of the show’s outdoor nature scenes were filmed.
8 Ray Donovan – Malibu & LA, California
This crime-drama series featuring badass Bostonian “fixer,” Ray Donovan has some great filming locations showing many areas throughout the city, from swanky elite hangouts and impressive LA architecture to dive bars and the infamous boxing club. The boxing gym is actually called Broadway Boxing Gym in Watts, just west of Compton, although the exterior shots were filmed at an apartment building near Koreatown. St. Josephine’s Church is featured in supposed scenes of Boston with his right-hand man, Avi, but it’s actually close to MacArthur Park in LA just west of downtown. Head out of the hubbub for a drive on the Pacific Coast Highway towards Malibu past many of the beautiful homes of Ray’s clients.
7 Sherlock Holmes – London, England
BBC’s recent Sherlock series gives fans the perfect opportunity to tour London with Mr. Holmes in mind. There are famous spots all around the city used in the show like the Victoria Embankment, Waterloo Bridge, Piccadilly Circus and Chinatown, but the most famous is 221B Baker Street. Although they actually film all the interior apartment scenes a few blocks away, you can visit this building in Camden and the famous cafe below. Known as “Mrs. Hudson’s Snax” in the show, the actual place is called Speedy’s Sandwich Bar & Cafe. You can also check out St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, the original meeting place of Sherlock and Doctor John Watson, which happens to be the oldest hospital in England.
6 Outlander – The Scottish Highlands
This sultry Scottish drama features some of the most beautiful sweeping vistas of the broody Scottish countryside. This is also another opportunity to see some of the area’s most stunning castles. Head north of Glasgow to check out 14th-century Doune Castle, where Jaime’s uncle and his clan were posted up. Culross is a beautiful small town near Edinburgh not far away that was used for many scenes as it looks as if it dropped right out of the 17th century. Gorgeous Rannoch Moor in Perthshire is where the famous stone time-travel scenes were filmed, perfect for hiking. One last castle you can’t miss is the Blackness Castle, an impressive ship-shaped structure right on the water.
5 Westworld – Utah, USA
This dark science fiction series was mostly filmed throughout the otherworldly landscapes of Utah – some of the most breathtaking in the country. That means if you’re a fan, it’s the ideal chance for you to road trip through the state exploring the many beautiful state parks Utah has to offer. Start off on Route 128 near Arches National Park, a road they filmed on in early episodes, as well as landmarks along the way. Castle Valley and Fisher Valley offer up gorgeous red rock formations and distinct landscapes, both amazing places to head out for a hike. My personal favorite? Dead Horse Point State Park, with unbelievable panoramic views of canyons and the Colorado River.
4 Breaking Bad – Albuquerque, New Mexico
If there’s any series that’ll have you hankering for a filming location road trip, this show just might take the cake. Filmed almost exclusively in and around Albuquerque, you can visit many of the its most famous settings. Start your day off right at Java Joe’s, where they shot scenes from Tuco’s headquarters. Much less ominous in person, they’ve got great coffee and food, too. Afterwards, swing by Saul Goodman’s office for some shady but lovable lawyer vibe selfies, which was actually filmed at what’s now Hooligans Tavern. The last spot this tour wouldn’t be complete without? Los Pollos Hermanos, of course. They used New Mexico’s burrito chain, Twisters, so you can order up some Tex Mex and enjoy in Walter’s famous booth.
3 Game of Thrones – Dubrovník, Croatia
Although this show has now been filmed in multiple places around the world, including Spain most recently, Dubrovnik is one of the most famous and beautiful locations that’s been featured time and time again. The medieval Old Town in this breathtaking city was the infamous setting for King’s Landing. The City Walls were used in many scenes, and you can actually climb atop and walk the length of them, taking in the amazing views. Fort Lovrijenac is another gorgeous stronghold on the water that was used for the interiors of the Red Keep. To check out the exterior of the Red Keep, head about 10 miles north of the city to the Tresteno Arboretum, ethereal gardens along the sea.
2 Sense 8 – The World
This series took off quickly on Netflix, and it’s no surprise as they haven’t skimped at all on filming at locations around the world. They’ve set up their cameras everywhere from Belgium, Kenya and Iceland to Italy, Brazil and Korea. One of the coolest spots featured in the pilot episode and throughout season one is the Babulnath Temple in Mumbai, India – one of the oldest in this bustling metropolis. A somber locale also appearing in the first season is the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany, which is a must-visit if you’re there. The historic Diego Rivera Museum in Mexico City is also used in season one, as well as the Riverside Park and Riverwalk in Chicago, Illinois.
1 Black Mirror – The World
This dark series offering up endless social, cultural and political commentary gives producers the perfect opportunity to film in a different location every time, as each episode is unrelated to the next. Throughout the past four seasons, multiple locations appear like South Africa, Canada, the UK and Spain. Some of the most impressive landscapes debuted in the newest season four, such as the pilot, filmed mostly at stunning Lanzarote’s Bermeja Beach – a Spanish island near the Moroccan coast. The third episode was filmed in Iceland, the complete opposite as far as landscapes go. It features downtown Reykjavík, Reykjanes Peninsula just south of the city, remote and spectacular Kleifarvatn Lake, Reykjanes Peninsula, and the quaint town of Mosfellsbaer just north.