A great way to learn more about American culture and explore your city is to watch a movie, then go see where it was filmed. There are thousands of great locations across the country and you can look up where your favorite film was shot. We found movie locations in eight cities across the country that we thought would be fun to visit. You can start watching and visiting some of our suggestions, then find some of your own. Here are some ideas:
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
The Swan House in Buckhead was portrayed as President Snow's Mansion in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The crew spent three weeks at the Swan House for five days of filming. In real life it is open to visitors as the Atlanta Historical Society.
This is a thriller about the outbreak of a contagious disease. Although they filmed all over the country and the world, key scenes were filmed at the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta. You can visit their museum to find out how the CDC and their scientists deal with deadly disease every day.
Good Will Hunting (1997)
Filmed all over Boston, this movie focused on Harvard (technically in Cambridge) and the surrounding areas. You can visit the oldest university in the U.S. and walk its beautiful grounds. Make sure to see Harvard yard, the scene of many books and movies and the Bow and Arrow pub, a filming location for Good Will Hunting.
The Boondock Saints (1999)
Irish brothers clean up Boston by killing mafia thugs while the police chase them. It has locations all over the city, but a great outing is visiting the famous Boston Common downtown, then walking to Copley Square through Back Bay.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Ferris and his friends skip school for a day and head into Chicago, hitting many of the major sites including Sears Tower and Wrigley Field. You could spend a whole day just visiting the Art Institute of Chicago, also in the movie.
The Dark Knight (2008)
We may think of Gotham City as a representation of New York, but many of the scenes in this Batman movie were filmed in Chicago. There are some great shots of the Loop, including the Richard J. Daley Center, which has a famous Picasso sculpture and holds noontime cultural events and a seasonal farmer's market.
Iron Man 2 (2010)
The sequel to Iron Man has some fantastic locations around Los Angeles. A particularly beautiful one is the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens, which are worth a visit on their own. If you're looking for something more kitschy, check out Randy's Donuts in Inglewood.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
This was probably the most famous movie of James Dean's career and epitomized L.A. cool. Go up to Griffith Park Observatory to check out the planetarium and see the site of the climactic shootout scene.
The Birdcage (1996)
This movie about a gay couple trying to act straight for their son's sake is set in the Art Deco District in Miami. Take a stroll along Ocean Drive to see the great architecture and make sure to stop in at the Carlyle Hotel, which was the Birdcage, the drag club that the movie was named after.
Any Given Sunday (1999)
Watch this movie for a look behind the scenes of American Football. Although the Orange Bowl has been knocked down, you can visit Marlins Park that was built on the same site in Little Havana. There are also several scenes shot in Coconut Grove, the oldest area of Miami, which is worth exploring.
New York City
Annie Hall (1977)
We had to include a movie by Woody Allen, the ultimate New Yorker. Follow the stars walking around the Upper East and Upper West side and go to Central Park. For a great day out, visit Coney Island in Brooklyn, ride the Cyclone and see where they filmed.
Black Swan (2010)
The cutthroat life of a ballerina is the focus of this movie entirely set in New York. To see some of its locations, visit the Brooklyn Museum or see a show at Lincoln Center (although the stage they used was really at SUNY Purchase, they also shot scenes here).
One of the most famous car chase scenes in movie history was shot speeding up and down San Francisco's steep hills. Just hiking up them is commitment enough to the movie, but you may also enjoy visiting the beautiful Grace Cathedral where they served the habeas corpus writ.
Based on a true story, Milk follows the last few years of California's first openly gay politician. You can see the San Francisco city hall where he ultimately works or wander down Lower Haight Street for a glimpse of his apartment building and neighborhood.
The Exorcist (1973)
When a girl is possessed, her mother turns to a local priest whose faith is not on solid ground. Much of the film was shot around Georgetown, a great neighborhood to walk around in D.C. Don't miss the iconic Exorcist steps at the corner of Prospect St NW and 36th St NW leading down to M Street NW.
All The President's Men (1976)
This is the story of the two young journalists who broke the Watergate Scandal that brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon. Many of the classic buildings of D.C. are featured in this film, but the Washington Post building or the Library of Congress are where they did much of their dangerous research.
Originally from Columbus, Ohio, Ani is a fan of exploring new places through photography and the local cuisine. After earning her BFA in photography from NYU and gaining communications experience at International Planned Parenthood Federation, she joined InterExchange in 2012, and worked as the Marketing Producer until 2016.