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Top 10 Places Movie Fans Must Visit Before You Die

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Script written by Nick Spake

These travel destinations are a must for every film buff. From iconic movie locations like the Hook & Ladder Company 8 Firehouse to museums about filmmaking like the Museum of the Moving Image, WatchMojo is counting down the locations and landmarks that movie fans should check out.

Special thanks to our users drewbrown and NickSpake for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top%2010%20Places%20Movie%20Fans%20must%20visit%20before%20you%20die


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Script written by Nick Spake

Top 10 Places Movie Fans Must Visit Before You Die

Movies can transport people to amazing worlds, but they can only take you so far. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Places Movie Fans Must Visit Before They Die.

For this list, we’re taking a look at locations and landmarks around the world that every film fanatic should check out. However, we’re excluding theme parks, like Disneyland.

#10: Firehouse, Hook & Ladder Company 8

New York, New York, USA
Since the Big Apple has been the backdrop for some of the most cherished movies of all time, at least one location from there had to appear on our countdown. Anybody that knows “Ghostbusters” inside and out should definitely look up this fire station the next time they’re passing through Manhattan. Constructed in 1903, Hook & Ladder No. 8 provided the exterior shots for the Ghostbusters’ headquarters. Writer and star Dan Aykroyd reportedly admired the area and the building, which also appeared in the 2016 reboot. While it’s additionally been used in movies like “Hitch” and shows like “Seinfeld,” the firehouse will always been synonymous with the words, “who ya gonna call?”

#9: Walt Disney Family Museum

San Francisco, California, USA
If you’re a diehard Mouse House fan, then your bucket list won’t be complete without a trip to the Walt Disney Family Museum. Founded by Diane Disney Miller, Walt’s eldest daughter, this 40,000-square-foot museum offers an exploration of the legendary visionary’s career and life, from his early beginnings to his death in 1966. In addition to drawings, animation, and music, guests can observe Walt’s display case of Academy Awards and a 12-foot diameter model of the Happiest Place on Earth. There’s even a theater modeled after “Fantasia” that regularly screens Disney classics. For anybody that appreciates the art of animation or wants to be animator, this place will be a dream come true.

#8: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Austin, Texas, USA
Almost 30 Alamo Drafthouses have sprouted up across the United States over the past couple of decades. However, it all started when Tim and Karrie League opened the original venue in Austin, Texas. Although it began as a discount theater, Alamo Drafthouse stood out from the crowd by serving food, beverages, and even alcohol. Enforcing a firm no texting or talking policy, the founders set out to create a movie theater for serious cinephiles. That’s exactly what the Alamo Drafthouse brand has come to represent, making the audience part of each cinematic experience.

#7: Hatley Park National Historic Site

Colwood, British Columbia, Canada
Hatley Park has a rich history that dates back to 1906 when James Dunsmuir purchased the land. Along with his wife Laura, James hired architect Samuel Maclure to construct a Scottish baronial style mansion on the estate. If you’re a fan of the “X-Men” franchise, you might notice some similarities between the Hatley Castle and Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. The castle was not only featured in the 1996 TV movie, “Generation X,” but has also appeared in several “X-Men” theatrical releases. Since 1995, the site has acted as the grounds for the real-life Royal Roads University. While you sadly won’t find Wolverine teaching there, the castle and gardens are still a marvel to behold.

#6: Museum of the Moving Image

Queens, New York, USA
Several landmark movies and TV shows were shot at Astoria Studios, including “Sesame Street.” The Museum of the Moving Image resulted from an effort to help preserve this historic building. In due course, it became the first US museum exclusively devoted to the art, history, and technology of the moving image. Over the years, the museum has displayed a treasure trove of props, costumes, and artifacts guaranteed to make any film fan giddy with excitement. Aside from film and television exhibitions, it also hosts a library of landmark video games and gaming devices. With screenings, live entertainment, educational workshops, and family programs, there’s something here for moviegoers of all ages.

#5: Sundance Film Festival

Park City, Utah, USA
While several high-profile film festivals easily could’ve made this list, Sundance stands out above all the rest. Founded in 1978 with the great Robert Redford acting as chairman, this film festival was largely established to shine the spotlight on independent films and documentaries. Since then, Sundance has helped put numerous directors on the map, including Quentin Tarantino, Kevin Smith, and Paul Thomas Anderson. It also provided a launching point for films like “The Blair Witch Project,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” and “Get Out.” Of course the movies are just part of the reason to attend Sundance, as Utah’s various theaters and community add to a trip you’ll never forget. Just remember to pack some heavy clothing.

#4: The Stanley Hotel

Estes Park, Colorado, USA
For Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Shining,” the Timberline Lodge in Oregon was used for the Overlook Hotel’s exterior shots. However, it was the Stanley Hotel that inspired the sinister setting of King’s original novel. As a result, the seemingly ordinary hotel gained a haunted reputation that’s attracted various paranormal investigators. To give fans the full “Shining” experience, the Stanley Hotel offers guided ghost tours and installed a hedge maze in 2015. Don’t count on seeing any blood in the elevators, though. While it didn’t appear in the 1980 film, the hotel did provide the exterior of the 1997 “Shining” miniseries and can also be seen in other movies like “Dumb and Dumber.”

#3: Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of “Harry Potter”

Leavesden, Hertfordshire, England
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter might be bloody brilliant, but this is where the magic really happens. Opening its doors to the public in 2012, less than a year after the eighth movie’s release, the Making of Harry Potter offers fans a first-hand look at the props, costumes, and creature effects that brought J. K. Rowling’s books to life on the silver screen. It even includes massive, detailed movie sets like the Great Hall, Diagon Alley, and the Ministry of Magic, not to mention a 1:24 scale model of Hogwarts. While visitors can reportedly get through the tour in three hours, the experience will likely prove so immersive that you’ll never want to leave.

#2: “The Lord of the Rings” Tours

New Zealand
“Harry Potter” isn’t the only fantasy franchise that can become a reality. As many film fans already know, Peter Jackson primarily shot “The Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” trilogies in New Zealand. Thus, the island country has become a hot spot for the phenomenon known as Tolkien tourism. People are free to visit several sites that appeared on the big screen, including Mount Ngauruhoe and the Hobbiton Movie Set. So technically, you could walk from the Shire to Mount Doom just like Frodo. To add another layer of authenticity to their tour of Middle-earth, some fans like to travel dressed as their favorite characters. It’s like cosplay, but on a much more epic scale.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- The Field of Dreams
Dyersville, Iowa, USA

- Holly Golightly’s Apartment
New York, New York, USA

- Pier 11
New York, New York, USA

#1: Hollywood

Los Angeles, California, USA
When people think about the magic of moviemaking, the Hollywood Sign is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Of course if you happen to be in Tinseltown, there’s no shortage of famous sites for film fans to observe. While strolling down the Walk of Fame, be sure to stop in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. The Griffith Observatory, which was featured in movies like “Rebel Without a Cause” and “La La Land,” allows you to observe the City of Stars like never before. And don’t forget to take the Backlot Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood. Plus, with the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures also set to open in 2019, your trip should be booked solid.

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