The TV and streaming shows you watch may have you entranced with their storylines, acting, or special effects. But let’s not forget about the stunning backdrops or iconic locations in certain scenes. If you think it was all the magic of a green screen or Hollywood film set, think again.
Many iconic scenes on TV are borrowed from amazing real-life locations worldwide, which you can visit and enjoy for yourself. If you need help to pay for a dream trip to some of these faraway locations, consider using a financial resource that can help you get there. The best travel credit cards offer valuable rewards and benefits that can enhance your travel experiences without breaking the bank.
Here are 12 filming locations from TV and streaming shows to consider adding to your travel bucket list:
Breaking Bad - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is known for its International Balloon Fiesta, but it’s also home to much of the filming of the highly rated “Breaking Bad” series. This show is currently (as of May 25, 2021) available for streaming on Netflix. According to a recent FinanceBuzz survey which looked at streaming data for U.S. households, more than 78% of U.S. households have at least a Netflix, Amazon Prime, and/or Hulu subscription.
And if a show is on Netflix, it’s probably popular. “Breaking Bad” was such a hit (originally on AMC) that Visit Albuquerque, a not-for-profit company promoting Albuquerque tourism, created a self-guided tour of “Breaking Bad” filming locations you can visit in and around the city.
This tour doesn’t include the famous home of Walter White in the show (where a giant pizza was once thrown on the roof during an episode from season three) because it’s a private residence. So instead of disturbing the residents, you might want to visit dozens of other locations instead, including the iconic car wash or the Dog House Drive-In.
Big Little Lies - Monterey, California
Monterey County in California is home to Monterey, Big Sur, and loads of other scenic locations perfect for filming — which turned out to be ideal for the HBO drama, “Big Little Lies.” This show is available on a new service, HBO Max, which has quickly become one of the top streaming services for new and popular content.
Take a jog along the beautiful Del Monte Beach or visit the famous Bixby Creek Bridge to reenact the drama of the show in real life. It helps that many of these locations are already worthy of a visit, regardless of whether you’ve seen the show. But having seen these destinations on the show is the icing on the cake if you visit in person.
American Horror Story - New Orleans, Louisiana
If you’re a fan of “American Horror Story,” consider a trip to New Orleans to get your fill of decadent Southern mansions and, in some cases, their creepy real-life histories. For example, Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies in the show is actually the Buckner Mansion in real life, and Madame LaLaurie’s House of Horrors is actually the LaLaurie Mansion.
The Buckner Mansion is a private property, but you can still view it from the outside. The LaLaurie Mansion is a popular stop on city ghost tours because of its somewhat violent history with past residents. Whether there’s truth in the ghost stories, many consider the LaLaurie Mansion to be haunted, which could be why it became a filming location for “American Horror Story.”
Portlandia - Portland, Oregon
When a show is all about Portland, including having the city’s name in its title, you have to imagine some of the filming locations were in the city itself. And indeed they were. “Portlandia” is a comedic series from IFC that looks at the quirky and eccentric behaviors of people living in Portland.
If you know the area, you’ll recognize iconic locations like Powell’s Books, Portland City Hall, Burnside Skatepark, and the Moda Center. These types of places pop up all the time throughout the series, which can make for fun Easter eggs if you’re trying to place where a scene was filmed as you’re watching.
If you travel to Portland for yourself, the chances are high you’ll visit or be near one of many filming locations for “Portlandia.”
Twin Peaks - Snoqualmie, Washington
“Twin Peaks” is an iconic crime drama series set in the fictional town of Twin Peaks. Even though the show was eventually canceled in 1991, it has garnered huge critical acclaim and a cult following over the years. Today, you can watch it on multiple streaming services, including Netflix and Hulu.
Even though the town of Twin Peaks may be fictional, the town of Snoqualmie, Washington, where a lot of the filming for the show took place, is very much real and welcoming to visitors.
One of the stops for any visit to Snoqualmie has to be Snoqualmie Falls, which is a large waterfall located along the Snoqualmie River. It also happens to be part of the opening credits sequence for the show and an easy visit if you’re in the area.
The Mandalorian - Death Valley National Park, California
If you want to retrace the steps of the title character in the hit Disney+ series “The Mandalorian,” you might not have too many opportunities to do so. Much of the filming for this Star Wars series was contained to film sets. But there are a few well-known locations that are worth a visit — one of them being Death Valley National Park.
The sweeping views and rugged scenery of Death Valley play the perfect part in a show that focuses on diverse planets with varied landscapes. You might be able to recognize Zabriskie Point in one of the shots from the first episode as the bounty hunter’s spacecraft flies across the screen. And if you think you recognize some of the scenery, it could be because other scenes in Star Wars movies have been filmed at Death Valley National Park. Look for scenes of Tatooine in “Episode IV - A New Hope” and “Episode VI - Return of the Jedi.”
Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel - Los Angeles, California
The Cecil Hotel, rebranded as Stay on Main, is a budget hotel in Los Angeles and the main location for the Netflix docu-series, “Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel.” The show investigates the history of the Cecil Hotel, including the many deaths that have occurred in or around the hotel and killers that have presumably stayed at the hotel.
Despite its history, Stay on Main still functions as a hotel today, though it may be closed for renovations. This gives you the perfect opportunity to pay a visit if you’re a fan of the show and in the downtown Los Angeles area.
Game of Thrones - Dubrovnik, Croatia; Girona, Spain
The HBO hit “Game of Thrones” was filmed in many worldwide locations, with plenty of tourist destinations capitalizing on the popularity. You have your pick of stunning locations to choose from, ranging from Northern Ireland to Iceland and beyond. But to help narrow down a few travel spots for you, we’ve picked an iconic scene from the show: the walk of shame.
Dubrovnik, Croatia is a well-known filming location for different scenes that take place in the port city of King’s Landing, including Queen Cersei’s walk of shame. But a similar dramatic event in the show was also partly filmed in Girona, Spain. Queen Margaery was to have her own walk of atonement, starting from the Great Sept of Baelor, which is actually the Girona Cathedral, but it was called off and the Great Sept was later blown up.
Fortunately, both the fictional King’s Landing (Dubrovnik) and the Girona Cathedral are still very much intact in real life and open to visitors.
Schitt’s Creek - Ontario, Canada
Fans of “Schitt’s Creek,” the cult comedy sitcom from Pop TV, will have to travel to Ontario, Canada for the opportunity to visit many of the show’s iconic filming locations. The town of Goodwood, Ontario played host to many popular locations found in the show, including Rose Apothecary, the town hall, and Bob’s Garage.
The Rosebud Motel also deserves a visit if you’re in the area, though it’s located in nearby Orangeville instead of Goodwood. It’s not currently a functioning motel and was recently put up for sale, but you can still stop by to take photos from the outside as you do your best “Ew, David!” impression.
Outlander - Scotland
Scotland may have already been on your travel bucket list because of its charm and beautiful landscapes, but watching the “Outlander” fantasy drama may have cemented its place as a must-visit destination. The show is part drama, part romance, and part fantasy, but full-on beautiful because of where it’s filmed.
You may not have enough time on your hands if you want to visit every Outlander filming location, including the stone circle (standing stones) that send Claire back in time. This is simply because there are loads of places to visit. Check the official Visit Scotland page for a full list of “Outlander” filming locations so you can get your fill of railways, castles, lochs, and parks.
The Great British Bake Off - Newbury, Berkshire, England
Are you ready to enter the tent? Maybe not literally, but you’re able to at least see where many seasons of the popular hit show, “The Great British Bake Off,” now known as “The Great British Baking Show,” were filmed.
The location in question is called Welford Park, which is a country house and estate with an ownership history dating back to King Henry VIII and the monks of Abingdon before him in 1536. Now it’s well-known for the location of the iconic baking tent in the show, as well as a venue for other events, such as weddings and fashion shoots.
If you’re near London, Welford Park isn’t a far drive, and a visit is surely a treat for fans of the show and English history.
Emily in Paris - Paris, France
Unsurprisingly, many of the filming locations for the Netflix series “Emily in Paris” take place in — you guessed it — Paris! The City of Lights doesn’t necessarily need more of a reason for you to visit, but if you’re a fan of the show, seeing some of the filming locations could make for fun side trips while you’re exploring the city.
Be sure to check out the Pont Alexandre III bridge, where a perfume ad was being filmed in the show, as well as the Palais Garnier, the opera house of “The Phantom of the Opera” fame. However, Emily catches a “Swan Lake” production instead of mingling with the masked singer and shadowy resident of the opera house.
3 travel cards to keep your trip costs down
Travel rewards and benefits from travel credit cards can be an easy way to discount your travel expenses on your next trip. Here are three of the best travel credit cards available:
Chase Sapphire Preferred
If you’re new to travel credit cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a good place to start. It doesn’t come with many fees and it earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points on every purchase.
Ultimate Rewards can be redeemed for a variety of things, but they’re worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel with this card, including flights and hotel stays. In addition, your points can be transferred to multiple major airlines and hotel chains, such as JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, and Hyatt.
Learn more about this card in our Chase Sapphire Preferred review.
Chase Sapphire Reserve
The Chase Sapphire Reserve is a high-end travel card and a few steps up from the Chase Sapphire Preferred. This card has premium perks like $300 in annual travel credit, TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee reimbursement, and complimentary access to Priority Pass airport lounges. In addition, the points you earn with this card are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel.
Learn more about this card in our Chase Sapphire Reserve review.
The Platinum Card from American Express
For American Express travel cards, it doesn’t get much better than the Amex Platinum. This card has no shortage of luxury travel perks, including up to $200 in annual Uber credits, free access to Priority Pass and Amex Centurion lounges, and automatic elite status with both the Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors loyalty programs.
Plus your Amex Membership Rewards points can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, statement credits, or transferred to airline and hotel partners, including Delta Air Lines, British Airways, and Marriott.
Learn more about this card in our American Express Platinum review.
The bottom line
If the TV shows or streaming series you watch have filming locations you can visit in real life, consider adding a few stops to your next trip. This could help spice up your travels as you take fun photos in areas featured in your favorite shows.
Keep in mind that big trips and travel don’t always have to break the bank. You could decrease the costs of traveling if you make smart money moves in preparation for your flights and hotel stays. Travel credit cards are one common resource for mitigating your travel expenses and an easy way to earn rewards on purchases you may already be making.
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