These legendary movie sites aren’t studio set-pieces! Here are our favorite real-life places to visit and relive a bit of cinematic history
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Rebel Without a Cause
Site to visit: Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, CA
The planetarium served as a backdrop for much of the dramatic action in the classic James Dean flick, including the famous knife fight scene.
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Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Site to visit: Devil's Tower National Monument, WY
Stephen Spielberg imagined this unique rock formation as the site of an alien landing in the ‘70s sci-fi classic. It's easy to see why when you're faced with the real thing, an imposing chunk of granite rising out of the badlands.
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Site to visit: The coast along and near Astoria, OR
While a lot of the film’s action takes place in caves beneath the town’s surface, the area’s dramatic coastline is so central to the plot it might as well be considered a character in its own right. But it's really the film's climactic scene of the pirate ship setting sail from the shoreline that makes it a landscape to remember.
4 of 12Timberline Lodge
SItes to visit: The Stanley Hotel, Estes Park, CO and Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood, OR
The infamous Overlook Hotel in the source material novel by Stephen King was reportedly inspired by the Colorado property. However, technically most of the Stanley Kubrick film adaptation was filmed in England and the Timberline Lodge in Mount Hood, OR was used for exterior shots. Nevertheless, you can stay at both properties today, minus creepy twins, ghastly bartenders, or blood-filled elevators.
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Site to visit: Taylor and Vallejo streets, San Francisco, CA
Although the classic film features its share of car chase scenes, the most famous takes place up and down the super-steep streets of the city’s Russian Hill neighborhood.
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Site to visit: Mission San Juan Bautista, CA
In Hitchcock’s S.F. Bay Area-set thriller, Kim Novak pretends to fall to her death from the bell tower—and then makes a fatal plunge for real in the film’s climax.
The epic grandeur of this Western wonder ratchets ups the dramatic tension of this feminist caper's culminating scene, in which the heroines drive over a cliff to escape the authorities.
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Site to visit: Echo Park Lake, Los Angeles, CA
As private eye Jake Gittes, Jack Nicholson tails Hollis Mulwray from a rowboat in this picturesque lake with a stellar view of downtown L.A.
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Sleepless in Seattle
Site to visit: Lake Union houseboats, Seattle, WA
Tom Hanks’ houseboat, perched on the edge of Lake Union in the city’s Queen Anne District, figured prominently in the ‘90s rom-com also starring Meg Ryan.
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Site to visit: Crystal Cove State Park Cottages, Newport Beach, CA
Cabin #13 served as Barbara Hershey’s beach house in the ‘80s tearjerker, where she spends her final days cared for by BFF Bette Midler.
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Site to visit: The Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, NM
Relive Billy Crystal’s adventures on the ranch by booking a stay at this self-professed “education and retreat center” where hiking, horseback riding, and museums can be enjoyed in equal measure. Not to worry, you won't be asked to birth a calf.
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Site to visit: Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, NV
Bradley Cooper and co.’s worst night ever kicks off with hijinks at the Vegas hotel-casino. While you can stay there anytime, a tiger is not included with the room.