This blog post was updated on January 30, 2023.
When it comes to treasuring magic movie moments in our collective mindset, few things can beat the raw emotion, goofy sentimentalism, or overall feel-good mood that a good romantic flick can carry. Hollywood sure knows how to make us tick, and we’ve enjoyed over and over dozens of great movies that prove just that. Risky proposals, fairy-tale endings, memorable dance scenes…don’t even try to deny it, we’re sure you have your favorite! Furthermore, you might even want to go beyond the movie and go visit the actual places where they were shot. Wouldn’t that be a great idea for Valentine’s Day? So get ready, start browsing cheap flights online and be ready to treat your significant other with a trip to the romantic movie destinations depicted in some of the most beloved romantic movies ever!
Empire State Building, Manhattan (Sleepless in Seattle)
Let’s start with a classic! Cinephiles everywhere fondly remember the planet’s most iconic skyscraper as the location where lovebirds Josh and Sally finally meet (spoiler alert!) at the end of this 1993 movie. This amazing art deco masterpiece, visited by millions of people every year, is, therefore, an important location in this story. But, oddly enough, the fateful encounter between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan didn’t take place atop the Empire State Building in real life! That scene was shot on the other side of the US, in…well, Seattle, of course. The scenes where Annie roams the lobby and Josh walks in the observation deck were, however, shot at the real place. Apparently, director Nora Ephron managed to get permission to film for 6 hours in the building.
Las Palmas Hotel, Hollywood (Pretty Woman)
We can’t write about romantic comedies without mentioning this delightful fairy tale adapted for the early 90s. Pretty Woman became an instant success, boosting Julia Robert’s meteoric career and taking a special place in the hearts of millions of fans thanks to its plenty of memorable scenes and situations. Among them, it’s hard to forget its perfectly romantic ending, with Richard Gere madly in love standing outside the hotel where Robert’s character pities herself. Want to emulate him, or even sleep at such an iconic location? Then head to 1738 N Las Palmas Avenue, at the very heart of Hollywood, and geek out in front of Las Palmas Hotel! Not taking the opportunity of a movie photo op here would be, as Vivian herself would say, a “big mistake…huge!”
Mountain Lake Lodge, Virginia (Dirty Dancing)
Nobody puts Baby in a corner. Everybody knows that. What you might not know is that, very surprisingly, not a single scene of Dirty Dancing was filmed in the actual Catskills! That’s right, Baby and Johnny’s tumultuous — and very rhythmic — love story amidst the beauty of upstate New York’s famed mountain retreat wasn’t even shot in the same state, but in nearby Virginia. More specifically at the beautiful Mountain Lake Lodge in the town of Pembroke, where most of the outdoor scenes were filmed. Although the emblematic lake shown in the movie was — sadly — dried a while ago, there’s something truly special about the place where the Houseman’s home was located. And even better…it’s possible to spend the night at the lodge, with special packages for true fans of Dirty Dancing! So, what are you waiting for? Dare to have the time of your life?
SoHo, Manhattan (Ghost)
We’re going back to the Big Apple to remember one of the most beloved and tear-jerker romantic films ever: Ghost. Although the movie features many different neighborhoods throughout the city (from Manhattan’s Financial District to Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy), the beautiful love story between Molly and Sam takes place mostly South of Houston St. It’s here, at 102 Prince St., where the two main characters live together in a cozy apartment until tragedy struck with Sam’s murder (which takes place not far away from there, at nearby Crosby St.). So, if you happen to be between Greene St. and Mercer St. at some point during your New York visit, be sure to come by to pay your respects to this romantic hit.
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Notting Hill, London (Notting Hill)
As you can see, we put an end to our romantic movie trip at a quite straightforward destination. Because few movies did more to put West London on the map than Notting Hill, the hilarious rom-com starring Hugh Grant and, once again, Julia Roberts. This cosmopolitan neighborhood still preserves the ubiquitous charm transpired by the movie, and that includes some of the locations featured in it. Good examples are the touristic Portobello Road Market or the unforgettable blue door of William Thacker’s apartment (ok, flat) at 280 Westbourne Park Road. Quite a fitting place to go if you booked cheap flights in February to Europe with Valentine’s Day in mind, isn’t it?
But our favorite location is the Travel Book Shop, the somewhat chaotic bookstore where Thacker worked and met with Anna Scott. It’s here, at 142 Portobello Road where, according to the movie, the bookstore is supposedly located…stressing “supposedly”, since that kind of establishment never existed at this address! During filming, it housed an arcade, and then it became a furniture store. But, due to the massive success of the film, it now remains as a gift shop named, quite aptly, “Notting Hill”…with a “The Travel Book Shop” sign conveniently placed above its entrance to lead the hordes of fans of the movie inside. Talk about entrepreneurial spirit!
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