FILM LOCATIONS - Where Magic happens!

Published on March 29, 2024

Credit: Jakob Owens

Let's face it. Not all of us have the talent of Meryl Streep , the chin of Kirk Douglas , or that Magnum gaze of Derek Zoolander . We may never get to star in a movie or even be in one. But we can explore the actual locations where some of the most famous films were shot.

With a little luck, we'll find some close to home. And for a moment, we can feel surrounded by the magic of cinema too.


Hollywood Boulevard - Los Angeles

Credit: Aman

Whether you're short on time, budget, or both, there's only one place you should choose: Hollywood Boulevard . With over 130 movies and TV shows, including 'Chinatown' and 'Lethal Weapon' , this iconic street in the already heavily photographed Los Angeles is the most filmed location in America.

No matter when you visit, the chances of stumbling upon a film shoot are enormous. And who knows, if you cross the street at the right time, you might just become part of the next movie classic!


Griffith Observatory – Los Angeles.

Credit: Venti Views

Are you a lover of the classics? Or perhaps you prefer science fiction. Maybe you're more of a musical person?

Whatever your answer, your destination remains the same. Nowhere else will you feel as close to the stars as the Observatory , situated atop Griffith Park , with its astonishing views across the valley.

From 'Rebel Without a Cause' , the classic icon featuring James Dean, to the menacing presence of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the 'Terminator' , or the celebration of the love between Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in 'La La Land' , hundreds of stars and films had the Griffith Observatory as the perfect location.

A unique setting from which you can enjoy all the magnificence of Hollywood.


Nakatomi Plaza – Los Angeles.

Credit: Matt The Artist

Yes, it exists. The famous Nakatomi Plaza is not (just) a model. You can discover it in Century City , Los Angeles.

While you might not hear Bruce Willis's memorable one-liners while crawling through the ventilation ducts, you can at least enjoy the Fox Plaza skyscraper facade, which served as the main setting in 'Die Hard' (1988).

By the way, unlike its fictional counterpart, the original building has not suffered any damage during the production of this film.


Hook & Ladder Company 8 Firehouse – New York.

Credit: Phillip Ritz from New York, NY, USA

If you're in Manhattan and need help, who ya gonna call? Of course, the city's most beloved "Superstars of the Supernatural."

And if they don't return your call, perhaps you can head over to the Tribeca neighborhood at 14 North Moore Street , where Hook & Ladder Company 8 operates. It's a former fire station converted into the "Ghostbusters" headquarters for the 1984 fantasy comedy.


Katz’s Delicatessen – New York.

Credit: Harry Knight

With so many incredible locations to discover in New York, you may want to recharge your batteries at a traditional venue. And what better way to do it than at this century-old deli on East Houston Street in Manhattan , where you can taste their delicious pastrami on rye?

Although since Meg Ryan showed her extraordinary expressive skills to Billy Crystal in the film "When Harry Met Sally" (1989), thousands of enthusiastic diners have sat at the same table where the famous, and noisy, scene was filmed, often ordering "I'll have what she's having."


Public Garden Bench – Boston, MA.

Credit: Logan Hughes

This is an easy one. While there are numerous bench scenes in movies, this particular bench in Boston Public Garden hosts one of the most emotional conversations in film history between Matt Damon and Robin Williams , in the movie 'Good Will Hunting' (1997).

Identifying this site is quite simple; it's usually adorned with flowers and memories since the passing of Robin Williams in 2014.


Devils Tower – Wyoming.

Credit: Mick Haupt

This volcanic monolith, located in the Black Hills of Crook County in northeastern Wyoming , has been a sacred site for indigenous communities and holds the honor of being designated America's first national monument in 1906. It is certainly worth a visit.

No doubt, that was what some friendly little gray aliens thought when they decided to use it as a parking lot in the world-famous Steven Spielberg film 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind' (1977). Since then, they say, its fame has only spread throughout the galaxy.


The Bridges of Madison County - Iowa.

![]( " Teddi Yaeger , CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons")

If you decide to explore this location amidst the stunning landscapes of Winterset, Iowa , there are two things you cannot forget to bring with you: a good camera and an adequate amount of tissues.

One of the most emotional and bittersweet masterpieces of cinema came to us from the skilled hands of Clint Eastwood and the unforgettable gaze of Meryl Streep .

The unique Madison bridges , originally numbering 19 and with six still standing, await all those who dare to relive a true love story.


The Exorcist Steps – Georgetown.

![]( " Lenka Reznicek , CC BY 2.5 , via Wikimedia Commons")

Long before Joaquin Phoenix's Joker revealed Shakespeare's steps to the world with his iconic dance, turning it into an instant meme to the delight of thousands of Instagrammers who test his movements, and the patience of Bronx neighbors, there was another famous staircase.

A much scarier one.

This is the staircase where the shocking climax of what conceivably is the most terrifying film in history takes place: 'The Exorcist' (1973). Filmed in numerous locations in Georgetown , the 75 steps of 3600 Prospect Street , renowned as a Historic Landmark in 2019, are the most iconic.

Would you dare to go down them?


Astoria, Oregon.

Credit: luke flynt

If in the 80s you were one of those children who dreamed of discovering an old map that would lead you to a pirate treasure and the adventure of a lifetime with your best friends, the beautiful settings of Astoria, Oregon , are your next destination.

There, you can tour not only the spectacular locations of The Goonies (1985), including the Jail (now the Oregon Film Museum), the house of the Goonies, Ecola State Park (lair of the infamous and hilarious Fratelli), and the dazzling views of Cannon Beach.

Moreover, you will also find an entire town that celebrates its most famous movie and even has its day: every June 7, Astoria celebrates The Goonies Day .

So prepare your backpack, your camera, and your sense of adventure. The magic of cinema is waiting for you!


Learn About 10 Historic Times The United States Pioneered Innovation!

Published on March 29, 2024

Credit: Luke Michael

Do you remember the first time you rode a bike? What about the first time you went to a zoo? Maybe you have memories of your first family trip or your first day of school.

There is always a first time for everything , even for those things that feel like they have been around since the world began.

The history of the United States also has its own firsts. Today, we're diving into 10 historic firsts for our country, state by state. Ready for a trip down memory lane?



Credit: Quino Al

The rise of cell phones has allowed us to store and securely organize the contact numbers of acquaintances.

Yet, in the pre-smartphone era, phone books were the solution. Remember those? They were these large volumes containing names, addresses, and phone numbers of the city residents.

Although today it may seem surreal that anyone in the city can have your information, back in the day, they were highly useful tools. And the first state to have one was Connecticut.

The very first phone book was a humble cardboard published in 1878 in New Haven, Connecticut. This pioneer edition listed only 50 individuals, businesses, and offices equipped with telephones.



Credit: Joey Kyber

Today, we take electric street lighting for granted, but there was a first time for it, too. Electric urban lighting made its debut towards the end of the 19th century . Before that, the streets were either covered in darkness or illuminated by oil lamps.

Although there had been other demonstrations of illumination by electricity before, the real change came in 1880 , when Wabash, Indiana, became the first U.S. city to be mostly illuminated by electricity. Of course, the event surprised residents and filled the newspapers with the bright news.


North Carolina

Credit: Simon Fitall

Can you imagine the world without airplanes? Well, it was like that for a long time. Back in the old days, people traveled only by land or sea, and the idea of soaring through the skies was reserved for dreamers.

Luckily for everyone, things changed at the beginning of the 20th century when the Wright brothers put their aircraft to work in 1903 . They made the first successful flight in North Carolina , forever changing the course of our world.


New York

Credit: Priscilla Gyamfi

In the nation's early years, presidential inaugurations weren't like they are today. They didn't even happen in the same place as they do now.

George Washington , the first president of the United States, delivered his first address in 1789 at Federal Hall in New York City . At the time, the Big Apple was the capital of the country, holding the title until 1790 when it passed to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Finally, the last move was in 1800, making Washington, D.C. the definitive site of the nation's capital, where it proudly stands today.



Credit: Absar Pathan

Christmas is that magical time when people worldwide come together for family festivities. But that was not always the case in the United States.

Alabama was a pioneer, becoming the first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday in 1836. That's a long time ago, right? The last state took its time to join the party: It wasn't until 1907, 71 years later, that Oklahoma became the final state to officially recognize Christmas as a legal holiday.



Credit: Pedro Lastra

Skyscrapers dominate the skyline of nearly every major city today. Although these imposing structures continue to captivate us with their presence, we have become used to them being part of the urban landscape.

But there was also a time for the first skyscraper. The Home Insurance Building came to revolutionize the heights of Chicago, Illinois, in 1885 . There are no exact or definitive definitions of what constitutes a skyscraper per se, but the Home Insurance Building proudly claims to be the world's first one .

Hats off to Illinois for reaching out and touching the sky!



Credit: Melody Ayres-Griffiths

Today's instant messages would seem only the dream of madmen in 1844, when Morse sent the first telegraph message from Washington D.C. to Baltimore, Maryland, making the Old Line State the first state to receive one.

Before the telegraph, communication took weeks or months to reach its destination, slowing down all interactions and operations. Morse's telegraph message read, "What hath God wrought?" and forever changed world communication.



Credit: Brett Jordan

Wherever you go, you'll probably find a McDonald's nearby. It's a global phenomenon, with very few corners of the world untouched by those golden arches. Burgers, fries, and Happy Meals become a staple in the daily life of America. But 80-odd years ago**, before 1940, things were very different.**

The first McDonald's opened as a drive-in in 1940 by brothers Maurice and Richard McDonald in San Bernardino, California . Eight years later, this humble spot evolved into a fully developed restaurant, and its growth since then is history.

If you ever get the chance to travel back in time, going to 1939 isn't the best option, as you wouldn't be able to enjoy a delicious Big Mac.



Credit: Marques Thomas

Back in 1950, Sam Walton , the visionary behind Walmart , purchased and launched his inaugural store in Oklahoma. However, the Walmart we know today was yet to be born.

The first lucky state to have a Walmart was Arkansas . The Walmart chain began in 1962 as a modest store in the city of Rogers. No one could have expected the colossal and rapid growth that awaited.

By 1968, Walmart had set its roots in Oklahoma, and by the 1980s, it had spread throughout the southern United States as well.



Credit: Luis Melendez

Saving the best for last, Mississippi boasts a groundbreaking achievement. The Magnolia State proudly holds the title of being the location of the world's first lung transplant. This historic event happened in 1963 when Dr. James D. Hardy accomplished the remarkable feat, propelling scientific progress and improving human health.

Such an event occurred only 61 years ago! That demonstrates the incredible speed at which technology and human knowledge advance, making human life better and better.

Cheers to Mississippi!

Looking for an extra scoop of literary fun?

Learn more with our Word of the day