Everyone knows about certain destinations that have been immortalized by film and television – The Empire State Building in King Kong, Devil’s Tower from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and the Stanley Hotel, thanks to The Shining, just to name a few.
But there are tons of more obscure (at least to non-fans) destinations that people flock to every single year because they were made famous by their favorite shows and movies. From a bar in Georgia to a rural lighthouse, here are the ten most visited obscure destinations from film and television, based on info collected by HolidayCottages.co.uk from travel aggregate TripAdvisor.
Onieal’s Bar And Restaurant – Sex And The City
Sex and the City made tons of New York eateries famous. To this day, tourists flock to places like Magnolia Bakery for a bite of one of Carrie’s favorite treats.
Dedicated fans of the show will also remember a much-frequented bar in the series called Scout. In reality, the bar is called Onieal’s, and it is a very real spot in Lower Manhattan that continues to attract Sex and the City fans making pilgrimages around Manhattan. The bar is known for its craft cocktails and high-end pub fare.
Mystic Grill – The Vampire Diaries
Mystic Grill was a popular hangout in the teen series The Vampire Diaries. The show was filmed in Covington, Georgia, and the community wanted to celebrate the town’s newfound fame. So, they did what any logical small town would do … they literally opened a real-life Mystic Grill.
Now, fans can order dishes that were served in the series, buy souvenirs, take photos, and enjoy an extremely unique restaurant (that actually has some phenomenal reviews for their food).
Philidelphia Museum Of Art – Rocky
One of the most memorable scenes in cinematic history is the training scene in Rocky. At the end of the inspiring montage, Rocky stands on a large set of public stairs, overlooking the skyline of Philidelphia. In reality, these steps are part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and it’s common to see travelers making the famous Rocky pose, recreating the iconic scene.
In the 1980s, a Rocky statue was even added nearby. The “Rocky Steps,” as they’re now called, along with the statue, remain some of Philly’s most popular attractions.
Vasquez Rocks – Star Trek
The Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park has been used in the Star Trek universe for over 50 years. The first time Star Trek filmed at Vasquez Rocks was during the original series back in 1966. Since then, the park has been featured in Star Trek: Voyager, J.J. Abrams’ 2009 film, Star Trek: Picard, and more.
The rocks have become so popular that there was even an episode of The Big Bang Theory where the guys make a trip hoping for the perfect photo-op. Naturally, with how important the site is within the franchise, Trekkies from around the globe make the journey to this sacred place.
Marshall Point Lighthouse – Forrest Gump
One of the most famous segments in Forrest Gump is when he embarks on his marathon across the nation. Gump begins his run in Santa Monica, and before long, finds himself at the Atlantic Ocean, standing in front of the Marshall Point Lighthouse.
Located in Maine, the lighthouse is in a classic and beautiful New England setting, and thanks to Hollywood, it now receives visitors from all corners of the world. Luckily for fans, the lighthouse has been turned into a museum and is open to the public.
Ohio State Reformatory – The Shawshank Redemption
The Shawshank Redemption is often referred to as one of the greatest movies of all time. It’s moving, sad, inspirational, and at times, even funny and heartwarming. Many don’t know this, but it was actually based on a Stephen King novella and another popular prison film, The Green Mile, also happens to be based on a King book.
These days, people visit the former Ohio prison to see where the movie was shot and to take photos. Sometimes, strange images appear in tourists’ photos, which has since given the reformatory a reputation of being haunted.
Forks, Washington – Twilight
Before Twilight, the town of Forks, Washington, was a sleepy little logging town. But after the release of the blockbuster franchise, Forks has emerged as a tourist hotspot for fans of the films and book series.
According to Twilight mythology, Forks is one of the cloudiest, rainiest places in America, making it the perfect spot for sun-adverse vampires to hide. In reality, while Forks does indeed have a large amount of rain each year, it isn’t actually America’s rainiest city. While there seems to be some disagreement amongst the statistics, that title belongs to Mobile, Alabama.
Senoia, Georgia – The Walking Dead
Senoia, Georgia, better known to fans of The Walking Dead as Woodbury, is a small Georgia town riddled with controversy. After becoming famous for being used as a prominent location in The Walking Dead, tourists began flocking to the town of just 3,300 people. Residents have mixed feelings about their newfound fame.
Some embrace it, while others have gone to the press to voice their displeasure with the erratic feel Senoia now has. Regardless of how the locals feel, Senoia is bound to be a popular destination for years to come.
Tom’s Diner – Seinfeld
Monk’s Cafe in the long-running sitcom Seinfeld is actually a real restaurant called Tom’s Diner. The restaurant is located near Columbia University on New York’s Upper West Side and has been a popular tourist attraction for decades.
Fortunately for fans, the diner also has good reviews on TripAdvisor, so a visit doesn’t have to just be for a photo-op, but can also include breakfast classics, homemade pies, and fresh coffee. Fans of musician Suzanne Vega also visit Tom’s because it served as the inspiration for her hit 1987 song, “Tom’s Diner.”
Twisters – Breaking Bad
In Breaking Bad, the fast-food chain Los Pollos Hermanos was the drug front for Gus Fring’s meth distribution. In real life, the restaurant was filmed in the popular New Mexican fast-food chain, Twisters.
More specifically, it was filmed at the Isleta Blvd. location in Albequerque. Twisters has continued to be used for filming in the Breaking Bad spinoffBetter Call Saul, furthering the restaurant’s fame.