Films and TV Shows Set in Baltimore

The Wire on HBO ad cover

Courtesy of Amazon

A number of movies, television shows, and documentaries have been filmed or set in Baltimore. Since it’s easier and cheaper to film there than many other cities, Baltimore is often used as a filming location. But rather than a stand-in for other cities, these films are actually set in Baltimore.

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“He’s Just Not That Into You” (2009)

Directed by: Ken Kwapis

The Baltimore neighborhoods of Mount Vernon and Federal Hill star in this romantic comedy that also features an all-star cast, including Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Affleck, and Bradley Cooper. Screenwriter Marc Silverstein spent a great deal of time (about 16 years) living in Maryland, and he told the Baltimore Sun that creators wanted the film to be set in a city that "didn't feel like you'd seen it a million times before." When watching the film, keep an eye open for Natty Boh sightings and the Domino Sugar sign, which appears in the background of scenes in Affleck and Aniston's shared apartment.

02 of 06

“Homicide: Life on the Streets” (1993–1999)

Written by: David Simon

The old City Recreation Pier in Fells Point was used as the setting for the police headquarters throughout the filming of this television drama that followed the Baltimore Police Department's homicide unit. The building was shown countless times during the 122 episodes of the series. In the series, Detective John Munch (played by Richard Belzer) owns a bar that is actually the Waterfront Hotel, which is currently a restaurant and bar where you can grab some food or a drink. This walking tour of Fells Point will take you right to the police headquarters and the Waterfront Hotel.

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“The Wire” (2002–2008)

Written by: David Simon

Filming locations for “The Wire,” a television drama set in Baltimore, are plentiful throughout the city. Many film locations have since been demolished or are now vacant, but some recognizable landmarks remain. This includes Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. Courthouse (100 N Calvert St.), Baltimore’s City Hall (100 N Holliday St.), Orlando’s strip club (actually the Ritz Cabaret in Fells Point at 504 S. Broadway St.), and Federal Hill, which Baltimore police detective Jimmy McNulty stumbles down in one episode. It’s also possible to visit Collington Square Park (Collington Avenue and East Hoffman Street), the basketball court where East battled West in season one and where several drug dealers met, as well as Murderland Alley (Bethel Street between Federal and Oliver streets), which appears in the show’s opening credit sequence.

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John Waters' Films

Every film by director John Waters, also known as the "Pope of Trash," was filmed in Baltimore. For more information on John Waters films and sites throughout the city, check out an online guide to John Waters' Baltimore and this guide to cult classics.

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05 of 06

“Sleepless in Seattle” (1993)

Directed by: Nora Ephron

Next time you're down in Fells Point, you might recognize the facade of the rowhouse that Annie Reed (Meg Ryan) resided in during this romantic comedy (the exact location is 904 South Broadway, adjacent to the Broadway Pier). In the film, the character of Anne Reed, a Baltimore Sun reporter, is touched when she hears a young boy talk about how he wants his father, Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks), to find a new wife. Inspired by the 1957 film "An Affair to Remember," the film has several missed connections as the film's stars try to connect with one another. Throughout the film, several Baltimore landmarks make an appearance, including the Washington Monument, the Women's Industrial Exchange (where Annie and her workmate, played by Rosie O'Donnell, have lunch), and the George Peabody Library.

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”Diner” (1982), “Tin Men” (1987), “Avalon” (1990), and “Liberty Heights” (1999)

Director Barry Levinson made several films set in his hometown of Baltimore: "Diner" (1982), "Tin Men" (1987), "Avalon" (1990), and "Liberty Heights" (1999). Several places around town are easily recognizable from these movies. Levinson's own childhood home, located at 3107 Cliftmont Avenue near Cliftmont Park, is used in both "Avalon" and "Tin Men." The diner at 400 East Saratoga Street is the setting for "Diner," and also makes an appearance in "Avalon" and "Tin Men." The television store from "Avalon" is actually a bookstore, the 19th Century Bookshop (1047 Hollins St.), and there's also a scene filmed in Druid Hill Park. Also in "Avalon" is the Senator Theater (5904 York Rd.), a theater that also makes appearances in "12 Monkeys" by Terry Gilliam and "Cecil B DeMented" by John Waters. In "Tin Men," there are several locations around Baltimore that are familiar, including the Belvedere Hotel and Pimlico Race Course.

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