Movies love Seattle—it’s a fact! Dozens of films large and small have been filmed in Seattle, Tacoma, as well as other area towns. There’s something satisfying about watching a movie that has familiar locations in it. It can be even more fun to go hunt down some spots that were featured in a movie or two. A self-guided movie tour of Seattle and Tacoma can be a new way to get out and explore, or a fine way to impress out-of-town, movie buff guests.
Also check out: Movies Filmed in Tacoma
Sleepless in Seattle – 1993
It may go without saying that “Sleepless in Seattle” was filmed in Seattle and is chocked full of Seattle goodness, and some of the coolest locations to visit. The most famous is the houseboat where Sam and his son Jonah live, which is situated right on Lake Union at 2460 Westlake Avenue alongside other houseboats. Whether you’re a fan of the movie or not, a stroll along Westlake is a fine way to enjoy a touch of Seattle’s maritime culture. Other Seattle spots that made it into this ‘90s classic are Alki Beach and Pike Place Market.
It Happened at the World’s Fair – 1963
You might guess from the title that “It Happened at the World’s Fair” has something to do with Seattle Center, and you would be right. This 1963 Elvis movie uses what was then the brand new Seattle Center and the 1962 World’s Fair as a backdrop. You’ll see early shots of the Space Needle, Monorail, and fountains that later became part of the Pacific Science Center.
Prefontaine – 1997
“Prefontaine” focused on the life of Olympic hopeful Steve Prefontaine, who was from Coos Bay, Oregon. The movie used sports facilities around the Puget Sound, including Husky Stadium at University of Washington as the Olympic stadium in the film, as well as The Buckaroo Tavern (4021 Fremont Avenue N, Seattle) and Discovery Park (3801 W. Government Way, Seattle). The University of Puget Sound in Tacoma was used for many exterior shots, while other towns from Stanwood to Olympia served as backdrops, too.
Disclosure - 1994
The Washington State Ferries in Seattle’s Elliott Bay show up in “Disclosure” as Michael Douglas uses one to get home. A building in Pioneer Square was used for what was called Digicom in the film. Other locations include the Four Seasons Olympic Hotel (411 University Street) and Volunteer Park (1247 15th Avenue E).
The Fabulous Baker Boys – 1989
A tale of two musicians struggling to get a foothold in a changing world snuggles right into Seattle’s funky music scene, but don’t expect any grunge here. The film opens on the streets of Belltown, but also has shots of Jeff Bridges heading past Pike Place Market, hanging out at Ivar’s Acres of Clams on Pier 54, at Four Seasons Olympic Hotel (411 University Street), at Roosevelt Hotel (1531 7th Avenue), at Masin’s Furniture Company (220 2nd Avenue S), and some shots at Pioneer Square, too.
Battle in Seattle - 2007
“Battle in Seattle” jumps into the fray of the 1999 WTO riots and much of it was filmed right on the streets of Seattle around the World Trade and Convention Center.
Harry and the Hendersons - 1987
Given that “Harry and the Hendersons” is about a family that adopts a friendly Sasquatch, why not set it in Seattle. The myth of Sasquatch originates from the Pacific Northwest, after all. The film shows off the quintessential Space Needle as well as several scenes in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood, where the family lived in a house at 4214 Burke Avenue North (in the movie, the house had the fictitious address of 437 Manning Drive). Plenty of bonus Northwest scenery from Snoqualmie Pass, Lake Kachess, North Bend, and North Cascades National Park also shows up.
Life or Something Like It – 2002
“Life or Something Like It” hits up locations all around Seattle, including Kerry Park (211 W Highland Drive), The Bookstore Bar and Café (1007 1st Avenue), Icon Grill (1933 5th Avenue), Alki Beach, and Safeco Field (1250 1st Avenue S).
Say Anything - 1989
Many “Say Anything” scenes were filmed in locations around Seattle, often in passing. Westlake Center shows up as Lloyd drives past it. Later, there is a scene next to a large coffee pot-shaped building, which is located in Tacoma—Bob’s Java Jive at 2102 South Tacoma Way.
Little Buddha – 1993
This Keanu Reeves movie shot scenes in some unique spots in Seattle. The Seattle Art Museum (100 University Street), Seattle Monorail, and at the Sakaya Monastery (108 NW 83rd Street) are all in the movie.
Other Movies with Shots of Seattle
Many movies feature not just Seattle, but locations all around the Northwest to capture that Northwest atmosphere that looks so splendid on film. More movies that take place in Seattle and Western Washington include:
Tugboat Annie - 1933
The Slender Thread - 1965
Cinderella Liberty – 1973
The Parallax View - 1974
McQ – 1974
An Officer and a Gentleman - 1982
WarGames – 1983
Trouble in Mind – 1985
Black Window – 1987
Seven Hours to Judgment - 1988
Dogfight – 1991
American Heart – 1992
The Vanishing - 1993
Assassins – 1995
Black Sheep - 1996
Practical Magic - 1998
Enough - 2002
The Ring – 2002
Firewall - 2006
Twilight and its sequels – 2008-2012
If you want a visual aid on your movie location scouting, the City of Seattle Film Office has created a useful map. The map shows major locations in Seattle and then breaks down which films feature each one.