9 of the Best Movies and TV Shows Filmed in the Northwest

With such spectacular scenery, it’s no surprise that so many films and television shows have been shot in the Northwest. If you’d like to experience firsthand some of those iconic destinations, this list is sure to inspire an unforgettable itinerary for any movie and TV buff.

Twin Peaks, Snoqualmie and North Bend, Washington


David Lynch’s 1990s cult hit TV series “Twin Peaks,” was filmed in a number of locations around Washington State, but Snoqualmie and North Bend in the Cascade foothills had the most prominent role. The 268-foot-high waterfall on the Snoqualmie River featured in the opening credits is even more breathtaking in real life. Behind the falls, the Snoqualmie Falls Lodge, AKA Salish Lodge, served as the exterior for the show’s Great Northern Hotel.

In nearby North Bend, you can enjoy a cup of coffee and a bite to eat at Twede’s Café, the same diner where a number of scenes were filmed. The sign out front boasts of being the “Home of ‘Twin Peaks’ cherry pie.

northwest roadside attraction: roslyn cafe

Northern Exposure, Roslyn, Washington


Another 1990s television series with a cult following, “Northern Exposure,” was supposed to be set in Alaska, in a fictional town named Cicely, however, it was all shot in and around the small town of Roslyn in the Central Cascades. The weather-worn structures that date back to the early 1900s, along with heavy snowfall, certainly helped it look the part of a remote Alaskan village.

Even more than two decades after its final episode, countless fans come to see the place that was home to KBHR radio station, Ruth-Anne’s general store, and the camel mural on Roslyn’s café.

northwest roadside attraction: mary lou's milkbottle

Benny & Joon, Spokane, Washington

The quirky 1993 drama/comedy “Benny & Joon” starring Johnny Depp, Mary Stuart Masterson and Aidan Quinn, featured the eastern Washington city of Spokane quite prominently. The house where Benny (Aidan Quinn) & Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson) lived can be found at 301 North Cedar Street in the Peaceful Valley neighborhood. The auto mechanic’s shop that also had a prominent role is at 5404 North Market Street.

Perhaps most famous of all, however, is Mary Lou’s Milk Bottle, that classic diner where Depp’s character Sam go the rolls to dance.  It’s one of our favorite Northwest roadside attractions.

Officer and a Gentleman, Port Townsend, Washington


This 1982 flick starring Richard Gere, Debra Winger and Louis Gossett, Jr., still attracts fans to beautiful, historic Fort Worden State Park on the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula. Scenes were shot in nearby downtown Port Townsend, and throughout the park. The recruits run along the beach in view of Point Wilson Lighthouse, up and around the fort, in front of Battery Ash and through a tunnel to Battery Benson.

Today, the park is popular for picnicking, hiking, biking, kayaking, camping and much more.

Sleepless in Seattle, Seattle, Washington


Arguably the best-known movie ever shot in Seattle stars Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. “Sleepless in Seattle,” was filmed throughout the Emerald City and included several scenes at Pike Place Market, such as when Sam (Hanks) and Jay (Rob Reiner) have their infamous talk about tiramisu while downing beers and dining on clams at the Athenian Inn. They also walk by the Inn at the Market while the iconic Market sign appears in the background. Other spots include Duke’s Chowder House, Fremont Bridge, Alki Beach and the Westlake floating homes.

Goonies, Astoria and the Oregon Coast, Oregon


One of Oregon’s most picturesque and historic cities is actually most famous among movie buffs as the setting of 1985’s “The Goonies.” The residence that served as Mikey’s house still stands today, and the current owners have even placed a sign out front to direct visitors from the bottom of their drive. You can also check out the building where Mikey’s dad worked, which was actually the Flavel House Museum, which is set within a magnificent Queen Anne-style home. The County Jail, where Ma and Francs Fratelli break Jake out of lockup is there too, but it’s now the Oregon Film Museum.

The breathtaking coastal scenes were shot about 20 miles south of Astoria, at Ecola State Park in Cannon Beach.

Animal House, Eugene, Oregon


1978’s cult hit “Animal House,” was mostly shot in Eugene, in and around the University of Oregon campus. While the original site of Delta House has been torn down, you can visit Phi Kappa Psi which was used for interior and exterior scenes of Omega House. Autzen Stadium was the scene where Pinto and Clorette made out on the 50 yard line, and by visiting Room 110 of Fenton Hall, you can see where John Belushi and the gang stood trial by the student government.

About 20 miles southeast of Eugene in Dexter, is the Dexter Lake Club, which was where Boon, Pinto and Flounder found their favorite band, Otis Day and the Knights.

Portlandia, Portland, Oregon


One of the more recent additions to add to Oregon’s credits is “Portlandia,” which is mainly filmed in and around Portland. The Eastbank Esplanade was the setting for the first sketch in the pilot, and the opening credits include highlights around the city, like Burnside Skate Park. When the characters meet for brunch at Fisherman’s Porch, the actual building is the Good Neighbor Pizzeria.

The name of the show was taken from an iconic sculpture, “Portlandia,” so be sure to take a selfie with it during your tour.

Dante’s Peak, Wallace, Idaho

One of the best places to experience some of Idaho’s most jaw-dropping mountain scenery and its silver mining history, happens to be where the 1997 thriller “Dante’s Peak” was filmed. The crew chose this small town of only about 800, digitally altering the big hill just south of it to look like a volcano. Many scenes take place right in the historic downtown area that can be seen right off Interstate 90.

You may also like to read this story: Oscar nominated movies filmed in the Pacific Northwest

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