In honor of the upcoming Academy Awards, we’re taking a look at some of the coolest U.S. locations ever used in award-winning and nominated movies. For movie buffs planning their summer getaways, these spots aren’t just ideal travel destinations; they’re “must-see” places.

  1. Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The 2007 Academy Award Winner, No Country for Old Men, was shot primarily between the two New Mexican cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The capital, which is known for its traditional and not-so-traditional art scene (check out Meow Wolf), is a summer hot-spot thanks to its great food and festivals. Albuquerque has an emerging food scene, often referenced by celebrity chef Bobby Flay as being one of the best in the country. For full cinema effect, take a drive down Central In Albuquerque (the old Route 66) to find the movie’s infamous Desert Sands Motel.

Santa Fe, NM

  1. Chicago, Illinois. Although it didn’t win in 1993, the nominated film, The Fugitive, was, in many people’s minds, a close runner-up. In the movie, Harrison Ford, who plays Dr. Richard Kimble, uses many Chicago landmarks after he makes his escape. Among the most notable are the Cook County Hospital and the payphone on Wells Street Bridge. Track his fugitive footsteps as you make your way to famous deep-dish pizza joints.

Also, the famous architecture and the Wes Anderson themed restaurant in Chicago is enough to inspire me to make a trip to Chicago any day.


Chicago’s Navy Pier

  1. Badlands National Park, South Dakota. Kevin Costner’s famous film, Dances with Wolves, won the Academy Award in 1990. Filmed primarily on location in South Dakota, a trip to the awe-inspiring Badlands National Park will transport you into one of the most memorable scenes from this epic American Western. Stay in Pierre or Rapid City for the whole movie buff experience.

*Better yet, turn this into an epic National Park trip by visiting Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Teton, and Teddy Roosevelt National Parks in the neighboring states of Montana, Wyoming, and North Dakota. I have already written a few articles dedicated to this subject. If you haven’t yet, read, “Why You Need to Start Planning Your Summer Vacation to National Parks Now”. It includes an amazing video of the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park and links to the other articles I wrote on the other parks I mentioned.


Badlands National Park

Want more movie-related travel ideas?

If your top pick for Best Movie this year wins, where will its location take you this summer? If you are ready to start planning that trip, fill our trip planning form, and we’ll get you scheduled for a free consult.
Better yet, if you want to take a group on a fan-based movie trip (*think New Zealand for Lord of the Rings fans or Croatia for Game of Thrones fans*) to either pay for your travel or raise funds/revenue for a good cause/your business, find out more here and fill out our group travel leader inquiry form.
In the meantime…
Happy Wanderlusting!
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