You’ve probably heard about and maybe even seen many of the most popular movies that inspire travel. It probably wouldn’t take too much effort to list 100 movies that inspire travel. A few of my favorites include
Eat, Pray, Love, In Bruges, Midnight in Paris, Waking Ned Devine, and The Bourne Identity. But what about TV shows that inspire travel? No, not like No Reservations or Swamp People, but sitcoms and drama series. I’ve been considering this recently, especially with an addiction to shows in which the city they are set in are often as much a part of the show as the characters. Here is my round-up of a few of the best television shows that inspire travel to the destinations they are filmed and/or set in.
1. Lost. Surprise, surprise! There are few shows that attracted such a following like LOST did. While it’s been off the air a couple years, its popularity continues with many people comparing new dramas to LOST like they compare the latest tablets to the iPad. I even wrote about what LOST taught me about life a couple years ago. However, while many people were drawn into the story, the scenery had quite the allure to it as well. While no one wants to be on a deserted island with a smoke monster and a hostile group of inhabitants referred to as “the others”, who wouldn’t want to travel to where most of it was filmed: Hawaii. A large majority of filming took place on Oahu. While travelers can see some of the filming locations without too much effort, there are also small group tours that can be arranged. Other cities featured in LOST included Los Angeles, Seoul, and Sydney.
2. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Dead giveaway right? Philadelphia is actually one of just a few U.S. destinations I’ve wanted to vist, but never have. Watching It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has given me a renewed interest in visiting Philly. Much of the show takes place in Paddy’s Pub, which is a fictional bar. However, there are scenes from the show that take place throughout Philadelphia. Well known South Street is shown in the opening credits and other Philadelphia attractions include the Laff House, Philadelphia Java Company, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Visit Philly even has an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia itinerary.
3. Alcatraz. Anyone who knows me should be well aware that this is no surprise. Alcatraz takes place in San Francisco, features one of my favorite U.S. attractions, is full of history, and has a strong LOST element, since it’s produced by co-creator of LOST J.J. Abrams and features Jorge Garcia (Hurley from LOST) as one of the main actors. The real LOST junkie may even recognize the music from the show by LOST composer Michael Giacchino. While Alcatraz is front and center of the show, it also features scenes around other parts of San Francisco, including Russian Hill and Ft. Mason. It also includes scenes of San Francisco’s famous fog.
4. Hawaii Five-0. Are you seeing a recurring theme here with Hawaii? Hawaii is on that list of a few U.S. destinations that I’ve yet to visit and Hawaii Five-0 has given me all the more reason to travel there. While crime dramas don’t often bring a sense of incredible travel inspiration, it’s the scenery and attractions I’ve been drawn to. I mean it is in fact Hawaii so you can just imagine some of the scenery. Some of the highlights have included the USS Missouri, Paradise Cove, and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. On top of all that, there are the frequent scenes of street food, which I’m no stranger to. Popularity of the show has all the appearances of benefitting tourism in Hawaii. Many attractions featured in the show have seen significant increases in visitors, including Kona Brewing, which saw a 60% increase in sales.
5. Treme. Named after a neighborhood of the same name, Treme follows the lives of several New Orleans residents shortly after the Katrina disaster. This is no travelogue or action-packed drama. As an HBO series, it deals with deeper issues then you find in your typical primetime drama. However, Treme does things that no other show on this list does. It goes beyond the sights to provide a glimpse into the culture of New Orleans. New Orleans is a city full of culture and character, unlike any other U.S. metro, and Treme brings this to light as it tells the story of residents who are putting their lives back together after Katrina. Having spent a week in New Orleans last year, I can testify to the resilience and love that residents have for their city.
What TV shows make you want to visit the city they are filmed and/or set in?