7 Fictional Towns You Can Visit in Real Life

Want to catch a little Tinseltown glamour—without actually going to Tinseltown? Plan a trip to one of these quirky faux hamlets, built as sets for film shoots that wrapped years ago. Touring these spots will take you to some fascinatingly out-of-the-way spots, from the desert in Tunisia to deep-woods North Carolina, and give you a little taste of movie magic.

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Popeye's Village from Popeye


Also known as Sweethaven Village, this cluster of shaggy-dog cottages and other wooden buildings on the island of Malta was erected for the 1980 live action version of Popeye, starring Robin Williams. It is now open to tourists as a museum and entertainment center.

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Spectre from Big Fish

Youtube via Exploring with Cody

Located on private land but accessible if you’re there at the right time (and pay the owners $3), this street of crumbling styrofoam edifices sits just outside of Montgomery, Alabama. Director Tim Burton had the set finished in loving detail for his film, which starred Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney.

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Hobbiton from Lord of the Rings

Flickr via tom_hall_nz

The easiest way to see the 44 “hobbit holes” that make up the Shire village of Hobbiton is to join one of the organized tours run out of Matamata, two hours south of Auckland in New Zealand. The Party Tree, the arched bridge, and Bilbo Baggin’s home are highlights of this permanent reconstruction of the original sets for the Peter Jackson trilogy.

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Tatooine from Star Wars

Flickr via islandsoflight

A traditional Berber house in the Tunisian village of Matmata served as the Skywalker home in the George Lucas epic, and the other sites nearby stood in for the distant planet of Tatooine. Visitors can spot a few of the original Star Wars props and decor hanging here and there.

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District 12 from The Hunger Games

Flickr via ncbrian

The deserted North Carolina mill town of Henry River (near the present-day town of Hildrebran) played the part of the forlorn coal-mining region District 12 in the first of the Hunger Games films. The spooky, abandoned neighborhood is posted with “No Trespassing” signs, but apparently fans of the movie have been touring it ever since shooting finished in 2011.

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Wallilabou from Pirates of the Caribbean


Scenes from the Disney series starring Johnny Depp were shot at the scenic Wallilabou Anchorage on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. Tourists who make their way there can try on original costumes from the film and see the thatched-roof huts and a gallows and cannon used in the movie.

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Eaves Ranch from Silverado

Flickr via gog

To film a proper Western, a director needs plenty of wide open space, and this working movie ranch outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico fits the bill. Outfitted with plenty of Old West buildings and a dusty Main Street, the ranch is not always open to the public, through music festivals and weddings sometimes take place there.

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