Over the years, America has been home to some of the best and most iconic romantic comedies in cinematic history. So what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year than a road trip to visit all of these famous locations? Grab your map, hop into the car and see where movie magic was made.
You’ve Got Mail
When characters Kathleen (Meg Ryan) and Joe (Tom Hanks) accidentally fall for one another over email, they have no idea that in real life they are professional rivals. We see their story unravel in and around New York, where the two frequent places such as Zabar’s deli, which still serves delicious food today, and the Starbucks on 2252 Broadway. Unaware of their online identities, the two eventually become friends. Finally they come together at the 91st Street Garden, Riverside Park, Manhattan, where they kiss. This beautiful waterfront park is an ideal place for a picnic, or to simply follow Kathleen and Joe’s footsteps with a stroll along the promenade.
When Harry Met Sally
When Harry Met Sally follows an unlikely couple whose lives repeatedly cross over the years. The two drive to New York together, and Harry (Billy Crystal) is dropped off at the Washington Square Park Arch. Several years later in the film, we see both him and Sally (Meg Ryan) telling friends about recent breakups, with Sally sitting in Central Park’s beautiful Boathouse restaurant. The two meet later at the Shakespeare & Co bookshop, but perhaps the most well-known and hilarious scene is filmed in Katz’s Delicatessen, when Sally uses unconventional tactics to prove a point! Today the café is still thriving, and above the table where they sat, there’s a sign saying “Where Harry Met Sally… Hope you have what she had!”
One of cinema’s most famous RomComs, Groundhog Day sees news reporter Phil (Bill Murray) become trapped in a time loop, and he awakens every morning to the same day, February 2nd. Phil loses hope, until he meets television producer, Rita (Andie MacDowell), and spends each day trying to woo her. This story highlights the American tradition which is particularly popular in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where the movie is set. Groundhog day was actually filmed in Woodstock, Illinois, and some of the best filming spots include the town square, the Old Courthouse and the opera house, which was the Pennsylvanian Hotel in the movie. If you want to head to the real Gobbler’s Knob, where Phil the Groundhog makes his prediction each year, this is just a couple of miles east of Punxsutawney.
Sleepless in Seattle
Another romance courtesy of Nora Ephron is set in both Seattle and New York, and follows a widower, Sam (Tom Hanks), who relocates with his son to live in a houseboat on Lake Union, Seattle. Sam takes part in a radio show to hundreds of female listeners, including news reporter Annie (Meg Ryan). The story that unfurls is charming and heartfelt, and the two finally meet atop the Empire State Building in New York, on Valentine’s Day, making the observation deck a hotspot for romantic couples. Other sites from the film include the Athenian Inn restaurant in Pike Place Market, Seattle, as well as the luxurious Dahlia Lounge restaurant. If the weather is good, head to Alki Beach Park in west Seattle, where Annie first noticed Sam playing with his son.
With Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, Pretty Woman is the story of ruthless businessman, Edward, who hires an escort called Vivian for the week, only to fall in love with her. The story is set in Hollywood, where dreams are made! Take your loved one to the Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel, on Rodeo Drive, and splash out on a shopping trip to Santa Monica Boulevard, where Vivian updated her wardrobe. Follow Vivian’s footsteps and eat at the Cicada restaurant, and head to Los Angeles’ Natural History Museum at Exposition Park, which was used as the location for the San Francisco opera house in the film. The movie ends with the iconic fire escape scene, which can be found at the Las Palmas Hotel, near Hollywood Boulevard.