Jan 9, 2012

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12 More Sci-Fi Film Locations You Can Actually Visit

You’ve trekked light-years across the stars on a galaxy quest to the final frontier but you’ve barely warmed up your warp drive. You thirst for adventure like a Ferengi thirsts for Latinum, and you’ll need a lot of liquidity if you desire to continue this expensive expedition – for below we carry on our journey across sci-fi sets you’ve seen on screen, with 12 Sci-Fi Film Locations You Can Actually Visit – Part 2. If you’ve not even seen part 1 yet then you can catch up here.

12. Badlands, South Dakota, USA – Starship Troopers (1997)



With a name like Badlands it’s no surprise that this barren landscape bereft of life was chosen to simulate Klendathu, the bug homeworld in the massively underrated Paul Verhoeven film, Starship Troopers.


In reality the Badlands are a 244,000 acre national park in the southwest of the US state of South Dakota. Famous as a fossil hunting-ground, the dried riverbeds have provided archaeologists with a cornucopia of paleontological remains.

This little fellow comes straight from the Badlands

In the late nineteenth century the area accounted for 90% of all fossils found in the US. So grab your dust brush and visit the Badlands for some seriously impressive souvenirs.

11. BMW Headquarters, Munich, Germany – Rollerball (1975)

Compensating for something guys?

A world run by corporations where sport and violence are the most popular forms of entertainment. Sound familiar? Well that’s because it’s the setting for Rollerball, the 1975 Norman Jewison film. The film centers around the titular game of rollerball, a full contact sport in which corporate-sponsored teams on roller skates and motorbikes compete for glory and ‘privileges’ in a purpose built arena.

They're behind you

In reality the arena pictured in the film is the BMV ‘Four Cylinder’ building, which houses BMW’s Munich headquarters. Declared a ‘protected historic building’ in 1999, this thundering tower is a shrewd setting for a film which rallies against the corporate world.


10. Kona, Hawaii – Waterworld (1995)

There are no interior designers in the future


Water, water, everywhere, but not a drop to drink. Dehydration was the least of Kevin Kostner’s problems in the 1995 Kevin Reynolds film, Waterworld. On its release it was the most costly film ever produced and only managed to recuperate half of its budget in the US. Luckily for Kostner the international release of the film and subsequent VHS and DVD sales allowed this flick to finally turn a profit.

The sand is regularly bleached for tourists


In the film both protagonist and antagonist alike are searching for dry land. When Kostner’s character and co finally find land, it is happens to be the tourist haven of Hawaii. If you want to visit the location in which the majority of the film was set, just start walking- when you reach water, you’re there.

9. Johannesburg, South Africa – District 9

I want one


Prawns are a tasty treat we can all eat, unless you’re allergic to shellfish, or starring in the 2009 film, District 9, where Prawns are large bug-like aliens and probably taste like cockroach. Set in the capital city of South Africa, Johannesburg, the film takes place on an alternate Earth. In 1982 a large alien-spaceship comes to Earth and rests motionlessly over the city. 20 years later and the aliens live on the outskirts of the city in a ghetto known as District 9.

Just another day in Soweto


The majority of the film takes place in the, less-than picturesque, ghetto of Soweto, which doesn’t look like the ideal place to take a holiday, but it’s unlikely that the accommodation would cost you much.


8. Shanghai, China – Ultraviolet (2006)

Ultraviolet = ultra-boring

Universally panned by critics, the 2006 Kurt Wimmer film starring sci-fi favourite Milla Jovovich only just managed to break even on its release. Burdened with a confusing and uninspiring plot one of the film’s few savings graces are its arresting locations.

3. 2. 1. Blast Off!

The most memorable architectural icon featured in the film is the opulent Oriental Pearl Tower, Shanghai. The third tallest TV aerial in the world, the tower’s eye catching design is one of many interesting sights a tourist can expect if taking a trip to Shanghai.

7. Dubai – Code 46 (2003)

She's looking at flying cars (it's the future).

An often overlooked sci-fi flick, the 2003 Michael Winterbottom film, Code 46, is a futuristic love story. The story explores the ethical implications of biotechnology, but exposition aside, the futuristic setting for the exterior portions of the film are modern day Dubai.

The architect really liked boats

As tourism is now one of the Emirates major revenue streams, you can expect to be expertly cared for while taking a tour of Dubai city. That is, if you can afford it.

6. Finse, Norway – Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)


An ideal getaway location if you’re a fan of the cold, Finse in Norway is the setting for the opening location in (arguably) Lucas’s best instalment of the Star Wars saga, Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.

Looked better with the AT-ATs

Although there were plenty of snow-speeders and AT-ATs to take for a ride in the film, in reality Finse is just snow, as far as the eye can see. So if you decide to check it out you better bring your own tauntaun.

5. Lake Powell, Arizona – Planet of the Apes (1968)

“My ship's bigger than yours”.

We’ve all been there, you and some friends decide to take a trip in your new space ship to check out a space anomaly and then before you know it you’ve crash landed on a planet run by apes in the distant future. Well maybe not, but that’s what happened to Charlton Heston in the 1968 film, Planet Of The Apes.

No crashes today

The present day location of Heston’s vehicular smash-down is the peaceful Lake Powell in Arizona, a lovely place to take a trip, be you man or monkey…. err, I mean ape.


4. Fox Ranch, Malibu State Creek Park, CA, USA – Planet of the Apes (1968)

The place to be!

Should you wish to find a suitable location for your simian society, look no further than Fox Ranch in the state of California.

So, that's where I parked the car

Although most people would assume that Apes would enjoy living in an area that’s forested, according to the original Planet Of The Apes movie, in the future apes have evolved to enjoy simple sandstone huts. Personally I’d prefer a tree house.

3. Dallas City Hall, USA – Robocop (1987)

Is the building upside down


A standard staple of sci-fi films is that all corporations are evil and the 1987 Paul Verhoeven film, Robocop, is no different. In this futuristic thriller, our cyborg hero is built and then betrayed by the ruthless OCP (Omni Consumer Products).

Where's the rest of it?

The headquarters of this heinous corporation is none other than the seat of the Dallas municipal government, Dallas City Hall. Hopefully the Dallas government are now working on robots to replace law enforcement officers.

2. Scribe Hotel, Paris, France – Alphaville (1965)

She's a mime.


Although filmed on location in Paris with characters that would look more at home in a film noir movie (and who make numerous references to twentieth century events), Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 film, Aphaville, is definitely science fiction. This is mainly because it is set in the future, on a different planet, and in an authoritarian society where an omniscient computer called Alpha 60 rules.

This is what computers look like in the future.


Lemmy Caution’s hotel In the film is actually the Scribe hotel, Paris, shot from kooky angles. Hopefully you’re stay won’t involve having to defeat a super computer with megalomania.


1. Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, CA, USA – The Terminator (1984)


This article is almost terminated. So finally we look at the location of one of the most successful sci-fi films ever made, a movie so monumentous that it helped a bodybuilder from Austria become the Governor(ator) of California. The film is of course James Cameron’s 1984 movie, The Terminator.

If a naked muscular man approaches you, run

Set in the relative present day the film features numerous locations throughout Los Angeles but one of the more memorable locales is the Griffith Observatory where in the opening sequence of the film the Terminator, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger (if you didn’t already know), arrives to commence his mission.

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  1. phred says:

    Just to be overly precise; archeologists do not dig up fossils…

  2. What do archeologists do? If not them; who does dig up fossils?

    • Neil MacPherson says:

      Archaeologists dig up remains of human civilization like excavating ruins for example.Scientists who study the remains of dinosaurs or fossils are paleontologists.

  3. Sigmar says:

    Would love to see a film set entirely on Klendathu! good to see two locations from PotA as well, GD i love that film.

  4. Awesome blog!

    Another list of holiday places I’m genuinely planning on going to, that I never ever will! :)

    Really nice blog though.

  5. Mighty Boron says:

    paleontologist dig up fossils, however the ‘like’ button doesn’t work :( Shame, this is a good article!! 😀

  6. Harry Lawrance says:

    @MightyBoron – Thanks for letting us know. I’ve added some social buttons for sharing to the bottom of the post for now which do work, while we work on getting the like button at the top fixed 😀

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