A location that you just know you've seen in five other TV shows or movies. To locations what Hey, It's That Guy!
is to actors.
Filming at a landmark is a separate trope when the scene is supposed to take place at that specific landmark (e.g. the Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, famous courthouses), but it counts here when a landmark is used generically (e.g. any Vancouver landmark).
of California Doubling
, Kirk's Rock
might be the single most-used That Place in American television, and the various BBC Quarries
serve a similar role in the UK.
Los Angeles and California
- Circus Liquor (Clueless, Alias, Private Practice)
- The former Unocal building, now part of Los Angeles Center Studios. The lobby and some other interior spaces are available for filming, and you might recognise them from these photos. (Alias, Cold Case, NUMB3RS, NCIS, Mad Men, The X-Files: Fight the Future, early commercials for Life, even a California tourism commercial of all things).
- This◊ house (NUMB3RS, Shark, a Verizon commercial)
- Diamond Ranch High School (various high-tech facilities in Live Free or Die Hard, The Cell, Serenity, Impostor)
- There's a house somewhere in California that was used in Charmed, Journeyman, and the film Premonition.
- For anybody who watched MTV in the '80s, The Rainbow Bar and Grill is an example.
- The concrete ditch◊ surrounding the Los Angeles river (Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Boomtown, 24, The Italian Job, Point Blank, Grease... The Other Wiki has an extensive list). There's an entry here as well.
- Bronson Canyon
- The Brandeis-Bardin Institute library, also known as the House of the Book; featured once in Star Trek (sixth movie) and once in The Next Generation ("Descent"), and served as the visual for the exterior of the command center/power chamber in Power Rangers. As well as several commercials and a movie nobody has ever heard of.
- The Universal Studios back lot is highly recognizable from Back to the Future, Murder, She Wrote, Remington Steele, and other works. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by a massive fire in June 2008, making its appearance something of a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment.
- The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute was featured prominently in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, although Greeked into simply the "Cetacean Institute".
- Point Dume in Malibu is a favorite spot for beach filming. It's most memorably appearance was at the end of Planet of the Apes, but it also appeared in several of the other films in that series as well (it's where the apes land in Escape from the Planet of the Apes, for example). Tony Stark's home in Iron Man was there via CGI; Psycho Beach Party was was filmed there as well. It also appears in several commercials.
- Mugu Rock, found along the Pacific Coast Highway north of Los Angeles, appears regularly in car commercials. The Rock was formed when a path for the Pacific Coast Highway was cut through the mountain.
- The Bradbury Building's unusual architecture has made it a staple of sf and quirky TV and film, most notably Blade Runner.
- Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles slopes down along Bunker Hill past several photogenic Los Angeles landmarks like the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the MOCA. As a result, it shows up in a surprisingly large number of car commercials.
- Running three blocks parallel is Broadway, whose grimy, old-new architecture has been a popular location for films like Blade Runner and Inception.
- If there's a scene at a carousel, there's a good chance it was filmed in one of two L.A. locations: the outdoor Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round or the indoor carousel at the Santa Monica Pier.
- The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Ennis House has been in quite a few movie and TV productions, perhaps most famously the Vincent Price version of House on Haunted Hill (1959), Blade Runner and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- There are several mansions in southern California that have appeared in a dozen or more adult films each.
- Torrence High School was used as the school in Beverly Hills 90210, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and multiple movies.
- The Craven Estate in Pasadena, owned by the American Red Cross, was used as the headquarters building in JAG. It has also been used for many other series like; 24, Bones, Commander In Chief, Judging Amy; and movies like Enemy of the State, Rush Hour 3, Swordfish and Traffic.
- Randy's Donuts in Inglewood got destroyed in 2012 and served as the meeting place between Tony and Nick Fury in IronMan2.
- If a scene in a movie or TV show is set in a cafe, odds are better than good it will be shot at The Quality Cafe, an out-of-business cafe that's used exclusively for movie and TV shoots.
- (Former) Johnie's Broiler in Downey, CA, a classic American suburban diner built in 1950s which appeared as an old-fashioned diner in a lot of movies and TV shows (see the link for the list). The establishment went through a lot of bad times in 2000's, including being almost completely demolished illegally. Now restored and operating as a Bob's Big Boy Restaurant.
- Cracked's 5 Places You'll Recognize from the Background of Every Movie lists several landmarks that have appeared in multiple films, such as the Griffith Observatory and Biltmore Hotel in LA. It goes on to suggest writing crossover fanfiction based on the universes that used the Mount Hollywood Tunnel.
- The Lions mountain, which has its own entry here.
- The SFU Burnaby quad◊ and rotunda (Battlestar Galactica, J Pod, Masters Of Science Fiction,SG-1's Tollan homeworld)
- Library Square◊ (Battlestar Galactica, Bionic Woman, unaired Global Frequency pilot)
- Hatley Castle - not actually in Vancouver, but close enough for BC-based productions to use (Smallville, X-Men, Arrow)
- The Ovaltine Cafe (I Robot, unaired Global Frequency pilot)
- The Chan Centre and other locations at UBC (The 4400, Battlestar Galactica, Reaper'')
- The Capilano Suspension Bridge (Sliders, MacGyver, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven)
- The Riverview Hospital, in Coquitlam, British Columbia. (The X-Files, MacGyver, Smallville, Supernatural, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Continuum, Happy Gilmore, and Romeo Must Die).
- The Terminal City Iron Works in East Vancouver with the distinctive G&R Jacoe Chemical Co. painted on the side of the building has been seen in Supernatural, Fringe, Eureka, and Sanctuary.
- Mount Seymour (Supernatural, Highlander, Stargate SG-1, The X-Files, and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse).
- Several British productions have used the gate of Chatham Dockyard (now Chatham Historic Dockyard after the Naval base closed in 1984) as a prison gate. The linked photo doesn't show the wooden doors, but when closed they look convincingly prison-like.
- The Quad of University College London in Bloomsbury is often used (particularly in Spooks), as it is a passable imitation of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square. Girls Aloud filmed a Kit Kat advert on the steps. The Main Library is also used often, particularly in Christopher Nolan films as he is an alumnus of the university.
- London's 30 St Mary Axe, affectionately known as the Gherkin, is popular when the script calls for a contemporary-style European Skyscraper. Previously, it was the Lloyd's of London.
- Cardiff Freakin' Castle. It's been in no less than five stories in the Whoniverse as of 2011.
- Cardiff University generally, particularly Main Building. Corridors, staircases and lecture theatres make appearances in Doctor Who and Sherlock
- And again in Cardiff, the Temple of Peace, which appears roughly once a series in Doctor Who (Platform One, Hotel Adlon Kempinski in Berlin)
- Eilean Donan Castle◊, ancestral fortress of the Clan MacRae, on Loch Long. Or, if you go by film only, it's the home of the Clan Macleod,, stands on a lake where a big scary monster has lived for hundreds of years, and is a branch office for M.I.6.
- The Sunbury Pump House, near Shepperton Studios, Surrey, provided interiors for Red Dwarf and Gamesmaster. The Red Dwarf cast invoke this trope on the DVD commentary as they try to remember what other series were filmed there.
- St Cadoc's Hospital is starting to become a stock location for BBC Wales Productions too. for now: 2 Torchwood appearances (episode "Sleeper" and the Children of Earth miniseries) plus Doctor Who's "The Eleventh Hour" and is Nina and George's workplace in Being Human's third series.
- Walthamstow Town Hall and the neighbouring Assembly Hall in north London are the UK's stock location for a large inter-war building due to the art deco exterior and surviving 1930s interiors. Notable appearances include many different fictional locations in Poirot, the exterior of the hotel in Misfits series two part six, and the exterior of the Reichskanzlerei and the Nazi nightclub in the Doctor Who episode "Let's Kill Hitler".
- Highclere Castle is best known as the eponymous setting of Downton Abbey, but it has shown up in a number of other works, including Jeeves and Wooster.
- Battersea Power Station in London is used so often in the media that it has an entire Wikipedia article devoted to it's many appearances in films, television, music videos, album covers, etc.
- Horsted Keynes Station on the Bluebell Railway has appeared in Sherlock Holmes, Poirot, Downton Abbey, The Railway Children, Jeeves and Wooster, North and South, Sally Lockhart, Endeavour, Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall, Scrapheap Challenge... It's a wonder that characters who go there don't come out in a completely different show. In 2013 there was a narrow miss when preliminary work for Downton Abbey started just as The Muppets were finishing a shoot.
- The former nuclear bunker at Kelvedon Hatch in Essex has featured in a number of TV shows and films.
- Casa Loma in Toronto has stood in for any number of fancy houses and castles. Not to mention its interior was used as the inside set for Xavier's School in the first X-Men film.
- The UWaterloo Waterfall Building (Battlestar Galactica, Bionic Woman)
- In many Hong Kong action films, there will be a fight in an abandoned industrial plant with a lot of pipes. This is actually a desalination plant that proved not be economically viable and is now used as a location for filming.
- Tokusatsu fans are familiar with quite a few locations in Japan that seem to be used every year, no matter what the series. This practice goes back to the original Kamen Rider, which prided itself on picking outdoor locations like dams, quarries and coasts for elaborate fight scenes.
- Super Sentai often uses Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Dome. When these appear in Power Rangers, they obviously aren't supposed to be those locations. One notable example is the Power Rangers Zeo episode Rangers of Two Worlds. The Zeo Rangers and Alien Rangers perform their rollcall outside Tokyo Dome... or rather, Angel Grove Stadium. The following season, the Dome was the base for the Rescue Zords and Artillatron.
- 55 Central Park West, otherwise known as the Ghostbusters Building. Note that it's not as tall as the film makes it out to be.
- Numerous locations in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Hamilton's been a popular shooting location in the past two decades because of its wide variety of locations, its proximity to Toronto and regional tax incentives.
- Monument Valley is in a number of films and other media outlets—particularly Westerns.
- Hatley Castle/Royal Roads University, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, has featured in numerous films; The X-Men franchise and Masterminds are among the better-known titles. Other Victoria landmarks seen or at least used include Fan Tan Alley (seen in Bird on a Wire), and the Royal British Columbia Museum (which hosted an episode of MacGyver).
- The art deco edifice of the R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant in Toronto has appeared as as a lair for corporate villainy (The Pretender, Undercover Brother, Mutant X), a prison (Half Baked, Flashpoint), a mental asylum (In the Mouth of Madness, Robocop The Series), and a brewery (Strange Brew).
- The detention room in The Breakfast Club in suburban Chicago was re-used in Not Another Teen Movie. For bonus points, Paul Gleason reprised his role as the principal!
- Virtual example: 90% percent of Machinimas using The Sims 3 will be filmed in recognizable Sunset Valley locations. This is because Sunset Valley is the only neighborhood which comes pre-made with the game.
- Chateau De Pierrefonds, known best now for playing Camelot in Merlin, also appeared in several other shows and movies-one example was as an Italian castle in Highlander episode 'Star-Crossed'.
- The scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark with Indy threatening to blow up the Ark was filmed in the same canyon where R2-D2 was captured by Jawas in Star Wars: A New Hope. The canyon (which is located in Tunisia and is now known as "Star Wars Canyon") also appears in The English Patient.
- The ruins of Petra, Jordan, have been seen (doubling for different locations) in such films as Arabian Nights (1942), Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (1997), the Arabian Nights TV miniseries (2000), and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009). Outside films, it also appears in The Red Sea Sharks.
- Old Tucson Studios. Built initially for the movie Arizona in 1939, its buildings were used as the sets of countless Western television shows and movies, including episodes of Gunsmoke, Little House on the Prairie, Bonanza, and Have Gun — Will Travel. It is also a tourist attraction, though most of the original sets were lost in a fire.
- The Webb Institute's Stevenson Taylor Hall was used as Wayne Manor for Batman Forever, Batman & Robin, and Gotham and appears in Great Expectations.