"THE TOWER DRAWS CLOSER..."Alice wakes up one morning, only to hear screams. Rushing outside, she spots the love of her life, Bob, being stuffed into Charlie's car. Failing to catch them, Alice promptly suits and loads up, and starts trekking. Her goal? Rescue Bob from the dark Castle Charlie, which is always looming errily on the horizon... While MacGuffins tend to take the form of things or even entities, a common alternative is to use a setting or location — where the driving force is instead a place where everyone's trying to get to (or get there first), but when reached doesn't have any significant impact on the plot. Most commonly found in media centering around The Quest (which, more often than not, contains another macguffin they desire. The other most common occurance is media that involves races — it often doesn't matter whether the finish line is in Cairo, New Zealand, or Omaha, just that they arrive first or on time. Compare with Going to See the Elephant.
— Every blurb for The Dark Tower books
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- In addition to the location of the titular treasure, the actual island of Raftel in One Piece is also sought after, mainly due to the Rio Poneglyphs.
- Outlaw Star has people searching for the location of the fabled Galactic Leyline, presumably a giant stash of valuable minerals or other treasure. Actually, it's a repository of knowledge, and after it's found it runs away again so that the chase can start all over.
- Shinzo in, well, Shinzo. It's the last human city several centuries into the future, and Chosen One Yakumo must reach it. In the original Japanese version it's called "Mushrambo", after the main character's fusion form.
- Paradise in Wolf's Rain.
- The true Clair Bible in Slayers NEXT turns out to be this, as it was previously assumed that the bible was a book.
- The land of fairies in Berserk is reputed to be the only place safe from the demonic legions that want the protagonists dead as well as the location of the only one who might be able to cure Casca of her insanity.
- Five Weeks in a Balloon. The heroes and a band of slavers are trying to get to a piece of territory that no nation owns in order to claim it for their respective governments.
- The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Sinbad and Prince Koura both try to reach the Fountain of Destiny first in order to gain its rewards.
- The Great Race: the title New York to Paris race.
- Tarzan and the Valley of Gold. The title valley (and the city of gold therein), which both Tarzan and the Big Bad are trying to reach.
- The Big W in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Parodied after a fashion by the Big Why (Y) in The New Avengers.
- El Dorado, a city supposedly made entirely of gold somewhere in South America, from films such as The Road to El Dorado.
- Rat Race: the train station in Silver City, New Mexico
- In both the Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run, the destination of the cross country speeding isn't important other than that's where they need to be to get paid/win the race.
- Jules Verne's Journey to the Center of the Earth and all of its adaptations.
- Treasure Island has its titular island. So, too, does its Recycled IN SPACE! counterpart Treasure Planet.
- The Dark Tower has...well...
- King lampshades this at the end. He stops to say it should be enough to just get there, but since some of you will insist, he'll also provide the ending that actually tells what happens there... which when read makes it no less a MacGuffin Location.
- The poem that inspired the series is all about the existential meaninglessness of searching for a place for so long, "Childe Roland" has pretty much forgotten why he's searching for it.
- The Malloreon, by David Eddings, features a Mineral MacGuffin (the 'Sardion', a rock) and a MacGuffin Location, "The Place Which Is No More".
- The Spitsbergen island in the Svalbard archipelago, from His Dark Materials.
- Tanelorn in several stories by Michael Moorcock.
- The Chamber of Secrets in Harry Potter.
- The Tomb Of Sephotic in Robert Westall's Urn Burial. Somewhere on Fiend's Fell in Cumbria, there's a hidden tomb to an alien weapons maker, that's filled with weapons he built that no one knows how to build or counter any more.
Live Action TV
- Every location on The Amazing Race.
- Similarly, the finish line of nearly every Top Gear Car v. Something Else race challenge.
- The Doctor Who episode's eponymous Utopia. That turned out well, didn't it?
- In Star Trek: The Original Series, the Federation and the Klingon Empire are disputing the right to colonize Sherman's Planet. That's why the Enterpise receives a Priority one distress call to protect grain storage.
- California in Z Nation.
- In Final Fantasy VII, Shinra's main motivation is to find the 'promised land'.
- Zanarkand from Final Fantasy X.
- "Your Sanctuaries" in EarthBound.
- Kingdom Hearts: The titular location is said to be a source of ultimate knowledge and power, and is thus sought after by various villains who seek to rule the universe using it.
- The Tower in the Panzer Dragoon Series
- The Vault in Borderlands
- A slightly odd example is Releeshahn in Myst III: Exile. Releeshahn is a book that is an access to a location, and you have to retrieve the book.
- The artificial island Paradise and the Cardinal Shaft in Hellsinker.
- Ilos in Mass Effect, a planet only accessible via a lost mass relay only the last Rachni Queen kept in captivity on Noveria knows the location of, and which Shepard and Saren are racing to get to first.
- Fallout: New Vegas revolves entirely around the biggest landmark in Nevada, the Hoover Dam. It provides clean water and free electricity to the entire state. He who controls it controls the future of the entire Mojave desert, so it's actually a pretty damn good justification of this trope. It's not magical, it's not full of unobtanium, it just provides what you need to live.
- Charlie the Unicorn: "Candy Mountain, Charlie!"
- In the Yogscast's modded Minecraft series MoonQuest, the idea is that they start from scratch and have to collect the resources to build a facility, equipment, and a rocket ship to travel to the Moon, with a space race going on between Team J.A.F.F.A (Lewis Brindley, Simon Lane and Duncan Jones) and Sipsco (Sips and Sjin). After 45 episodes of distractions, setbacks, misadventures, and general shenanigans, Team J.A.F.F.A finally send Simon to the Moon and then have to build another rocket to go there again after he crashes and is stranded there.
- Candied Island in The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.
- Every single episode of Wacky Races features one of these.
- The titular castle in Barbie & The Diamond Castle.
- The Crystal Empire in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. It's explicitly said to be able to invoke Fisher Kingdom on the rest of the world, and it also appears to be the main source of obscure magic in the series. So is it any wonder why King Sombra's so obsessed with controlling the place in Season 3?
- Heaven for Christians.
Truth In Television
- Shangri-La, a Himalayan paradise where people live far longer than the normal human lifespan, was invented by James Hilton in his 1931 novel Lost Horizon. The novel and subsequent movie inspired many people to believe that Shangri-La was real; the Nazis sent an expedition to Tibet in 1938 to look for it.
- Atlantis, a powerful island nation destroyed by earthquake, was written about by Plato. To this day treasure-seekers wonder how much of Plato's story was inspired by a real place, and continue to search for the location of the "real" Atlantis.
- Even though he starts the narration by pointing out that Atlantis is not a real place, but an hypothetical example of how governments should be run.
- Until the real thing was discovered near Istanbul, Turkey, many scholars thought that Troy was one of these as well. The same is true of many other locations in ancient lore (and sometimes even people).
- The races to reach the North and South Poles, being the first to climb Mount Everest, the Race to the Moon between the U.S. and U.S.S.R., and so on.
- To be fair, the Moon was supposed to be more than a MacGuffin Location, but then the sequel got cancelled.