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Best of West: Great filming locations in Washington State

01/23/2014
Tips & Resources

by Cecilia Ang

Seattle has been recently named as the top 5 cities in the United States to make a film. True enough, over the years there has been a steady flow of productions taking place in the Emerald City, most popular being Sleepless in Seattle. Known for its lush and mush, Seattle is, indeed, a city with numerous scenic spots for the screen.

As filmmakers stream in to Seattle during April for NFFTY 2014, here are some places that NFFTY staff has picked out for you to explore whilst your short stay in Seattle.

Get your tripod up and camera on because Seattle and the rest of Washington State are at its best for you.

Seattle

Pike Place Market, is no doubt, one of the top of the list to visit when in Seattle. During the day, it is hustling with locals and tourists, trying to get a glimpse of the famous fish tossing activity and getting in to the first Starbucks shop in the world. As daylight diminishes, neon lights by the entrance welcomes its visitors to its vibrant underground theatre and music scene. Aside from the hustle of city life, Seattle has a striking balance of natural attractions and arts and culture reflected in the various neighborhoods.

  • Kerry Park

No doubt the most notable place of Seattle, with much credit given to Greys Anatomy, Kerry Park presents a panoramic view of Seattle’s cityscape. Captivating during both day and night, Kerry Park definitely makes a good backdrop for a romantic date.

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  • Green Lake

The best time to arrange for a shoot at Green Lake would undoubtedly be during dusk. More often, shades of pink and orange take over the sky and casts beautiful reflection on the lake. Filmmakers who are fans of silhouette shots must pay this place a visit.

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  • Fremont

Fremont is, by far, the most quirky neighbourhood of Seattle. It has a strong personality, characterized by the various colorful graffiti walls in the alleys; brightly colored shop fronts and interesting statues. Aside from the Fremont Troll, there is also the Rocket, Lenin Statue and the men by the road. It is also home to stores that sell vintage and other local designer items. If you are shooting something fun, comedic or would simply like an edgy, avant-garde feel from the rest of Seattle in your film, Fremont is the place to be.

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  • Beacon Hill

Mainly a residential area, the plus point about Beacon Hill is that it is higher up on a vantage point, overlooking a different part of Seattle’s landscape. During fall and winter as the city fogs up, being up on Beacon Hill gives you a view of how fog covers the lower part of the city. On good days, a beautiful sunset would complete the misc-en-scene needed for any inspirational or romantic film. IMG_5895

  • University Village

A quaint little shopping area that holds a tinge of classiness, U Village is definitely a good alternative to Downtown for a girls’ day out scene.

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  • University of Washington (UW)

The red and brown bricks of UW architecture highlights the strong historical roots of UW. The campus itself houses various filming spots both indoors and outdoors, from the spacious Red Square to the fountain where you can also factor in Mount Rainier as the backdrop on a good, clear day to the library that resembles that of the one you see in Harry Potter, UW is the place to film a story of love, friendship and memories.20140107_001059263_iOS

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  • Dexter Ave N

Perhaps the most uncommon place of all, Dexter Ave N has a surprisingly beautiful view of Seattle. With Lake Union as foreground and the cityscape as background, Dexter Ave N, as well as Westlake Ave (just one block down), allow you to take a step back and look at the city. You could even take timelapse videos of the city at the right spot.

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  • Capitol Hill

Well known for being the life of the city, especially at night, Capitol Hill is also the neighbourhood that houses the most medieval looking buildings. Deep within the neighbourhood stand interesting, European looking houses. Take a short walk into Volunteer Park and you will find yourself fascinated by these houses. These exterior make good outdoor locations for shoot.

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East Washington

  • Leavenworth

If you have time, take a short 2 hours drive out of Seattle to Leavenworth, a small German town located in East Washington. The location boasts of its European look and definitely has a different feel compared to the main city. IMG_6293

  • Poo Poo Point on Tiger Mountain

Are you into landscape photography or sports videography? Try taking a 2 hours hike up to Poo Poo Point, located in Issaquah, and you will not be disappointed with the shots that you can get up there (and along the way). On a clear sky and windy day, you may even see paragliders up there and they make good video subjects.

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Other parts of Washington (See Film of the Week posts for our NFFTY Alumni, Adam’s recommendation of this place as a filming spot)

  • Lynnwood High School
  • Howarth Park in Everett 

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Feeling the itch to shoot some great films here in Seattle, Washington? Submit your films now and stand a chance to be screened in the world’s largest youth film festival. Filmmakers of selected films get free access pass to the festival. The Emerald City is waiting for you.

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