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DC: Movie capital?

May 22, 2010

Okay, so we all know that Washington is no Hollywood. But there have been a lot of movies and TV shows shot here, even if 99% of them revolve around politics. (Notable exception: Wedding Crashers.)

On Location Tours offered me tickets to take their DC TV & Movie Sites tour, a three-hour bus and walking trip around DC with an actor-guide pointing out some of the city’s film highlights.

The tour kicked off at Union Station where we met our caffeinated guide, David. Okay, so you know how there’s perky and then there’s perky? David was perky.

The majority of the trip was spent in a minibus, where David pointed out each attraction, listed films or TV shows that were shot there, then showed a related clip.

The trip definitely covers all of DC’s highlights: the monuments, some museums and other buildings, ending up in Georgetown for a 30-minute walk through the neighborhood.

For the non-Washingtonians on the bus, this provided a fantastic overview of the city. For people raised in the area, most of the information was redundant. I expected to hear backstory and behind-the-scenes tales from movie sets. Instead, there was a lot of, “And here we are at the Reflecting Pool. Remember that scene in Forrest Gump…?”

The best parts of the tour were when David gave information about the shooting process, not just listing what was filmed; for instance, showing us the place where the “Georgetown Metro” was in No Way Out, starring Kevin Costner. If you’re from DC, you know there’s not a Georgetown Metro, so it was interesting to see where fiction blended with a real-life location (in this case, the canal entrance to Georgetown Park).

David also revealed that the White House facade often seen on “The West Wing” was actually an entrance to DAR Constitution Hall–aka where almost every Washington-area high school student, included me, graduated–and that was definitely new information to me.

I think I would have enjoyed the tour and been more enthralled if it was in a city I didn’t know as well. On Location Tours also has tours showing where “Sex and the City,” “The Sopranos” and “Gossip Girl” were filmed. It’s definitely more interesting to see places that are completely new and not the same sights you can see every day.

If you love movies, like political dramas and aren’t a Washingtonian, you’d really enjoy this tour. It definitely provides a unique twist to DC tourism–now, if only people would start setting movies and shows here that don’t revolve around government conspiracies and political scandals.

Have you ever taken a guided tour of your hometown? What did you think?

16 Comments leave one →
  1. sweetastic permalink
    May 22, 2010 2:08 pm

    i love your last picture! i would have never guessed that was in DC.

    • May 22, 2010 2:22 pm

      Yep, it’s inside Georgetown Park.

    • May 22, 2010 2:22 pm

      Oops, wrong photo! That is just a random side street in Georgetown. πŸ™‚

  2. May 23, 2010 6:43 am

    What fun things to learn about your city! I once paid way too much for a guided trolley ride through a city I lived in that taught me nothing new 😦 So now I’m skeptical of them…

  3. May 23, 2010 10:00 am

    I would love to take a guided tour of DC! I keep saying this but I need to go again. πŸ™‚ It has been too long since I’ve seen your beautiful city.

    I finally got through to the Examiner and they said I could write their West LA section. I am excited! I referenced you this time so you should hopefully get a commission!!

    • May 24, 2010 2:28 pm

      Awesome! Send me a link and I’ll subscribe. πŸ˜€

  4. May 23, 2010 2:23 pm

    I think I would enjoy that tour – but then, I’ve only been to Washington twice. But it sounds like they could make it so much better!

  5. May 23, 2010 2:57 pm

    and yet again you have me longing for DC. Your tour looks fun although I can see why you would have enjoyed it more in a city you do not know as well.

  6. May 23, 2010 4:20 pm

    I live near DC and have been a zillion times. Everytime I see a movie with DC in it I try to place the scene…except for the most obvious, of course. I do not think the tour would be something I would enjoy…unless they were actually filming something.

  7. May 23, 2010 7:17 pm

    That sounds like a cool tour! I wonder if I could go while I am here. Did they mention Mars Attacks!? Ha ha.

    Someone I just met tonight was telling me you can see where part of the Shining was filmed in Georgetown.

    • May 23, 2010 7:54 pm

      The Shining or The Exorcist? There are a bunch of famous sights from The Exorcist in Georgetown, like the house itself, a couple of restaurants and the long stairs.

  8. May 23, 2010 8:47 pm

    I always see tourists gawking at famous movie/TV spots in NY and I laugh at them, lol. It’d be cool to see behind the scenes stuff! I would do that kind of tour for sure!
    Haha, a tour of my hometown would consist of the two stoplights, the tasty bakery, the Dairy Queen, and a few parks. We have, however, randomly gotten a lot of famous movies and actors around for filming lately because of some state-wide film grant program…

    Hope you had a good weekend!

  9. May 23, 2010 10:20 pm

    Since I’ve never been sounds like a good tour for me. Although I don’t usually like PERKY people too much πŸ™‚

  10. May 24, 2010 2:04 am

    I’ve taken a guided tour around Helsinki once but it’s not nearly as interesting as Washington!! I love the scene in Forrest Gump!

    • May 24, 2010 2:28 pm

      See, and I’d love to visit Helsinki. πŸ˜‰ I’ve heard Finland in general is gorgeous so I’m itching to go.

  11. May 24, 2010 7:56 am

    Love all the DC photos! I’ve never taken a tour of my hometown but that’s actually a really great idea πŸ™‚

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