Embrace '90s Nostalgia at These 'Sleepless in Seattle' Filming Locations
Get nostalgic over favorite moments from one the most popular romantic comedies of the 90s as you explore movie locations across Seattle.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since we first watched Annie and Sam’s love story unfold in Sleepless in Seattle. A rom-com staple that still airs regularly on cable networks, this year’s anniversary of the movie makes now a great time to pay a visit to Seattle and hit up some of the filming locations around town, including Pike Place Market, Lake Union and Alki Beach.
There is no shortage of houseboats in Seattle, particularly on the gentle waters of Lake Union, which is where widower Sam and his eight-year-old son, Jonah, live in the movie. Technically “floating homes” since these charming abodes have no means of propulsion, the best way to see these homes is by way of a cruise, like the 1.5-hour historical cruise offered on Sunday afternoons by Argosy Cruises. Nearly 500 floating homes are set along the shoreline around Lake Union and Portage Bay, including Sam’s, a private home which sold for more than $2 million in 2014.
Athenian Seafood Restaurant & Bar
Grab a seat at the counter at Athenian Seafood Restaurant & Bar, a popular restaurant inside Pike Place Market. That’s where Sam and pal, Jay, chat about the mysteries of dating, sex and tiramisu over steamed clams and brews in Sleepless in Seattle. Keep your eyes open for the red “Tom Hanks Sat Here” plaque marking the stool where his character sat in the movie. Order the famous fried cod Fishwich, which is not only huge but delicious. Go at sunset for colorful views over Puget Sound.
Remember when Annie stealthily watches Sam play with Jonah on the beach before they speed away in their small motorboat? That was filmed on Alki Beach, a two-mile stretch that’s the closest beach to Seattle. Rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard to enjoy the water or catch a few rays in summer from a beach chair. Alki Beach is easy to reach too thanks to a water taxi that departs from the Seattle Ferry Terminal. Snap a few photos of the skyline, including the Space Needle, then stop in for a craft beer at West Seattle Brewing Co.
Pike Place Market
No visit to Seattle is complete without a stop at the bustling Pike Place Market to wander about the cheerful stands peddling fish, flowers, produce, and crafts. In the movie, Pike Place Market is where Jonah first meets Victoria, a woman Sam recently began dating, grocery bags in hand from Manzo Bros. all set to prepare dinner that evening. While there, make your mark on the Gum Wall in Post Alley and wait in line across the street for a latte at the first-ever Starbucks (which opened in 1971).
Inn at the Market
Just steps from Pike Place Market on Pine Street, Inn at the Market receives a cameo in Sleepless in Seattle as Sam and Jay walk along the road to get lunch. They don’t actually go inside, but they do walk under the awning as Jay evaluates whether or not Sam has a “cute butt.” Since it’s so close to Pike Place Market, it’s worth a quick gram-worthy photo. This boutique hotel boasts 76 stylish guest rooms thanks to a recent renovation and four restaurants, including Bacco, which serves breakfast all day, and Café Campagne, a delightful French bistro.
Gas Works Park
On New Year’s Eve, a lamenting Sam watches fireworks being set off over Gas Works Park from the railing of his floating home. Set on Lake Union’s north shore, the 20-acre public park was once home to a plant owned by the Seattle Gas Light Company. Today, the park boasts a sizeable play barn, a large hill that’s just right for flying kites, and picture-perfect views of Seattle. However, it’s the Fourth of July, not New Year’s Eve, when colorful fireworks are set off from this popular city park.
Remember when Sam was photographed by a private investigator hired by Annie while out on a date with Victoria? They were eating at Dahlia Lounge, a sophisticated downtown restaurant opened by Tom Douglas, a well-known restaurateur in Seattle. In 1993, the restaurant was situated at 1904 Fourth Avenue but has since moved a block away to 2001 Fourth Avenue. That noted, it no longer looks the same inside as it did in the movie, but it still boasts delicious cuisine that’s both local and sustainable. It’s also known for its iconic Triple Coconut Cream Pie.