From the iconic Hollywood sign to the Empire State Building (above), America sometimes seems like one giant movie set. Here are four iconic film landmarks that tourists around the globe add to their travel itineraries.
A fork in the map
In looking for a home for her star-crossed lovers, “Twilight” author Stephenie Meyer did a Google search for the rainiest place in America. The result: Forks, Washington. Since Twilight mania, the town has welcomed 300,000 visitors from Greenland to Ghana. “People want to walk through the woods and see what Edward and Bella saw,” said Lissy Andros, director of the Forks Chamber of Commerce. Even though the series ended, Forks still embraces all things Twilight, with restaurants serving Twilight-themed food and hotels featuring Bella suites and Jacob cabins.
A devilish encounter
In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt established Devils Tower in Wyoming as a U.S. national monument. Over 70 years later, Steven Spielberg’s aliens descended upon it in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” “We get a lot of visitors from Australia and many Asian countries,” said Nancy Stimson of the National Park Service. “People constantly ask whether real aliens have ever visited, and whether Richard Dreyfuss is around.”
If you preserve it they will come
Since its release in 1989, the baseball drama “Field of Dreams” has taken on a life of its own. The cornfield–turned–baseball-diamond used in the film is still preserved in Dyersville, Iowa, attracting 85,000 tourists so far in 2014. The largest group of foreign tourists hails from Japan. “A well-known sports writer from Japan told me more Japanese have watched ‘Field of Dreams’ than Americans,” said Denise Stillman, who oversees management of the “Field of Dreams” movie site. Today the field is used for weddings, TV commercials and, of course, baseball games.
Step right up
Former Philadelphia City Commerce Director Dick Doran once said Sylvester Stallone had done more for the city’s image “than anyone since Benjamin Franklin.” In “Rocky,” Stallone’s run up the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s steps turned them into the most famous flight of stairs in America. Nearly 40 years later, the film still inspires tourists from all continents to dash up the steps, paying homage to cinema’s ultimate underdog.
If you plan on traveling to the U.S. on a tourist visa, give yourself time to complete all the steps in the process and to prepare for the interview.