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Sleepless in Seattle is a romantic classic starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and a young actor Ross Malinger who somehow steals the spotlight from those two.

It is also a movie from an extinct breed of romantic comedies AKA Romcoms that never come out anymore.

The kind with meet-cutes and lots of coincidences. Everything’s a lot more pragmatic and these don’t really work anymore.

Even if they do, it’s because they have been done in a way that satisfies modern sensibilities. But the price of that is we lose a bit of that magic, movies like Sleepless had. 

I wouldn’t put it up there with the likes of It Happened One Night. Neither would I classify it as a chick flick (is that a term we use anymore? Something tells me it isn’t)

Also, that poster looks so dated now, but that’s part of the magic. 

So to celebrate the movie and a bit of that old-school ( already?) romance we’ve been deprived of, a list of Sleepless in Seattle movie locations to visit when you’re in Emerald city.

Sleepless in Seattle cast

The names Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan together generally means box office success and a rom-com classic destined to be watched over and over. And an entry into the best movies in either actor’s filmography.

This movie came out before another classic, You’ve Got Mail. Another movie that wouldn’t work in the modern context. That’s not just because people hardly use email anymore either. 

A lot of big business vs small shops going on in that movie for it to be taken as just a harmless romantic flick. 

They had already paired up for the 1990 Joe versus the volcano. Which, again, wouldn’t really work out if the movie was released now. That was a moderate success but has gained popularity after its release. 

Of course, the scene-stealer came in the form of the then 9-year old Ross Malinger. His endearing character sets the plot in motion when he goes on a radio show and shares Tom Hanks’s character’s past. 

Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks plays Sam Baldwin, who had lost his wife a year and a half back. This radio transmission gets Meg Ryan’s Annie involved in this beautiful mess. 

The movie also had Rob Reiner as funny, best friend. A staple of 90s romantic flicks. 

Pre-Independence day Bill Pullman had the role of Annie’s fiance. Who, surprise surprise, gets the kick during Annie’s pursuit of Sam. 

Movie locations

Needless to say, a lot of the major scenes had Seattle as the backdrop. Thanks to this and the name, this is the movie that people most associate with the movie. 

The cinematographer did well to include a lot of the city’s landmarks and make one a landmark in the process. 

The Baldwins home

The landmark I’m talking about is the lake-side home of the Baldwins. A lot of wistful staring into space was shot here, preferably at night. 

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The home is close to Westlake Avenue. It was sold 5 years back for 2 million if you find such trivia useful. 

Gas Works park

And one of the things that stood out in the view during the wistful staring into space, was the Gas Works Park. Not sure it qualifies as a movie location, but it stood out so …

And what do you find around a gas plant? A park. A big one. It’s pretty good too and is on most Seattle city cruises and bus rides. 

Pike Place market

Another spot they would’ve been foolish to omit is the Pike place market. One of the more prominent landmarks of the city.

I can see a John Wick scene using this as a backdrop. But make love, not gun-fu. 

Athenian Inn

Another fixture of these sweet, romantic movies from long back is the friend that the leads talk to about their many, many troubles.

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In this movie, Rob Reiner filled that role to memorable effect in the Tiramisu scene. This was shot in the Athenian Inn, now Athenian Seafood and bar.

First Avenue

Another scene with Rob Reiner had Tom Hanks’s butt get mad props from bystanders as they walked by. 

This was First Avenue between Stewart and Pine. Google it, or better yet, don’t go. 

Space Needle

Another obligatory shot while in Seattle is having the Space Needle as the backdrop.

Sleepless does this while Annie is lost in Seattle. Ooh, a prequel! But truly a skyscraper worth traveling for. 

Fremont Bridge

They did well to include this one. A chase sequence no less. This is what poses for heart-racing action in this movie. 

Annie is chasing the Baldwins, who are on a boat, across the bridge. 

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

The spot where Sam and Annie meet each for the first time is at the airport. This is a good segue for what I wanted to ask you.

Final word

Book a ticket to Seattle or something. See the sights. Not just the ones in the movie. Although they got most of the spots.

Seattle is a great city to visit. It’s called the Emerald city for all the evergreens bordering the city. 

If you were taken by the magic of this old (already?) romantic movie, grab a copy of the movie. 

And if the Hanks-Ryan duo got you hooked, get to watching the successful You’ve got Mail and the less-successful but sweeter (coz Hanks is young in this one) Joe versus the volcano

There’s also a double-feature DVD set with Sleepless and Mail. You can brag to all your friends about being suckered into buying a DVD

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FYI: The climax was shot on the Observation deck of the Empire State Building, so, unfortunately, couldn’t squeeze that into the list.

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