In honor of the annual Academy Awards, we've taken a look at the best movie destinations, where the backdrop is as iconic as the film itself. Although the Academy has its own list of winners, we've looked at classic family films to select locations that kids will also recognize. Create your own movie memories at these fabulous destinations.

1. London -- Featured in "Mary Poppins"

A timeless classic, "Mary Poppins" garnered a nomination for Best Picture in 1965. Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke took us on an adventure around London (though the movie was actually filmed at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif.), and your family can do the same. Watch the Changing of the Guards at Buckingham Palace; take a spin on the London Eye; witness one of the world's largest and most beautiful draw bridges in action; "feed the birds" in front of the National Gallery and ride the carousel in Hyde Park.

2. New York -- Featured in "Big," "Home Alone II: Lost In New York" and "Night at the Museum"

When Tom Hanks makes a wish to be "Big," every kid can relate. And when he moves to New York City and gets to furnish his apartment with video games, bunk beds and toys galore, we all wish we had a Zoltar machine. "Big" made FAO Schwartz one of the world's most famous toy stores with just one floor piano scene. Take the kids to the Big Apple and let them discover the giant toy store for themselves, and then follow in the footsteps of Kevin McAllister (Macaulay Culkin in "Home Alone II"), with visits to Central Park and the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center. For the ultimate "Home Alone II" experience, stay at The Plaza Hotel and order from the room service menu like Kevin did! Don't forget to visit the American Museum of Natural History ("Night at the Museum").

3. Salzburg -- Featured in "The Sound of Music"

"The hills are alive" in Austria's beautiful city of Salzburg, thanks in part to the musical masterpiece that earned a Best Picture award in 1966. Follow in governess Maria's footsteps and traverse the city's fortress, Mirabell Palace and Gardens, and Residenz Square and Fountain. Visit St. Peter's Cemetery (located within the fortress), where the Von Trapp family hides out in the film. Although Leopoldskron Palace (filmed as the Von Trapp home) is privately owned, it's worth a visit and a family photo. Consider a tour with Salzburg Panorama Tours to see all the film's famous sights.

4. Paris -- Featured in "Ratatouille"

"Ratatoille" centers around a would-be chef and a rat who create culinary masterpieces in the City of Lights. For families, children of all ages marvel at the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. Older kids (even those who hate museums) cannot help but be in awe at the Louvre as they stand beneath the Winged Victory and see the Mona Lisa. And who doesn't love patisseries that serve up world-famous crepes and croissant au chocolate?

5. New Orleans -- Featured in "The Princess and the Frog"

Disney's animated adventure brings kids through the Bayous of Louisiana and the Jazz-infested city of New Orleans. Consider the French Quarter's Audobon Aquarium of the Americas, a ride upon the old-fashioned Natchez Riverboat and powdered, sugar-coated beignets at Cafe du Monde (never mind the sugarcoated floor -- it cannot be helped)! Music fills the air and kids are encouraged to dance, while street performers are always on hand with balloon animals, caricature portraits and amusing kid-friendly antics.

6. England -- Featured in the "Harry Potter" Films

Author J.K. Rowling requested each book adaptation be filmed in England, and filmmakers did just that, often in Oxford and Gloucester. Platform 9 3/4 awaits at London's Kings Cross tube station, where you can jump a train to Oxford. The University of Oxford's dining room serves as the Hogwarts dining room, and its staircase and library both make reoccurring appearances. The Cathedral of Gloucester is featured in the "Chamber of Secrets" and the "Sorcerer's Stone," and some classroom scenes occurred in its Lacock Abbey. Private tour groups offer Harry Potter tours, but Oxford is an easy train ride from London and a great walking city, if you want to do it yourself.

7. Bahamas -- Featured in "Pirates of the Caribbean"

Okay, so it's not a city, but considering the Pirates have hopped around a multitude of islands during the films, we're recommending a visit to the Bahamas. In Freeport and Nassau, the country's two largest cities, kids -- and their parents -- can swim with dolphins, windsurf, kite surf and splash in the azure blue ocean waters. Arrrgh!

8. Chicago -- Featured in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"

Whether mom and dad saw the original 80s release of the Matthew Broderick film or the kids have caught it on numerous TV repeats, Ferris Bueller remains a classic as the ultimate "skip day." When Ferris and his friends cut school, they have fun in Chicago, taking in a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, visiting the Chicago Museum of Art and catching a parade down Michigan Avenue, otherwise known as Miracle Mile. Follow the path Ferris took, and add a few stops along the way, including a ride on the Navy Pier's Ferris Wheel and a visit to the flagship American Girls store.

9. Grand Canyon -- Featured in "National Lampoon's Vacation"

In this 1983 comedy, Clark W. Griswold and his clan embark on the ultimate rite of passage: the family vacation by car. Leaving their home in the Chicago suburbs behind, they head west to California's "Wally World," which was actually based on Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles. Among the many sites they discover en route, the drive through the Arizona desert and "pit stop" at the Grand Canyon may be some of the more memorable scenes. You can enjoy the same trip, minus the wet sandwiches, money-grubbing relatives, car crashes, swimming pool fiascos and deceased aunts by making your own pilgrimage to the Grand Canyon.

10. Disney World or Disneyland -- Associated with "Snow White," "Peter Pan," "Cinderella," and More

Some of the best films are Disney's classic animated features, and although their destinations might not exist anywhere but in our dreams, a visit to Disney World or Disney Land lets families make believe. Cinderella Castle stands supreme, and kids can meet the princess at special lunches and dinners (reserved well in advance). Kids can also fly with Tinkerbell and Peter Pan, help the dwarves rescue Snow White, climb the Swiss Family Robinson's treehouse and battle aliens in space with Buzz Lightyear. In the new Fantasyland, they can also dine like Beauty and the Beast at the Be Our Guest restaurant.

For more fun family travel ideas, check out:
  • 12 Best (and Sweetest!) Factory Tours
  • 13 Best Nights at the Museums
  • 8 Electrifying Amusement Parks

  • Written by Lissa Harnish Poirot



    10 Best Movie Destinations
    1. London
    2. New York
    3. Salzburg
    4. Paris
    5. New Orleans
    6. England
    7. Bahamas
    8. Chicago
    9. Grand Canyon
    10. Walt Disney World/Disneyland
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