19 Abandoned Movie Sets You Can Still Visit
Malta has become increasingly popular over the years, with its crystal blue waters and numerous historic sites. But there’s another draw on the Mediterranean island that’s one of the most popular among tourists: the abandoned set of the 1980 film Popeye.
Starring Robin Williams, the flick featured the fictional village of Sweethaven, where Popeye arrived in search of his long-lost father. Built on the water’s edge of Anchor Bay, the original set took seven months and a crew of 165 to complete. The final product included 19 wooden buildings painted very bland colors so the actors could pop against them. Since wrapping almost 30 years ago, the locals have repainted it, making it a colorful scene.
Now called Popeye Village, tourists can visit the leftover pieces of the Hollywood film and even host weddings there. It’s open seven days a week and features shows, rides, museums, and children’s play houses where kids can meet the main characters from the show—such as Popeye, Olive Oyl, Bluto, and Wimpy. Some of the houses even include props original to the film to impart a true sense of movie magic.
If that piques your interest, you're in luck: there are other vestiges of movie sets all over the world you can visit. Some, like District 12 from Hunger Games and the mall from Blues Brothers lay in ruins, while others, like the signs from M*A*S*H or Angelina Jolie’s Girl Interrupted, are just hints of what once was. No matter your favorite genre, there’s an abandoned set for virtually every type of film. They might not be the easiest to get to (like the one that’s underwater) or find, but they’re certainly worth a visit for any movie fan.
Here are 19 amazing film sets left behind that you can visit.
Star Wars' Tatooine in Tozeur, Tunisia
Though a real visit to outer space is out of the question for now, fans of the saga can visit the famous planet of Tatooine. Located near Nefta in North Africa, well-kept remnants of places like Luke’s home are still available to visit.
Pirates of The Caribbean's Port Royale in Wallilabou Anchorage, St. Vincent
Johnny Depp is long gone, but the set from the hit 2003 film remains. There are props and buildings still standing, but things like the dock have gone into disrepair.
Hunger Games’ District 12 in Henry River Mill Village, North Carolina
This eerie place was already a ghost town before the crew of this post-apocalyptic movie moved in, but it made the perfect setting for the famed dystopia. The boom of visitors has since died down, but people can still roam the empty streets and buildings.
The Patriot's Old Spanish Mission in Cypress Gardens, South Carolina
The 170-acre preserve has been home to several flicks, including The Notebook, but was also the filming location for Mel Gibson’s 2000 movie The Patriot. After it wrapped, pieces of a fake church and bridge were left behind for fans to stumble on. The gardens are currently closed due to flooding, so it remains to be seen if the props are still standing.
Field of Dreams’ Baseball Field in Dubuque County, Iowa
Originally a farm, the makers of this 1989 Kevin Costner movie built a baseball field and it has remained ever since. Visitors can come and take a spin around the bases, or on occasion watch the local “Ghost Players” play some innings.
Big Fish Town of Spectre in Montgomery, Alabama
Situated on a private island, what remains of the idyllic town in the movie is just a few buildings and rundown streets. Though technically private property, the owners are pretty relaxed when it comes to visiting, there’s just a minor bridge toll of a few dollars. Not a bad deal for taking in some Hollywood history.
M*A*S*H Signs in Malibu Creek State Park, California
As if you needed another excuse to visit the stunning hiking trails of Malibu. While trekking through the mountains with a picture perfect ocean view, visitors should keep their eyes peeled for remnants of the long running TV show. Pieces of signs and military vehicles still remain.
Bates Motel in Aldergrove, British Columbia
Although the A&E show is still in production, you can get a glimpse of the spooky house and motel from the roadside.
Trail Dust Town in Tucson, Arizona
Though it doesn’t look abandoned now, the shopping mall was made out of the leftover set of an unfinished Glenn Ford western movie. It still retains the original charm, with the added bonuses of activities for both children and adults.
Death Tunnel at Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky
Enter if you dare. This abandoned mental hospital provided the ultimate spooky backdrop to the 2004 horror film. It’s since been used on shows like Ghost Hunters and is credited as one of the most haunted hospitals in the United States.
L’Enfant et la Sirène’s Underwater Village in France
A couple of filmmakers in the 1960s were eager to test the waters of filming capabilities by actually shooting scenes for their movie underwater. They built an entire village almost 100 feet below sea level just off the Cap d’Antibes, where interested parties would need scuba gear to visit today.
The Alamo in North of Brackettville, Texas
John Wayne fans will love a visit to the remains of this 1960 set that has since been used in more than 100 other westerns, music videos, and commercials.
Session 9 Set at Danvers State Hospital in Danvers, Massachusetts
Another abandoned psychiatric hospital makes the list, and this one served as the backdrop for the 2001 horror film. Many of the buildings have been demolished in the last 15 years and are being turned into condos. Parts of the façade are still in tact, though.
12 Monkeys Set at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
This prison once housed Al Capone, but after it was closed and fell to ruins. When the creators of the Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt flick were looking for a post-apocalyptic setting, they headed to this creepy space. Fans can still tour the building and are treated to an audio tour by Steve Buscemi.
Girl Interrupted Hospital at Harrisburg State Hospital in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Many of the buildings used as home base for the Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder film have been turned into offices after the hospital officially shut down in 2006. But signs from the film remain on the property, like the one that reads “Administration.”
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Village in Augsburg, Germany
Just a few miles outside Berlin in the woods lies the remains of the set from the 2013 film, complete with a fake well and town square.
Lord of the Rings Hobbit Holes in Matamata, New Zealand
Luckily, this film set is easy to visit. Since the trilogies wrapped production, the locals have maintained the whimsical buildings and backdrops, and offer a variety of tours for fans to enjoy.
The Fugitive Bus Scene in Dillsboro, North Carolina
Shot on a stretch of the Smoky Mountain Railroad, this iconic Harrison Ford scene is accessible today. The wrecks of the train and the bus still lay near the tracks for fans to visit.
Schindler’s List’s Plaszow Camp in Krakow, Poland
The remains of the real labor camp were destroyed, so the filmmakers decided to create a replica. It was the only set built for the movie and still stands in the Krakus Mound Quarry.