Travel Destinations Inspired By This Year’s Academy Award Nominees


There are scores of obvious places to look for adventure inspiration. Travel podcasts, Instagram accounts, and cheap flight sales all do the trick. But for every person seduced by a lithe, tan body photographed against a white sand background, there’s another person watching a film and thinking about how much they want to occupy the same world as those characters. Seriously, New Zealand still enjoys the bump of Hobbit-related tourism.

With the Oscars looming, we looked to this year’s crop of nominees to stoke our wanderlust. Read through our guide and find yourself pretending to be Queen Anne in England or T’Challa in Brazil. If movies motivate you to hit the road, these destinations are sure to get you hyped. And if you need advice on scoring airfare, well, now’s the time to do it.

Black Panther: Iguazu Falls, Brazil

With six nominations, including Best Picture and Best Production Design, Black Panther had to make this list. But we can’t exactly point you to Wakanda and tell you about a technologically advanced Airbnb. Instead, we suggest heading to Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfall system in the world and the real-life locale presented as Warrior Falls, where the coronation of the King of Wakanda takes place.

The falls themselves sit in both Argentina and Brazil, so you could set up camp in either country. We like Brazil for the chance to stay at Belmond Hotel das Cataratas — a 203-room property in the middle of 700,000 acres of the national park. This private and exclusive property is famous for strong caipirinhas and perfectly cooked red meat. There’s nothing like eating a beef tenderloin and some risotto as you watch the sunset over the falls from your seat on the deck.

Clearly, you should spend most of your time in the national park and at the falls, both of which provide excellent photo opportunities. Try planning your trip in fall or spring to avoid sweltering humidity or low water levels.

BlacKkKlansman: Ossining, New York

BlacKkKlansman also has six nominations, which include Best Picture and Best Director. Set in 1970s Colorado Springs, the film presents a bit of a conundrum. The destination is pretty clearly laid out, but you can’t get there without a time machine, so we suggest you let go of any designs on visiting Colorado of the past and instead make plans to visit the present Ossining, New York where the filming actually took place. It’s not a metropolitan hub or anything, but this city on the eastern shore of the Hudson River is worth a visit.

There aren’t a lot of super fun accommodations in the Ossining area, so you either have to opt for a chain motel and stay close or make camp in a nicer property and drive into town to explore. We recommend the latter. The Time Nyack is a boutique hotel about 30 minutes from Ossining, and it one of the best loft-style luxury properties in the area. Transformed from a former warehouse, it offers beautiful rooms with great views. And the location means you can also easily get to Hook Mountain State Park and New York City if you want to round out your trip a little.

Ossining gives you a chance to slow down and enjoy small-town life. Leave time to enter the Old Croton Aqueduct and to inspect the brick conduit. It sounds kind of anticlimactic, but it’s really cool. It used to be the system that provided all of NYC’s water, but now it’s a historic linear park that allows visitors to see classic homes, stop into some amazing restaurants, and check out the Farmer’s Market when it’s running.

Bohemian Rhapsody: Montreux, Switzerland

With five Oscar nods, including Best Picture and Best Actor, Bohemian Rhapsody begs for travelers to book a trip to London, right? Anyone who has watched it knows that the UK makes for some compelling backdrops. But we think Montreux, the home of the famed jazz festival, is the best way to celebrate Freddie Mercury. Mercury often rented homes there, and Queen purchased Mountain Studios in 1979 and proceeded to do much of their recordings there. Heck, there’s even a statue of the renowned singer overlooking the lake.

If you’re in Montreux to celebrate a rock superstar, why not stay at a hotel that frequently serves as home for visiting famous musicians? Overlooking the Alps, the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace is a five-star resort that dates back to 1906. Expect everything to be top shelf, including the spa, which offers jacuzzies, a hammam, a sauna, and two pools. It’s no wonder stars like Michel Jackson and BB King made it a point to visit.

While in town, hit up Mountain Studios, which is on the top floor of the casino. You can check out performance costumes and handwritten lyrics among other memorabilia. Take some pictures in front of one of the walls covered in signatures and tributes to Mercury. You can even take a tour of the house the Queen singer rented during his time in Switzerland. He called it the “duck house” because of the decorating scheme.

The Favourite: Hertfordshire, England

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With a whopping ten nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, The Favourite is indeed a favorite. And who doesn’t love a film that blends period drama with comedy? The high production values alone are a draw, but when you add in notable actresses and a strong script, it’s hard to beat. A few of the scenes were filmed in Molesley and Oxford, but 85-percent of the shots come courtesy of Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, a country house built in 1611 that has remained in the same family ever since and is currently open to the public. If you get excited about all things historical and quaint, start making plans to visit.

Now, you might think that we would steer you to another country house for lodgings so that you could run through the common areas pretending to be Queen Anne, but we think you will have a great time at The Fox at Willian in North Hertfordshire. It is everything you want a village pub to be in the 21st century. So you get to stay in one of the eight boutique rooms and pop to the bar for a pint and the restaurant for meals. Plus, rooms have a nifty retro vibe that makes them a great setting for some vacation photos.

Be sure to check out the Hatfield House website and visit when the house and the gardens are open for visitors — your visit won’t be the same without a trip there. We recommend taking the guided house tour that will both give you access to the property and fill you with information about it.

Green Book: New Orleans, Louisiana

Green Book earned five nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor, and nearly all of it was filmed in Louisiana. There was a single day in NYC for some specific exterior shots and some driving scenes. Otherwise, this film is a real love letter to the Pelican State. The best way to take its inspiration and engage in an adventure is to hit New Orleans’ eateries and theaters. A healthy amount of time spent in the French Quarter certainly wouldn’t be amiss either. It won’t take you back to the film’s setting in the sixties or anything, but it will likely get you very drunk, and that has its benefits too.

If you wanna go real method and stay in one of the motels in the film, let us suggest the Aloha Motel in Metairie — a 15-minute drive outside of New Orleans. It’s got a totally bare-bones no-tell motel vibe, but it’s clean and inexpensive. Otherwise, may we suggest the Ace Hotel New Orleans? You get to chill in the Warehouse District with a drink in hand by the rooftop pool. It’s far enough from Bourbon Street that you won’t be kept up by drunken revelry, yet close enough that you can get there and do some revelry of your own.

While you’re in New Orleans, visit The Orpheum Theater and the Saenger Theatre. Don Shirley won’t be playing there obviously, but the lineup at both is superb. If you can’t match your travel plans with a great performance at either of these theaters featured in the movie, just go to one of the smaller local jazz clubs and get your fix.

Roma: Mexico City, Mexico

Roma scored ten Oscar nomination, including Best Picture and Best Cinematography, but that hardly seems surprising as it comes via Alfonso Cuarón, who is known for visually stunning films. Much of the semi-autobiographical drama takes place in the Roma neighborhood in CDMX, so that’s the obvious travel destination. And it’s a good one because though your visit won’t be to the 1970s version of the area depicted in the film, you will get to go to what is now a pretty hipster, arty enclave.

For your trip, consider staying at the Hotel MX Roma, a young-feeling space that blends industrial flourishes with regional design. Plus, there are coworking areas, a terrace, a breakfast room, bikes for exploring, and a squash court. It’s the kind of hotel where you hang in the common areas and meet people from around the world who tell you some of the best stories you’ve ever heard.

While you wander around looking for filming locations, be sure to hit the Mercado Medellín, sometimes called Little Havana. You can stock up on Mexican treats and enjoy them throughout your visit. Go dancing at Mama Rumba and let professionals spin around the floor with you. And don’t let a trip come to a close without hitting up the Museo del Objeto del Objeto (Museum of the Purpose of the Object). It’s the perfect quirky space for pics.

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A Star Is Born: Los Angeles, California

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A Star Is Born is up for seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Cinematography, which is super impressive for Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut and a story that has been told four times already. Part of the appeal of the film is how it uses Southern California so deftly, especially venues like the Shrine Auditorium, the Regent Theatre, The Virgil, the Greek Theatre, Coachella Valley, and Empire Polo Club — where Stagecoach was held. The principal photography actually took place at Coachella in 2017 between the weekends that festival-goers visit. Yes, we know that Indio isn’t Los Angeles, but we feel like a case can be made (especially when half the city heads to Coachella).

Right now, if you stay in the Chateau Marmont, you can have front row seats for a billboard of Ally, just like in the film. And, given that it’s a Hollywood landmark, you can indulge all kinds of your tinsel town fantasies with ease. Jim Morrison, Lana Del Rey, Lindsay Lohan, and Boris Karloff have all lived here for a period of time, and it has been a shooting location on scores of films as well.

If you’re living out your A Star Is Born dreams in Los Angeles, traveling southeast to Coachella is clear way to do that, but it only takes place for two weeks, and that narrows your travel window considerably. To open that window up, hit The Virgil on Santa Monica Boulevard in East Hollywood where the drag scenes were filmed, and then, make your way to the Super A Foods and buy some frozen peas.

At Eternity’s Gate – Auvers-sur-Oise, France

This film only has a single nomination for Best Actor, but it is a lush autobiography of Vincent van Gogh that really highlights the beauty of France. Whether you saw the movie or not, Auvers-sur-Oise — in the northwestern suburb of Paris, where van Gogh is entombed — makes for a great travel destination. In a letter to his brother, the artist proclaimed it to be “seriously beautiful,” and that hasn’t changed over time. There’s a reason why van Gogh, Charles-François Daubigny, Paul Cézanne, and Camille Pissarro were all inspired by the charming hamlet.

Go full van Gogh on your visit and stay at Auberge Ravoux, which is also called the house of van Gogh because he spent the last 70 days of his life as a lodger there. Until the 80s, this hotel was largely ignored, but a restoration to the inn’s downstairs that left the upstairs rooms where van Gogh and other painters stayed largely unchanged attracted new guests. Be one of them, and make time to see the painter’s digs while you’re already there.

While you are making time to see where van Gogh slept, also take time to see some of the places he painted as well. Visit the famous church Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption, which the artist rendered in paint the year of his death. It’s a gorgeous church that inspired one of his most emblematic works.

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If Beale Street Could Talk: Harlem, New York

This film may take its title from a blues song about Tennessee, but the setting is all New York City. And it’s no surprise that a love story written by James Baldwin would inspire a beautiful NYC film with three Oscar nominations. Can we just nominate Regina King for everything? Of course, Harlem has been tremendously gentrified, so a visit today won’t look like the 1974 setting you see in the film. Filmmakers won’t be placing abandoned cars along the road so that tourists can get a slice of the gritty Harlem of the past as they did during filming. You’ll just have to enjoy the awesome borough as it is today.

Looking for a high-end hotel in Harlem, you can’t do better than Aloft Harlem, a 122 room property that leads with design and offers an environmentally focused stay. It’s completely modern and hip from the colorful lobby to the artwork in the rooms. Plus, it has W XYZ, a trendy nightspot with everything you need to have a killer night out.

If you’re looking for the brownstone where a lot of filming took place, head to 52 Edgecombe Ave., just east of St. Nicholas Park. You can get all your fan pics for Instagram. Otherwise, wander through Harlem and experience the bustling neighborhood. Comparing the neighborhood in the film to the one that exists now will provide some definite food for thought about gentrification. While puzzling over this, hit up Red Rooster and have some fried yardbird with a friend who is down to have a deep convo about these dilemmas.

Free Solo: Yosemite, California

With one Oscar nod for best documentary, Free Solo follows free solo climbing god Alex Honnold as he kills it on the face of El Capitan in Yosemite. If you watched it, you probably spent a period of time clenching your muscles and reminding yourself that Honnold is still alive, so you aren’t gonna watch him fall to his death no matter how much it seems like it. You also saw some great views of one of the most beautiful national parks in the country, which is why we urge you to get yourself to Yosemite ASAP.

If you are going to visit the park, you can’t go wrong with camping. So keep that in mind. But if you’re a hotel fan and require your own hot shower at the end of a lengthy hike, you have to stay at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel (the nicest one in the area). Built in the 1920s to lure in fancy clientele; the hotel is very grand, making it pretty awesome for some travel photo shoots. If queens and presidents have shacked up here and taken some cool snaps, it’s good enough for you.

We say Free Solo is a good thing to watch, but unless you are a world class free solo maestro, don’t spend this trip tackling El Capitan without ropes (literally there is only one person earth who can do this). Instead, do some more casual hikes to Yosemite Falls and Half Dome. There are over 750 miles of trails to choose from, so you can absolutely find some hikes that will meet your needs.