While most of Marvel Cinematic Universe is magically brought to life on sound stages, the box office-busting superhero movie franchise also makes use of real-world locations around the world to bring its stories to life. Here are 21 Marvel Cinematic Universe movie locations you can visit in real life.
1. WARRIOR FALLS // BLACK PANTHER (2018)
If you want to be the next king of Wakanda, you have to challenge the current king to ritual combat at Warrior Falls. While close-ups and action footage of Black Panther’s Warrior Falls were filmed on a soundstage in Atlanta, Georgia, establishing and wide shots were filmed at Iguazu Falls, a water system on the border of Argentina and Brazil in South America.
2. STARK INDUSTRIES // IRON MAN (2008)
After three months of being held captive by a terrorist group in Iron Man, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) returns to the United States and gives a press conference about his ordeal at Stark Industries HQ in Los Angeles. However, the press conference scene was filmed on location at the headquarters for Masimo, a medical technologies company based in the city of Irvine. The company’s offices have also been featured in Transformers (2007) and Dodgeball (2004).
3. CULVER UNIVERSITY // THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008)
In The Incredible Hulk, Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) is a nuclear physicist and biochemist at Culver University in Willowdale, Virginia. For the film, the campus of the University of Toronto was used for the fictional school, while Morningside Park in Scarborough, Ontario, was used for the university’s quadrangle. The park was the main filming location for General “Thunderbolt” Ross’s (William Hurt) attack on the Big Green Guy.
4. RANDY’S DONUTS // IRON MAN 2 (2010)
In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark—in full Iron Man armor—lounges inside the large, iconic donut on top of Randy’s Donuts when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) meets him to talk about the Avengers Initiative. The exterior of the real Randy’s Donuts location in Inglewood, California, was used for filming, while the interior of the scene was filmed at Yum Yum Donuts in Playa del Rey, about 20 miles away.
Randy’s Donuts has also been featured in Get Shorty (1995), Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001), Earth Girls Are Easy (1988), Dope (2015), and episodes of Arrested Development.
5. COUNTY HOSPITAL // THOR (2011)
As soon as Thor arrives on Earth, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) immediately hits the God of Thunder with her van. She rushes him to a small county hospital in Santa Fe. The production team used an office building called the Toney Anaya Building in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for the hospital’s exterior.
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6. PIER 13 // CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011)
After small and skinny Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is transformed into the tall and hunky Captain America, a HYDRA infiltrator steals the super soldier serum and speeds away through the mean streets of Brooklyn, New York. Instead of filming in the borough, the film crew simply used the exterior of the Titanic Hotel at Stanley Dock in Liverpool, England, for the climax of the chase scene at Pier 13.
7. LOKI’S PLATFORM // THE AVENGERS (2012)
In The Avengers, Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is in Germany when he delivers a rousing speech about humanity. In real life, the scene was filmed just outside of Tower City Center on Cleveland, Ohio’s, Public Square. (You can actually see the city’s iconic Terminal Tower in the background.)
8. NEPTUNE’S NET // IRON MAN 3 (2013)
In Iron Man 3, Tony Stark has a panic attack when he’s signing autographs for fans at a seafood restaurant called Neptune’s Net. While there is a real Neptune’s Net in Malibu, California, the scene was actually filmed at Dania Beach Bar & Grill in Dania Beach, Florida. The production moved from California to Florida because the real Neptune’s Net is located on the Pacific Coast Highway and it would’ve been virtually impossible—not to mention expensive—to shut down the busy highway for filming.
9. OLD ROYAL NAVAL COLLEGE // THOR: THE DARK WORLD (2013)
In Thor: The Dark World, the climactic battle between Thor and the Dark Elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston) takes place at Old Royal Naval College, located on the south bank of the river Thames in Greenwich, London. Thor even asks a confused subway rider how to get to Greenwich after he’s transported away from the fight.
Due to its popularity and cinematic look, Old Royal Naval College has also been featured in Cinderella (2015), Skyfall (2012), The King’s Speech (2010), Les Misérables (2012) and Netflix’s The Crown.
10. THE MALL // CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014)
When Captain America and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) are on the run from undercover HYDRA soldiers in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the superheroes hide in plain sight at a mall in Washington D.C. However, the scene was not filmed in the nation’s capital; it was shot on location at Tower City Center in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.
In fact, much like The Avengers, most of Captain America: The Winter Soldier was filmed at various locations in “The Land” (Cleveland’s nickname), including the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland State University, the Cleveland Arcade, Cleveland Museum of Art, the Western Reserve Historical Society, and Pilgrim Congregational Church. Even the city’s highways were used to film the movie’s exciting chase scenes, namely the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway over the mighty Cuyahoga River.
11. XANDAR PLAZA // GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014)
While Guardians of the Galaxy takes place on the cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a few real-life landmarks and buildings were used during filming. Most notably, the Liége-Guillemins Railway Station in Liège, Belgium, was used for the centerpiece of Xandar Plaza, where the group of alien misfits are arrested at the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy.
12. HYDRA RESEARCH BASE // AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (2015)
At the beginning of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the titular superhero team fights their way through a forest in the fictional country of Sokovia. Their goal is to retrieve a Chitauri Scepter and the Mind Infinity Stone from inside a castle-like HYDRA research base, which was filmed at Fort Bard (or Forte di Bard) in Bard, Aosta Valley, Italy. The old fort was used as an outpost to protect the valley from Napoleon Bonaparte during the 19th century. Fort Bard is currently the location of the Museum of the Alps.
While Fort Bard was used to film the exterior, England’s Dover Castle was used to film the interior of the HYDRA research facility.
13. MILGROM HOTEL // ANT-MAN (2015)
After he is released from prison, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) moves into his former cellmate Luis’s (Michael Peña) apartment at the Milgrom Hotel in Ant-Man. However, the real filming location was the historic Riviera Hotel on Jones Street in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. It was originally built as a luxury hotel in 1907, but now serves as low-income housing.
14. THE AIRPORT BATTLE // CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR (2016)
In Captain America: Civil War, the epic showdown between Team Iron Man and Team Captain America takes place at Leipzig/Halle Airport in Schkeuditz, Germany. The airport was also the location for other movies, such as Flightplan (2005) and Unknown (2011).
15. EXETER COLLEGE // DOCTOR STRANGE (2016)
When the villain Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) conjures a dark and mysterious spell from the Book of Cagliostro in Doctor Strange, he contacts Dormammu of the Dark Dimension. He recites it inside the chapel at Exeter College in Oxford, England, to seek revenge on the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton).
16. DAIRY QUEEN // GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 (2017)
At the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Meredith Quill (Laura Haddock) and Ego (Kurt Russell) pull into a Dairy Queen in Missouri in 1980. That Dairy Queen is actually the location of BB’s Cafe, a restaurant in Stone Mountain, Georgia, about 20 miles outside of Atlanta.
17. FORESTS OF ASGARD // THOR: RAGNAROK (2017)
In Thor: Ragnarok, Heimdall (Idris Elba) leads a large group of refugees through the forests of Asgard to find sanctuary in the mountains. A majority of the superhero movie was filmed on sound stages in Australia, while Tamborine National Park and Cedar Creek Falls in South East Queensland were used for Asgardian forests and waterfalls.
18. MIDTOWN HIGH SCHOOL // SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (2017)
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) attends Midtown High School in Forest Hills, Queens. The production team for Spider-Man: Homecoming used Franklin K. Lane High School in Brooklyn, New York, as the exterior for the fictional high school, while Henry W. Grady High School in Atlanta, Georgia, was used for its interior.
19. MUSEUM OF GREAT BRITAIN // BLACK PANTHER (2018)
In 2018’s Black Panther, we meet the film’s antagonist Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) while he's viewing African art and artifacts at the Museum of Great Britain, a stand-in for the British Museum in London. Instead of traveling to England, the film’s cast and crew filmed the scene at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia.
20. SHAWARMA PALACE // THE AVENGERS (2012)
At the end of The Avengers, Iron Man remarks that he’s never tried shawarma after he spotted a shawarma joint while flying around Manhattan during the Chitauri Battle. During the last post-credits scene, we find the very exhausted superhero team chowing down on the Middle Eastern dish.
Director Joss Whedon filmed the scene at the then-Elat Burger (now Shalom Grill), located at 9340 West Pico Boulevard in Los Angeles. To keep the scene a secret, Whedon filmed it a day after the film’s world premiere, when the entire cast was in Los Angeles.
Fun fact: Sales of shawarma rose in the U.S. following the release of The Avengers in May 2012.
21. Albany Train Station // Black Widow (2021)
Though a lot of the long-anticipated Black Widow movie takes place in Europe, a bit of filming occurred in Macon, Georgia. In 2019, people spotted police cars and other emergency vehicles with stickers for Albany, New York, around Macon's Terminal Station.
A version of this story originally ran in 2018; it has been updated for 2021.