the Roslyn Cafe Sign from Roslyn in Washington, Northern Exposure filming site

Where Was Northern Exposure Filmed?

Are you fans of hunting down your favorite movie and TV show filming locations? There’s nothing quite like walking in the footsteps of the stars and reliving those Hollywood moments for yourself.

When planning out our trip to Alaska a few years ago, high on my list (besides the awesome scenery and unmissable wildlife, of course) was to discover the real town of Cicely from Northern Exposure.

Any of you who grew up in the 90s will know exactly what I’m talking about. The neurotic New Yorker Dr Joel Fleischman is completely thrown out of his element when he’s sent to a remote town in Alaska for his first posting. Along the seasons, we get to know and love all the quirky and eccentric characters from this remote Alaskan town.

Except it’s not filmed in Alaska. Can you believe my dismay when it turned out Cicely is, in fact, the town of Roslyn in Washington!!

My heart shattered. Plans were re-arranged. Luckily, we had a trip to the Pacific North West on the cards too.

So scrap your Alaska road trip plans folks, and get this one on your PNW road trip itinerary instead!

Where is Roslyn, the filming Location for Northern Exposure?

Roslyn, WA is found less than 90 minutes away from Seattle down the I-90, nestled in the Cascade Mountains.

A former coal mining town, it makes a superb nostalgic day trip from Seattle, which you can combine with one of the best Washington scenic drives that takes you from Snoqualmie Falls and through Snoqualmie Pass.

What Can You Spot in Roslyn?

Whilst filming stopped a few decades ago, you can still pick out your favorite places:

  • Roslyn Cafe (Roslyn’s Cafe)
  • The Brick (Holling’s Tavern – actually called The Brick)
  • Central Sundries (Ruth-Annes’ store)
  • Northwest Mining Company (Dr. Fleischman’s office)
  • Northwestern Improvements Co (KBHR Radio Station)

Northern Exposure fans should also pop into the Roslyn Museum, where they can also help you with a map for spotting the key locations around town, including the filming locations for everyone’s homes.

And in case you are wondering, yes, they still sell some Northern Exposure souvenirs in town! Pop into Cicely’s Gift Shop for your nostalgia fix and a yarn.

Reminiscing Northern Exposure

If you want a little reminder of the Northern Exposure storyline along with famous scenes and locations, make sure you binge-watch the series before your trip to Washington state!

6 seasons and 110 episodes of comedy-drama (filmed from 1990 to 1995) to warm your heart and fill you with some snow-filled inspiration!

(And admit it, moms, you all had the hots for John Corbett long before Carrie Bradshaw got her mitts on him and ruined him for life!)

What Else Can TV & Movie Buffs See in the Pacific Northwest?

PNW-lovers may also be brutally aware that this part of the world is also home to the fictional town of Twin Peaks, actually filmed in locations around Snoqualmie, North Bend, and Fall City. In fact, you can pick up your Twin Peaks merch if you head to the famous Salish Lodge (aka The Great Northern Hotel) overlooking the incredible Snoqualmie Falls.

Your tweens and teens are more likely interested in visiting Forks, on the Olympic Peninsula, home to the Twilight Saga.

Seattle itself is home to dozens of classic movies and TV series. Some of the most popular:

  • Whilst you can’t visit Grey Sloane memorial hospital (the exterior shots are from a Veterans hospital in Los Angeles, California), make no mistake, the tourist tat shops will be clear in the fact you’re in Grey’s Anatomy territory in Seattle.
  • Frasier and his gang (also filmed in LA, sorry) were only seen in their 100th episode out in public in Seattle – the Space Needle, Pikes Place Fish Market, and Regrade Park making brief appearances.
  • And let’s not forget, Sleepless in Seattle. Popular filming locations include The Athenian Seafood Restaurant and Bar in Pikes Place, Lake Union, and Alki Beach Park.

More Interesting Places to Visit in Alaska

Now, if, like me, you were fooled into thinking they actually WERE in Alaska, you may want to head over next and check out our favorite small towns in Alaska and get your real-life Northern Exposure fix.

And, of course, while you’re there, the incredible national parks of Alaska are bound to feature heavily on your itinerary, along with these other gems for spotting wildlife in Alaska.

Have you got an all-time favorite nostalgia spot you’d love to visit? We’re working on a few posts in this nostalgia series as our team works through their favorite movie and TV memories. So stay tuned as we track down those famous locations – in the US and around the world – for you to include on your family road trip!

© Family Road Trip | Feature Image Roslyn, Washington, Credit Jasperdo under CC BY-NC-ND-2.0

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