Revisiting Nora Ephron’s Sleepless In Seattle (1993) – visiting a few of the movie locations


My hubby and I visited Seattle over the long Presidents’ Day weekend, my third visit to the seaport city. Despite its constantly cloudy and rainy weather, Seattle is a wonderful place to visit and I always have a great time there. There have been quite a few movies set in Seattle, 10 Things I Hate About You, Singles, Safety Not Guaranteed, etc., but the one I always think about is one of my all-time favorite rom-com, Sleepless in Seattle. It was released 30 years ago in the Summer of 1993.

Nora Ephron‘s movies are so timeless and out of the ones she wrote AND directed, this one is definitely my favorite. I’ve seen it more than a dozen times and it never failed to move me and made me laugh. I actually rewatched it on my flight from Minneapolis to Seattle. I was only planning to see some clips of it thinking that I wanted to visit some of the locations once I arrived, but ended up watching the entire thing and it’s as wonderful as the last time I saw it.

It’s bold to hire big stars like Meg Ryan & Tom Hanks for a romantic film where they only appear together a handful of times, a total of two minutes if you combine them all… but as the characters say in the movie, every time they see each other, it was like… magic!


We rented a car and spent a few days driving around the hilly city as well as Alki Beach where Annie spied on Sam and his son Jonah (Ross Malinger) playing together on the beach. I didn’t make it to the houseboat used as the Baldwin residence along the shoreline of Lake Union though, as we’d have to take a cruise to get there and would probably only be able to see it from quite a distance.

I did visit the Pike Place Market which looks extra dramatic in the rain. It was a Saturday afternoon so of course, the market was packed! This location was prominently featured a couple of times in the movie, notably when Jonah met his dad’s new date Victoria for the first time (whom he’s not at all impressed with) and she bought some groceries for dinner that night.

There are a couple of restaurants featured in the movie. The one I remember most is the ‘Tiramisu’ scene where Sam and his buddy Jay (Rob Reiner) discuss sex and dating. I’m not into seafood so I didn’t get a meal there but apparently one of the red stools on the counter has a plaque that says “Tom Hanks Sat Here” which is where his character sat in the movie. Sam and Jay also walked around the Pike Market when Sam asked Jay to check if his butt was cute… and Jay replied, ‘are we grading on a curve?’ Ha!


The views of Seattle skyline is fantastic from Alki beach park area… We actually drove there during the day and later in the evening just after sunset (see the two video clips below – taken vertically for IG stories, now I wish I had taken one horizontally, ha ha!).

Naturally, the movie is listed as one of American Film Institute’s 2002 list of the Top 100 America’s Greatest Love Story Movies, but did you know that it’s also one of the 500 AFI nominees for the Top 100 Funniest American Movies? No surprise there, the movie has plenty of hilarious moments, my fave is the ‘Dirty Dozen scene’ where Hanks and his brother-in-law Greg Victor Garber got all emotional after his sister Suzy (Rita Wilson) got all weepy recounting the scene from An Affair To Remember. This scene is such a classic!

Per IMDb, while making the film, Ephron was focused on its long-term legacy: “Our dream was to make a movie about how movies screw up your brain about love, and then if we did a good job, we would become one of the movies that would screw up people’s brains about love forever.” The movie’s fantastical premise might not have worked as well had it not been for Ephron’s exceptional writing where she puts a zing and heart into every piece of dialog. It’s definitely a funny and heartwarming classic worth revisiting year after year!

Btw, I had created a category called Traveling Through Cinema but I only have four posts so far… well I’m hoping to do similar posts like this in the future!

Have you seen Sleepless In Seattle or been to Seattle?

11 thoughts on “Revisiting Nora Ephron’s Sleepless In Seattle (1993) – visiting a few of the movie locations

  1. I’ve seen it a bunch of times in the 1990s. I don’t know if I want to revisit it though it is better than a lot of the rom-coms that have come out in the 21st Century. None of them hold a candle to that film.

  2. I haven’t seen Sleepless in Seattle in years and I haven’t been back to Seattle in a long time. I do like the city, not weather though, I’m not a fan of clouds and rain. Since I love seafood and Japanese foods, Seattle is one of best places to find great sushi or seafood dishes. Also, they have some great Asian restaurants there too, not just Japanese foods.

      1. I’ve always wanted to go eat at Din Tai Fung, they just opened a new location in Vegas about 2 years ago. I forgot to go there when I was Vegas last year! So, I’m planning to get lunch there when I’m back in Vegas later this year. I know they have a very popular location in Orange County, it’s too busy when I was there a few years ago and didn’t want to wait in line. Lol!

        1. Yeah it’s hard to get a table, thankfully our friend made a reservation a couple of days ahead of time. It’s well worth a visit, I think you’ll love it, Ted!

  3. Nora had a great formula and success in the film industry. Everyone loves Sleepless. It has all the right ingredients to grab a variety of personalities. Her scripts and casts are charming and witty.
    Glad you had fun in Seattle! I have been once and loved it. The pictures of Public Market is a jolly place to visit.

    1. Hi Cindy! Indeed, I admire Nora Ephron so much and her sister Delia is also an author/screenwriter/playwright so clearly it runs in the family.

      Yeah, despite the rainy weather, I love Seattle and would definitely go back again!

      1. PrairieGirl

        The best raspberries I’ve ever eaten in my entire life my niece and I got at Pikes market. We gobbled the pint down in 5 minutes flat. 🥰

  4. Pingback: Revisiting Nora Ephron’s Sleepless In Seattle (1993) – visiting a couple of of the film areas – FLIXCHATTER FILM BLOG – Ykine

  5. Pingback: Alliance Lately: Issue No. 72 – The Minnesota Film Critics Alliance

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