Things That Repesent A City

OK when you have a TV show set in or around New York City, they usually bring in a shot of the Empire State Building. Or if it’s supposed to be set in Seattle they have the Seattle Space Needle.

I thought I’d make a list of cities and establishing shots. In other words one would use this shot, if one made a TV show or movie set in that city.

[li]New York City - Empire State Building [/li][li]Chicago - Willis (Sears) Tower, John Hancock Building[/li][li]St Louis - St Louis Arch[/li][li]Seattle - Space Needle[/li][li]Sydney - Opera House[/li][li]Paris - Eiffel Tower[/li][li]San Francisco - Gold Gate Bridge[/li][li]Los Angeles - Hollywood Sign[/li][/ul]

OK feel free to add to list, especially if it’s your city. Like if you’re from Omaha what as an Omahan (??) would you use as an establishing shot?

Toronto: CN Tower.

London - Tower of London/Tower Bridge

Nitpick - Golden, not Gold.

One could argue for the Transamerica building, but they would be unsuccessful.

London - Big Ben?


I was interested to see various travel ads here representing Chicago with Cloud Gate. That works well.

Montreal is usually either Mount Royal with the cross on it or the Olympic Stadium; Quebec City, the Château Frontenac; and Ottawa is of course Centre Block of Parliament.

It’s not “my city” any more, but I grew up there: Columbia, South Carolina’s establishing shot would be an aerial shot of the state capitol with downtown in the foreground and Williams-Brice Stadium in the background.

I think Charlotte would have to be done the way they did Dallas back on the TV show, with a montage (including the helicopter shot of the end zone at Bank of America (?) stadium showing the “PANTHERS” (?))

Another one for San Francisco: Transamerica Pyramid (although I’m not sure if they still own it, that’s what everyone calls it).

Portland, Oregon: the view of Mt Hood on a clear day (both of them, every year)
Houston: those shiny skyscrapers downtown seem to be fairly distinctive. Never been there myself, though.

Tokyo: Shinjuku office towers; Tokyo Tower.

For New Orleans, the Superdome would probably work today. I think Easy Rider used the Huey P. Long Bridge and/or shots of the French Quarter/Bourbon Street.

A couple I’ve seen for Boston:

A shot that includes the Prudential Center, the Hancock Tower, the Charles River, and the Mass Ave Bridge.

An establishing shot used in Ally McBeal: An overhead shot of Custom House at night.

In Rio de Janeiro, Christ the Redeemer (‘Cristo Redentor’).

Here in little Santa Barbara, the mission or maybe the County Courthouse.

I’d say the Tower of London is not iconic, but the Tower Bridge and the Houses of Parliament (with Big Ben’s tower prominent) are.

Paris – in addition to the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dane wiykd be ucibuc,

Berlin – the Brandenburg Gate

Moscow – the Kremlin and/or St. Basil’s Cathedral (the iconic view would be of Red Square inclyuding both in the same view)

Mecca – the Kaaba

Washington – the Caoitol, Washington Monument, or the White House

Philadelphia – Independence Hall and/or the “Rocky” statue

Savannah – more and more I’m seeing the city symbolized by the statue of the girl holding balancing pans from “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”. (I suspect this is the only city-iconic symbol derived from a single book; anyoee have counter-examples?)

Salt Lake City – the Mormon Temple, including the Gabriel’s tryumpet statue as an essential element

San Antonio – the Alamo, of course

Rome – the Colosseum or St. Peter’s are the two great iconic sysmbols

Athens – the Parthenon

Rio de Janeiro – the Christ statue on Corcovado, with the beach at Ipanema a passable second choice

Tokyo – there is a standard tori’i which I am not familiar with the identity of but which seems to be symbolic of Tokyo. Can anyone confirm this and identify tghe tori’i if I’m right?

Honolulu – Diamond Head, with or without a beach below it

Copenhagen – the “Little Mermaid” statue

Brussels – the Mannequin-Pis

Budapest – St. Stephen’s Cathedral and the Chain Bridge

Istanbul – Hagia Sophia

Geneva, Switzerland: the one thing that immediately defines Geneva is the big Water Fountain in the lake,
I can’t remember a major Hollywood production (film or TV) that uses it, but I know I’ve seen it before.

Capitol lake Olympia WA.

Tacoma Dome Tacoma WA

Here’s a two-fer shot - Saddledome with Calgary Tower in the background. I’d say both are equally representative of Calgary.

Madrid usually gets the Puerta de Alcalá or the Community of Madrid building on the Puerta del Sol, but it could also be the Palacio de Comunicaciones, the statue of Cybele, or Puerta de Europa (when it’s the more modern aspect being emphasized). Barcelona, of course, is always the Sagrada Família.

Cologne tends to be its cathedral, while Vienna is the Ferris wheel from The Third Man (which answers Polycarp’s question).

Although the Hagia Sofia is by far the more impressive from the inside, I’d say that the Blue Mosque is the more iconic. (The Hagia Sofia is actually not particularly interesting from the outside, and the Blue Mosque is not particularly interesting on the inside, although it is impressively enormous.)

Jerusalem - the Dome of the Rock, esp as viewed from the Mount of Olives. Or the Western Wall, particularly if you can get the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa into the frame.

Dubai - the Burj al-Arab


Sofia - Sveta Nedelya, I guess.

Bucharest - the hideous Palace of the People, unfortunately.

Sarajevo - maybe the National Library? I’m not sure.

Hyderabad - Charminar, for sure.

Manila - Maybe EDSA.

Cairo: The Pyramids at Giza and/or the Sphinx.

Ottawa: Parliament Hill

Here it is - right now!

Milwaukee: Milwaukee Art Museum and its brise soleil.

Pic #1
Pic #2
Pic #3

I’m so glad we’ve now got a recognizable feature.

Dublin - The Ha’Penny Bridge or maybe the Molly Malone statue.