I once confessed that I might love Grey’s Anatomy more than my boyfriend. Hey, I’ve been watching it since I was 16 (I’m 26)! Even when plotlines prove that Grey’s doesn’t love me back I still can’t move on. It’s a truly dysfunctional relationship – and not just because I’ve anthropomorphized a television show.
With that said, Grey’s Anatomy has made Seattle a character in and of itself. Though it’s mostly filmed in a Los Angeles studio lot (and using some stock footage from Toronto!), it wouldn’t be Grey’s without the city.
There aren’t any companies offering tours, so here’s how you can take a Grey’s Anatomy tour of Seattle on your own (or with your person!):
Visit the “Intern House”
The cast of Grey’s does travel out to Seattle to film exterior shots that give the show its authenticity. The exterior of the home that accommodated everyone from Izzie Stevens to Arizona Robbins is in Seattle’s historic Queen Anne Hill neighbourhood. Built in 1905, the “intern house” is worth $1.3 million – pretty good digs for interns!
Admire the Seattle Skyline
In almost every episode, there is some stock footage of the Seattle skyline. To get this view, head up to Kerry Park in Lower Queen Anne. Admire Elliott Bay, the Space Needle, and Seattle’s cityscape backdrop. If you’re lucky enough to visit on a clear day, you can catch a glimpse of Mount Rainier.
Take a Ferry Boat Ride (Spoiler Alert)
Skip ahead if you haven’t seen the end of Season 11
Ferryboat scrub caps are the essence of McDreamy, and it was painful to learn that Derek took his last ferryboat ride just before his tragic death. If you want to pay your respects to the MerDer love affair, take a ferry over to Bainbridge Island and let the wind blow through your gorgeous flowing hair. The island is a great place to enjoy the outdoors by hiking, biking, or walking. Stop in at the local farmers’ market or just enjoy the fabulous view of Seattle from across the bay.
Drink at “Joe’s Bar”
Joe’s Bar, the happy hour hangout for Grey Sloan Memorial staff, isn’t really in Seattle. With some research, I discovered that doctors and nurses sip pints in Capitol Hill. Check out the Smith, a great gastropub with cocktails on tap. Plus, it’s right next to the Group Health Capitol Hill Campus hospital – maybe you’ll get your happily ever after with “just a guy in a bar”!
See the Grey Sloan Memorial Atrium
The long glass atrium of Grey Sloan Memorial is a fan favourite: It’s where a crazed gunman shot Derek and where Meredith and Cristina have heart-to-hearts. The interior scenes are actually filmed in Northridge, California, but the dramatic external shots of the hospital are actually the Seattle-Tacoma Airport.
A lot of Grey’s Anatomy is Hollywood smoke and mirrors, but some of it is a true reflection of the city. If you’re ready to jump on a plane (or maybe take a bus – nothing bad has happened on a bus yet, right?) to the Emerald City, check out Hipmunk for hotels in Seattle starting at $116 per night! Or sign up for a new Airbnb account with this link and get $50 off your first trip over $95!