12 Video Game Locations You Can Visit in Real Life

12 Video Game Locations You Can Visit in Real Life

Fast travel remains locked.

Built from pixels and polygons, the coveted lands of video games are an escape for countless people. As a gamer myself, nothing soothes the soul more than venturing across Tamriel in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, or tiptoeing through a derelict starship in Dead Space. Some video game locations, however, are a lot more familiar. With nothing more than a solid travel budget, you might be able to explore them beyond the virtual world!

From serene Japanese coastlines to bustling cities in the West, let’s take a look at video game destinations that you can actually visit in real life.

Real-life video game locations you can travel to

1. Tsushima Island – Japan (Ghost of Tsushima)

video game locations

Tsushima Island in-game | Image credit: @ghostoftushima

One of the standout video game releases of 2020, Ghost of Tsushima tells the tale of a brave samurai named Jin Sakai. Over the course of the game, Jin has to turn his back on tradition and embrace a more ruthless path to defeat the Mongols that have invaded his homeland of Tsushima.

The developers of the game, Sucker Punch Productions, lovingly recreated the islands of the Tsushima archipelago, filling the game with breathtaking video game locations that speak to the natural beauty of Japan

In fact, two of the games’ lead developers were made official tourism ambassadors of Tsushima in 2021 by the then-mayor of Tsushima city, Naoki Hitakatsu. This was due to their dedication to constructing the in-game version of the islands, and an accurate retelling of Tsushima’s history during Japan’s Genkō period.

Tsushima Island in real life | Image credit: Discover Nagasaki

Visit Tsushima today and you’ll discover a nature lover’s dream, as roughly 90% of the island is simply untouched forest. You can hike up Mount Joyama to discover the ruins of Castle Kaneda, which was recreated almost perfectly in the Ghost of Tsushima video game and made a central element of the plot. Besides that, you can also visit Komoda Beach, which is also featured in the game, and is one of the first locations in Japan where the Mongols attacked during their invasion in 1234.

Also read: 12 Traditional Airbnbs in Japan for a Unique Travel Experience

2. Manhattan, New York – United States (Marvel’s Spider-Man)

video game locations in real life

Manhattan in-game | Image credit: Steam (Screenshot by Robert Linck)

Marvel’s Spider-Man is a special game. Not only does it truly make you feel like Spider-Man with magnificent swinging and traversal mechanics, but it does so in an almost perfect recreation of Manhattan. A popular landmark included in the games’ rendition of New York City is the One World Trade Center, which is the tallest building on the game map, just like in real life.

Manhattan in real life | Image credit: inigofotografia via Canva Pro

Marvel’s Spider-Man also features other real-life video game locations to check out like Battery Park, the Statue of Liberty, Governor’s Island, and the Flatiron Building. Of course, you might not see web-slinging superheroes when you visit the Big Apple but a trip to New York should certainly be on every intrepid traveller’s bucket list.

Also read: 12 Coolest Airbnbs in New York City for Every Traveller

3. Los Angeles, California – United States (Grand Theft Auto V)

video game locations

Los Angeles in-game | Image credit: Rockstar Games Official Website

There are few places in the world that do glitz and glamour like the City of Angels. Los Angeles serves as the primary source of inspiration for one of the major locations in Grand Theft Auto V: Los Santos. Although not a perfect recreation like the previous entries on our list so far, plenty of video game locations on the GTA V map pay homage to the city of Los Angeles.

Los Angeles in real life | Image credit: Bruno Coelho via Canva Pro

For example, the in-game Oriental Theatre is based on the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. This historical venue is often host to massive movie premieres. Not to mention, it is home to the handprints and footprints of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Another real-life video game location in Grand Theft Auto V is the Galileo Observatory, which is based on the Griffith Observatory. On top of that, the game also has a location called Vespucci Beach, which is inspired by Venice Beach.

Also read: 20 Stunning Airbnbs in Los Angeles That You’ll Want to Live In

4. Nepal (Far Cry 4)

video game locations in real life

Nepal in-game | Image credit: Steam (Screenshot by Lady Snow)

Here’s another entry in the gaming world that takes inspiration for its video game locations from real life. Far Cry 4 centres around a young man named Ajay Ghale who is on a mission to spread his mother’s ashes in his fictional homeland of Kyrat. In doing so, he gets caught up in a series of unfortunate incidents that turn him into a rebel fighter who goes up against tyrannical King Pagan Min.

Nepal in real life | Image credit: Panithi Patjantakosit via Canva Pro

Kyrat is pretty much based on the mountain towns of Nepal. The colourful environments of in-game Kyrat are reflected in places like Kathmandu and the Annapurna Region. Other incredible places to visit in Nepal are Bardiya National Park, Chitwan National Park, and the Pashupatinath Temple

5. Rome, Lazio – Italy (Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood)

video game locations

Rome in-game | Image credit: Steam (Screenshot by RE_RISTIN)

The Assassin’s Creed game franchise is infamous for meticulously recreating its video game locations with historical accuracy in mind. Various entries have taken players from Constantinople all the way to ancient Greece. However, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood holds a special place in the hearts of most gamers for its faithful depiction of Rome during the 1500s.

Rome in real life | Image credit: Alexander Ozerov via Canva Pro

Fortunately, a lot of iconic landmarks from that period have made it into the present day to fulfil your travel desires. Take the Colosseum, for example: a stunning architectural monument that served as a brutal arena of bloodsport. On top of that, the game also features the Sistine Chapel, which is famous for its frescoed ceiling painted by Renaissance artist Michelangelo.

Also read: 15 Airbnbs in Rome for the Perfect Roman Holiday

6. Moscow – Russia (Metro: Exodus)

video game locations in real life

Moscow in-game | Image credit: Steam (Screenshot by Yorik)

Metro: Exodus is a post-apocalyptic survival shooter that takes place in a fictional future in which Moscow has been decimated by nuclear war. The game itself takes place under the Russian capital, in a series of abandoned Metro tunnels that the player must traverse while fighting nightmarish, mutated monstrosities.

Moscow in real life | Image credit: Дмитрий Трепольский via Canva Pro

Fortunately, Moscow still stands today, unlike in the game. And yes, there are a ton of interesting places to visit if you’re intent on travelling there. Naturally, one of the most recognisable Moscow monuments is Saint Basil’s Cathedral. This unique collection of 11 different churches symbolises Russian religious, cultural, and political history. Aside from church services, it also plays host to various festivals, exhibitions, and artistic events.

St Basil’s Cathedral sits amidst the famous Red Square. Nearby, you’ll also be able to visit the Moscow Kremlin building. If that isn’t quite enough, Moscow is also home to the Bolshoi Theatre: home to one of the oldest and most famous ballet and opera companies in the entire world.

Also read: A List of Russia’s Most Famous Buildings & What to Know About Them!

7. Seattle, Washington – United States (InFamous: Second Son)

video game locations

Seattle in-game | Image credit: Neoseeker (Screenshot by Vell)

Superhero games and realistic video game locations seem to go hand-in-hand, and I’m totally fine with it. InFamous: Second Son takes place in a mildly dystopian version of Seattle where ordinary people are gifted with strange powers and run around causing chaos as a result. Crazy powers aside, the game faithfully represents Seattle as a pretty chill place to be in, just like in real life.

Seattle in real life | Image credit: Jaynir via Canva Pro

Sure, it’s not exactly a 1:1 recreation of Seattle. However, there are many places in the game that you can visit in real life. The Space Needle is an observation tower that’s pretty much synonymous with Seattle and offers a great bird’s-eye view of the city. There’s also the Gum Wall, which is a large stretch of wall at Pike Place Market that’s covered in a multi-coloured layer of chewing gum. Lastly, there’s the Pacific Science Center, which is also featured in the game.

Also read: 10 Best Airbnbs in Seattle You’ll Love to Call Home

8. Tokyo – Japan (Yakuza franchise)

Tokyo in-game | Image credit: Steam (Screenshot by NecroDarker)

Also known as Like A Dragon in the Japanese version, the Yakuza games tell the tale of a reformed Yakuza clan member who makes his way through the streets of Japan with the ultimate goal of retiring as a civilian. The games allow you to explore a mostly accurate version of Tokyo in true JRPG fashion, as well as several other Japanese prefectures.

video game locations

Shinjuku, Tokyo in real life | Image credit: Sabrina Rossi via Canva Pro

A popular video game location in Yakuza, Kamurocho, is modelled off Tokyo’s Shinjuku District. There are more than a dozen games spanning the overall Yakuza franchise, and all of these feature video game locations inspired by other Japan destinations like Yokohama, Onomichi, and Nishiki.

Also read: 10 Affordable Airbnbs in Tokyo for Budget Travellers

9. Milan, Lombardy – Italy (Dark Souls and Dark Souls: Remastered)

video game locations

Anor Londo in-game | Image credit: Steam (Screenshot by kyomi)

Dark Souls is considered by many gamers to be a landmark entry, within a landmark franchise, within a landmark genre. The advent of this ball-busting game has resulted in the creation of a whole slew of high-quality sequels and lookalikes. Of course, the original still holds a unique charm; right down to the various video game locations featured in its convoluted storyline.

Milan Cathedral, Milan | Image credit: Xantana via Canva Pro

Between dark forests and volcanic trenches filled with demons, the most memorable location in the first Dark Souls game has to be Anor Londo, the city of the gods. The majesty of Anor Londo’s chapel is inspired by the Milan Cathedral, which began construction way back in 1386 and is over six centuries old. Besides the cathedral, there’s plenty more to do in Milan including visiting the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum of Science and Technology, the Arco della Pace, and Sforzesco Castle.

10. Athens – Greece (God of War – 2005)

video game locations in real life

Athens in-game | Image credit: MKIceAndFire YouTube Channel

God of War reared its head in the early 2000s as a brutal, gore-filled, Greek epic featuring a completely unapologetic anti-hero who would cut down friends and foes alike in his quest for vengeance. As the main character, Kratos, is sent on a twisted quest for redemption by the Greek gods, he travels to many different video game locations, one of which is Athens.

Athens in real life | Image credit: tilialucida via Canva Pro

Athens stands today as the capital of Greece, and an invaluable treasure trove of historical knowledge that stretches back more than 3,000 years. It is the birthplace of democracy, and has witnessed the advent of people like Plato, Socrates, and Epicurus. Naturally, Athens is considered a haven for travellers and is home to amazing attractions such as the Parthenon, the Acropolis, and multiple ancient Greek temples.

Also read: 10 Best Airbnbs in Athens for the Perfect Grecian Holiday

11. Havana – Cuba (Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag)

video game locations

Havana in-game | Image credit: Steam (Screenshot by VladStalker)

For the longest time, the Assassin’s Creed games took place in ancient cities and crumbling fortresses. Once Black Flag came along, all of that changed. Players were whisked away to the wild ports of Havana during the Golden Age of piracy.

video game locations

Havana in real life | Image credit: spooh via Canva Pro

A trip to Havana today will see you discovering a sprawling, complex city that slowly seduces you with a unique old-world charm. You can take a walking tour of Old Havana, or check out the street art on Fusterlandia

If you’re looking for a more unique place to visit in Havana, there’s always the Necropolis Cristobal Colon: a cemetery containing over 800,000 graves built in unique architectural styles. Finally, take a walk along the Malecon Sea Wall at sunset for a chance to watch the city unwind after a long day, with plenty of musical performances and an incredible coastal view.

12. Hong Kong (Sleeping Dogs)

Hong Kong in-game | Image credit: Steam (Screenshot by Ghost Gui)

Some video games belong to storied franchises, while others, like Sleeping Dogs, are beautiful one-offs that deserve way more attention than they’ve gotten. The game takes place in Hong Kong and centres around an undercover cop who’s trying to take down the triads. Sleeping Dogs captures the neon grittiness of the city in a way that few other mediums can. Hence, walking the pixelated streets of the game world immediately makes you want to do the same in real life.

Hong Kong in real life | Image credit: zeynepogan via Canva Pro

Certain iconic landmarks from real life do make it into the game as video game locations, like the Aberdeen Promenade, the Jumbo Floating Restaurant, and the Bank of China Tower. Sleeping Dogs also successfully recreates the nightclubs and ambience of SoHo and Lan Kwai Fong. On top of that, the game even features older colonial locations like the Central Police Station and Legislative Council Building.

Also read: 10 Chic Airbnbs in Hong Kong for a Trendy Getaway

Video games and travelling have one very important goal in common: They help you escape from the pressures of daily life and go on new adventures. Are you able to visit your favourite video game locations in real life? Well, that’s just icing on the cake! After reading this article, you’ll probably feel the urge to boot up your gaming machine or pack a suitcase. I say, do both.

About Author

Jeremiah Patrick
Jeremiah Patrick

A journeyman wordsmith wandering the creative lexicon, looking to craft a masterpiece. The only thing on par with Jerry’s love for a good story is the time he spends playing dauntingly difficult video games, reading works of fiction, and listening to horror podcasts. His mood shifts between dark brooding and cheery quips, depending on how much caffeine swirls in his system.