Based in Philadelphia, the mysterious, endearing show highlights some of the city’s most beautiful and iconic sites.

A still from Dispatches from Elsewhere. Actor Jason Segel is holding the face of a woman who is wearing goggles, in front of a dark background.
Jason Segel in AMC's

While most movies and television shows filmed in Philadelphia highlight the city’s grittier side (see: Rocky, The Irishman), AMC’s new series, Dispatches from Elsewhere, makes the City of Brotherly Love shine. The series—which was created and produced by Jason Segel—is based on a real life alternate-reality game that took place in San Francisco from 2008 to 2011. According to location manager Troy Coffee, the show was shot in over 100 locations around the city.

Coffee, who’s called the city home for the last two decades, was thrilled for the project to come to Philadelphia. “It gave us a chance to show off the city we live in, versus the city we see represented again and again,” he tells Lonely Planet. “The types of projects that generally come to film in Philly are looking for that gritty urban feel—they're not necessarily looking for Magic Gardens.” Coffee chose Magic Gardens, a colorful, immersive sculpture garden, along with plenty of other iconic Philadelphia landmarks, to help set the tone for the vivid, enigmatic show.

Watch Dispatches from Elsewhere on AMC, and look for these nine Philadelphia landmarks you can explore for yourself. 

Exterior of the Philadelphia Art Museum entrance at night.
The palatial Philadelphia Museum of Art was originally built in 1876

The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Simone, played by Eve Lindley, works as a docent at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. One of four of the show’s protagonists, the charismatic Simone is filmed climbing the Rocky Steps—the 72 steps up to the museum’s entrance made famous by the scrappy Philly boxer of film. (When you visit, don’t forget to take a few minutes to get a photo with the Rocky statue, just to the right, at the bottom of the steps.) When she gets a clue in the scavenger hunt she’s playing, she finds the answer at Claes Oldenburg’s Giant Three-Way Plug, Scale A, a 10-foot sculpture that resides on the museum’s west entrance lawn. While visiting, you can stroll around the impressionist and post-impressionist rooms—there are hundreds of works in the collection, ranging from Renoir to Rousseau, and have your own moment.

Jason Segel walks through The Curtis Center in AMC's Dispatches from Elsewhere
Jason Segel in The Curtis Center in AMC's

The Curtis Center

Situated on the north side of Washington Square, the stately Curtis Center was originally built in the early 20th century by Cyrus Curtis for his eponymous publishing company. The Beaux Arts-style building was home to magazines like Ladies Home Journal and Saturday Evening Post. (The latter featured Norman Rockwell-illustrated covers.) The Center also has an atrium with a soaring ceiling, 23,000 square feet of patterned marble floors, and a newly-installed glossy marble fountain. In the center of the cavernous space, Jason Segel’s character Peter visits the organization that kicks off his adventure. Another reason to add the Curtis Center to your list: the stunning, 16 by 50 foot Tiffany glass mosaic entitled The Dream Garden, by artist Maxfield Parrish, commissioned by Curtis and dating back to 1915. Enter through the building’s 6th Street doors to take it in. 

Melrose Diner

Catch a glimpse of the Melrose Diner in the background of one mysterious, rain-soaked scene, in which Peter is approached by a group of dancers with a boombox. Inside the 24-hour, South Philly institution—which closed last summer after a fire, and reopened in September—find all the classics, from morning omelettes to late night burgers. (The diner was also featured recently in The Irishman on Netflix.) 

Washington Square Park, during the day. A path is visible between two pieces of grass; trees without their leaves are on along the path's edge. Large buildings are visible in the background.
Washington Square was one of five public squares envisioned when the city was founded by William Penn © Christian Hinkle / Shutterstock

Washington Square

The Curtis overlooks Washington Square, on Walnut and 6th Streets, and one of the five original public squares envisioned by William Penn when he founded Philadelphia in 1682. In one scene, protesters swarm the outside of the Curtis Center, showing off a backdrop of the leafy, 6.4 acre park. Stop into Talula’s Daily on the west side of the park for a latte and freshly baked scone, and claim a bench in the typically protester-free, peaceful park. (Watch out for aggressive squirrels, though.)

Rittenhouse Square

Another of Penn’s original squares, Rittenhouse is located opposite from Washington Square, on the city’s west side, with Walnut and 18th Streets bordering. One scene of the show takes place in the center of the seven-acre square, in front of its picturesque fountain and reflecting pool. While walking through the park, keep an eye out for the sculptures throughout, including Billy, a bronze goat by artist Albert Laessle, Giant Frog, and the square’s first sculpture, dating back to 1892, Lion Crushing a Serpent by artist Antoine-Louis Barye. 

Glass bottles and other ceramics are dug into a wall at Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
The Magic Gardens were painstakingly built by artist Isaiah Zagar © Stephan Schlachter/Shutterstock

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens

In one dreamy scene early in the show, Peter and Simone meet to wander around Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. Created over the span of decades by artist Isaiah Zagar, the gardens are a quirky, whimsical, and unparalleled immersive art museum. The indoor and outdoor space, located on South Street in the city’s Bella Vista neighborhood, draws thousands of visitors a year to explore Zagar’s vibrant mosaics that feature glass, ceramics, and found objects.


The hip neighborhood located to the northeast of Philadelphia’s Center City has a concentration of some of the city’s best restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. Several scenes of the show are filmed in Fishtown, and showcase the area’s murals—like the spray-painted “Welcome to Fishtown,” with three giant tabby cats. In one shot, Peter and Simone run across a small park, and in the background is Japanese omakase restaurant Hiroki, which is recognizable from its distinct, circular wooden door. A visit to the neighborhood should include a stop into Philly-born coffee shop flagship La Colombe, Cake Life Bake Shop (the team there has made Beyonce’s birthday cakes for the last few years), and Pizzeria Beddia, making some of America’s best pizzas, according to Bon Appétit. 

The outside of the Continental, in Philadelphia. The cast of AMC's Dispatches from Elsewhere are visible in the window
The Continental, as featured in AMC's

The Continental

The four main characters—Peter, Simone, Fredwynn (played by Andre Benjamin, aka Andre 3000), and Janice (played by Sally Field)—regularly convene at the Continental to share details and theories of the game over slices of pie. When Philadelphia-based restaurateur Stephen Starr opened the Continental in the Old City neighborhood in 1995, the glossy, retro diner was an instant hit, and it remains so today with dishes like chopped salads, cheesesteak eggrolls, and lobster mac and cheese. (Pro tip: With a prime location near Philadelphia’s historic sites, including the Liberty Bell, the Betsy Ross house, and Independence Hall, the Continental makes a perfect spot to break for lunch while sightseeing.) 

Tower Theater

Located in Upper Darby, a township just outside the city limits in Delaware County, the Tower Theater is the venue for a convention, and subsequent virtual reality experience for Janice in Dispatches. The building dates back to 1927, but since its refurbishment in the ‘70s, the Tower has hosted legendary musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, and David Bowie. (The latter recorded his 1974 David Live album during a series of shows at the theater.) 

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