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The “Sleepless in Seattle” Houseboat

Apr 2nd, 2010 | By | Category: Movie Locations

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Another Seattle area location that my good friend and fellow stalker Kerry stalked for me a few weeks back was the houseboat where Sam Baldwin (aka Tom Hanks) and his son Jonah (aka Ross Malinger) lived in one of my favorite romantic comedies of all time, 1993’s Sleepless in Seattle.   I just re-watched Sleepless last night, actually, in order to write today’s post and was absolutely amazed at how incredibly fabulous the movie still is, almost two decades after it was first released!   It’s a classic and I honestly cannot tell you how much I LOVE it.  Like LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!  In fact, I can still remember exactly where I was when I first saw it seventeen years ago.  It was the summer of 1993, I was sixteen years old, and my parents and I were vacationing in Santa Barbara.  While shopping on State Street, we stumbled upon Paseo Nuevo Cinemas, saw Sleepless on the marquee, and decided to buy tickets.  I actually still have my ticket from that day, in fact, in a shoebox somewhere in my closet.  In the years since, I’ve walked by that same movie theatre countless times while visiting the Santa Barbara area and each time I do the memories from that day never fail to bring a smile to my face.  So, when Kerry mentioned that she was going to stalk the Sleepless houseboat, I just about died.  Oh, what I wouldn’t give to see that place in person!  So, I decided that, even though I have yet to stalk the house myself yet, I just had to blog about it.  Thank you, Kerry!

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In Sleepless in Seattle, Sam and Jonah Baldwin leave their home in Chicago and move into the Seattle area houseboat pictured above in order to make a fresh start after losing their wife and mother, respectively, a few months prior.

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In real life, the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat is located in a gated community of sorts in the Lake Union area of Seattle, Washington (actual gates are pictured above) and is, sadly, not at all visible from the street.  Typically, the only way to catch a glimpse of the place is if you travel by it by boat.  Thankfully, though, as I’ve mentioned before on my blog, Kerry isn’t one to be easily deterred.  As luck would have it, there was an open house in the neighborhood on the day Kerry stalked the place and so she was allowed to wander right in past the main gate!  YAY!

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As you can in the above screen captures and photographs, the houseboat looks almost EXACTLY the same today as it did when Sleepless was filmed over 17 years ago!  In fact, the only differences I noticed were that the front door is currently painted a bright red color and that the fencing around the back patio has been changed from metal to wood.

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The four bedroom, two bath houseboat, which was first built in 1978, was apparently for sale in 2008 for a whopping $2.5 million, but I was unable to discern if it was ever actually purchased by someone or if it is still currently up for grabs.  If you look at the home’s interior photographs on its real estate website, though, you can see that the inside was not used in the filming of Sleepless.  Although the interior of the real life home and its onscreen counterpart bear a striking resemblance to each other, you can tell by the location of both the kitchen and the stairway leading up to the second level that they are not the same place.  In real life, the inside of the houseboat, which measures 2,075 square feet, is also much larger than it was made to look onscreen.  I am guessing that the entire interior that appeared in the movie was just a set that producers had built on a soundstage somewhere.

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If you’ll notice in the above picture, though, the little bench that Sam sits on at night in the movie is there in real life, too.  So LOVE it!

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I am happy to report, too, that the mailboxes seen in the flick are in fact the community’s real life mailboxes and that they look very much the same today as they did back in 1993 when Sleepless was filmed.  YAY!

Big THANK YOU to Kerry for stalking this location!  :)

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  :)

Stalk It: The Sleepless in Seattle houseboat is located at 2460 Westlake Avenue North in the Lake Union area of Seattle, Washington, right next to Boatworld Marinas.  Please remember that the home is located in a private community and do not trespass.

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14 comments

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  1. Jo says:

    Over two decades later, Sleepless in Seattle is still one of my all-time favorite movies. I was only about 12 years old when it first came out, but I remember watching it with my mother and then wanting to watch it over and over. I never got sick of it! I miss the days of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. They were so great together. This movie definitely makes me very nostalgic. They don’t make movies like this anymore, that’s for sure.

  2. My wife and I watch this movie every 14-February since 1994. So, we watched it yesterday. As it is, it coincides with our anniversary. Well, almost. We were married on the 15th of February, 1969. So, today is our 45th! We visited the top of the Empire State Building a few times together in the last 45 years.
    Anyway, this was a great movie, the likes of which they don’t make anymore.
    I “fly” Microsoft’s Flight Simulator and I created the Empire State Building for the New York scenery, so that it lights up with a big red Valentine heart at 6PM on 14-February and stays on until the next morning. It was a lot of work, but the scenery is available (for free) at SimViation.
    Great movie!
    Fern

  3. Marichu says:

    Lindsay,
    Our group from Philippines will be visiting Seattle in June this year. Who are we going to ask permission if we want to visit the house. The cruise that is available, like Lake Union cruise will just be just passing by the houseboat. We would like to explore the backyard, like what you did.
    Do you live near the area?

    • Lindsay says:

      Hi,
      Unfortunately that area is gated and not open to the public. The only reason my friend was able to get inside was because there was an open house going on while she was there. Otherwise, though, the area is typically not accesible.
      Happy Stalking :),
      Lindsay

  4. Petrea says:

    Hi Lindsay,
    Great post–so detailed! My husband’s family lives in the Seattle area and I’ve always wondered about this place. Never seen it, though. Very cool.
    Great meeting you the other night!

    • Lindsay says:

      Hi Petrea!
      It was so nice meeting you, too!!! You put on a great seminar and gave me so many great ideas of things to do with my blog. Thank you!!! Can’t wait for the next one!
      Happy Stalking :),
      Lindsay

  5. Owen says:

    OK, I’m confused about something. When talking about the front door you state that it “has far fewer windows than it did in the movie.” It does? That door that is now red? It looks like the exact same door to me — just painted red now.

    • Lindsay says:

      OMG you are right! That’s like the third blone faux-paus you’ve caught me making today alone! 😉

      • Owen says:

        And now I’ve caught you spelling “blond” incorrectly and spelling “faux pas” incorrectly. Guess that makes five faux pas in a single day. Sorry, couldn’t resist. That’s the editor in me. 😉

  6. Lavonna says:

    I LOVE this movie…actually ANY movie with Meg Ryan! Did you ever see French Kiss…my all-time favorite romantic comedy! Meg and Kevin Kline…LOVE IT and I’m big into soundtracks from movies–Sleepless and French Kiss are two of my favorite soundtracks! Any hoot…love Meg and Tom together just wonderful! You’ve Got Mail was outstanding, when we went to NY a few years ago we stalked the filming sites from that movie. In French Kiss Meg’s character couldn’t wait to see Eiffel Tower…I was in Paris in 2007 and 2009 tried to find some of the filming locations but didn’t have as much free time. But I did go to Moulin Rouge so that was exciting. Summer, 2011 we’re going to Italy…have to find some sites to stalk there:)

  7. David Crocker says:

    Hey Lindsay…..

    Ummm, up here in the boonies we call that area off the back of a houseboat a “deck”. A patio? Ummm….we don’t do ‘patios’ in the Northwest. :). ‘Patios’ are for wimps. :).

    Seriously, though, you mention that the interior was a soundstage somewhere. that ‘somewhere’ is actually not far from the houseboat at all. the interiors from the film were filmed in a makeshift studio they constructed in an empty building in an area called Sand Point. This is just north of the University of Washington and is an old military building at a small abandoned ‘academy’ compound there. The interior of the houseboat, as well as the set for the nighttime scenes on top of Empire State Building were filmed there.

    Finally, a great piece of trivia was that there’s a hotel called The Sorrento here in Seattle. Room 608 is known as the Sleepless in Seattle room because that’s the room where Meg Ryan meets Bill Plummer for their weekend in New York. Yup….the scene where Bill opens the door of his hotel room to welcome his soon to be bride to New York is actually a hotel room in Seattle. In the movie you can see the 608 on the door.

    What I’ve yet been able to find is the little house where Jonah and his friend sit on the porch after mailing their letter, as well as the hotel room from which Meg Ryan calls Rosie and tells her about watching Jonah and Sam playing football on the beach.

    So now you’ve got me interested because you’ve blogged a couple of Northwest locations the last couple of days. Makes me wonder what might be next.

    • Lindsay says:

      A deck! Duh! 😉 You have to remember that I am a blond!
      Thank you for all of this info!!!!! I will add it to my ever-growing list of Pacific Northwest locations. Unfortunately, the Buble hotel and Sleepless house are the only two I had in my library to blog, so for the time being there won’t be anymore. :( But I am planning a trip up there so hopefully there will more on my site very, very soon!


Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. […] For more information please visit iamnostalker.com, they wrote a great piece on the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat. […]

  2. […] as fellow stalker Kerry pointed out, the park also boasts a perfect water-side view of the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat.  So incredibly […]

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