The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Iceland & NYC Locations (+ Map!)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013)

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For me, movies were always the key that opened the door to different cultures and perspectives. Watching travel films compelled me to daydream about visiting these far-flung destinations for myself. Visiting The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Iceland and New York City filming locations is a daydream come true. 

Also known as ‘that Ben Stiller Iceland movie’, he both starred in and directed The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013). Stiller based this ‘everyman’ character on the 1939 short story of the same name by James Thurber but the narrative is completely fresh.

Walter Mitty is a daydreamer living a monotonous existence working at Life Magazine and feels unworthy of the woman he fancies (Kristin Wiig). One day, he gets the chance to be the adventurous and brave hero he always dreamed he could be.

Vesturvegur and Seydisfjordur one of the best The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Iceland Locations
Vesturvegur | Courtesy of Love Monlin 賀 禎禎

To see the world, things dangerous to come, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life. – Life Magazine’s motto

So, where was Walter Mitty filmed? He lives in New York City and his adventures lead him to GreenlandIceland and Afghanistan. Thanks to its diverse and mountainous landscapes, Iceland was the only filming location needed for all three countries.

I visited Iceland in March 2022 and researched the Walter Mitty Iceland locations, as well as a few in New York City. I’ve even included a filming location map! Let’s see the world and draw closer, shall we?

Where Was The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Filmed in Iceland & NYC?

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty New York City Locations

1. 125 Street Station

Walter Mitty starts his day by attempting to send a ‘wink’ to Cheryl Melhoff, a woman who works in his office, on eHarmony. He leaves his apartment (I tried to find the building but couldn’t! Let me know if you know) and walks to his subway station.

This The Secret Life of Walter Mitty setting is his local station, 125 Street Station on West 125th Street and Broadway. You can see the surrounding area better during Walter’s daydream where he saves Cheryl’s three-legged dog Chips from the fire.

125 Street Station in New York City, USA The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Location
125 Street Station | Courtesy of NilsPix

2. 1271 6th Ave/Ave of the Americas

This is one of the most wonderful and authentic The Secret Life of Walter Mitty filming locations! Walter works at the Time & Life Building which, in 2013, would have been at 1271 6th Avenue between West 50th and 51st Street. That’s exactly where Ben Stiller shot the exterior scenes for the LIFE offices!

Time Inc. vacated the building in 2015, so the publication is no longer based there. If you weren’t aware, Life Magazine hasn’t been in print since 2000.

I’m not 100% sure how much Stiller shot inside the office building. It’s clear they shot some scenes on the ground floor and maybe they took over a floor or two.

The production design for this film is quite meticulous since Walter’s daydreams use elements of his environment. I’d imagine that the office scenes are probably a mixture of both studio and on-location filming.

3. Christmas Balls Fountain at 1251 6th Ave/Ave of the Americas between West 49th and 50th Street)

Yes, I’ve listed this The Secret Life of Walter Mitty film location with the name it has on Google Maps so it’s easy to find. 

After a painful meeting with the ‘transition’ team, Walter examines film negatives whilst sitting on the edge of a water fountain. This is the Christmas Balls Fountain outside Chase Bank at 1251 6th Avenue between West 49th and 50th Street.

It’s where the huge festive ornaments sit during the holiday season if that wasn’t clear enough. 

Christmas Balls Fountain in Rockefeller Center in New York City
Christmas Balls Fountain | Courtesy of Colin Knowles

4. Radio City Music Hall

Most of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty film locations in New York are concentrated in one block. When Walter fights the Director of Acquisitions Ted Hendricks (Adam Scott) in his daydream, they have a superhuman chase through the streets of New York.

Walter goes walking with Cheryl on this same street a few times too. In both cases, you can clearly see Radio City Music Hall in the background. This theatrical institution is opposite the Time & Life building, so it makes sense.

Radio City Music Hall in New York City
Radio City Music Hall | Courtesy of Anthony G. Reyes

4. Central Park

I’m extra proud of finding this The Secret Life of Walter Mitty filming location. I spent a wee while on Google Street View finding it! 

Walter joins Cheryl and her son, Rich, in Central Park where Walter shows off his longboarding skills. I’ve found the exact corner where this scene takes place, near the pond and the Hallett Nature Sanctuary. I’ve pinned the precise location on the map at the top of this post.

Benches in Central Park, New York City
Central Park Bench | Courtesy of Phil Dolby

5. 214 West 138th Street 

After his great adventures in Greenland and Iceland, Walter returns to New York City. He pops around to Cheryl’s house to give her son Rich the longboard he got in Iceland as a gift.

Her address is 214 West 138th Street which has an absolutely gorgeous red and green Art Deco facade.

6. Beethoven Pianos, 2403 3rd Avenue

Walter Mitty has gone away and come back again. He’s just returned from Ungoverned Afghanistan, sans job. 

Unfortunately, Walter has to sell his mum’s piano because he can’t afford to rent a bigger place for her. They visit Beethoven Pianos at 2403 3rd Avenue in the Bronx. I don’t think the piano shop is still there as the whole place looks boarded up.

This is where his mum presents him with the wallet Sean gave him that he tossed away, and with it the illusive negative!

And those are all The Secret Life of Walter Mitty New York City locations that I know about. If you know the locations of the New York City Airport, the Los Angeles Airport cafe where he eats a Cinnabon with Todd from eHarmony, and the café where Walter updates his resumé then do reach out.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Iceland Locations

1. Stykkishólmur

Finally, Walter uses his passport! He books a ticket and hops on a plane to fly to Nuuk, Greenland in an attempt to locate Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn) and the missing negative. Nuuk is Greenland’s capital and largest city.

I have a sneaking suspicion that Stokksnes and Austurfjorur Beach make up the first landscape that Walter sees of ‘Greenland’ from the Air Greenland plane. But the town we see as he descends into Greenland is definitely Stykkishólmur in the Snæfellsnes Peninsula.

You can clearly make out the uniquely-shaped Stykkishólmskirkja Church from this birds-eye-view shot.

Stykkishólmur The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Iceland Location
Stykkishólmur | Courtesy of Mattia Panciroli

2. Hornafjörður Airport, Höfn

Stykkishólmur Airport, though it exists, is not the airport we see in the film. Hornafjörður Airport, on Iceland’s southern coast, appears as Nuuk Airport. It’s in a much more remote location than Stykkishólmur Airport so it probably looked more cinematic.

Read next: Stardust Filming Locations in England, Scotland & Iceland

3. Harfnagata, 340, Stykkishólmur

Walter drives his red rental car to the harbour and heads down to the next The Secret Life of Walter Mitty film location, which is Harfnagata street. He pops into a bar named Tuugaalik and I’m sure the last thing he expected was for it to be a glorified karaoke bar.

In reality, this bar is a bookshop called Bókaverzlun Breiðafjarðar, or at least it was. They seem to have moved into a different location in the town.

Walter and his new pal, the drunk helicopter pilot, take off from the car park opposite the bar.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Greenland Bar in Stykkishólmur, Iceland
The yellow building is the bar! | Courtesy of Domenico Convertini

4. Garður

The pilot flies Walter to the Erkigsnek, the boat that Sean O’Connell might be sailing on. You can’t see any land in these scenes but apparently, Stiller shot these plane-jumping and shark-biting scenes just off the coast of Garður on the Reykjanes Peninsula. He takes a literal leap of faith!

Garður Coast in Iceland
Garður | Courtesy of Matteo

5. Grundarfjörður

In the world of the movie, Walter travels around 1,211 km/753 miles across the North Atlantic Ocean from Greenland to Iceland. In reality, he’s travelled around 40 km/28 miles down the coast from Stykkishólmur to the next The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Iceland location.

Grundarfjörður, also on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, is the port town where the Erkigsnek ship docks in Iceland. Grundarfjörður received lots of tourists because it’s the town closest to Kirkjufellsfoss and Kirkjufell Mountain

Walter is looking for the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. This is the volcano that erupted in April 2010 and grounded hundreds of planes and caused chaos in Iceland. In the movie, one of the sailors tells Walter it’s ‘around 15 km’ away. In reality, the volcano is on an entirely different coastline.

Grundarfjörður is one of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Iceland Locations
Grundarfjörður | Courtesy of Stefan Jürgensen

6. Snæfellsnesvegur

Walter manages to grab the ‘shore bike’ and ride towards Eyjafjallajökull. He bikes along the Snæfellsnesvegur road and you can clearly see the Snæfellsnes Farmhouse as he’s cycling.

Snæfellsnesvegur in Iceland
Snæfellsnesvegur | Courtesy of Alex Proimos

7. Walter Mitty Bridge, Árnessýslu

Mitty is distracted by a flock of birds that seem to recreate Cheryl’s face in their flight pattern. This causes him to hit a road sign and damage the shore bike. So, he has to run to the volcano!

Walter runs across a bridge that literally doesn’t have a name. On Google Maps, you’ll see some kind soul has labelled this The Secret Life of Walter Mitty location simply as the Walter Mitty Bridge in Árnessýslu. It’s just slightly upstream of Urriðafoss.

Read next: 30 + Icelandic Movies and TV Shows to Inspire Your Trip

8. Haífoss Viewpoint

Walter ends up at a hotel in the middle of nowhere (if you know this hotel, please tell me!) and chats with a man there. He also swaps the Stretch Armstrong toy his sister gave him for his 42nd birthday for a cool longboard.

If you ask me, the kid got a raw deal! His longboard was awesome.

The man says Sean stayed at his hotel and is now at Stykkishólmur Airfield in the next town over. Mitty takes his longboard to ride down there and reaches the top of this hill where he can see the winding, steep road stretching out in front.

This viewpoint of the road is right next to Haífoss, a small waterfall. This might be the second most iconic The Secret Life of Walter Mitty filming location!

9. Vesturvegur

If the viewpoint is the second most iconic, this is the most iconic The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Iceland location. Walter summons up his courage and rides down Vesturvegur on his new longboard.

Can you hear the José González song that plays as he shreds his way across the tarmac too?!

Vesturvegur and Seydisfjordur one of the best The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Iceland Locations
Vesturvegur | Courtesy of Love Monlin 賀 禎禎

10. Gufufoss

As he skates down Vesturvegur, Walter passes Gufufoss waterfall. Don’t get this confused with Udafoss which is slightly further down the road.

Gufufoss Waterfall in Iceland
Gufufoss | Courtesy of Frank Kovalchek

11. Hótel Aldan, Seydisfjordur

Elated, Walter arrives in the town of Seydisfjordur just outside Hótel Aldan. He doesn’t have long to bask in the triumph of this athletic feat. The man he met at the hotel at the top of the hill drove after him so that he wouldn’t get swallowed up by Eyjafjallajökull’s ash cloud.

Hótel Aldan in Seydisfjordur The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Iceland Location
Hótel Aldan Seydisfjordur | Courtesy of Britt-Marie Sohlström

12. Geirabakarí Kaffihús, Borgarnes

The Icelandic man drops Walter off at a restaurant. Would you believe it, it’s a Papa Johns! This is the same chain pizzeria where Walter worked at the time of his father’s death. How poignant.

There aren’t any Papa Johns in Iceland, I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you. It’s actually a bakery called Geirabakarí Kaffihús in Borgarnes that the production department dressed up to look like a Papa Johns restaurant.

13. Þjóðvegur 1

After a quick trip back to New York City (long enough to get laid off, though), Walter has a new lead and is back on Sean O’Connell’s trail. He has intel that Sean is in Ungoverned Afghanistan in the foothills of the Himalayas.

Of course, all of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty locations in Afghanistan are actually in Iceland. 

When Walter arrives, he rides in a kitschy, colourful bus along a road surrounded by an orange-hued landscape with a glacier in the distance. I don’t know for sure, but I think this looks like Iceland’s Ring Road, Þjóðvegur 1 near Hvannadalshnúkur, Iceland’s tallest mountain.

I’m happy for you to prove me wrong if you know the correct spot!

Þjóðvegur in Iceland
Þjóðvegur | Courtesy of Nick Dawson

14. Skógafoss

Walter alights the bus with two guides and they set off to hike up Noshaqq Mountain in Afghanistan. They pass one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls and landmarks, Skógafoss. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga (2020) is another Iceland-set movie which filmed at Skogafoss.

Read next: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga Locations

Skógafoss Waterfall in Iceland
Skógafoss | Courtesy of Martyn Smith

15. Vatnajökull National Park

This next scene is a montage of Walter trekking up with his two guides, offering clementine cake to warlords in exchange for some kind of blessing. I’ll admit, I don’t know the precise whereabouts of all these locations. However, I believe almost all of them take place in Vatnajökull National Park.

Vatnajökull National Park The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Iceland Location
Vatnajökull National Park | Courtesy of Hjalmar Gislason

16. Kalfafellsdalur

Walter finally tracks down Sean up a mountain ridge and learns where he put the film negative. Upon noticing a group of lads in the valley below, Sean suggests they join in their football match.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Iceland location for this game is in a valley called Kalfafellsdalur. It just looks so beautiful as the sun melts into the sky and transforms it into a deep orange.

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Iceland & NYC Locations: That’s a Wrap!

Those are all the top The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Iceland & New York City filming locations. There are tonnes of filming locations in Iceland all over the entire country, so you’ll need to embark on an epic road trip to see every single one.

Have you visited Iceland or New York City or watched the film? Let me know in the comments!

Read next:

5 Day Iceland Itinerary: First-Timer’s Long Weekend Guide

30 + Icelandic Movies & TV Shows to Inspire Your Travels

Stardust Filming Locations in England, Scotland & Iceland

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga Locations in Iceland & Scotland

2 thoughts on “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Iceland & NYC Locations (+ Map!)

  1. Harsh says:

    Thank you so much for this splendid blog, just found this place coz walter mitty and one of the unique website…✨

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