“Hey,” I said to my kid last week, pausing our living room viewing of “Sleepless In Seattle.” “Where have you seen that pier before?”

He squinted at the screen, recognizing the stone expanse that Annie Reed (Meg Ryan) follows out to the Fells Point wharf and gasped.

“That’s by the hotel! I ride my bike there!” he said, and I was officially the best parent ever.

The city in the title may be almost 3,000 miles away, but make no mistake: A significant part of Nora Ephron’s 1993 rom-com classic was filmed right here in Baltimore. They even mention Brooks Robinson! When I first saw it in Miami on opening weekend, it was about a connection to my native city and the bond between widowed single dad Sam (Tom Hanks) and Baltimore Sun reporter Annie. But 30 years after its release, I relate to the themes of grief, single parenting, Great American Songbook covers and wanting to believe that, even in the most dire situations, magic can happen. And does.

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To celebrate the movie’s big birthday, I’ve put together a tour of on-screen Baltimore sites that you can visit, imagining that you’re right there with Annie as she considers finding love with a stranger on the radio. (And it’s much better than the follow-up Hanks and Ryan film “You’ve Got Mail” because nobody’s family bookstore gets eaten by corporate greed!)

Annie’s house (904 S. Broadway)

The facade of 904 S. Broadway was used as the exterior for Annie‘s (Meg Ryan) Fells Point place. (Dylan Thiessen/The Baltimore Banner)

Like Carrie Bradshaw of “Sex and the City,” Annie is a quirky journalist who lives in a place she probably can’t afford. The 1812 building that was built as a steamboat ticket office last sold in 2019 for about $650,000. It was used only for exterior shots in “Sleepless in Seattle,” but the building’s beautiful, winsome brick facade works perfectly as the home of a practical woman nonetheless swayed by a stranger’s heartfelt story. When Annie and then-fiancé Walter (Bill Pullman) load her car with Christmas presents, you can also see what is now Barcocina on Thames Street.

The Baltimore Sun building (501 N. Calvert St.)

I literally squealed the first time I realized that Annie was a member of the features staff of The Sun. The movie contains my favorite line about the monotony of lifestyle and holiday coverage when, during a budget meeting, reporter Wyatt (Steve Mellor) deadpans, “New Year’s Eve. Please don’t make me write it.” BEEN THERE, MY BROTHER.

For fun, you can just drive by the former Sun building and imagine that inside, a smitten Meg Ryan is booking an official newspaper assignment to go stalk a widower and his little boy Jonah (Ross Malinger). Or not.

Hollywood Diner (400 E. Saratoga St.)

The abandoned Hollywood Diner at 400 E. Saratoga St., which stands in for the fictional Capitol Diner in “Sleepless In Seattle.” (Dylan Thiessen/The Baltimore Banner)

The now-shuttered landmark was the stand-in for the fictional Capitol Diner in Washington, D.C. It’s where Annie listens to the Dr. Marcia Fieldstone show on which Sam is describing his love for his late wife, alongside interested waitresses including one played by actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson.

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Washington Monument (Mount Vernon Place)

The Washington Monument in Mount Vernon, where Annie (Meg Ryan) and Becky (Rosie O'Donnell) walk. (Dylan Thiessen/The Baltimore Banner)

Annie and her editor Becky talk about her fascination with Sam and his son Jonah, who originally calls the radio show to find his dad a new wife, as they walk down the Mount Vernon stairs in front of the monument. It’s a quintessential Baltimore shot.

George Peabody Library (17 E. Mt. Vernon Place)

The George Peabody Library, where Annie (Meg Ryan) discusses her new obsession with a sad stranger from the radio with her brother Dennis (David Hyde Pierce). (Dylan Thiessen/The Baltimore Banner)

Annie and her brother Dennis (David Hyde Pierce), who works at Peabody, talk about hearing Sam on the radio show, and he’s appropriately confused as to why she’s so obsessed. Destiny can sound either whimsical or crazy, and Dennis seems to think it’s the latter.

Broadway Pier (920 S. Broadway)

The gorgeous brick expanse is visible in that first scene with Walter and Annie and the Christmas presents, and also significantly during a scene set to Joe Cocker’s soulful version of “Bye Bye Blackbird.” As we see Sam and Jonah coping with grief in Seattle, Annie walks the pier, sitting on a bench overlooking the waterfront. The Recreation Pier building, which would become the set of “Homicide: Life on the Street” and is now the luxe Sagamore Pendry hotel, can be seen in the background.

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Is “Sleepless In Seattle” a perfect movie? Its journalistic ethics are way off and I’d be mad if I were the Baltimore Sun employee who signed off on Annie’s expense report to hire a private investigator and get a plane ticket to go follow this poor unsuspecting man and his child around. And I’ve never gotten over how poor Walter, a nice man with a good job and a severe nut allergy, was treated. He might not be Tom Hanks, but as he tells Annie, he doesn’t want to be the one that someone settles for. Claim your dignity, Walter!

Even with its flaws, it’s a wistful piece about hope, friendship and the enduring desire to believe that someone just for us exists and that, as Jonah’s terrible friend Jessica (Gaby Hoffmann) says, we are “MFEO” (Made For Each Other).

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I still want to believe it.

leslie.streeter@thebaltimorebanner.com

Leslie Gray Streeter is a columnist excited about telling Baltimore stories — about us and the things that we care about, that touch us, that tickle us and that make us tick, from parenting to pop... 

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