Since we have been looking for movie locations in Berlin since we started our blog. From Run Lola Run to Dark, we knew we would have to visit these locations, take all the pictures possible, and come back here to share the story with you.
Unlike many other blogs around the internet, we prefer to use the fact that we are based in Berlin and visit the locations from Queen’s Gambit on our own instead of using pictures that someone found online. This is why some places are not going to appear here with all the glory that they deserve.
Some of these locations are easy to find and are located just a subway stop away from core tourist spots in Berlin. Others are closed now due to COVID-19, but we are going to mention them either way. The map at the end of the article can and should be used as a reference for those who, like us, want to see how the producers from Queen’s Gambit managed to turn Berlin into Paris, Moscow, Kentucky, and even Mexico.
The Henry Clay High School in Lexington
When Beth Harmon plays in her first chess competition, she heads to the Henry Clay High School in Lexington. We can see some shots from the outside area in the series, with a building made of bricks. Most of the scenes are inside a building, in what seems to be a gymnasium.
This is the Max Taut School in Berlin-Rummelsburg, and it was once the largest school complex in Germany. It was built in the 1920s as a different type of school, using modern architectural concepts. Nowadays, this school is part of the many buildings that show how modernism was presented in Berlin’s architecture.
The Ben Snyder’s Department Store
I believe it happens in the second episode when Beth’s adoptive mother takes her shopping. There is an outside scene where they cross a road that is clearly not in Berlin. But once they are in the shop, they are back in Germany. The exterior shots were done in Toronto, but inside, they are in Berlin-Friedrichshain.
These scenes were filmed inside Humana, a vintage clothes store. On the pictures here, you can see that the production company only had to hide a few elements since Humana really looks like a piece of the past.
Queen’s Gambit Berlin or Paris?
When Beth Harmon went to Paris in 1967, some outside shots are used to transport the audience from the US straight into Europe. One of the shots was easy to recognize for us since it showed a piece of the Museum Island, in the heart of Berlin.
The angle used in Queen’s Gambit is a bit cropped, but you can easily see the Bode Museum on the right side and the bridge that connects the island. We took our cameras there in late November 2020 just to show you where it is.
The Methuen Home Orphanage
The first episode of Queen’s Gambit is mainly focused on a young Beth Harmon and her life at an orphanage. This is where she learns how to play chess with the custodian. This is where she gets addicted to some green pills. This is where the story begins.
The real Methuen Orphanage isn’t an orphanage at all. Schloss Schulzendorf can be found on Berlin’s outskirts, close to where the BER airport is. And this is the most exciting place that Queen’s Gambit brought us.
We visited the building on a cold morning in November 2020, and we were so impressed by its history that we had to write a full post just about it. You should read it here.
The Aztec Palace Hotel in Mexico
When Beth Harmon goes on to meet with Russians for the first time, she is in Mexico. In the series, this is the Aztec Palace Hotel, but, in real life, this is the Friedrichstadt-Palast in Mitte.
The Friedrichstadt-Palast in Mitte was built in East Berlin in 1984 since the original theater was destroyed during the Second World War. Nowadays, some movies from the Berlinale are presented and a place for shows like the ones you picture in Las Vegas or something like that.
Since the Friedrichstadt-Palast is closed due to the pandemic, we only have pictures from the outside area. But you can trust on it, this is the Aztec Palace Hotel.
Welcome to the tournament in the Soviet Union
When Beth reached the big chess tournament in 1968, she goes to Moscow. And, of course, none of the scenes were shot in Russia. Berlin has the perfect architecture for this, and the tournament is all shot in the Altes Statdhaus. The game was entirely shot in the Bärensaal there, and this is used for the city administration.
As it happened in other places, we couldn’t enter the Altes Stadthaus due to COVID-19, but we took some pictures from the outside. This might work for us all since there are a few scenes that show Beth Harmon leaving the tournament, and it’s pretty easy to recognize the door and the place where she is greeted by a small crowd.
The Moscow Hotel
When she goes to the Soviet Union for the big tournament, Beth stays in a Moscow hotel. This was wholly shot on Karl-Marx-Allee, which has an entire block of apartments designed following the Soviet classicism architectural style. The street goes from Alexanderplatz to Frankfurter Tor, and these soviet looking buildings can be seen throughout the street’s length.
We walked around for a while looking for the precise building with two enormous columns at the entry, and we were thrilled when we found it!
The Final Scene in the Queen’s Gambit
One of the last episode highlights is when Beth takes a stroll around the Moscow streets and meets with some people playing chess. At the Moscow hotel, this scene was shot on Karl-Marx-Allee, and we managed to go there and find the exact same spot where the series was filmed.
Everything happens around the Rosengarten on Karl-Marx-Allee. Beth walks away from a car and goes through the garden. She turns between some trees and sees the chess players. As you can see in the pictures we took, it looks almost the same as in the series.
Now, it’s time to talk about the locations that we couldn’t visit. Some of them were due to COVID-19; others were because they don’t allow people in.
The Cincinnati Hotel that Beth and her adoptive mother stay during a chess tournament was filmed at Rathaus Spandau, and we will be there one day to take pictures of it. The room where the competition happens has this gorgeous ceiling. This is the Meistersaal in Mitte. It’s a chamber music hall, and it’s part of the Hansa Studios, where David Bowie recorded some of his most classic albums while in Berlin.
The Las Vegas hotel where the US Chess Open happens was filmed in Berlin as well. Precisely at the Palais am Messe-Funkturm, an exhibition complex closed when we took our cameras there.
When Queen’s Gambit begins, we see Beth Harmon walking to play chess. This is the series’s opening scene, and it’s presented as part of a hotel in Paris. But, as you can expect, this wasn’t shot in Paris. This was filmed at Haus Cumberland in Charlottenburg. We went there to take pictures, but the café where the scene was shot was closed at the end of 2019.
The Queen’s Gambit in Berlin: Every location from the Netflix series in Germany
Humana Secondhand Shop
Palais am Funkturm
Rosengarten Final Scene
We went looking for Queen’s Gambit locations together with our friends from Canal Alemanizando. They did a video about all of them, and you can even catch some glimpses of us in it.
Check it out, and don’t forget to click for subtitles if you don’t speak Portuguese.