Boston’s Ghostly Guise: Unmasking the Ghostbusters 2016 Filming Locations

Our tour of the hotspots in Boston used for the Ghostbusters 2016 filming locations.

A header shot of a post about the Ghostbusters 2016 filming locations.

The Ghostbusters reboot dropped in 2016 and introduced a new generation to the team of ghost catchers. With a twist, of course. This fresh iteration revolves around four women – not men – who tackle the ghosts and ghouls of New York, so naturally all hell broke loose. Quite literally on screen in addition to certain unfortunate corners of the internet.

Directed by Paul Feig, who co-wrote the script with his The Heat scribe Katie Dippold, Ghostbusters reimagines a world where the original movies never took place and gently reworks the premise to follow new characters in the 2010s. Kristen Wiig stars as Erin Gilbert, a Columbia professor who unwillingly reconciles with an old friend Abby (Melissa McCarthy) and her associate Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon) after a ghostly encounter that attracts the attention of subway worker Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones). 

Nearly a decade later, the movie remains one of my favourite comedies that never fails to make me laugh heartily and bring a tear to my eye. I adore the cast and creative team behind the scenes who do everything to make this the perfect homage to the original series whilst crafting something a lil’ different. So, naturally, when we visited Boston, we had to hit up some of the main Ghostbusters 2016 filming locations.

Why Boston Was Chosen For This Movie

Part of what makes the original Ghostbusters franchise so winning is- yes, the demon dogs *are* the best pooches– its location. New York City is the perfect backdrop for spooky antics thanks to its sprawling history, and that component is one Feig had hoped to recreate. 

So why didn’t they film in New York? Paparazzi.

“New York is so much a part of [the original film’s] DNA,” Feig told Time Out. “But we shot one day in New York, and it was almost impossible because we just got inundated by people and the paparazzi. The New York paparazzi are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. 

They’ll just walk right onto the set, like in the actor’s face, clicking pictures, and the cops won’t throw them out because technically they have a right to be there. So you just have to negotiate with these photographers, like, ‘Please get out of the way while we’re shooting a scene.’ I hate to complain, but it’s not cool.”

Where Was Ghostbusters 2016 Filmed?

Ghostbusters was filmed in the greater Boston area, with specific scenes filmed in Downtown Boston, Chinatown, Everett and North Easton.

Ghostbusters 2016 Filming Locations In The Boston Area

South Weymouth Naval Air Station, 410-434 Shea Memorial Dr, Weymouth, Massachusetts 02190

548 Broadway, Everett, Massachusetts 02149

205 Townsend Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02121

270 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02116

1 Harrison Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02111

400 Fenway, Boston, Massachusetts 02115

257 Massapoag Avenue, North Easton, Massachusetts 02356

225 Bay State Road, Boston, Massachusetts 02215

1. Aldridge Mansion Museum (Boston University Castle, Ames Mansion)

  • Exteriors: Boston University Castle, 225 Bay State Rd, Boston, MA
  • Interiors: Ames Mansion, 257 Massapoag Ave, North Easton, MA
Boston Castle as seen in Ghostbusters 2016
The Aldridge Mansion Museum, Ghostbusters (2016).
Boston Castle which is one of the Ghostbusters 2016 filming locations.
Highway to Horror, October 2023.

The opening sequence follows a tour group at the fictional Aldridge Mansion Museum led by tour guide Garett (Zach Woods) who encounters the ghost of Gertrude Aldridge, leading to the arrival of the Ghostbusters. We see Abby, Holtzmann, and Erin’s ecstatic reaction to being slimed on the sidewalk outside of the Castle.

While production originally planned to film both exteriors and interiors at Boston University Castle, due to scheduling all inside shots were filmed at the Ames Mansion. This homestead is located south of the city. “It was very personal and quirky, and they were willing to let us use a lot of the family things in the house. It had exactly the same vibe that we wanted,”  production designer Jeff Sage told Architectural Digest. The Ames Mansion also features in Knives Out

But it was Boston University’s Tudor Revival that served as the perfect exterior; with a few changes, of course. In order to rough up the building, the production team attempted “to make the outside of the Castle look a little more abandoned, took the flowers and landscaping out, and put the sign up.”  

Erin, Holtzmann, and Abby outside Aldridge Mansion Museum
Ghostbusters (2016).
Boston Castle which appears as Aldridge Mansion Museum in Ghostbusters 2016
Highway To Horror, October 2023.

One thing I also noticed upon arrival was the absence of skyscrapers nearby— those Manhattan vista we see onscreen were added digitally which is a neat trick. 

And despite that element of digital wizardry, the location carries a whiff of New York as Dippold says on the Blu-ray writer and director commentary track they “wanted to make it feel iconic NY, an ‘old school feel’”. Amusingly, Feig adds on the filmmaker commentary that the Castle’s brick sidewalk was “The one giveaway to me about this location,” as it’s more of a Bostonian style than New York.

2. Columbia University (Emmanuel College, 400 Fenway)

Erin at Columbia University, Ghostbusters Extended Cut (2016).
One of the Ghostbusters 2016 filming locations is  Emmanuel College
Highway to Horror, October 2023

Before reuniting with Abby, Erin (Kristen Wiig) is in pursuit of tenure at Columbia University which is where we first meet her as she walks across campus. The theatrical cut shows her struggling to open a door, but the extended cut includes a longer scene (entitled “Erin Walks to Class”) of Erin crossing the quad and chatting with staff.

And yes, you guessed it – none of this footage was filmed at Columbia. The exteriors were filmed in Boston at Emmanuel College which is located on Fenway. Those red doors Erin struggles with are at the Jean Yawkey Center.

Ghostbusters (2016)

One of the Ghostbusters 2016 filming locations is Emmanuel College
Highway to Horror, October 2023

Another deleted scene (entitled “The Breakup” on the Blu-ray) showcases that same spot just outside the Jean Yawkey Center when Abby visits Columbia to patch things up with Erin:

Melissa McCarthy as Abby in Ghostbusters
Ghostbusters (2016)
A photo of Emmanuel College

Highway To Horror, October 2023.

This campus was a pleasant stroll from the Castle – we visited all of the downtown locations in a day – and we sat and enjoyed a Dunkin’ (obviously, we were in Boston) while soaking up the leafy atmosphere.

3. Ghostbusters H.Q, Zhu’s Authentic Hong Kong Food (Kaze Shabu Shabu Restaurant)

  • Exteriors: Kaze Shabu Shabu Restaurant, 1 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA
  • Interiors: Soundstage, 625 University Avenue, Norwood, MA
The Ghostbusters 2016 HQ location.
Ghostbusters Headquarters all dressed up, seen here in a behind-the-scenes screenshot. 2015.
The real-life location of the Ghostbusters HQ.
Gem from Highway to Horror, October 2023.

Turfed out of the Higgins Institute, the Ghostbusters eventually find a home at the takeout joint where Abby frequently orders soup – Zhu’s Authentic Hong Kong Food. The idea to relocate the gang to a space above a Chinese restaurant hailed from set decorator Lesley Pope. 

Kaze Shabu Shabu, a hot pot and Asian fusion restaurant, served as the perfect real-life location. 

Adds Jeff Sage, production designer: “It was adjacent to Chinatown in Boston, it ticked all the boxes of what we had prescribed at the beginning — lonely building, feels like it’s out of the way, I always think of the building as a metaphor for them, struggling along. Chinatown was great, [it] gave us more color and visuals.”

The exteriors were shot on Harrison Avenue, but the interiors were filmed on a soundstage where the set designers crafted a new laboratory for the Ghostbusters. 

“I’m very happy with how the interior wed itself to the exterior because we have a scene where we are in and out of the windows and the photography is perfect… shot on the sidewalk and then inside to the interior,” Sage explains on the Blu-ray’s filmmaker commentary.

All sequences featuring the ECTO-1 and FBI Agents Hawkins (Michael Williams) and Agent Rorke’s (Matt Walsh) arrival were lensed on location, along with Rowan’s possession of Abby:

A shot of the street opposite the Ghostbusters HQ in the 2016 movie
Agent Hawkins and Agent Rorke in Ghostbusters (2016).
A shot of the ECTO-1 in the street at the Ghostbusters HQ in the 2016 movie
Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones) with the ECTO-1 in Ghostbusters (2016).
A shot of the street opposite the Ghostbusters HQ in the 2016 movie
Highway to Horror, October 2023.

You can watch the various scenes filmed on the soundstage and those shot at Harrison Avenue in the B-roll clip which features on the Blu-ray (this is what Sage refers to, the seamless dive between locales):

One fun fact that we picked up immediately on the morning we visited was the lack of a garage! But where was the ECTO-1 kept? According to Sage, “We couldn’t think of anywhere to put the car, we needed that reference so we constructed that set garage on the existing location.” How fun! I had a scrant about but couldn’t see any indication that it had ever been there.

The scenes of the Ghostbusters testing out Holtzie’s new gadgets took place in Los Angeles as part of reshoots, several months after principal photography wrapped. Per the Ghostbusters fandom site, these took place in an “alley in Los Angeles near St. Vincent Court across from 7th Street.”

4. Stonebrook Theater (Wang Center, 270 Tremont Street, Boston MA)

A shot of the Wang Theater in Ghostbusters
Ghostbusters (2016)
A shot of the Wang Theater used as a filming location in Ghostbusters 2016
Ghostbusters outside the Stonebrook Theater, Ghostbusters (2016)
A shot of the Wang Theater used as a filming location in Ghostbusters 2016
Highway to Horror, October 2023.

Anchoring the movie is the brilliant setpiece which unravels at the Stonebrook Theater. The team’s presence is requested when a spirit shows up – dubbed Mayhem – that interferes with a concert. 

This spot was originally eyed to double as the Mercado’s lobby, as per Paul Feig on the Blu-ray’s filmmaker commentary (the two tracks on the Blu-ray are a minefield of location facts and a blast to listen to, it sounds like production was such fun). He adds later, “That’s what I love about location scouting, for me and Katie, ‘Oh, let’s change this’ because the rock concert was originally gonna be at a Comic-Con.” Yep, this sequence nearly took place at a convention! 

All of the interiors and exteriors were shot at the Wang Center; I only took footage of the outside however.

Despite shooting quite a lot, right across the street is Lotus Leaf, the restaurant where Erin approaches the Mayor (Andy Garcia) and I didn’t realize this until after our trip – we will head there next time we’re in the city.

5. Original Ghostbusters HQ (Hook & Ladder Company 8 Firehouse)

The Ghostbusters visit the Hook & Ladder firehouse as a potential new base of operations.
Ghostbusters (2016)
  • Exteriors: Hook & Ladder Company #8, 14 N. Moore St. New York, NY
  • Interiors: Soundstage, 625 University Avenue, Norwood, MA

During their search for a new home, the Ghostbusters visit several places including the iconic Hook & Ladder firehouse which features in the original movies. 

This was shot on location in Tribeca, New York, but the interiors were elsewhere. The 1984 and 1989 Ghostbusters flicks did the same, using an L.A. firehouse for the interiors which has sadly since fallen into disrepair. Feig commented that they’d also scouted a nearby Boston firehouse but they ended up opting to build one on the soundstage. 

Fun fact! The realtor in this scene is co-writer Katie Dippold, and the woman holding a baby outside the firehouse is Harold Ramis’ daughter. The baby is his grandson! 

I visited the Hook & Ladder firehouse way back in 2009 but I didn’t try to match shots. Here’s me as a spry 20-something:

Gem at the Hook & Ladder firehouse which features in the Ghostbusters movies.
Gem from Highway to Horror, June 2009.

6. The Mercado Hotel (South Weymouth Naval Air Station, Soundstage, Boston Latin Academy)

The Mercado Hotel in Ghostbusters
The Mercado Hotel, Ghostbusters (2016).
  • Exteriors: South Weymouth Naval Air Station, 10 Patriot Pkwy, Weymouth, MA
  • Lobby interiors: Soundstage, 625 University Avenue, Norwood, MA
  • Basement interiors: Boston Latin Academy, 205 Townsend St, Boston, MA

The Ghostbusters’ main adversary is Rowan North, an enraged loner who decides to crack open the portal between worlds allowing himself to lead armies of the dead. His main hub of activity occurs at the Mercado Hotel where the film’s climax takes place. 

The frontage of the Mercado Hotel along with the 42nd-44th street blocks of Times Square were constructed on a 35,000-square-foot soundstage inside the South Weymouth Naval Air Station just outside of Boston. The Air Station was constructed in 1941 and decommissioned in 1995. It’s since become a go-to for soundstages in the Boston area. With green screen surrounding the area, the digital effects teams conjured a 1970s reimagining of the iconic Manhattan tourist spot, replete with an onslaught of ghosts and ghouls.

The main lobby interior lensed on a soundstage in nearby Norwood, MA, but the basement – where the Ghostbusters first encounter Rowan and “kill him” – took place on location. 

“I’m much more comfortable finding locations and then using sets to stitch that together,” production designer Jefferson Sage says on the Filmmaker Commentary while referring to the basement at the Boston Latin Academy where production took over the floor in late August 2015.

Rather fitting for Rowan’s evil exploits to destroy the world; the Boston Latin Academy basement was also designated as a Fallout Shelter by the government decades ago. It has since been stripped of that title but signs remain at the school as a reminder.

7. Higgins Science Institute (Old Everett High School, 548 Broadway, Everett, MA)

A shot of the old Everett High School, chosen as an exterior for the Higgins Science Institute in Ghostbusters
Erin arrives at the Higgins Institute, Ghostbusters (2016)

At the film’s outset, Abby and Holtzmann operate out of the Higgins Science Institute. This grandiose structure is the old Everett high school, just outside of Boston which now houses several different organizations including the Everett Health and Community Wellness Center.

All of the exteriors lensed here, and by the sounds of the filmmaker commentary, the interiors were too. “Lesley Pope is our set decorator and this is the first laboratory,” Sage explains. “We built this is a closed-down school in the Boston area but everything you see here is Lesley and her team’s work. It’s intended to be a little bit grimy, they don’t work in traditional ways.”

The production and set decorating teams paid a visit to MIT and took inspiration from several real-life experiments being conducted to form the basis for Yates and Holtzmann’s work. 

Travel Tips

During our time hunting out the locations in Boston, we visited all of the major ones in the space of a day using a Metrocard. For a 24-hour pass it cost us only $11. We also did a fair amount of walking between spots which felt like the only option following a red eye flight with no sleep. The cool, crisp Boston air kept us alert — along with some obligatory Dunkin’ too. 

We were in a time crunch, so didn’t get to Ames Mansion for the interiors of the Aldridge Mansion or out to Everett for the Higgins Science Institute location, but both are served by the tube which can shuttle you there within an hour. 

Other Nearby Film Locations

Beetlejuice 2 

The upcoming sequel to Tim Burton’s beloved ’80s comedy lensed in the Massachusetts area in 2023. While all of the Beetlejuice 2 filming locations have yet to be disclosed – the movie is set for release in 2024 – the town of Melrose, Massachusetts is one of the many locales selected.

Hocus Pocus

Of course, we couldn’t go without mentioning this spooky childhood fave that lensed in the Salem, MA area. Most of the interior Hocus Pocus filming locations took place on soundstages in Burbank, California but for those all-important establishing shots were captured in Salem and Marblehead.

If you’ve checked out the Ghostbusters 2016 filming locations let us know how you got along, and share your photos in the comments below!

For more in-depth reports on women in a similarly dogged, yet slightly-less-comical, pursuit of the truth, check our detailed dive into The Ring filming locations.

Librarian by day and scribbler by night, Gem Seddon is a Seattle-based freelance entertainment writer with bylines at Vulture, Digital Spy, TechRadar, Regal Cinemas, Total Film, and more. Gem especially loves writing about horror movies. When not visiting her native England, she enjoys traveling to spooky film locales. Alien and Scream are tied as her all-time favourite movie – please don't make her choose.

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