From Poppins To Predator: The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Filming Locations

The glorious ’90s brought us a slew of “crazy women” pics including this thriller filmed in the Pacific Northwest.

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle filming locations header image.

Ah, the early 1990s. Following on from the late 1980s resurgence of women’s pictures featured unhinged women threatening the patriarchy – heaven forbid – the ’90s continued the trend. The Hand That Rocks The Cradle is one such example of that hysterical torch being passed into a new decade.

This 1992 thriller stars Annabella Sciorra and Matt McCoy as Claire and Michael Bartel, a couple who welcome a nanny, Peyton, into their home only to be terrorised and gaslit by the manic au-pair played by Rebecca DeMornay.

Certain components of the movie might not have aged particularly well (the depiction of Ernie Hudson’s Solomon, for one) yet it still manages to spin a tale that’s watchable thanks to its three women characters – Claire, Peyton, and Claire’s best friend Marlene played by Julianne Moore. Honestly, she’s the best part of this film. But you’re not here for my review, you wanna know where it was shot! SO read on for our look at The Hand That Rocks The Cradle filming locations.

Why the Pacific Northwest was chosen for this movie

Production was originally scheduled to take place in Atlanta, Georgia but due to various setbacks (potentially due to delayed casting for the roles of Claire and Peyton) the shoot relocated to the Pacific Northwest. Cameras rolled on 15th April 1991. 

“It’s a great setting for a suspense film,” director Curtis Hanson told interviewers about the Pacific Northwest locale. “I like the weather, of course. I like that it’s at the edge of the continent by the ocean.” 

“It wants to be about an idyllic family, living in a very nice old house, on a great street, in a great neighborhood, where most people who watch the movie go “Gee, I’d like that life.” I thought Seattle just filled the bill for all of those reasons. There’s a lot of Seattle in the picture, deliberately.” 

Tacoma, some 30 minutes south of Seattle, also features heavily in the movie but is never mentioned by name. Ultimately Hanson chose to make it easier for audiences to associate the movie with only one city. “It just seemed simpler for the general public to think of it as all one place,” Hanson told the News Tribune. To which I say: I’m not sure I agree with your police work there, Lou. But anyway, let’s move on.

Where Was The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Filmed?

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle was filmed around the Greater Seattle Area, including Seattle, Tacoma, and Issaquah.

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle filming locations in Seattle and Tacoma

808 North Yakima Avenue, Tacoma, Washington 98403

North 8th Street, Tacoma, Washington 98406

Wright Park, 501 S I St, Tacoma, Washington 98405

2502 37th Avenue West, Seattle, Washington 98199

5009 Roosevelt Way Northeast, Seattle, Washington 98105

1400 East Galer Street, Seattle, Washington 98112

1. The Bartel House (808 Yakima Ave N, Tacoma, WA)

The Bartel family home in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle
The Bartel homestead in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.
808 Yakima in Tacoma
Highway to Horror, February 2024.

The Bartel house is situated in a quiet, leafy suburb of Tacoma on 808 Yakima Ave. This is the home of Claire, Michael, Emma and Joe, and for a brief, tumultuous period the crazed nanny, Peyton. 

Initially, producers approached the homeowners at another nearby property on North Junett Ave. Because the filming required a number of permanent changes to the interiors, holes in woodwork and intensive paintwork, the owners declined the offer. Although they’d later agree to another production, 10 Things I Hate About You, which agreed to make no changes and ultimately lensed there in 1998. 

Unlike a lot of movies this film makes no bones about its location with McCoy’s character at one point telling the police the real-life address.  

The Bartel house in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle
The Bartel homestead in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.

The house at 808 Yakima Ave in Tacoma
Highway to Horror, February 2024.

This single line of dialogue is likely what caused such a furor shortly after release for the neighbourhood residents. Two years after the movie hit cinemas, eager fans continued to flock to the location to visit the iconic home. Neighbours reported up to 200 cars parked on both sides of the avenue causing congestion for those who actually lived there. 

2. Claire meets Peyton (N 8th Ave & Yakima, Tacoma, WA)

A shot of the nanny in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle by a bus.
Peyton stops the bus in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.
The bus stop location in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.
Highway to Horror, February 2024.

Around the corner from the Bartels luxurious home is the spot where Claire first meets the nanny, Peyton. Claire waves Emma goodbye on the school bus and they realises she’s forgotten her sweater. Peyton then stops the bus and steps out into the street.

Unlike several of the locations in the movie, this spot is genuine to its on screen counterpart. It really is around the corner from 808 Yakima. 

If you head down the hill from the corner of Yakima and 8th, you can see a long hedge lining the bottom of the street which is the backside of the Tacoma Lawn Tennis Club. Along the right side of 8th there is a distinct homestead with a turret; this is roughly where the bus stops and Peyton steps out. 

The view looks down toward Commencement Bay, which is the same body of water that’s behind the 10 Things high school location.

3. Peyton walks Joe (Wright Park, 501 S I St, Tacoma, WA)

Peyton the nanny in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle walking the baby.
Peyton walks baby Joe around the park in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.
A slope in Wright Park Tacoma near the conservatory.
Highway to Horror, February 2024.

Eager to find reinforcement from a total stranger about her unhinged life choices, Peyton walks baby Joe to a local park.

Once more, another spot that’s in close proximity to the Bartel house in real-life. Wright Park is a 27-acre city park in which we enjoyed a leisurely stroll. It boasts an impressive collective of 145 native and exotic trees and a self-guided Champion Tree walk that takes you around the largest trees of a certain species, all housed within Wright Park. 

Due to the park’s size and the proximity of the scene in question to the W.W. Seymour Conservatory, it was easy to find the spot where Peyton chats up a stranger.

This exact spot is also featured in the reverse when the family picnics in the park after Solomon is fired.

4. The Mott House (2502 37th Avenue West, Seattle, WA)

Dr Mott's house from The Hand That Rocks The Cradle
Dr. Mott’s house in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle

As Claire’s best friend Marlene calls it, “the good doctor’s house”. This striking abode sits on a hill in the Magnolia district of Seattle. Built in 1991, it boasts four bedrooms, four bathrooms and carries an estimated worth of $2.8 million. The exterior hasn’t changed all that much since filming.

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5. Marlene Goes (Micro)fichin’ (University Branch, Seattle Public Library, 5009 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA)

Marlene visits the microfiche at a Seattle Public Library branch
Marlene embarks on a sleuthing mission in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle.

Once Marlene figures out there’s something fishy about Peyton, she hits up the library to roll through some microfiche. As a librarian, I had to figure out which branch this was filmed in and also, to commend Julianne Moore for having some serious microfiche skills. Those things are not straightforward.

This sequence was shot at the University Branch of the Seattle Public Library. One of three Carnegie libraries remaining in the SPL system, the University Branch is the only branch which hasn’t undergone significant renovations since filming. That’s to say, it’s received upgrades but it still looks similar to the way it appears in the movie.

6. Claire’s Nursery (Volunteer Park Conservatory, 1400 E Galer St, Seattle, WA)

The Volunteer Park Conservatory in Seattle.
The conservatory.

The nursery Claire visits is the Volunteer Park Conservatory in Seattle, thanks to a Facebook post by the Cascade Cactus and Succulents Society of Washington State. 

This location features several times in the movie. My favourite is when Claire and Peyton spend time during an errand run and Peyton decides to take Michael’s Very Important Letter (honestly, if it was that important, shouldn’t he have mailed it himself?) and tear it to pieces in the bathroom. 

Travel Tips

Hitting up the Tacoma locations is straightforward because most of them are within close distance. The Bartel house at 808 Yakima is around the corner from 8th Ave N where we first meet Peyton. To visit these two spots, we parked right across the street from the house itself and walked along the pavement in front of the home.

A short drive down to the street and you’re at Wright Park – we parked on the side of the park where there is plenty of free public parking. It’s only a short stroll to Stadium from here too where we visited a 1999 teen classic (more on that below).

We stopped at McMenamins on the recommendation of our good friends Liz and Ana who live in the area and always indulge our filming location sidetrips! It’s a family-friendly lodging with multiple restaurants and hosts a hidden speakeasy and several different bars. It worked as a great spot to prep ourselves before and after hitting the filming locale trail!

The Seattle locations are spread a little farther apart. You could visit using public transportation but a car is likely to make it more achievable within a day. 

Nearby Filming Locations

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

A photo of Stadium High School in Tacoma from 10 Things I Hate About You
Highway to Horror, February 2024

The aforementioned teen comedy from the late ’90s lensed in the Seattle and Tacoma area. The most recognisable element is the high school locale which was filmed at Stadium High School, 111 N E St, Tacoma, WA. A lot of the action occurs in the main court area and the sequence where Heath Ledger serenades Julia Stiles takes place in the Stadium Bowl located on campus.

The Ring (2002)

The Ring filming location Fort Worden cliff
Highway to Horror, June 2023.

How could we not mention this 2002 remake? Arguably one of the best American takes on the J-horror genre, The Ring lensed across the Greater Seattle area, parts of the Olympic Peninsula, and areas of the Oregon coast. Check out our post on The Ring filming locations for a deeper dive. 

If you’ve checked out The Hand That Rocks The Cradle filming locations let us know how you got along, and share your photos in the comments below!

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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