Film Tourism: This Used to Be the Home of Michael Westen (Burn Notice)

Film Tourism is a new growing phenomenon worldwide, where people are influenced by movies and TV shows to visit their filming locations (not just the studios) and locations associated with the movie or show. One of my favorite shows was Burn Notice (Ended in 2013). It is the story of a burned (discredited/terminated) spy. He has no resources and uses his skills as a CIA operative to find out who burned him. With no connections left to the government, he relies on everyone still talking to him like his old friend Sam, his ex-girlfriend and former IRA explosives expert Fiona, and his mother Madeline Westen.

The TV show is set in Miami and was filmed at many locations in Miami, Miami Beach, and neighboring cities as well as the Everglades and the Highway to Key West.

You can fill a whole book with filming locations. Some of them are easy to find and recognize, some others are harder but two of them show up over and over again. One is Michael’s Loft and the house of his mother Madeline, which is just a short walk away. I didn’t come to Miami just to “spy” on these two locations. It was rather a great coincidence that I was here and had this idea one weekend to see the actual locations for myself. There is a whole guide with all the filming locations of Burn Notice with incredible details. Check it out: www.burnnoticelocations.org

Michael’s Loft

Michael’s loft was located along the Miami River and across from Spring Garden Point Park. Today, there is not much left over from Michael’s loft as the building got demolished and a new office building was erected. The new building is now the HQ of UniVista Insurance and construction was finished in 2016. UniVista bought the 4 story office building for $10.2 million.

In many of the early Burn Notice shots of Michael’s loft, you won’t see the nearby NW 5th St Bascule Bridge as the old bridge got demolished and replaced by a new one, which is seen in later seasons of the show. In the TV show, the building used to house a nightclub.

Madeline Westen’s House

The house of Michael’s mother is not far and located just a short stroll away from the loft. This house was the model for the house which was built on set. The crew usually gathered here to play poker, plan new strategies or just watch over Michael’s mom when he is on a dangerous mission.

Be aware that this is a private residence and not a public place you can just walk into. Respect the people who live here. Take a stroll along the street and few quick pictures and get out, like a real spy. You don’t want to raise suspicion, do you?

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