A Seattle Tour of “Ten Things I Hate About You”

10 Things I Hate About You - 1998 Heath Ledger, Allison Janney, Julia Stiles
10 Things I Hate About You - 1998 Heath Ledger, Allison Janney, Julia Stiles | © Touchstone / Kobal / REX / Shutterstock
Samantha Ladwig

When 10 Things I Hate About You hit theaters in 1999, it was an instant teen classic and brought Seattle to life in a whole new, ’90s-angsty way. The modern-day retelling of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew rivaled movies like The Matrix for the top box office spot, earning over eight million dollars in its opening weekend. The story about two teen sisters finding love connected with audiences from all over, especially with Seattleites. Few Seattle-based movies actually film in the Emerald City, but the crew responsible for 10 Things I Hate About You did. Lucky for fans, many of the film’s locations are open to the public, though they function a little differently than in the movie. Below are five of those locations.

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Stadium High School

Stadium High School, Washington.

The fictional Padua High School that stands in the greater Seattle area is indeed a real high school. However, it’s not in Seattle, and it’s not called Padua High School. In actuality, the school sits in Tacoma, Washington, and it’s known as the Stadium High School. And yes, the famous field that overlooks the water is part of it. A number of scenes shot here, as the majority of the film takes place on campus, most memorably Patrick’s extravagant solo performance where he glides across the stone arena singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” to Kat.

Fremont Troll

The Fremont Troll that crawls underneath the Aurora Bridge is a beloved Seattle landmark. So, it’s no wonder why the directors of 10 Things I Hate About You included it in their film. The scene is short but memorable, with Cameron and Bianca plotting about how they’re going to find a man for Bianca’s sister, Kat, all while pacing in front of the towering cement sculpture. However, the troll that’s built after the Norwegian folklore “Billy Goat’s Gruff” doesn’t mirror its usual appearance. In the film, lush ivy drapes the Fremont Troll, and the Volkswagen Beetle crushed in its hand, usually caked in beige dust, shines red.

Gas Works Park

Gas Works Park, Seattle.

The Gas Works Park location may be the film’s most disappointing—not for viewers, but for Seattleites. The scene takes place during Kat and Patrick’s romantic montage—after Kat flashes a schoolteacher to help Patrick sneak out of detention. The two run off to enjoy one of the city’s few sunny days and find themselves at a paintball field in Gas Works Park. And while the park exists, sadly the paintball setup does not. Still, Gas Works Park remains one of the city’s favorite green spaces because of its rolling green fields and skyline view of the city.

Lake Unio

Seattle Washington Skyline on Lake Union

Sandwiched between the scenes of Kat flashing a teacher to get Patrick out of detention and the two throwing paint-filled balloons at Gas Works Park is the romantic sequence on Lake Union, with the Seattle skyline stretching across the background. As the couple wades through the water on a paddle boat, Kat reveals that she lives her life disappointedly so that she doesn’t get hurt. But Patrick charms her by saying that she screwed up because she never disappointed him. It’s during their paddle boat ride that Patrick spots Gas Works Park and asks Kat if she’s up for a paint balloon fight.

Paramount Theatre

Padua High School’s prom takes place in this snazzy Seattle landmark built in 1928 by Hollywood’s Paramount Pictures for film screenings and vaudeville acts. Viewers get a sense of the Paramount Theatre’s historic architecture when Kat meets Patrick at the dance. Wood-capped, cut-iron poles line the wide staircase that Kat walks up. And when the two reach the balcony overlooking the lobby, audiences witness the building’s expanse. Hues of gold, blue, and brown cover the tall, marble walls that are lit by crystal chandeliers. The Paramount Theatre exudes elegance, which is probably why it hosts concerts, screenings, and theatre productions, and not school dances.

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